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Which parts fail first?

Old 02-09-11, 06:48 AM
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Which parts fail first?

For those people who have ridden across entire countries or continents a few times, which parts fail and in what order? Like for parts like shifters (rapidfire or other indexed shifters), front derailleur, rear derailleur, brakes, brake levers.

By the way, I bought Shimano Ultegra bar-end shifters and Paul Thumbies I want to put on riser flat bars but those shifters have a sort of notchiness to them. I mean the action on my Shimano Tourney friction shifters on my cheap winter bike is completely smooth. Is that normal for Ultegra shifters to be like that? Would there be a way to modify them to get rid of the notchiness if it's not an advantage to have them like that?

I'm asking the first question because I read reviews on the Trek website for the 520 and someone posted he replaced almost EVERYTHING except the front derailleur. lol, I thought that was pretty extreme. (For those who are wondering, I still did not complete my first touring bike yet. I can't wait to start posting pictures of the build.)
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Old 02-09-11, 07:25 AM
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It will vary some with your weight/load and terrain but following were my experiences on several long tours (Russia: 8000 miles; One Year ride: 17700 miles; Canada: 6000 miles):

Maintenance/wear items (tubes, tires, brake pads, chains, cassettes)
- one flat crossing Russia, occasional flats circling Australia and crossing Canada
- ~1500-~4000 miles/rear tire; ~6000 miles/front
- ~3000-~5000 miles brake pads; cassettes
- rarely cables (but then have those built/replaced prior to long trip)
- bring extra nuts/bolts and check to make sure they remain tight

Failures:
- 2 rims crossing Russia, 3 rims crossing Canada, 1 rim on year ride
- rim strip
- spokes rarely (but built up 48-spoke wheels)
- front and rear hubs on Russia ride; rear hub on year ride
- two pedals (but throughout others ~5 pedals, one crank arm)
- front rack and rear rack on Russia ride
- springs in the brakes (once)
- frame at rear chainstay on year ride

Other failures I've had, sometimes on other trips, but overall rarely:
- seat bolt (twice)
- seat post (once)

I haven't had difficulties with shifters or cantilever brakes. I've worn out front chain rings but that takes a while.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:09 AM
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Not certain I understand the Ultegra bar end issue, but could it be that you have them set in index mode? Unless I am mistaken, you can switch the rear one to friction mode with a simple twist.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr
Would there be a way to modify them to get rid of the notchiness if it's not an advantage to have them like that?
I may of misunderstood your question, but you just have to turn the dial to switch the shifters from index "click" shifting to friction shifting.



More here - https://www.tamiasoutside.com/2010/05/13/friction/
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Old 02-09-11, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr
For those people who have ridden across entire countries or continents a few times, which parts fail and in what order? Like for parts like shifters (rapidfire or other indexed shifters), front derailleur, rear derailleur, brakes, brake levers.
25k miles of touring. Order of parts replacement:
  1. chain - < 3K miles
  2. brake pads (BB7), cassette, tires (XR's) - 3-5K miles
  3. bottom bracket - 5-10K miles
  4. chain rings, rear derailleur, rims (n.b. disc brakes), saddle - 10-20K miles
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Old 02-09-11, 11:07 AM
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About 10,000 miles on my touring bike, not all but the majority were touring.
  1. Tires - about 1.5k rear 3k front (my lighter and lighter loaded companions did much better)
  2. Brake pads - 3k
  3. Bar tape - 3k
  4. Spokes (rear) - some breakage at random intervals
  5. Chain - I replaced it at about 9k, but it was still within normal tolerances. I figured that it was probably due at 10k and I didn't want to mess with it on tour
  6. Bottom bracket - still ok
  7. Chain rings, rear derailleur, rims, saddle - all still OK
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Old 02-09-11, 11:34 AM
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For me the knees!

Interesting question, MEV what kind of hubs blew on you?

I generally think trans america rides, etc... are not far enough to blow up quality new parts, for the most part that seems to be supported by those responses.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:53 AM
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Maintenance Parts I bring:

Tires
Break Pads
Bar Tape
Rack Bolts
CLEAT BOLTS!!

Before After and sometimes During parts In Order:

1. BB
2. Chain
3. Rims
4. Cassette / Free

Things I plan on upgrading to a stupid level or have upgraded:

Rear Wheel
BB

Currently I'm debating bringing an extra DT rear shifter / rear Derailleur with break away cable combo for the brifter sns bike.
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Old 02-09-11, 01:34 PM
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knees
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Old 02-09-11, 04:06 PM
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I'm a special case for (1):
(1) Bike (10 miles in)
(2) Tire (<900 miles, then 2,000 miles)
(3) Chain (2,000 miles)
(4) Brake pads
(5) Bar tape. Change colors, it'll change your outlook.

