Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Service Life (Miles) of Road Wheels?

Notices
Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Service Life (Miles) of Road Wheels?

Old 06-04-16, 12:03 PM
  #1  
doctor j
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Louisiana
Posts: 3,055
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 1 Post
Service Life (Miles) of Road Wheels?

What do you consider to be the service life, in miles, of road wheels?

Assumptions:
1. Non-racing
2. Average pavement
3. Gravel travel only in a bind (<0.001%)
4. No curb-jumping
5. Bike stored indoors
6. Average maintenance
7. Fair weather (dry) rides

What's your estimate/experience?

Edit: Aluminum, Rim Brakes

Last edited by doctor j; 06-04-16 at 02:16 PM.
doctor j is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 12:14 PM
  #2  
prathmann
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Posts: 7,239
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Around 100 kmiles.
prathmann is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 12:14 PM
  #3  
FullGas
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 688
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 172 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
have a set of Mavic Open Pros with DA 7400 hubs that meet those criteria. they have at least 30K miles on them. have never even had them re-trued.

sure others can beat that with ease.
FullGas is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 12:14 PM
  #4  
brianmcg123
Senior Member
 
brianmcg123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: TN
Posts: 1,243
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 338 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 14 Posts
Carbon or aluminum?
brianmcg123 is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 12:49 PM
  #5  
Kindaslow
Senior Member
 
Kindaslow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Seattlish
Posts: 2,751

Bikes: SWorks Stumpy, Haibike Xduro RX, Crave SS

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 512 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
I only have about 5,000 on my commuter wheels, but poor roads at times, lots of rain, outside during commute/work hours, and zero concern about taking it easy on them. They are still perfectly true and even tension with zero adjustment! Go Reynolds!
Kindaslow is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 01:09 PM
  #6  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,524
Mentioned: 195 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11472 Post(s)
Liked 930 Times in 722 Posts
There are a lot of variables.
  • Quality of hubs/cones.
  • CF / Aluminum
  • Rim brakes / Disc brakes.
  • Summer / Winter Riding
  • Dragging brakes on hills
  • Tire Size
  • DAMAGE
I've pitted cheap cones in 1000 miles.

I wore through 1 brake track, doing winter commuting over a large hill. But, I think the track was worn before I got the wheel, and I wasn't aware of the problems. I now inspect the brake tracks much closer.

Maybe once every 10,000 to 20,000 miles I've critically damaged a rim, and had to replace it. I believe some of the newer rims may in fact be stronger than the older rims, and thus more resilient to such abuse.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 01:58 PM
  #7  
StanSeven
Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Delaware shore
Posts: 13,314

Bikes: Cervelo C5, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 739 Post(s)
Liked 281 Times in 226 Posts
Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Around 100 kmiles.
This.

Assuming you start with reasonably good wheels, the two things that wear them out are braking in wet conditions (wears down brake track) and bearings without proper grease (this doesn't cause the wheels to be trashed but just an overhaul of the hubs)
StanSeven is online now  
Old 06-04-16, 02:15 PM
  #8  
doctor j
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Louisiana
Posts: 3,055
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 1 Post
Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
Carbon or aluminum?
Aluminum
doctor j is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 06:38 PM
  #9  
ricohman
Senior Member
 
ricohman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,465
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The cheap Mavic wheels on my Specialized Roubaix lasted 50,000km before they were ruined by a huge pothole.
I would think they would last forever!
ricohman is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 07:11 PM
  #10  
Road Fan
Senior Member
 
Road Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 14,834

Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1049 Post(s)
Liked 113 Times in 100 Posts
Big question is, what do you consider the key failure mode? Is needing a new rim the same as needing a new wheel? Same for cartridge bearings.
Road Fan is offline  
Old 06-04-16, 08:18 PM
  #11  
OldsCOOL
Senior Member
 
OldsCOOL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: northern michigan
Posts: 12,912

Bikes: '77 Colnago Super, '76 Fuji The Finest, '88 Cannondale Criterium, '86 Trek 760, '87 Miyata 712

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 558 Post(s)
Liked 302 Times in 162 Posts
The world may never know.
OldsCOOL is online now  
Old 06-04-16, 11:31 PM
  #12  
catgita
Senior Member
 
catgita's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Long Beach
Posts: 765

Bikes: Fitz randonneuse, Trek Superfly/AL, Tsunami SS, Bacchetta, HPV Speed Machine, Rans Screamer

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Broken nipples, spokes cut too short by wheel builder, 5000 miles, 2 sets in a row. Foot thru the spokes, no apparent dammage, wheel potato chipped on the ride home, 2000 miles. Minor bump by a car pulling out of lane, no apparent damage at the time, 10,000 miles. Broken spokes at the thread end after attempting to redish for a different bike, 8000 miles. Rediculously overbuilt tank of a wheel I hated, 3500 miles before donated. Skipping free hub ratchet, added dyno hub on front, 3000 miles. Change from 700c to 650b, salvaged hubs, 10,000 miles.

