Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

If you change all the parts . . . is it still the same bike?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

If you change all the parts . . . is it still the same bike?

Old 02-14-22, 03:55 AM
  #1  
Must be symmetrical
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Germany
Posts: 166

Bikes: ... but look, they're all totally different!

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Liked 123 Times in 61 Posts
If you change all the parts . . . is it still the same bike?

There is a philosophical puzzle called the Ship of Theseus, named after an ancient Greek legend: Theseus goes sailing, and over time he and his crew replace every part of their ship, bit by bit. Is it the same ship?

I bought a beautiful lugged, made in Italy, Bianchi road bike new in 1995, and still have it and ride it today. But over time, I have replaced almost every part of it, such that today, only the seat post, headset, and frameset are original. Even though I did not replace the parts with the exact same things, to me, it is still the same bike.

Have you "Ship-of-Theseus'd" a bike? Do you consider it the same bike, or a different one? At what point does it become a different bike?
Frkl is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 05:20 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 6,968

Bikes: RSO E-tire dropper fixie brifter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 2,753 Times in 1,783 Posts
are you keeping the original frame? yes, it's the same. no, it's not.
__________________
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 05:22 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,909

Bikes: 36" Unicycle, winter knock-around hybrid bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 930 Post(s)
Liked 393 Times in 282 Posts
Only thing on my main distance ride, the 36er unicycle, that's original is the steel frame - effectively a simple fork.

Had to replace the seatpost before I could ride it at all since the previous owner was much shorter. Pedals and saddle were preference, added handlebar, brake caliper, cable, and lever. Replaced bearings and cranks, then enough spokes that I ordered new ones and entirely rebuilt the wheel. But I also bought another hub, rim, tube, tire, and cranks and built a second wheel which is the one I'm now riding.

One of these days I'm going to pick up a new frame, as it's the only part short of having two complete setups.

So far actual two wheel bicycles have only minimal parts changed though nephew and I did just rebuild one back up from a cleaning/curiosity teardown replacing only a few things.
UniChris is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 05:30 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 6,968

Bikes: RSO E-tire dropper fixie brifter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 2,753 Times in 1,783 Posts
Originally Posted by UniChris
Only thing on my main distance ride, the 36er unicycle, that's original is the steel frame - effectively a simple fork.

Had to replace the seatpost before I could ride it at all since the previous owner was much shorter. Pedals and saddle were preference, added handlebar, brake caliper, cable, and lever. Replaced bearings and cranks, then enough spokes that I ordered new ones and entirely rebuilt the wheel. But I also bought another hub, rim, tube, tire, and cranks and built a second wheel which is the one I'm now riding.

One of these days I'm going to pick up a new frame, as it's the only part short of having two complete setups.

So far actual two wheel bicycles have only minimal parts changed though nephew and I did just rebuild one back up from a cleaning/curiosity teardown replacing only a few things.
is/are they the same bike?
__________________
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Likes For Troul:
Old 02-14-22, 06:31 AM
  #5  
Must be symmetrical
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Germany
Posts: 166

Bikes: ... but look, they're all totally different!

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Liked 123 Times in 61 Posts
Originally Posted by Troul
are you keeping the original frame? yes, it's the same. no, it's not.
I would also say "the frame" is the tipping point, as a first reaction, but to muddy the waters a bit with a true story: I built up a mountain bike and for the most part was really happy with it. When I discovered that I had cracked the frame, I thought really long and hard about getting exactly the same frame and just moving the parts over to it. I ultimately didn't. But I wonder, if I had, would it have been the same for me?

There was some talk about "forever bikes" a while ago, and the idea of a bike that stays frozen always seemed like a strange idea to me because bikes are so wonderfully mutable. Bike are just begging to be modified yet have a constant distinct character all the same. Maybe I misunderstood the idea, though.
Frkl is offline  
Likes For Frkl:
Old 02-14-22, 07:05 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,315

Bikes: Bianchi Infinito XE, Via Nirone 7, GT Aggressor Pro

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 585 Post(s)
Liked 1,237 Times in 575 Posts
Originally Posted by Troul
are you keeping the original frame? yes, it's the same. no, it's not.
And most likely, there's a serial number somewhere on the frame. Changing the frame changes the serial number which is less trivial than changing wheels or a seatpost.

