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  1. #1
    The Cheater
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    Durability of XC Full Suspension Bikes

    Guys, for those of you who train every other day, how long do you keep your bikes before getting a new one? I mean excluding accidents, when did your bikes start exhibiting constant and sometimes irreparable problems? Thanks.
    Titux X Carbon 2010 race 9.93kg
    Titux X 2009 "Deore 2012" training 11.55kg

  2. #2
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    Lots of variables there but for me, I'm not so nice to bikes. Probably 1-2 years for the frame, and really any other parts as well, tops. However my new Jet 9 looks indestructible. The frame is a little heavy vs. what I've had before, but I don't do this for a living so I think it suits me. I've had some carbon bars that have held up great for three years but they're starting to make me nervous, so they're relegated to the second mountain bike.
    Last edited by TunicaTrails; 06-15-2011 at 02:09 PM.

  3. #3
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    Up until this season I had been riding a 2007 bike, and the main reason I switched wasn't because it needed major repairs, but because I wanted a better bike. Only thing it needed was a new crank, but 4 years on one crank is too much anyway. Other things I did along the way.. annual fork maintenance, new wheels, new cassette, lots of derailleur hangers as I was learning to ride. Frame, shock/fork held up well. I had to replace my seat stay once after a crash, but that was only $100.. if I was riding a hardtail, that frame would have been toast.

  4. #4
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    Components wear out faster than anything, a good frame will last you years. Most of us replace the frame every 1-2 years since we think the new bike will make us faster, which it doesn't, but it feels good in the winter to have a new bike to motivate you to get on that stupid trainer.

    And most of us train on a road bike, and the amount of money I save on replacing mountain bike components (and I like really high end stuff for some reason) since I ride my road bike more - more than pays for the road bike!

  5. #5
    LMN
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    I don't find that frames fail on me. What I have problems with is the suspension components. Generally the suspension (shock and pivots) needs a serious overhaul once a year. Probably about $200 worth. Afterwards the bike feels like it did new and is good to go for another season.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  6. #6
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    My frames typically fail from design issues

    -1999 GT Idrive 1.0 - seat post mast weld cracked. I read that this was a widespread issue. 2 seasons before breaking.
    -2003 GF Sugar - welds between rear triangle and seat tube failed in several spots. Broke during 4th season.
    -2008 GF Superfly - seat stays made of glass, repaired once at Calfee....on Sunday broke again from a small impact. So broke after 1 season, and during 4th season.

    I mostly road bike which is good, otherwise my MTB bikes wouldn't last as long.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veda View Post
    Guys, for those of you who train every other day, how long do you keep your bikes before getting a new one? I mean excluding accidents, when did your bikes start exhibiting constant and sometimes irreparable problems? Thanks.
    I ride a 2005 RM Element....

    Only original parts are the frame bolts, the seat stay, the rear suspension links, and seat clamp.

    Everything else has either failed, or got changed out to get better performance or lower weight..(most things failed).

    The frame died due to worn out BB threads, you can only change them so many times.

    The chain stay (two of them) wore out the dropouts...

    Winter riding and wet weather is hell on bikes....

    The Chris King Head set looks like it might out last everything.

  8. #8
    Now broadcasting from CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    The Chris King Head set looks like it might out last everything.
    True that. I have one that's on its fourth frame. I usually end up keeping my race bikes for 2 yrs or so. I've actually been through 3 bikes in the last two years though. Not because of breakage, I just wanted to go carbon, and now I'm on a FS. I'll stick with that for another season or two with component upgrades.

    On the other hand, I have a 'cross bike that's about to hit it's third CX season, plus winter and summer road riding. I haven't upgraded or changed much other than saddle, breaks, and crankset. Shows you where my priorities are...
    Brought to you by rocks.

  9. #9
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    agree with LMN.

    my wife and i have both thrashed a 2009 Sworks Epic. this past winter i did a full pivot bearing replacement as they were going bad. bike is still rockin! i have no idea how many miles it has been ridden (certainly a LOT with both of us putting in so much training per year), but i definitely feel like we are getting our money's worth out of that bike! i am hoping the 2011 Sworks Epic i purchased this year for myself gives us just as great of service!
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  10. #10
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    For mountain biking I have a singlespeed rigid bike (my race bike) and a HT geared bike (my training bike). For road biking I have a singlespeed bike and a geared bike and I use both extensively for training.

    This is why my race bike is in its 4th season with no problems whatsoever (I just changed cog, chainring and chain recently). And my HT geared bike (the first GF Superfly version) still has the original components and is in perfect order.