Average lifespan of wheels that failed, or otherwise died: 5812 miles. Not counting the bikes that never had wheel issues, which makes up probably another 150,000 miles.
catgita is offline  
Old 06-05-16, 08:05 AM
  #13  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 13,842
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1151 Post(s)
Liked 713 Times in 439 Posts
I'm hard on wheels. 6 rear wheel failures in 3.5 years on my current bike. Usually break the rear rim in 8-10,000 miles, going back almost 30 years. Used 36 hole MA40 rims and broke the rear around the same interval.
Broken countless spokes, a couple freehub bodies, some mtb rims, axles, not to mention 4 frames.
big john is online now  
Old 06-05-16, 10:13 AM
  #14  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 29,878

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1427 Post(s)
Liked 316 Times in 193 Posts
I'm going to guess that there's 3 key variables:

Back before sealed mechanisms on cup and cone bearings became commonplace, we used to go through cones much more frequently. Today, unless you're talking about a super-cheap wheel, those parts can last for a very long time with only minimal maintenance. I don't know if 100,000 miles is the right number, but I wouldn't argue that number.

We have a number of posters who commute by bicycle in the Seattle area so they do a lot of rain riding. Some of them report wearing through brake tracks annually. I've worn the brake tracks concave while mountain biking because that requires a lot of brakeing in nasty conditions but I don't remember ever wearing out a road bike brake track.

That leaves trauma. I'm going to guess that, for the type of riding and care that you are talking about, random trauma events are likely to be the most significant factor in determining the lifespan of your bicycle wheels.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 06-05-16, 10:20 AM
  #15  
PaulH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,595
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 80 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 23 Posts
I would say that the service life under those conditions is unlimited. Outside that envelope, things can go quickly. In my experience, one Washington, DC, area winter of daily commuting is the lifetime of a rim braked wheel. In your case, it's either eternal or until the first big pothole or accident.
PaulH is offline  
Old 06-05-16, 10:34 AM
  #16  
John_V 
Senior Member
 
John_V's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 5,506

Bikes: 2017 Colnago C-RS, 2012 Colnago Ace, 2010 Giant Cypress hybrid

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 378 Post(s)
Liked 68 Times in 52 Posts
I replaced the OEM Shimano 501 wheels on my bike when I could no longer see the wear indicator. They had around 30,000 miles on them and could have gone a little further had I not used hard brake pads on them. As mentioned, there are several variables that contribute to how many miles a wheel will last and using hard or abrasive pads is one of them. I learned my lesson with using the less expensive pads.
__________________
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe ... Ride Hard ... Ride Daily

2017 Colnago C-RS
2012 Colnago Ace
2010 Giant Cypress
John_V is offline  
Old 06-05-16, 12:27 PM
  #17  
MinnMan
Senior Member
 
MinnMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 3,240

Bikes: 2020 Salsa Warbird GRX 600, 2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX disc 9.0 Di2, 2016 Masi cxgr, 2011, Felt F3 Ltd, 2010 Trek 2.1, 2009 KHS Flite 220

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1129 Post(s)
Liked 456 Times in 278 Posts
It also depends on where you live - in the sun belt where you live, with mild winters and therefore few potholes, the situation is going to be different from where I live, with tough winters and rim-denting potholes everywhere.

In the event of hazards (potholes, curbs, etc), then factors such as spoke count and your weight matter a lot.
MinnMan is online now  
Old 06-05-16, 12:35 PM
  #18  
Bob Ross
your god hates me
 
Bob Ross's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,892

Bikes: 2018 Cannondale CAADX 105 SE, 2016 Richard Sachs, 2010 Carl Strong, 2006 Cannondale Synapse

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 452 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 20 Posts
I seem to kill rims after ~18-24k miles...but my hubs just won't die, so I keep getting wheels rebuilt. Most of my hubs are between 6 to 10 years old, with 50-80k miles on them, and no sign of slowing down.
Bob Ross is offline  
Old 06-05-16, 12:36 PM
  #19  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 8,368

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 99 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2267 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 679 Times in 471 Posts
I get barely two winters on my city wheels - brake wear, considerably linger on my good wheels (though they still see some rain - this is Portland. The spokes are good for two more rims. Hubs for several sets of spokes with bearing changes. I got a documented 17k miles out of a pair of MAVIC 330 gram tubulars until I collapsed the rear on a slightly misjudged pothole hop. No sidewall left.