Last edited by Reflector Guy; 02-14-22 at 07:18 AM.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 07:09 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 7,362
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6564 Post(s)
Liked 10,265 Times in 4,403 Posts
There's the old joke about the woodsman who brags that he's had the same axe for twenty years. "Yep," he says, "and I've only replaced the head twice and the handle three times."
Koyote is online now  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 02-14-22, 07:32 AM
  #8  
hoppipola
 
holytrousers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 423

Bikes: fausto coppi

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 512 Post(s)
Liked 227 Times in 163 Posts
Originally Posted by Frkl
At what point does it become a different bike?
A similar question arises when we consider the fact that our bodies' cells are completely regenerated every seven years. Are we still the same person ?
It's not really about the referent, the object out there, but rather about the symbolic representation, the memories associated and their emotional responses. If you feel it's the same bike, then it certainly is. If, at one moment, you stopped recognizing that bike, then the reference is broken. The world is constantly changing, whereas our minds are constantly struggling to setup everything in a fragmented, object oriented structure we call reality.
holytrousers is offline  
Likes For holytrousers:
Old 02-14-22, 07:40 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 6,968

Bikes: RSO E-tire dropper fixie brifter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 2,753 Times in 1,783 Posts
Originally Posted by holytrousers
A similar question arises when we consider the fact that our bodies' cells are completely regenerated every seven years. Are we still the same person ?
It's not really about the referent, the object out there, but rather about the symbolic representation, the memories associated and their emotional responses. If you feel it's the same bike, then it certainly is. If, at one moment, you stopped recognizing that bike, then the reference is broken. The world is constantly changing, whereas our minds are constantly struggling to setup everything in a fragmented, object oriented structure we call reality.
to the original modifier of the unit, that might be acceptable. Should the original modifier decide to transfer the ownership to someone else, it is then not acceptable to be consider the same frame.
__________________
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 07:40 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,615

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2435 Post(s)
Liked 1,752 Times in 1,097 Posts
My 1998 bike, bought in 1999, is an example of Grant Peterson's "wear something out" philosophy. Upgraded to 9 speeds after a couple years. Frame broke and replaced under warranty, wore out the rear wheel, replaced the front wheel (though I've still got the original), seatpost broke, etc. I even used the fenders that I put on until they broke. The frame and brakes are still original!

Rides the same, though, so I still call it "Fuji Touring."
pdlamb is offline  
Likes For pdlamb:
Old 02-14-22, 08:19 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 7,362
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6564 Post(s)
Liked 10,265 Times in 4,403 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb
My 1998 bike, bought in 1999, is an example of Grant Peterson's "wear something out" philosophy. Upgraded to 9 speeds after a couple years. Frame broke and replaced under warranty, wore out the rear wheel, replaced the front wheel (though I've still got the original), seatpost broke, etc. I even used the fenders that I put on until they broke. The frame and brakes are still original!

Rides the same, though, so I still call it "Fuji Touring."
Yeah, I can relate.

As long as I've gotten a reasonable lifespan from something, I'm okay with things wearing out - chains, tires, cassettes, bearings, wheels, whatever. I buy 'em to ride 'em, and wearing something out feels like accomplishment.

I'd love to write more, but I'm off to have my car serviced: 10.5 yrs old, 147k miles, no plans to get rid of it.
Koyote is online now  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 02-14-22, 08:35 AM
  #12  
Advanced Slacker
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6,094

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Surly Wednesday, Canfielld Tilt

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2702 Post(s)
Liked 2,452 Times in 1,386 Posts
In my mind, it is the frame that determines when it is a new bike.