Bike was unexpected. First tire failed 1,000 miles early. The rest was expected.

Over longer periods of time, I expect a cassette to last 4-5,000 miles. Cables and housing 1-2 years, SKS fenders 7-8 years. Campy shifter springs every 2-3 years, Shimano shifters about 4-5 years and then re-grease (if you're lucky) or replace (if you aren't). Cranks may give out some time, and then you may want to replace the bottom bracket. I've never replaced a chain ring. Brooks saddles may wear out, but more often need to be re-tensioned.

(I still can't figure out how Pete gets his chains to last so long!)
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Old 02-09-11, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
(I still can't figure out how Pete gets his chains to last so long!)
I am convinced that the secret is not cleaning them, but lubing with a good lube (I like Boeshield T9, but there are lots of good lubes), and wiping them off. I am convinced that solvents, detergents, and degreasers all kill the lube in the chain and allow grit to get in farther. Most chains are killed with kindness IMO.
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Old 02-10-11, 06:36 AM
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Oh man, anything that lasts longer by not cleaning it I'm for!

I have at least 12k miles on my first stainless steel chain and it's running strong. They went on sale in Nashbar and I thought I would try one (Full price just plain hurts!). I don't clean either, just lube, wipe, let dry. I always lube after a ride, not before and not very often. The Prolink lube dries.
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Old 02-10-11, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1
Interesting question, MEV what kind of hubs blew on you?
It was phil woods hubs with 48-spoke flange. One failed when I was 16000 miles into my 1 year trip and I had at least 25000 miles on it before then. The rear paws stopped bouncing back and so it started to freewheel both directions. As that happened, I also had it overhauled a few days before final failure: https://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/Ph...llery8/874.htm

The second one failed in Thailand after over 12000 miles of riding on a 2007 trip that first went Amsterdam to Vladivostok then Urumqi to Beijing and then through Thailand. Again, the paws were sticking open and eventually it freewheeled both directions. I was near end of a 10 month journey so did a last few weeks by train at end instead.

In both cases did Phil Woods replace parts of the hubs with original problems. I still ride those hubs in part because of the durability of 48-spoke wheels.

To clarify what happened to my front hub on my cross Russia ride. I saw a number of cracks in my front rim when I was in Estonia. Under a "better safe than sorry" approach I decided to replace the front rim in Raakvere. I wasn't paying enough attention and the replacement wheel had quite a bit lower quality hub than the original. This went ok, until when I was riding in section of the Urals when one of the front bearings essentially disintegrated and wheel had slight wobble. Replaced the bearing in Ekaterinburg and then had the entire front wheel rebuilt with a better hub in Novosibirsk. So technically that one didn't fail on me.

Last edited by mev; 02-10-11 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 02-10-11, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mev
To clarify what happened to my front hub on my cross Russia ride. I saw a number of cracks in my front rim when I was in Estonia. Under a "better safe than sorry" approach I decided to replace the front rim in Raakvere. I wasn't paying enough attention and the replacement wheel had quite a bit lower quality hub than the original. This went ok, until when I was riding in section of the Urals when one of the front bearings essentially disintegrated and wheel had slight wobble. Replaced the bearing in Ekaterinburg and then had the entire front wheel rebuilt with a better hub in Novosibirsk. So technically that one didn't fail on me.
lol at the idea of doing so many miles you're RUINING parts. I doubt you've even tried Tiagra hubs but do you think they'd crap out a lot sooner than Deore LX or XT hubs?
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Old 07-08-14, 12:04 AM
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Do you guys carry chain oil/ cleaning fluids? How often do you use while touring?

Last edited by needawheel2; 07-08-14 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 07-08-14, 02:16 AM
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My front derailleur cable is usually shot after 10,000 kms. I think my bottom bracket went about 15,000 kms. Front hub bearings around 20,000 kms.
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Old 07-08-14, 02:36 AM
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As for the bar-end shifters, assuming you're not talking about index mode, they probably are supposed to be notchy feeling. There are designs such as "power ratchet" shifters, etc, that have that notchy feeling. My 8sp Ultegra bar-ends have it(they are supposed to). My friends newer 10sp Shimano bar-ends do not. I think that notchy feeling is supposed to create very close little catch points to keep the shifter from slipping. I could be wrong, but I'm certain you could find your answer searching in the classic and vintage forum if no one else here has an answer.
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Old 07-08-14, 06:50 AM
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Chain life depends on chain quality, road and weather conditions, even riding style. My wife and I ride the same roads at the same time with the same chains, I maintain them both, yet I replace mine more often as hers. Maybe because I use more torque on hills and she gears down. Same thing with brake pads.