The front Tipo hubs on my beaters just keep on rolling. Miles? Who knows? But it is a lot.

Ben
79pmooney is offline  
Old 06-05-16, 04:21 PM
  #20  
turkey9186
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: CA SF Bay Area
Posts: 476

Bikes: 2014 CDale EVO, 2007 System Six, 2004 Litespeed Solano, 2002 Burley Duet

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
2002 Ksyrium SSCs with 70-80K on them. Replaced the bearings around 50K, and the front brake track is wearing.
turkey9186 is offline  
Old 06-05-16, 05:12 PM
  #21  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,340

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3598 Post(s)
Liked 1,126 Times in 747 Posts
Other factors to consider:
Rider weight, including load for errands, etc., if applicable
Single or double wall rims
Spoke gauge
Tires (some will cushion impacts better)
Rigid or suspension fork (same as above)
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-05-16, 08:08 PM
  #22  
Cougrrcj 
Over forty victim of Fate
 
Cougrrcj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 3,358

Bikes: A few...

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 425 Post(s)
Liked 130 Times in 93 Posts
My longest-lasting wheelset lasted somewhere north of 35,000 miles. Hand-built by me in 1977. Top-quality components helped. Phil Wood hubs, stainless butted spokes, brass nipples, quality narrow clincher rims. They lasted until a pothole took out the rear (my fault- I wasn't paying attention to where I was going-looking around/sightseeing). I could have rebuilt them, but I was on a solo tour hundreds of miles from home and down to less than $30 bucks on me (these were the days before ATMs!). I traded my well-used wheelset with destroyed rear wheel for a new set of cheap replacement wheels to get me home. I would have just bought a rim and a dozen spokes and re-laced the rear, but the 'out in the middle of nowhere country' LBS didn't have any in stock... Yeah, I got screwed...
__________________
'75 Fuji S-10S bought new, 52k+ miles and still going!
'84 Univega Gran Tourismo
'84 Univega Viva Sport
'86 Miyata 710
'90 Schwinn Woodlands
Unknown brand MTB of questionable lineage aka 'Mutt Trail Bike'
Plus or minus a few others from time-to-time

Cougrrcj is offline  
Old 06-06-16, 05:21 AM
  #23  
OldsCOOL
Senior Member
 
OldsCOOL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: northern michigan
Posts: 12,912

Bikes: '77 Colnago Super, '76 Fuji The Finest, '88 Cannondale Criterium, '86 Trek 760, '87 Miyata 712

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 558 Post(s)
Liked 302 Times in 162 Posts
If you ride sensibly....dont use your roadie on BMX tracks...and take care of them, they will treat you right. Spokes may ping and break now and then but overall they last a very long time. As for modern wheelsets I have my 3rd season going on a set of Vuelta Corsa Lites that remain true and running swiftly with 20 spokes front and 24 rear.
OldsCOOL is online now  
Old 06-06-16, 05:57 PM
  #24  
Moe Zhoost
Half way there
 
Moe Zhoost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 2,047

Bikes: Many, and the list changes frequently

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 625 Post(s)
Liked 349 Times in 216 Posts
I have a set of Atom/Wolber wheels that are probably close to 50 years old and at least 30,000 miles on them. I don't ride them much these days, but they are going back on my 74 Raleigh Competition restoration project. The hubs run so smooth that I hate to rebuild them. I have ~ 20,000 miles on my commuter wheels and have not done much except replace one of the cartridge bearings in the front dyno hub. Sun SR-18s, 36 spokes, SA dyno/drum front, SA 5sp IGH/drum in back. Gone through a few sets of tires though.
Moe Zhoost is offline  
Old 06-06-16, 07:00 PM
  #25  
DiabloScott
It's MY mountain
 
DiabloScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mt.Diablo
Posts: 8,886

Bikes: Klein, Merckx, Trek

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2476 Post(s)
Liked 321 Times in 185 Posts



This happened at about 12,000 miles. Not abused, but I do a lot of long descents -this doesn't appear to be caused by braking though.
DiabloScott is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.