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How Long Do Mountain Bikes Last (Frame, Tires, Disc Brakes, Shocks)?

How Long Do Mountain Bikes Last (Frame, Tires, Disc Brakes, Shocks)?

Your mountain bike has been with you through thick and thin, and you’ve invested countless hours and resources into it.

However, you know that even the best mountain bike can’t last forever and, sooner or later, you will need to exchange it for a new model, or at the very least replace certain parts.

So, how long can you expect your mountain bike to last? And are there things you can do to make it last longer?

Keep reading to find out!

How Long Do Mountain Bikes Last? 

Each mountain bike component may last anywhere from a few years to several decades. 

It’s difficult to say how long your entire mountain bike will last, but we can estimate each part’s lifetime.

Please note that all of the numbers listed below are not exact and may vary widely depending on your riding patterns.

Let’s get started!

Frame

mountain bike frame

A bike’s frame is by far its sturdiest component. This is because it doesn’t have any moving parts that need to be regularly serviced and oiled.

As you repair and replace all of your other bike’s components, your bike’s frame should remain in good condition.

Consequently, it’s also one of the most expensive parts of your bike, followed only by the shocks.

A bike frame’s lifetime will mostly depend on what kind of metal it’s made of. Titanium and carbon black bike frames could last you up to 40 years!

Meanwhile, aluminum frames are the cheapest and the most prone to be bent and worn. These budget frames will usually last between 6 to 10 years if you take proper care of them.

Tires

mountain bike tires

Mountain bike tires are extremely prone to wear and tear, especially if you frequently ride them on bumpy surfaces with jagged rocks.

So, it’s important to carefully inspect your bike’s tires regularly to ensure they haven’t been punctured or have any particularly worn spots.

Frequent riders will usually need to replace their tires every five years and usually have to replace their back tire sooner.

That said, you may have to replace both of your tires soon if you regularly take your mountain bike on arduous excursions.

Some mountain bike tires are thinner and weaker than others, resulting in more wear and tear in a shorter period.

Disc Brakes

Your mountain bike’s disc brakes are made up of two main parts: the rotor and disc brake pads.

Let’s go over how often these individual parts generally last.

Rotors

front wheel mountain bike

The best MTB rotors are razor-thin but sturdy. A high-quality rotor will last you anywhere from two to five years.

However, if you practice poor braking methods and frequently drag your brakes, you may find they last much less than this. Rotors are also prone to overheating, causing them to wear down more quickly.

You must also ensure the brake pads haven’t worn or scratched the rotor’s surface, decreasing its effectiveness.

If you get in a bike crash, please check that your rotor is still in good condition and ensure it does not need to be replaced.

To learn more about MTB rotors, how often they should be replaced, and our top three rotor brands, check out our article How Often Should You Replace MTB Rotors?

Disc Brake Pads

Shimano disc brake pads

It’s difficult to measure how long disc brake pads last in weeks or months. Instead, the best way is to assess how many miles you’ve used them.

Typically, you will need to replace your mountain bike’s disc brake pads every 500 to 1,000 miles.

However, they will likely wear down faster if you ride in the rain and mud, and do not clean them after your rides.

Dragging your bike’s brakes will also wear down the brake pads quicker.

While some casual bikers may only have to replace them every few months, some serious and competitive mountain bikers say they replace them after every ride.

Shocks

mountain bike suspension fork

An MTB’s shock (or suspension fork) can last anywhere from three to eight years.

A shock’s lifespan is mainly reliant on how well you care for it, as well as its overall quality.

You may notice your shock isn’t absorbing the impact of your falls as much as it once did. You may also see scratch marks along the shock’s inner tube, which could be from rocks caught inside of it.

Some shocks also come with generous warranty policies, ensuring you don’t have to replace them for years to come as the company will repair them for you for free. Many MTB companies that sell shocks also offer to service their customer’s forks for a modest fee.

Chain

male mountain biker fixing his bike

MTB chains usually last from 2,000 to 3,000 miles. So, if you ride your bike ten miles a day, you’ll probably have to change your bike’s chain every six to ten months.

Bike chains may break sooner if you install them incorrectly, use the wrong type of chain for your bike model, or go on long, bumpy rides. They’re also more likely to snap if they’re not well-oiled.

How Can I Make My Mountain Bike Last Longer?

a man and a woman travel on mixed terrain

There are a few things you can do to make your mountain bike last longer.

There’s no doubt that mountain biking can quickly become a pricey hobby. Not only do you have to buy the gear and supplies and pay for maintenance, but you also have to purchase replacement parts.

If you’re trying to “bike on a budget,” here are a few things you can do to reduce the frequency at which you purchase replacements.

Let’s get started!

Keep it Clean

washing mountain bike

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of biking through wet land covered in thick mud. While it’s perfectly fine for your bike to get a little dirty, it’s important to remember to clean it when you get home.

Sticks and rocks can become lodged in the chain, suspension, and forks, scratching and damaging them.

Mud on your disc brakes will reduce their effectiveness, making them more prone to overheating, and wear and tear.

Not to mention, your once beautiful MTB will look like you’ve just found it in the bog!

Have you never cleaned your MTB before and want to learn how? Watch the video below demonstrating a few different ways to safely clean your mountain bike.

5 Ways To Clean Your Mountain Bike | How To Wash Your MTB

Service It 

MTBs aren’t one-time purchases as they require a lot of maintenance.

How often and thoroughly you service your mountain bike will drastically affect its lifespan.

Ensure you change the shock’s oil and keep the inner tube well-lubed. This can be done at home with the proper tools and training, or you can take your bike to a bike shop to have the shock serviced by a professional.

You must also clean and oil the chain and drivetrain frequently.

oil the chain

Additionally, tune the spokes to ensure they’re not too tight or loose, which can lead to them breaking.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to service a mountain bike, watch the video below by GMBN on YouTube.

GMBN's Essential Mountain Bike Maintenance Tips

Buy High-Quality Parts 

Buying cheap parts may actually cost you more in the long run. They may need to be serviced more frequently and you’ll probably be back at the store in a few months to purchase a replacement.

a woman is choosing bike saddle to buy

So, if you’re building a mountain bike from scratch or looking for replacements, ensure you only buy high-quality parts.

Bear in mind that high quality doesn’t always have to mean expensive. But, it is important to do your research so you know which brands and materials you’re looking for.

It’s also best to pay a little extra for components that have a warranty, so you won’t have to empty your pockets every time something goes awry.

The video below does a great job of breaking down each of the MTB’s components, explaining what eager buyers should look for, and listing a couple of tried and tested brands.

Should You Build Or Buy Your Mountain Bike? | $2000 Hardtail Build Challenge MTB

Wrapping Things Up

Your mountain bike could last you for decades or just a few years. It all depends on the quality of parts used, how rigorously you ride it, and how often you service it.

Frames and shocks last the longest but will cost you the most to replace.

Disc brakes last the shortest but usually only cost a few dollars. Some professional bikers even carry a replacement pair with them when competing.

You should be regularly examining all of your bike’s components, especially before and after long rides. Remember to clean your bike after particularly muddy rides, and don’t forget to check your shock for any twigs or rocks that may have gotten stuck in there.

What’s the oldest component on your mountain bike? How long has your mountain bike lasted?

Let us know in the comments below!

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