DCIM102GOPROHalfway down a 10 mile descent and 15 miles into a 30 plus mile mountain bike ride, I heard a funny clank and a grinding metal noise, then my rear brake pressure was gone.

I gave my brake a few squeezes and eventually the pressure returned, but the metal on metal sound emitting from my rear brake was like fingernails on a chalkboard.

As it turns out the ceramic brake pads came off and the metal backing and the sound was the backing on the rotors.

I was left to ride the remaining 20 miles with a functioning front brake and a noisy grinding rear “brake.”

As I was riding with a screechy brake I thought about bikes and parts and realized I’m not a weight weenie, I’m a durability weenie. My decision to buy a bike or part is based more on the durability and performance than the weight. I would gladly sacrifice a few grams for something that just works.

My favorite bikes are the ones that I don’t have to do much to. Put a little lube on the chain and just go. I enjoy the ride not the work and parting out of bikes.

When it comes time to replace something on a bike my decision is based on how long will it last and how much maintenance l’ll I have to do.

What about you? What drives your decisions?

10 thoughts on “Durability in bikes and parts”
  1. My best bikes have always been “middle ground” in this regard. Fortunately for me and my wallet I don’t have the skills to justify the extra expense of the lightest components.

  2. I have broke three bike frames in the last two years and numerous parts so durability is my main focus. Though I am apparently not great at find it sometimes. Plus being out on multi-day bikepacking trips you really dont want something to break in the middle of nowhere.

  3. Agreed whole-heartedly! I’m having drivetrain trouble right now on my new, nicer bike that I never had on my old behemoth. Still haven’t found the right middle ground.

  4. 1.) Whether or not I think the brand is for nerds.
    2.) Whether or not I think the product looks/performs juggalo.
    3.) Whether or not I can score a good deal on it.
    4.) If it performs well.
    5.) If it lasts a long time.
    6.) If it is light-ish/stiff-ish. Not real particular on that one.

  5. Is any of the new componentry really durable? Most of it is more complex and reliability suffers. What was it Capt. Kangaroo said? “Simple bikes are best”
    I think a lot of catastrophic failures really aren’t and could be spotted beforehand. Looking at your bike and paying attention to noises is helpful. Cleaning it helps you look closely and see things when they’re right so you can recognize when they’re wrong. I tend to stick with the older stuff.

  6. I’m with you in that I value durability and safety over weight.  But the bike industry focuses on lightweight components over durability because they think that is what cycling customers demand.  It’s gotten to the point where a cyclist is considered a knuckle dragger if they’re not on a carbon bike.  SRAM and Shimano have been in a horse race to come out with feather-weight disc brakes for road bikes, and now SRAM has recalled all of their road disc brakes because of design problems and failures. Check out the recall list on the Bicycle Retailer website.  Road customers in particular are weight weenies–they require ultra-light carbon frames, forks, wheels and components, but whine piteously if that equipment fails.

  7. My 9 speed is far more cantankerous than my armada of 7’s. Honestly no idea why this stupid competition is occurring. If it was cars, we’d have 100-speed transmissions by now (cvt not withstanding)…

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