Bike reliability expectations...?

Associate
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1 Jul 2012
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Hi all,

Fundamentally, I would like some advice on whether I should upgrade my bike.

I have been cycling seriously for about 18 months now. I cycle for my daily commute (around 20km per day) and for leisure on the weekends. I cycle in Lisbon with lots of cobbles and rough roads however I ride a road bike (Triban RC500) as it does make sense most of the time and I just take the rough road on the chin.

The Triban is a great bike when it's working (I have zero complaints) however I find the reliability a little lacking with the level of riding I'm doing. I'm getting near 10,000km on this bike in 18 months. I've just have my 4th spoke pop in 6 months. I've also had the bottom bracket rebuilt and two full services which it did really need.

My question is, is this level of maintenance expected? It's getting annoying and costly between the cost of repair and the days I have to take a taxi while it's in the workshop. I was thinking of replacing it with a Canyon around the €3k mark.

Thanks!
 
Soldato
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I am not surprised the spokes have been popping if you are riding cobbles and rough roads on a cheapish road bike which will have cheapish wheels. Bottom bracket replacement seems acceptable on the miles.

You don't need to spend €3K on a new road bike to overcome this, just get a decent gravel bike at half this cost. If you like your existing bike, look at the TRIBAN GRVL 520 or something similar.
 

fez

fez

Soldato
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Bikes are marvellous things but they do need maintenance. Spokes come loose, grit and crap gets into bearings, drivetrains wear out.

10,000km on abusive terrain is a long way. I would suggest that getting something a bit better and learning how to do some basic maintenance yourself should fix most of your issues. If I was you I would get a better bike and keep the old one if possible in case one of them in out of action for any reason.

If you ride in all weather and don't keep on top of cleaning it etc it won't last that long no matter how much it costs.
 
Soldato
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+1 @PapaLazaru

Focus on bikes (components) that should need less maintenance, i.e. spec in tubular tyres with sealant in them so you don't waste time on punctures and go for durability over weight/racing/coolness. Even if you go single speed theres lots of mechanicals negated etc.
 
Associate
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That's a decent amount of mileage but you can easily up the tyres to say 32mm and lower pressures then maybe fit a saddle stem with some suspension which will help with comfort and loading on the rims.

My road bike has 28mm tyres which is the biggest I can fit but I don't commute much on that anymore and find my Genesis gravel bike with either 32mm slick or 37mm knobbly much better overall due to the broken roads around me. I do a 20 mile each commute but only 3 days a week.
 
Don
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Seems like the wrong bike for the job?

Surely 28mm tyres on a road bike is never going to be a good match for cobbles and rough roads?

You'd surely be better with some wider, lower pressure tyres to soak up the bumps and reduce shocks being passed through to the rest of the bike.

As already said, a gravel or adventure bike would be a much better choice
 
Associate
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Okay thanks all, this does all make sense. I think for now I'll take the recommendation of going for some bigger tyres and keep them a little under inflated. Although I would love to buy a new bike right now I can't afford it.
 
Soldato
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One thing to note, if you've popped some spokes did you get all the spokes on that wheel re-tensioned and trued or just replace the spoke?

It can cause a bit of a chain reaction with more spokes popping when a spoke goes if they are cheap wheels and not designed for too much abuse.

Road bike wheels aren't really designed for blasting along cobbles, especially at the cheaper end.

Whenever I've done a spoke in, I get my bike shop to not just replace the spoke but check all the spoke tensions and true the wheel at the same time.

The spokes of the wheel work as a system, so if you've got one bad one for a while that hasn't actually broken it has a knock on effect on the other spokes tension and throws the whole thing out of whak causing further issues for the other spokes, leading to more spoke breakages in a sort of vicious cycle.

EDIT... As a side note, factory built wheels are done by machine and aren't always spot on, especially if your going to give the wheel abuse, so there's no guarantee a new wheel will be tensioned properly from the outset, without a wheel builder checking it over and manually tensioning them /truing the wheel.
 
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Soldato
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Also I know you have no money but selecting wheels regarding spokes, the more you have tends to be stronger. The bike I would use for touring would have solid wheels (with more spokes) which I would also double up on winter riding, whereas my summer bike with 'race' type wheels has less spokes with caveat of being more likely to get a spoke fail - just have to avoid them potholes!
 
Soldato
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Also I know you have no money but selecting wheels regarding spokes, the more you have tends to be stronger. The bike I would use for touring would have solid wheels (with more spokes) which I would also double up on winter riding, whereas my summer bike with 'race' type wheels has less spokes with caveat of being more likely to get a spoke fail - just have to avoid them potholes!

True but also the wheel functions as a sum of its components.. If the spokes aren't tensioned correctly you've already got an inherent built in weakness.
 
Man of Honour
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I cycle in Lisbon with lots of cobbles and rough roads however I ride a road bike (Triban RC500) as it does make sense most of the time and I just take the rough road on the chin.

I learned very quickly that you need to buy a bike for the worst surface you ride on even if that surface is only 5% of the commute.
My road bike was used for 2 months and has been unused for 12 years.
My worst moment was when I went flying past an MTB on the canal towpath only to be overtaken 2 minutes later by him saying "Have you ever thought you've got the wrong bike?".
 
Soldato
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True but also the wheel functions as a sum of its components.. If the spokes aren't tensioned correctly you've already got an inherent built in weakness.

Yes, the British standards of roads however lead a lot to be desired. So much so that I wouldn't treat myself to some fancy race wheels as you need quality tarmac to fly on. :D

My basic vision team that came with a bike can suffer and I wont lose sleep if they get the odd dint!

For heavy riders or bearing more load though you would factor in some of this. Light guys and pristine roads its not so much of an issue. Your man here says he goes on cobbles and rough stuff.. YMMV *baddum tsst*
 
Soldato
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Agreed, a road bike doing serious milage on tough terrain like cobbles won't help either. It's the wrong tool for the job.
You wouldn't drive an F1 car on a rally track etc.
 
Soldato
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Case in point.. I bought some carbon Mountain bike wheels.. I initially wanted cross country (ultra light) wheels with 28 spokes.

After a few conversions with the retailer, asking my weight, the type of riding I do, they pretty much refused to sell me that specification insisting I get the slightly heavier 'all mountain' carbon and with 32 spokes rather than 28.

To be fair they are absolutely bomb proof and I'm very happy with them.
 
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