Last edited by Kapusta; 02-14-22 at 09:36 AM.
Kapusta is online now  
Likes For Kapusta:
Old 02-14-22, 08:48 AM
  #13  
Veteran, Pacifist
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 13,023

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 280 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3733 Post(s)
Liked 4,346 Times in 2,032 Posts
If I change everything that was never on the bike = it becomes MY bike.




Last edited by Wildwood; 02-14-22 at 08:57 AM.
Wildwood is offline  
Likes For Wildwood:
Old 02-14-22, 09:05 AM
  #14  
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 24,046
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 3,390 Times in 2,322 Posts
It's not really a ship of Theseus situation until you have replaced all the parts and also had the frame repaired so many times that nothing is original.
unterhausen is offline  
Likes For unterhausen:
Old 02-14-22, 09:15 AM
  #15  
Veteran, Pacifist
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 13,023

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 280 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3733 Post(s)
Liked 4,346 Times in 2,032 Posts
It can go from a schooner to a tugboat - rather quickly.
(how long can a stem go?)

If you change it from drop bars to condorino - it becomes a horse of a different color.

Last edited by Wildwood; 02-14-22 at 03:11 PM.
Wildwood is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 10:08 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Shore of Long Island
Posts: 2,594

Bikes: 2010 Carrera Volans, 2015 C-Dale Trail 2sl, 2017 Raleigh Rush Hour, 2017 Blue Proseccio, 1992 Giant Perigee, 80s Gitane Rallye Tandem

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1005 Post(s)
Liked 898 Times in 647 Posts
Originally Posted by Frkl
There is a philosophical puzzle called the Ship of Theseus, named after an ancient Greek legend: Theseus goes sailing, and over time he and his crew replace every part of their ship, bit by bit. Is it the same ship?

Have you "Ship-of-Theseus'd" a bike? Do you consider it the same bike, or a different one? At what point does it become a different bike?
Not to be nit-picky but I'm gonna be, the ship was in dry dock in Athens when everything was replaced a piece at a time.

Originally Posted by holytrousers
A similar question arises when we consider the fact that our bodies' cells are completely regenerated every seven years. Are we still the same person ?
Yeah? So when is my body get around to it being the knees?

Originally Posted by unterhausen
It's not really a ship of Theseus situation until you have replaced all the parts and also had the frame repaired so many times that nothing is original.
Then I'm getting there. I've got a Giant Perigee, there is nothing original about the bike, the parts were upgraded to shimano 600 including the seatpost, the fork was replaced with a chrome cross fork changing the stem to threadless, a CK headset was installed at the same time, the brake bridge was replaced 20 years ago and when that was done canti tabs were added. After the seat stay failed 10 years ago the bike was repaired and repainted. So even the frame isn't very factory at this point.
Russ Roth is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 10:14 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,909

Bikes: 36" Unicycle, winter knock-around hybrid bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 930 Post(s)
Liked 393 Times in 282 Posts
Originally Posted by holytrousers
A similar question arises when we consider the fact that our bodies' cells are completely regenerated every seven years. Are we still the same person ?.
The quickest check would have shown that this is a myth.

Some cell types are replaced faster, others aren't replaced period.
UniChris is offline  
Likes For UniChris:
Old 02-14-22, 10:16 AM
  #18  
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 16,126

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 121 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10492 Post(s)
Liked 6,932 Times in 3,911 Posts
All my bikes have been built from the frame up, or built the frame and then added components. None are similar to how they were originally sold. Its pretty easy to say 'its an updated CAAD3' or 'its a modernized 80s road frame'.
No they arent the same bikes as original. Very few bikes are, if they are used. Nobody but collectors care that they arent original and so they are still called by the original name. A bike that is used well for 2 years will have new tires, saddle, tape, pedals, chain, brake pads, and maybe new wheels too(if the user wants). Something that has so many changes just from regular use should still be called what it originally was.
mstateglfr is offline  
Likes For mstateglfr:
Old 02-14-22, 10:18 AM
  #19  
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 12,648

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 52 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4000 Post(s)
Liked 3,502 Times in 2,341 Posts
If you start replacing frame tubes than yes it will be a different bike but if you swap components out that doesn't change the actual frame. I have built many of my bikes from the frame up so so long as the frame is original it is the same bike.