During my highest mileage years of 10,000 miles or so, I replace a lot of tires and chains and cassettes and the occasional BB. I do a lot of rebuilding and maintenance between rides, so hubs, derailleurs, headset, pedals, shifters and cables tend to last a while. Keeping things maintained and adjusted while touring is important, I think. I never hire a bike shop mechanic at home, but I will if touring in particular wet and dirty conditions to maintain my hubs.

Originally Posted by needawheel2
Do you guys carry chain oil/ cleaning fluids? How often do you use while touring?
I carry two ounces of chain oil and find rags on the roadside to wipe and lube. Frequency depends on conditions. Sometimes every day or two, sometimes weekly. I never use solvents on chains.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by NoReg
For me the knees!

Interesting question, MEV what kind of hubs blew on you?

I generally think trans america rides, etc... are not far enough to blow up quality new parts, for the most part that seems to be supported by those responses.
No. 1. I've done numerous tours in the 4000-8000 mile range without any major mechanicals other than tires and tubes.

Sealed hubs and bottom bracket are a big plus on a tour. I suspect I'll go with phil wood hubs and bottom bracket on my next touring bike but I've ridden a lot (and I do mean a lot) cheaper stuff that worked just fine.

I've only used friction for touring and seven on the back but I think I'll go with 8 or 9 on my next tour.

I've never had any major rim issues running a 36 hole rim and 700 x 32c tires. I'm in the planning stages of my next major touring bike though and I'll probably go 40 in the rear. There's no reason not to overbuild touring components.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG
knees
I would too if I stood on the pedals to accelerate or power up hills. Instead I gear down and take my time. That said, I still carried my knee wraps and braces on my last trip just in case.

Originally Posted by needawheel2
Do you guys carry chain oil/ cleaning fluids? How often do you use while touring?
Yes I bring lube. When my drive train gets noisy, I lube the chain. On my last tour, I did not have any rain for my last three weeks of travel, did not add any lube that whole time. But added lube every few days when it was raining. I carried the bottle of oil in a ziplock baggie, had that inside a plastic bottle that had previously been used as a prescription meds bottle, and even that was not enough to keep it from leaking. I later had to wrap paper toweling around it and use another ziplock over that.

Two years ago I went on a self supported guided trip with a total of 16 people for a week. The failures (other than flats) were one guy had a front derailleur spring break (I temporarily fixed his derailleur with a piece of bunge cord, it shifted poorly but it did shift for the rest of trip) and one guy had a new bike with external bearing bottom bracket, he needed a bottom bracket replaced - bike manufacturer sent a bottom bracket to a bike shop along our route under warranty.

A year ago, a friend had a rack bolt fall out, he caught it before other damage occurred. I recommend blue loctite on all break cantilever mount bolts, rack bolts and kickstand bolts, grease on most other bolts. Another guy in the group had a cable ferrule fail, his front shifter did not work well after that because his outer shift cable was slowly disintegrating, the end of the outer cable was fraying.

I am beginning to think that the biggest danger to equipment might be how you get to the start point, not during the ride. But fortunately, my brake and shift levers were undamaged even though the box did not keep them inside during travel.



I got home a week ago, two of us rode 890 miles along Pacific coast. No flats and no mechanical failures. The only thing we did was occasional chain lube. But both of us built up our bikes, I used to work as a bike mechanic and the guy I traveled with currently works as a bike mechanic. I once made a slight adjustment to a front derailleur, but I think that was the only mechanical thing either of us did on our bikes.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by needawheel2
Do you guys carry chain oil/ cleaning fluids? How often do you use while touring?
Yes. As often as needed. I recently did 9 days in MT and lubed my chain three times. It was necessary as on two days I did 25 mile descents in one degree of rain or another. One of those descents had many miles of wet, unpaved, muddy road. Another day I got mired in a a mud patch. Things got so bad I had a clump of mud the size of my fist around the FD. Had to power wash parts of the bike at a car wash.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed
As for the bar-end shifters, assuming you're not talking about index mode, they probably are supposed to be notchy feeling.
I thinkyou are correct. The Shimano 9 speed bar ends that came with my '11 LHT have a hint of "notchiness" in full friction mode.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:59 AM
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I commute more than 5,000 miles a year, year-round carrying loads equivalent to light touring, with total riding over 8,000 miles a year. The parts that wear out quickest in my experience would be in this order:

- Tires
- Brake pads
- Cables
- Chains
- LED lights and rechargeable batteries
- Spokes
- Cassettes
- Shifters
- Headsets
- Bottom brackets

I've never worn out a derailleur, front or rear.
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Old 07-08-14, 08:11 AM
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91 tour i bought tires mended some punctures and replaced 1 spoke .

AMS >Belgium>UK, southern Norway DK, PL, CZ, Austria , Germany, France , back into Belgium,
then back out of Shiphol Airport.
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Old 07-08-14, 08:32 AM
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I ride offroad, and go through lots of chains. The fine grit continually grinds away the metal.
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