    With 4 bikes (and a 5th road bike permanently on my trainer) my bikes last for many years.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veda View Post
    Guys, for those of you who train every other day, how long do you keep your bikes before getting a new one? I mean excluding accidents, when did your bikes start exhibiting constant and sometimes irreparable problems? Thanks.
    Hard to say. I have several bikes and they are on constant rotation depending on type of riding. My XC FS race bike gets sold and replaced about every other season. More because the new hotness comes out and less because I "need" to replace it.

    If you are asking how long should you keep a bike before it's replaced. Keep it as long as you want and it's safe to ride... if it cracks or something, by all means replace it. Otherwise... pretty much everything else is fixable. For instance My SS hard tail is 4 years old, no significant improvements in technology that cant be bolted on, so I'll probably keep riding it for a very long time.

  12. #12
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    A useful measurement would be to look at how many hours riding a bike has done. It's a better guide to how long it will last than years of ownership. A dedicated race bike might last for many years because it doesn't actually get used that much and spends most of its life parked in a garage. The vast majority of riding would be done on a training bike instead.

    If you use a full suspension bike as your main bike then in order to keep it working well you need to service the suspension fork, rear shock and suspension pivots more frequently than a bike which doesn't get used as much. Different components all have different useful life expectancies. Excluding accidents then some components will last for many years (eg: the frame, cranks, seatpost etc) whilst other parts will wear out and need replacing frequently (eg: chain, cassette/ chainrings, brake pads, tyres etc). The actual frame should have a useful life of at least five years.

    Reasons for why the frame may need replacing would be if becomes incompatible with newer components and standards (eg: a frame with no disc brake mounts) or if the marketing for new products convinces you that a new bike will make you go faster. Full suspension mountain bikes are particularly bad for that, often being perceived as outdated almost as soon as they're released.

  13. #13
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    I didn't realize I was riding a dinosaur. I am still on an 04 Epic. Frame, shock, seatpost, and crank are stock. Everything else has been swapped (fork, wheels, bars, stem, etc). This is my main ride (racing and training) and shares time with the road bike. Bike still rides and functions wonderful. I don't think I am necessarily easy on it either, but I do regular maintenance. I feel to comfortable on it to make a change just to have the latest. The $5,000+ for a new bike isn't worth it to me. You definitely can make these bikes last more than a few years.

  14. #14
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    I don't find that frames fail on me. What I have problems with is the suspension components. Generally the suspension (shock and pivots) needs a serious overhaul once a year. Probably about $200 worth. Afterwards the bike feels like it did new and is good to go for another season.
    Well said. On my hardtail I would rebuild my fork and I was good for another year or two. Now I have a full squish. I'll probably need to rebuild both shocks and change suspension bearings.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  15. #15
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails View Post
    Lots of variables there but for me, I'm not so nice to bikes. Probably 1-2 years for the frame, and really any other parts as well, tops. However my new Jet 9 looks indestructible. The frame is a little heavy vs. what I've had before, but I don't do this for a living so I think it suits me. I've had some carbon bars that have held up great for three years but they're starting to make me nervous, so they're relegated to the second mountain bike.
    You just might have to get the carbon jet coming out soon I keep my bikes (frames) for one season typically. I don't necessarily get rid of the frame because it broke or no longer functions properly, but instead because a new frame keeps me motivated to ride and I get deals on them typically. Dumb reason...but hey...works for me

    Drivetrain usually 2-3 seasons while replacing any broken/worn parts along the way. I rarely ever get rid of an ENTIRE bike in one sale.

    I know some legit racers who will keep a race bike for 5 seasons...usually a monetary issue, but they are still just as fast imo. It really is not so much about the bike...more about the rider. Again, a shiny new frame staring at me each day that screams "Lets get out and ride" motivates ME though.

    Also, some of the guys on the vintage bikes 80s-90s are extremely fast...again reminding us that speed/performance really is MORE about the engine or rider..

    Hope that helps.

  16. #16
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    Now you tell me I was shocked to see that my XL frame weighed in at 6.7 lbs! I got a great deal on the 2011 and it's really beautiful and fast put together. I'll let Niner work the kinks out of the carbon model, we know how it went with the first Jet.

    I tend to ride stuff into the ground and I'm looking forward to a sprung bike that's tougher than my Scalpel and Dos Niner previous.


    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    You just might have to get the carbon jet coming out soon I keep my bikes (frames) for one season typically. I don't necessarily get rid of the frame because it broke or no longer functions properly, but instead because a new frame keeps me motivated to ride and I get deals on them typically. Dumb reason...but hey...works for me

    Drivetrain usually 2-3 seasons while replacing any broken/worn parts along the way. I rarely ever get rid of an ENTIRE bike in one sale.

