You know your bike is properly run in when …

Despite some frustrations yesterday, in the end I was quite pleased with progress on a major refurbishment of my Trek Pilot.

  • Both derailliers have cleaned up very nicely, the rear one even has nice new Tacx jockey wheels.
  • I have fitted the new brake and gear cables. Also adjusted the brakes.
  • The new cassette is fitted to a very clean looking back wheel
  • I have a new seat collar (the head of the nut was getting rather worn on the old one
  • The new bottom bracket is fitted.
Still to do
  • handlebar tape
  • fit new chainset when it arrives
  • fit new chain
  • fit new pedals (the old ones are ok but I am trying Speeplay Frogs for the extra float for my knees)
  • adjust the gears
  • Put some more wax on my Brooks saddle

I was reflecting on the whole process last night while riding with my studded tyres crunching through the ice. I was wondering how long it has taken me to spend more on upgrades and maintenance than I paid for the actual bike. Obviously that will come sooner for a cheap bike but this wasn’t (at the time we bought it, it was the most expensive 2 wheel bike we had ever bought – I think around £600).

So far I have bought the following for it:

  • Two sets of Schwalbe Marathon Tyres
  • Three chains
  • Three sets of brake pads
  • Two replacement handlebar tape
  • Two back wheels (both the older wheels still available. The first was an emergency replacement when away and no bike shop close for repair. The second was an upgrade to a heavier duty wheel to cope with heavier loads)
  • Three rear cassettes
  • New mudguards added using new bolts for the brakes
  • Two racks (started with a basic one, upgraded to a Tubus Locc (which has a carrying point for an Abus U-Lock)
  • At least 4 bottle cages
  • 3 sets of pedals (basic SPD/flat, then Shimano A520 SPD/Flat, now Speedplay Frogs
  • new Bottom bracket
  • new chainset
  • new Saddle (upgrade to a Brooks B17 Select)
  • 2 new brake cables
  • 2 new gear cables
  • new seat post collar
  • I have used 3 bike computers (basic Cateye, Garmin 705 and now Garmin 800) – the Garmins are used on multiple bikes
  • I guess about 6 inner tubes
  • Several front lights before settling on an Exposure Strada
  • Several back lights before settling on a Cateye TL-LD1100 (I had to buy a special mount for the back of the rack).

Note that the bike has been shared between our middle son and me (although to be honest he has not ridden it that much, but I have put thousands of miles on it).

So anyway is a new bike properly run in when

a) the value of upgrades & replacements exceeds the original value of the bike?


b) more than half the current total weight of the bike is non original parts?

All these things are part of the reason why I am interested in low maintenance bikes 🙂 This is a lovely road bike but the parts do wear out when it is used a lot (especially when the use includes lots of British cycle paths/National Cycle Network).

If I had to pay someone to do all this maintenance then I guess it would have economically sensible to have replaced the bike at some point rather than refurbishing it. However, environmentally at least that would not be the best solution.

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  1. Interesting and enjoyable couple of posts. My Raleigh Venture Pioneer is 7 years old, my son road it from new, while I’ve taken it on as my commuter since January ’11. It hasn’t been well looked after, as I’m a hopeless mechanic, it needs a good overhaul/service, and quickly. I haven’t ridden the bike now for a fortnight, because of the fear of ice on the roads, and I need to give it a good clean before I drop it into Halfords ( I have a Bikecare agreement with them ) I’m hoping they won’t find loads to replace.

    • I am quite a fussy rider. I like a bike to be essentially silent and I won’t leave any broken or unused bits on.

      The bike is ridden all year round and gets cleaned only a few times a year.

      My very rough guess is that it has done over 5000 miles

  2. Just don’t get into off roading – the bits wear out faster and there’s more of them. My maintence list last week included front fork oil change, and greasing the suspension frame bearings – not to mention sorting the headset, rear axle bearings, front derailleur cable and replacing the chain / cassette. It’s nice having the bike running well again, though.

    • Jonathan,

      Agreed, I am not a great off-road rider. A combination of fitness, technical skills, cowardice and opportunity hold me back 🙂

      And the end of 2010 I had a nice day around the New Forest. See Riding in the New Forest and New Forest route.

