How Long Do Mountain Bikes Last?

Old rusted mountain bike

A mountain bike is a great companion on all of your outdoor adventures, but when you’re getting started hitting the trails, it’s good to know how long that bike is going to last. How long do mountain bikes last, and how can you maintain them to get the most out of them?

Well cared for, a mountain bike can last up to 20 years before it needs to be replaced. Within 5-10 years, you will need to start replacing some of the major components such as the brakes, drivetrain, tires and chains.

A little maintenance goes a long way in getting the most out of your mountain bike, and being thoughtful and intentional about your routine will help you squeeze the most life out of your bike. The rest of this article will let you know the answer to the question: how long do mountain bikes last.

How Long Do Mountain Bikes Last on Average?

Mountain bikes are a great tool on the trails, but you’ll want to do some work at home to make sure that they are in pristine condition to give them the best lifespan. The question of how long do mountain bikes last depends largely on the terrain you’re riding on as well as the quality of your bike.

Going downhill, for example, often will accelerate the wear and tear on certain bike components, particularly the brake and drivetrain.

A cheaper mountain bike will not be built to withstand the roughness of riding for as long as a high-end one.

After 5-10 years of use, you may start to notice that some of your components are beginning to wear down and lose their effectiveness. How long do mountain bikes last with poor maintenance? In the first few years, your tires, chains, drivetrain, and brake pads may need replacing to lengthen your bike’s lifespan.

Tires

The tires on your bike will wear out with use, especially if you tend to hard brake or tackle unfriendly terrain. Replacing the tires is pretty straightforward and important to keep your bike functioning properly.

Drivetrain

The drivetrain can wear down over time due to exposure to rain or mud. If you don’t lubricate the drivetrain enough, it will start to suffer in performance. Similarly, the cassette as well as the chain ring teeth will eventually lose their utility.

Chain

The chain is susceptible to the elements, especially if you don’t grease it properly. Rain can cause the chain to rust, which is why you need to apply a coat of grease every now and again to slow the rate of deterioration.

Frame

The frame is one of the most durable components of a bike, but it is still susceptible to breaking down over time. If your frame is bent or cracked, it might be curtains for your mountain bike, but barring any accidents that damage the frame, it should last well past 10 years of use.

Suspension

Your suspension is an important component that is constantly under stress. When it starts to break down as a result of constant riding, it will need to be replaced. The seals can crack and wear out, and dirt can reduce performance if it gets in the chambers.

Brake Pads

Naturally, you’re going to be using your brake pads every time that you ride, and regardless of what kind of brake pads you have, they will eventually wear out. Replacing your brake pads as needed is important for several reasons, but first and foremost, you should be thinking of your own safety and test your brakes regularly to make sure they are working properly.

Grips

The grips on a bike are made of rubber, and you’re constantly putting pressure on them with your hands. As such, this component can begin to break down and become more uncomfortable. Changing these out as needed will help keep your ride smoother and help you enjoy the biking experience.

Proper Mountain Bike Maintenance

Mountain bike being maintained to make it last longer

The most important factor in answering the question of how long do mountain bikes last is keeping your bike in good shape for longer is maintaining it regularly. Doing so will enhance the performance of the bike as well as prolonging its lifespan.

Chain Lubrication

Lubricating and storing your chain properly is paramount in keeping it safe. The chain is often the first thing to go on a bike, and it can happen when you’re out riding, too. Make sure you lubricate the chain regularly—there’s not really any such thing as too much—and store it in a dry, cool place to avoid exposing it to the elements.

Drivetrain Maintenance

The gears on your mountain bike are very prone to a buildup of dust and debris. The same is true of the derailleurs and pedals, which can also suffer from rust (just another reason to store your bike indoors).

A good old fashioned clean of the drivetrain as well as proper lubrication can improve the performance of your bike and make it more likely to hold up in the long run.

Tires

Just like with your car, keeping an eye on your tires is important to stay safe on the trails. Worn tread is going to be hazardous out on the road, prompting the need for a replacement. The fresher your tires are, the better they will perform out on the trails.

Brakes

Your bike’s brakes are of paramount importance on the trail and in answering the question of how long do mountain bikes last. You will need to rely on them heavily for just about any kind of mountain bike riding. Check your pads regularly for signs of wear and tear and replace them as necessary.

Final Thoughts

So how long do mountain bikes lasst? A mountain bike can last up to 20 years under optimal conditions, but in all honesty, you’re probably looking at around 10 years of use before the cost to maintain the bike becomes greater than the cost of replacing it with a new one.

The first and most important step to take when buying a mountain bike is selecting a high-quality one. If you pick a right one, then the answer to how long do mountain bikes last is much more favorable You want something that can handle anything that you throw at it and is durable to boot. With a high-quality bike and good maintenance, your bike can handle many a trail before it finally bites the dust.

Paul Tuthill

When Paul isn't riding through the mountainous terrain he's writing posts for Conquer the Bike (or gaming). He loves hardtail bikes.

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