    I know some legit racers who will keep a race bike for 5 seasons...usually a monetary issue, but they are still just as fast imo. It really is not so much about the bike...more about the rider. Again, a shiny new frame staring at me each day that screams "Lets get out and ride" motivates ME though.

    Also, some of the guys on the vintage bikes 80s-90s are extremely fast...again reminding us that speed/performance really is MORE about the engine or rider..

    Hope that helps.

  17. #17
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    I'm about to get on my third Anthem X, first year (first generation) was stolen after a season, but was in fine condition. Got a new one and rode it for almost 1 years and it just recently craked at the top/seattube junction, I'd say the shock was overdue for service, bearings probably at the end of the season. Third Anthem X is incoming on the warranty (thank you, Giant, excellent service), we'll see what will be its destiny. Had a Turner Flux before the Anthems, was good as new when it got sold.

    A lot will depend on how and where you ride and how you clean your bike. In principle, there is nothing keeping an XC fully going for years with proper service, apart from the owners insatiable upgradeitis :-)

  18. #18
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    I typically run my xc race bike a season or two then sell it off. I just sold a 3 y.o. FS bike this year, longer than most I've had.

    Maintenance is key. No failures in terms of the frame or rear triangles (on FS bikes), but pivot and bushings tend to be a problem by year's end. Again, that's a maintenance issue.

    Parts are swapped upon wearage.
    Life will pound away where the light don't shine, son...

  19. #19
    zrm
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    I just replaced the suspension pivots on my 08 s works epic. The frame has kind of a "dead spot" (no softness or delamination visible) in the middle of the top tube when I tap along the length of it and I've been keeping an eye on it but it doesn't seem to be spreading and the frame feels as solid as ever.. If it gets worse I'll probably replace the frame. I've sent the shock/brain off for service once, and will probably want to replace the wheelset at the end of this season.

    As much as this stuff costs I usually try to get maximum life out of everything.

  20. #20
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    Well I started out with a 2008 Rocky element 50 4 years ago and now I have a 2010 Rocky Element...SE? Cracked the frame last year, so I got a new front triangle, I have had the fork in a few times for service (at least once a year) and has had new lowers and new upper assembly put on it over the years. Last year was new wheels, this year new drive train and shifting, and rebuilt main pistons in the brakes. So it is more or less a new bike again not to many original parts or parts which haven't been rebuilt.

    I figure that I will spend $500 to $1000 on my bike every season to either replace old worn out parts or to upgrade parts to make me faster or loose weight on the bike. (Wheels will make the bike faster). I think this it its last year for me and will make a wonderful bike for somebody next year who is interested in starting racing or somebody who just wants a nice bike.
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  21. #21
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    I'm 6' 3", 190 lb. and have broken two lightweight XL frames, a 2003 Gary Fisher Team (within about 15,000 miles) and a 2004 Titus Racer X (within about 10,000 miles). Both frames were single triangle, and I was using the same minimal length seatpost on both. Titus replaced my frame with a 2008 under warranty. The newer frame has been redesigned to incorporate a second triangle, which supports the weld where the top tube meets the seat tube (where my first Titus frame broke) and reduces flex where the rear shock mount attaches to the seat tube (where my Gary Fisher broke), and it feels bombproof. It's notable that for the smaller sizes the Racer X still has a single triangle. I think with a single triangle design there's just too much flex in the XL and L sizes for the lightweight tubes used in high-end bikes. Also, I think it's a false economy to try to shave weight by using a short seat post. I think anything you can do to reduce flex at those two critical welds in your seat tube is going to lengthen the life of your frame.

  22. #22
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    I built a 2005 Giant NRS carbon frame this week. Done some part/component swapping with a buddy he hadn't rode it for about 3 years. I had to replace the the bushing in the top shock eyelet, everything else seems tight. He went to all 29er and threw the frame in on the deal. I'm anxious to see how long the bushings in the rear suspension will last. I hadn't rode a F/S in about 5 years my initial thought was. "SWEET!"
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  23. #23
    bi-winning
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    My aluminum fs frame cracked after 4 years or fairly regular riding, maybe an average of two to three rides a week. In those four years, I replaced all of the frame pivot bearings once, and the DU bushings in the shock 3 or 4 times.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


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  24. #24
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    I suffer from new bike syndrome. Every 2 years, although my Epic has lasted three years (although Spesh had to send me a new frame in 2010).

  25. #25
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    I've been wondering - how often is maintenance needed on a rear suspension system compared to a front fork?

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