Make the bike work for you. Keeping it 100% original is really not sensible unless it works for you or if the bike is super rare and collectible and worth a lot of money but I doubt we are talking that.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 10:26 AM
  #20  
hoppipola
 
holytrousers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 423

Bikes: fausto coppi

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 512 Post(s)
Liked 227 Times in 163 Posts
Originally Posted by UniChris
The quickest check would have shown that this is a myth.

Some cell types are replaced faster, others aren't replaced period.
At some point in time, all the atoms of your body will be gone and replaced with new ones. Whether some cells die out faster than others is not the point.
holytrousers is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 10:37 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,401

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: 121 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4448 Post(s)
Liked 3,534 Times in 2,298 Posts
My winter/rain/city fix gear. Started life as a UO-8, went single speed and sewups, then fix gear as I started racing. Finished racing, fenders went on year round. Crashed it on a car door and replaced the frame and French parts. Moved up to a Campy track hubbed rear wheel. Bike got stolen but that sweet wheel wasn't on it. Picked up a mediocre Sekine, put on the wheel and kept rolling. Fork failed a few years later and a Miyata slid under the parts. Crashed and shortened it and a Trek slid in to take it's place.

So is that one bike or five? I think of it as one where every piece has been replaced four times. (But I do have the original seatpin. It's been on my Peter Mooney for the past 40 years because its the proper pin for canti cable hanger. 54 years old and in service for 52 of those years.)
79pmooney is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 10:47 AM
  #22  
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 26,943

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 146 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5933 Post(s)
Liked 3,756 Times in 2,161 Posts
Originally Posted by Troul
are you keeping the original frame? yes, it's the same. no, it's not.
The frame is just another part, same as the wheels or handlebars or saddle or cranks or any of a number of bearings. The frame can’t move without the other parts nor is it a “bicycle” without those other parts. If you replace a bearing, isn’t the bike different from the original bike and thus is a different bike?

Originally Posted by Reflector Guy
And most likely, there's a serial number somewhere on the frame. Changing the frame changes the serial number which is less trivial than changing wheels or a seatpost.
Lots of parts have serial numbers. Forks, for example, can have them. Some hubs can have them. Some bearings have serial numbers. The “serial number” is a way for manufacturers to keep track of production and inventory or to prevent counterfeiting. If some part has a serial number and you change to a new part, does that mean you have a new bike?
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.

Last edited by cyccommute; 02-14-22 at 11:03 AM.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 11:26 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 5,512

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1837 Post(s)
Liked 1,998 Times in 1,225 Posts
Originally Posted by Frkl
At what point does it become a different bike?
When the amount you spend on the replacement parts exceeds the original purchase price for the bike by such a wide margin, you can no longer justify the sunk costs.

At that point it becomes a resto-mod and and with it the satisfaction that you created a bike superior to the original.

John
70sSanO is online now  
Likes For 70sSanO:
Old 02-14-22, 01:17 PM
  #24  
se˝or miembro
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 8,457

Bikes: '70s - '80s Campagnolo

Mentioned: 91 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3684 Post(s)
Liked 6,087 Times in 3,026 Posts
The frameset is original. The frameset is the frameset.

But the original bike is not the original design. It's a different bike.

I've seen a vintage MotobÚcane Grand Record without any Campagnolo on it. Nuovo Record is inherent in the design of the name of the bike. Without it, it's not a Grand Record .
SurferRosa is online now  
Old 02-14-22, 02:05 PM
  #25  
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,731

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Tilt, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3095 Post(s)
Liked 2,061 Times in 1,343 Posts
What if I change out the decal that says Peugeot for one that says Rene Herse?
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is online now  
Likes For Darth Lefty:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.