Author Topic: Endurance bike advice  (Read 7356 times)

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Offline Gern

Endurance bike advice
« on: July 02, 2017, 10:56:54 pm »
Hi all,

Brand new here, happy to have found this forum! I'm seeking advice on a bike purchase.

I'm planning a trip in fall of '18 from my home in Boulder, CO to Hailey, Idaho. Looking at about 750 miles, all paved,  no load, as we will have support. I'm 48, an avid commuter and mountain biker. Planning on getting a new bike this summer and to start training. I'm thinking the burgeoning class of endurance bikes would be the ticket, such as Trek Domane and Specialized Roubaix.

Any of y'all have opinions and/or experience on this front?

Thanks for any ideas!


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2017, 12:51:51 pm »
You'll start out of town with one of the bigger climbs you're likely to encounter (assuming you go west vs. north to start).  Since you live in Boulder already, what sort of gearing do you need to climb out of town?  If you need something lower than 27-30 gear inches, you might want to look at a touring bike instead.  Remember, too, that you may hit one of those long climbs towards the end of a day, rather than when you're fresh in the morning.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2017, 09:38:18 pm »
Opinions?  Oh yes.  Experience?  I've ridden a few different bikes in the mountains and everything in between.  Not sure what an endurance bike is.  Road bike?  If so it should be good for road bicycling in the mountains if the gearing is low enough.  I generally ride a triple Cannondale CAAD7 in the mountains.  52-42-24 chainrings and 13-28 cassette.  Also ridden a Litespeed Tuscany with 46-30 rings and 12-29 cassette.  And a loaded touring bike with much lower gearing.  Perfect for unloaded riding in the Rockies and other big climbs.  A road bike with a compact chainring, 50-34, and a cassette of 11-32 or 11-34 should work fine for mountain road riding.  If you are set on buying a new road bicycle.  Or a road bike with a triple chainring and a inner chainring of less than 30.  24 teeth preferred.  Sort of hard to get those today unless you get a mountain bike crankset.  Rockies aren't too steep.  A 24x23 or 34x32 or anything close to 1:1 is good enough for the Rockies.  Rockies are long, not steep.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2017, 10:55:04 pm »
A hundred different bikes will work fine. Most manufacturers make bikes designed for long distances. They have longer wheelbases and wider tires. I have a compact double with a 34x28 low gear. I ride it all over the Colorado Rockies, and I'm an old fart who's a lousy climber. Your requirements are not very constraining. Get a bike from a local shop that fits you well and feels good to ride. Or just use a bike you already have.

Offline DaveB

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 09:04:48 am »
A triple crank road bike would be ideal but, as Russ noted, they are quite rare today.  Shimano's current triple road cranks have a 92 mm BCD for the granny so you can't go below 30T.  So, a useful triple crank would have to come from Shimano's MTB or Trekking lines or another brand like Suguino's various triple road cranks.

The best Hollowtech II road triple Shimano offered was the 105 FC-5703 that had a 74 mm BCD granny but these are no longer in production so you have to find one NOS or used.   I have them on two bikes now geared 50/39/26 paired with a 12x27 10-speed cassette and they would be ideal for your needs.

Offline rayed

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2023, 07:00:25 am »
What bike did you purchase actually?

Offline Alessa3322

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2023, 05:09:04 pm »
I read here that the average lifespan of a road bike is 5-10 years. And a good bike will last for 30,000 to 50,000+ miles on the road, but a bad one could break down in under 5,000 miles. Is that true? And are there ways to increase the lifespan?
« Last Edit: August 29, 2023, 08:14:05 am by Alessa3322 »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2023, 08:35:06 am »
I'm still riding two 14 year old bikes and one that, depending on whether you count a warranty replacement frame as new, is either 25 or 17 years old.  Frames rarely wear out, and components can be replaced as needed.  (For instance, only the fork and brakes on that 25 year old bike are OEM; everything else has been replaced.  I'd probably be using the original bars if not for accidents.)

I think that 5-10 years is how long many (most?) people can stand to read Buycycling magazine before they succumb to the lure of new! shiny! upgraded! and buy a new bike.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2023, 09:11:04 am »
I read that the average lifespan of a road bike is 5-10 years. Is that true? And are there ways to increase the lifespan?
I have a couple 30 year old bikes that I still ride and like.  One is a road bike and it has at least 100K miles on it.  Most of the original components are still okay other than some wear items.  Obviously it has been through lots of tires, some chains, and several sets of brake pads.  A front deraileur broke and was replaced.  Cables were replaced as needed.  It has also worn out rims and jockey wheels, but most of the other stuff is okay.  Even the original rings and cogs are in good shape, but to be fair there have been different clusters and rings on the bike so they do not have all of that mileage on any one set.  The fork isn't original, but that was due to a crash.

Take care of it and it will last a long time.

Offline ray b

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2023, 09:36:00 pm »
I read that the average lifespan of a road bike is 5-10 years. Is that true? And are there ways to increase the lifespan?
(Nice. A subtle change in the meaning of the thread title a few years later.)
(I note the original poster must have lost interest or endurance and did not reply.)