      Both the bike and me ended up very very dirty, so much so that I was a bit worried whether they would let me in the tea room for lunch at Brockenhurst 🙂

      As a hobby it is seems to me that off-road ridxing creates a lot of work (washing self & bike as well as maintenance)!

  3. I too became frustrated at the cost of keeping my bike maintained while using it every day to commute and so decided to go down the hub geared route and built up commuter/trekking bike from 2nd hand parts. That was last summer and 1500 miles on everything is nicely run in and I haven’t had to replace anything… yet! Having a more substantial 3/8″ chain fully enclosed seems to be a big help in reducing wear in the drive train, you can happily ladle it with thick oil on without fear of it turning into grinding paste!

    • Hi Chris,

      I agree with you. My ultimate ride everyday bike will definitely have hub gears. I didn’t have huge amounts of success with the Hebie Chainglider so long term am interested in a belt drive with a minimal guard just to stop flapping trousers getting caught up in it.

      Or maybe one of the many up and coming UK frame builders might be willing to build me a bike with a fully enclosed chain (and ideally one that is oil proof enough so that the bottom can hold a reservoir of oil to give me a proper chain bath for almost unlimited chain life).

  4. I do like the idea of a belt drive but am concerned that the already limited spares availability and options will dwindle further in time. What sort of problems did you have with the Hebie? I was sceptical at first but am now a firm advocate, as long as you get the correct size in both front and rear parts and have a straight chainline it does seem to live up to it’s claims. I bought mine online from Rose Bikes where they sell the front and rear parts separately and I think there has also been a design improvement in the last year or so to improve the the way the parts clip together.
    Apparently the fully enclosed oil bath was a reality on some roadsters from yesteryear!

    Congratulations on a great blog, I stumbled across it yesterday via WillCycle via the Middle Aged Cyclist… what strange places we cyclists find ourselves!

    • Chris,

      It looks to me as if the number of belt drive bikes is set to increase quite a lot. On the other hand it does look like you will be locked into one supplier only for a long time to come. However, if spares become a problem then the bike could always be converted back to a chain. It is only going from chain to belt that is a problem due to the need for a way to open the frame.

      if I decided to spend money on a really nice general purpose bike to last for the foreseeable future then I think I would go for a frame that would allow a belt drive, even if I didn’t start with one (for example I would like to see the new centre track belt in use for a while before deciding to go for it).

      However, even though a belt is clean I would still want something to stop my flapping trouser leg getting caught up in it.

      As for the Hebie, I had trouble getting it to stay clipped together at the back from the start. I ended up using zip ties to hold it together. It never seemed to run very smoothly around the Alfine rubber flanges to the rear sprocket.

      I took it off when I went on a multi-day tour on my cargo bike and everything ran so much more smoothly that I never bothered to re-fit it. I am resigned to tucking my trouser leg into my sock for the moment.

      Yep I know about the old style roadsters. I would love a bike with a carbon fibre frame enclosing the chain as the actual structure. If the wheel could then be mounted on one side only there would be no need to ever uncover the chain. It’s available on a recumbent (flevobike greenmachine) but the only upright bike I have seen with it was a Mike Burrows single speed town bike (the 2D I think it was called). Sadly I think it is only possible to do this if you have a mid-drive gearing system as none of the hub gears are able to be used single sided and deraillier gears won’t fit in a chain case.

      • Ah yes, I can imagine that the Alfine flange might present a problem, though I’m not sure what that flange is for? I’m running a Nexus 8 (no flange) with the Hebie and there’s no problem at all.

        • I wish I had known about the flange difference earlier. Explains a lot

          Q1: will a Nexus sprocket fit with no flange fit an Alfine hub?

          Q2: Does the Alfine 11 speed still have the flange?

    • Chris,

      As for the finding blogs, I have found things have changed a lot in the last year and I almost totally rely on twitter to find blog posts now. I used to use google reader all the time. Nothing stays the same 🙂

  5. Loving my new bike « 42 Bikes - pingback on February 17, 2012 at 11:48 pm

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