The hidden perils of reliable bikes…

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  • The hidden perils of reliable bikes…
  • amedias

    My commuter is just about the most reliable bike I have ever owned, SS, 1/8th drivetrain, deep V alu rims that can take on any pothole, big chunky hubs with big ball bearings, fully enclosed brake cable runs, it’s been pretty much faultless for the last 12000 miles needing only a bottom bracket, chain wear adjustment, and a few sets of brake pads, but because the fact that it never ever stops working my maintenance schedule on it is er, shall we say sub-optimal, I tend to just ride it, throw it in the shed, then repeat for 3 years

    Yesterday a freak bungee-cord-hooking-chain incident meant a quick walk back home to fix a snapped chain, while the bike was upside down (taking rack off to get rear wheel out) I noticed one or two ‘potential future issues’

    1> the rear tyre was basically running on canvas for about 30-40% of the circumference – whoops, tyres normally under mudguard so hadn’t noticed, must have been like that for at least the last 400miles!

    2> rim walls are literally paper thin, I can flex them with my thumb – whoops

    3> the rear hub axle feels like it now has square bearings, no play but not exactly smooth – whoops

    4> freewheel and chainring teeth are worn, very very worn, beyond sharks teeth, almost crescents now – whoops

    5> chain is so worn and baggy that some of the rollers have actually worn through the bush and basically just flapping around the pin – whoops

    Suffice it to say I may need to give it some love soon otherwise I fear it may actually just fall into a pile of bits in the middle of a ride soon 🙁

    Incidentally, I’m pretty proud of getting 12000 miles out of a rear tyre (no punctures!) and single drivetrain!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    yep my road bike will be getting replaced with a new road bike at some stage….


    SS commuters are ace though. You need a bike that just works.

    Normally give mine an annual service where I check tyres, change cables, reverse or change sprockets and replace the chain.

    Premier Icon Speshpaul

    Why not make a list of thing that aren’t knackered? should be quicker.

    But top work for wearing a bike out 😀

    Premier Icon Stoner

    SS durability can be most satisfying.

    Mrs S and I did 3,000 miles in 8 weeks each on pompinos on one set of tyres & chains, no punctures, no mechanicals and down to the canvas.

    My “commuter” hasnt done quite as many miles – maybe only 5-600 a year, but it lives at Paddington station and hasnt been home for any TLC since 2009. I really ought to adjust the chain tension some day, it looks as baggy as washing line at the moment 😯

    Premier Icon FOG

    Just going through this exact scenario. My winter bike gets dragged out in November and shoved back in the garage around March with minimal maintenance. While wondering why the chain kept coming off, I couldn’t help but notice just about every moving, and some non moving part is completely shot. A quick tot up of all the bits that needed replacing comes to the price of a new cheapo bike. The original wasn’t that dear so I think I shall be scanning ads for Planet X soon!

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    My suggestion is just buy another equivalent bike, ~£200 will get you a drop bar or flat bar Fixed/free gas pipe tubed bike, if you especially like your current bikes frame you can canibalize the new bike for parts, or use the new one and steal any parts on your current bike you prefer.

    Once you tot up the cost of all the replacement parts, you might as well have bought a whole new one….

    I Got one of these Viking CitiFix last year, Or theres the current Flat bar version, both commuter Bargains IMO…


    Why not make a list of thing that aren’t knackered? should be quicker.

    The headset is still pretty smooth…

    And all the bits that don’t turn/move, frame, fork, seatpost, stem etc.


    while your plan may make financial sense, I think I’d rather adopt a triggers broom approach, I’m all into recycle and re-use so I’ll probably just fork out for a new drivetrain (less than £50), service the hubs if they’ve still got life in them and buy some new rims and rebuild the wheels, if the hubs are actually shot then some new wheels, and then just spend a few hours giving everything a bit of TLC ready for the next 12000 miles, although maybe I’ll be good and service it at 10000 next time 😉

    Premier Icon ibnchris

    I’ve always sort of thought that was the point of the beater bike…keep riding it until it actually falls apart under you…and then salvage spare parts from your prettier bikes that you would other otherwise bin. Sort of works for me…although admit that leaving it out in the rain every night is now really taking its toll

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    Good work wringing the miles out of it, and while I agree it’s nice to get the use out of the bike you originally bought and keep it running once you tot up the bits (lets not try and cost the time spent rebuilding the wheels)…

    New Wheels or bits to rebuild old ones? ~£80?
    New Freewheel ~£10
    new Chain ~£10,
    Tyres? maybe ~£30
    Brake Pads probably or other Misc items need doing? ~£10-20

    So you could easily spend £130-150 odd Renovating a relative Nag, or have a full bikes worth of spare parts for another ~£50 and be covered when the next item lets go…

    Of course you would then have a spare frame/fork/other parts sat there tempting you to assemble another (not really necessary) bike from it, or ebay that on and recover some of the cost…


    I do not deny your logic, you talk a lot of sense, but its the principle of it, and it’s my old Nag 😀

    I have a chain (£1.99 when they were on sale)
    Chainring ~ £10
    Freewheel ~ £10, I might eve have one in a box

    Brake pads I buy in bulk @£4 each for me and the GFs commuter so have plenty kicking around…

    Tyres, I always swap OEM out for GatorSkins or Bonty Hardcase anyway so that’s a null point really as I’d be buying them anyway.

    The only costly bits would be wheels or rims, zero cost on the build time because it’s a therapeutic exercise and only takes me 30 – 45mins per wheel.

    Of course you would then have a spare frame/fork/other parts sat there tempting you to assemble another (not really necessary) bike from it

    This I 100% do not need! between me and the other half we’ve already got far too many!

    Premier Icon Northwind

    My commuter’s reached that point where it’s got enough cheap jobs that need done to make it not really economic to fix. Well it’s only fair, the exage rear hub is old enough to be your dad. So I think it’s going to spend the rest of its days bolted to a turbo trainer, I can put together a better bike for less. But still sad about it.

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