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Mountain bikes are a lot of fun, and they’re one of the best ways to enjoy rugged, mountainous terrain. Because of how they’re used, they have to be built to stand up to a lot of abuse and have lots of specialty parts. That raises questions for people who are planning to invest in a quality mountain bike. Spending a lot of money on a product that’s intended to take a beating in rough conditions is naturally going to make anyone a bit nervous. So, just how long do mountain bikes last?
That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article, let’s find out!
How long do mountain bikes last?
A mountain bike should last 20 years or more with proper maintenance. While you’ll be using it in very rough conditions, that’s exactly what they’re designed for and there just aren’t any parts on these bikes that are delicate.
If your bike fails sooner than that, it’s likely that some basic maintenance was neglected.
How to keep your mountain bike in good condition
Most mountain bikes aren’t especially high-maintenance, but you do need to keep up with some basic tasks to make sure they stay in good working order. Neglecting general mountain bike maintenance will lead to major problems as small issues snowball over time.
If you want to ensure your mountain bike lasts as long as possible, pay special attention to the following components.
1. The Chain
Of all of the parts on your bike, the chain is the one that takes the most abuse. One of the most common problems that chains develop- and the easiest to prevent- is rust. Chains can rust faster than most people realize, and a rusty chain can break at very inopportune moments.
To prevent chain rust, all you need to do is store your bike inside. Rusty chains are far more common when you store the bike outside in the elements. You should also ensure that your chain is properly lubricated, and add more lubricant frequently. You can never have too much lubricant on a bike chain, and if there’s not enough the friction will quickly wear the chain out.
The gears on a mountain bike tend to get coated in dust, mud, and dirt. The same goes for the derailleurs and pedals. These parts can also suffer from rust if the bike is stored outside. Regular cleaning of the drive train, proper lubrication, and storing the bike inside can keep the drive train in excellent condition.
That said, at some point, these parts will have to be replaced. With proper maintenance they’ll last years, but the drivetrain sees a lot of wear and tear, and this where you’ll find yourself having to replace parts first.
3. Tires and Brakes
Tires wear out with use, just like car tires. Also like car tires, they should last a very long time, but you need to keep an eye on them. As the tread gets low you’ll need to replace them. Fortunately, bike tires are nowhere near as expensive as car tires.
Likewise, brakes are designed to wear out with use. Keep an eye on your brake pads and replace them as they get low. You really don’t want them to give out while you’re out riding, and they’re not that expensive to replace.
Mountain Bike Maintenance Schedule
To keep your bike running as long as possible, follow this simple maintenance schedule:
- Check tire pressure
- Wipe off any moisture or dirt
- Lube the chain and wipe it down to remove the excess
Every Week, check the following
- Air pressure in the shocks
- Brake pads- replace when thickness gets below 1mm
- All bolts and wires and tighten if necessary
Every 4 Months
- Thoroughly clean all dirt and oil off the bike
- Bleed hydraulic brakes- if the fluid is dark, replace it
- Change the seals and oil in the suspension
- Check treads on the tires
- Replace the grips
- Do a deep clean of the bike
- Check the frame for damage
Are Mountain Bikes Reliable?
Assuming you follow the maintenance schedule, yes. Even if you don’t follow it rigidly, a quality mountain bike should prove to be incredibly tough and reliable. There simply aren’t very many moving parts to break and none of the components used to build mountain bikes are especially delicate.
Usually if there’s an issue with a mountain bike breaking down it’s the result of improper use, improper storage, or a neglected maintenance issue. Other than that, your bike should ride well for years to come.
As long as you take the time to maintain it, a good mountain bike will last your twenty years or more. Truthfully, most mountain bikers probably don’t last that long before they get the itch to buy a new bike. That just means there are plenty of affordable used bikes for sale, though.
A quality mountain bike it definitely an expensive purchase, but most people would agree that it’s well worth the money. Maintenance is a minor expense, so keeping your new mountain biking in top condition isn’t all that difficult. Buying a high quality bike now will guarantee you years of use before you have to consider replacing it.
Mountain Bike FAQs
How many miles can you put on a mountain bike?
You should be able to get at least 50,000 miles out of your bike. With proper maintenance, you can likely ride it even longer than that, but many people are ready for a new bike by that point anyway.
How often should I change my bike chain?
A mountain bike chain should be chained about every 2,000 miles.
How long do mountain bike tires last?
High-end tires should last for about 2,500 miles of usage. Cheaper tires will wear out more quickly than that, so just keep an eye on them and observe how quickly they’re wearing out.
How do you know when your mountain bike tires are worn out?
Mountain bike tires should be replaced when the nobs in the tread are more than halfway worn down. Experienced riders can often feel when their tires need to be replaced simply based on how the bike handles during a ride.
Is riding a mountain bike on the road bad for it?
No, riding your mountain bike on the road won’t be bad for the bike. It make not very pleasant for you, since mountain bikes are heavier and slower than road bikes, but it won’t cause any extra damage.
Is mountain biking dangerous?
There are certainly risks. You’re riding a bike in rough terrain, so there’s always a chance you’ll get hurt. Surprisingly, though, road biking has double the injury rate of mountain biking. Most people don’t think of road biking as being dangerous at all, but in fact it’s twice as dangerous as mountain biking.