The endurance of the bike is a matter of the materials, with the general rule that old bikes never die; only the parts wear out.

If you consider frames a part, then everything is replaceable.

Now the question comes down to how quickly parts wear out. (Should probably measure in miles, not years.)

I've put several tens of thousands of miles on my old steel Surly Karate Monkey in a few different builds, on all types of trails, roads, and terrain. It weighs a lot compared to the carbon toys on the market, but as I no longer race, and I add low enough gears when I need them, I really don't care.

Nice thing about a well-built bike with some endurance - not likely to fall apart in the middle of a tour.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline misterflask

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2023, 06:55:27 am »
I've cracked a few frames.  All steel, but I only ride steel.  Although people think of me as lanky, I'm a clydesdale, running weight between 180# and 220# over the years.  I ride several thousand miles a year, but I don't rack up the serious miles of some other riders. Looking at other replies, I suspect weight is a key factor here.  And the fact that I keep bikes forever.

My experiences-
'88 Bianchi Volpe cross bike.  Cracked a right chainstay at the dropout around '00.
'00 Bianchi SL Cyclo frame (warranty replacement for above).  Cracked a right chainstay at the dropout in '12, 2500miles into a TA tour.
'96 Gary Fisher Mamba mountain bike.  Cracked a right chainstay at the dropout around '17.
'80s Peugeot PX-10 road bike.  This was an ebay find around '08, which looked to have picked up some miles but likely had the original running gear.  I rode it as my primary road bike for several years.  Cracked a right seat stay at the top around '15.  This bike is pretty spindly for a big guy, especially up around the seatstay where it cracked.

You may note the concentration of fractures on the right side.  The chainstays would normally be in tension, but every pedal stroke some of that tension on the right side is relieved and may even become compression.  Stress cycling is the enemy of almost any material and results in fatigue, with accompanying weakening. 

Steel is supposedly more tolerant of fatigue than aluminum, as it has a fatigue limit.  I.e. after frequent load cycles and weakening (talking on the order of a million cycles, plausible for a chainstay) steel settles in at a strength of about half of it's original strength.  For materials encountering high load cycles, engineers just design to the fatigue limit strength.

Word is that aluminum does not have a fatigue limit.  With frequent cycling the strength of aluminum eventually drops to zero.  Yes, we make airplanes out of it, but the cycling is closely watched.  For instance, one flight is one cycle for pressurization of the cabin.  Short commuter flights rack up more of these cycles and the planes' maintenance and (life) has to reflect this.

Take heart, though, aluminum riders.  Wish I could come up with a reference, but I saw a paper where someone destruction tested a bunch of frames, Al and steel, through like those million load cycles.  The only frames that failed were steel.  My recollection was that the writers seemed to be doing honest work and hadn't set out to prove something.  Way back, aluminum was annoyingly stiff and they mostly relieved this with careful engineering.  And any worthwhile engineer is at least thinking about fatigue limit during design, so I expect this gets at least some attention during design.

I have the good fortune of having a basement welding shop and except for the warranty replacement, all those frames have been repaired and are still in the stable.  The Bianchi is a daily rider serving gravel, commuting, and light touring duty.  The Peugeot is a fixie now (in my world the fixie is a novelty ride, so it gets easy miles).  I brazed up the crack in the Gary Fisher dropout.  I don't consider that a permanent repair and a replacement frame is in the jig.

Offline Gern

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2023, 06:10:48 pm »
hey all,
original poster here, sorry I dropped the ball, didn't realize the conversation was still going!
I ended up getting a Scott road bike - what they call their endurance frame. We weren't carrying anything on the bikes  as we had support.
The trip was fantastic. 600 miles, 25k climbing in 10 days. 2 days off and one day changed / removed due to wildfire.
Here's a link to a photo album is anyone is interested:

Offline froze

Re: Endurance bike advice
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2023, 07:04:41 pm »
I read here that the average lifespan of a road bike is 5-10 years. And a good bike will last for 30,000 to 50,000+ miles on the road, but a bad one could break down in under 5,000 miles. Is that true? And are there ways to increase the lifespan?

5 to 10 years and 30 to 50k miles is for CF and AL bikes, not for steel. I have a steel bike I bought brand new in 84, it has over 150,000 miles on it, including the components, and if I wanted to, I could take that bike on a credit card tour across the nation and not think anything of it.  Sheldon Brown, the former and now deceased guru of bicycles, used to ride a steel bike to work every day weather permitting. His favorite bike he rode to work every day was built in 1918, he estimated it had over 300,000 miles, it even had a nice patina he called it.  Now if he could ride a bike with at least 300k, and built in 1918 do you think that article was referring to steel bikes?

I still see a lot of old Schwinn Varsity, Suburban, and Continentals still being used all over the city in where I live, who knows how many miles are on them.

I suppose if you could buy a steel Walmart bike that won't even last 10k miles.