Wed, Aug 11, 2021
Read in 4 minutes
It is true that bikes wear out, but only when ridden.
How long does it last? That’s a question you don’t see often in the bike review sites, likely because long-term durability isn’t interesting anymore. But to those who fork over their hard-earned cash, how many miles can you get out of a “typical consumable” component before it is going to fail? Here is a report on some common, high-end parts and what wore out over 20,000 miles, or about 1200 hours of riding on two bikes, and what it cost.
My go-to tire is the seemingly-impossible-to-get Continental GP 5000TL. How long do they last? With a steady average of 66 vertical feet per mile over 20,000 miles, I have a pretty good sense.
Rear tire: 3500 miles. This is consistent over 4 tires–excluding a few replacements due to damage. Prior to the tubeless variant, the regular GP 5000 had pretty much the exact same lifespan
Front tire: 8500 miles. Less datapoints because of higher mileage, but this seems consistent
There are some unexpected results here, as I planned on the front wearing much more quickly than the rear. But the data is the data, and here it is for Campagnolo dual-piston calipers with genuine Campagnolo pads:
Rear pads: 4200 miles. This is measured over 3 sets of pads
Front pads: 8800 miles. Data collected over 2 sets of pads, road use only
I use the following criteria to replace a chain:
In addition, I’ll replace the chain when replacing the rear cassette. Finally, when removing an old chain, I’ll stretch it out next to a new one to see how much it has elongated.
Campangolo Super Record 11s: 2500 miles. I found out the hard way that 4,000 was the absolute limit–with 3 chains, I found that in 2500 miles, the chain stretched 1/2 of a link plate.
SRAM Flattop 12s: 4500 miles. I have less data on the SRAM but, at 2500 miles there was negligable stretch. I somehow broke one side of a link at 5816 miles
As with the chain, I made a switch to SRAM cassettes on my Mosaic.
Campagnolo Chorus 11s: 4500 miles. Beyond this, a new chain was having trouble staying on some of the cogs. I’m too cheap to buy the Campy Super Record cassette, which I think would wear out more quickly as many cogs are titanium vs. steel.
SRAM Red 12s: > 10,000 miles. Miraculously, both my bikes with SRAM Red cassettes have not needed replacement. The road 10-28 has over 10k miles, and gravel bike has ~3800 miles.
This isn’t really wear, but batteries do go dead and can leave you stranded all the same.
Campagnolo EPS v4: 1000 miles. At 1k miles, the charge is down to about 25%, and over 10 charges I see roughly 1% battery per 12.5 miles. There is some vampire drain, and I never turn the unit off.
Garmin Vector 3 Power Meter Pedals: 2500 miles. This does depend on the brand of battery and wheter you get a single 3 volt vs. double 1.5v batteries like the pedals come with. Of course, the single battery has more mAh and lasts longer (2x 1.5v lasted 1800 miles)
So what’s the total cost? Keep in mind that these miles were evenly distributed on 2 bikes which started with new parts. I’m also excluding the shop cost of replacing these parts (which can be non-trivial) and I’m excluding the cost of things like chain lube, tire sealant, etc., the replacement list is summarized as:
Grand total of replacement parts: $1220, or about $0.06/mile.