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"Disposa-Bike" vs. "Lifetime Bike"(19 posts)

"Disposa-Bike" vs. "Lifetime Bike"Mass Biker
May 7, 2001 9:41 AM
For your next bike purchase, what would you get?

* a relatively inexpensive, yet fully functional frameset that would require replacement every 2-3 seasons (assume you are racing). 1 year warranty on the frame.
* a much more expensive frameset that would (ostensibly) last you the rest of your riding days. Lifetime warranty on the frame.

Let's assume that the frame in option A (the "disposa-bike") costs 1/3rd of the frame in option B (the "lifetime bike"). To keep things constant, let's also assume that the components on both would be identical (i.e. would be upgraded as they wore out etc.)

Pros/cons? First hand experiences?

Thanks - MB
Wouldn't racing & "just riding" be different issues?Cory
May 7, 2001 9:53 AM
When I saw the topic, I got all pumped up: "Oooh! Oooh! Get a good bike and keep it forever!" Which is pretty much what I've done with my main ride for 20 years.
I've owned eight or 10 bikes in that period, but most of them were just passing through--a coaster-brake tandem, s/s cruiser etc. that I bought cheap for fun and soon sold. Most of my mileage has been on only two bikes (I did just buy a new Atlantis, but I plan to ride that until I die).
But I just ride around. The limiting factor in anything I want to do is always me, not the bike, so I don't need a "better" one. For racing, though, there might be some real advantages to having the flavor of the month.
'lifetime' bikespeloton
May 7, 2001 10:25 AM
I don't know what to think of the whole disposable versus lifetime bike arguement. Is there really any such thing as a 'lifetime' bike? Oh sure, some ti bikes (and other materials as well) will last a long time. But, are you really going to ride that bike for the rest of your days? Imagine riding the bike you have today 10 or 15 years from now. Imagine what bikes looked like in 1986.

As technology progresses, bikes get better. In a few years that 'lifetime' bike will start to look a little dated, and the learning for something new will come again. I know people who have justified spending exorbent amounts on bikes by the lifetime excuse. Many of them are not riding these lifetime bikes anymore.

Ask yourself realistically how long you will use the bike you are buying for. Budget that accordingly, and make your decision. If it's 5 grand you can drop, good for you. If you don't think the investment is worth the realistic timeline, look elsewhere.

Is there any sporting equipment out there that one would want to last a lifetime? (Except maybe your baseball glove?)
'lifetime' bikessteeveo
May 7, 2001 12:52 PM
Or maybe imagine what bikes looked like in 1985. No wait, don't have to -- I ride one every day. Lifetime bikes can be very sweet, unless you're a techno-weenie who needs the latest and greatest.
It's not about the latest and greatestpeloton
May 7, 2001 3:02 PM
It's about progress. I wouldn't want a bike with friction shifters, clips and straps, and slippery old school bar tape. Been there, done that. I would imagine I may say the same thing about some parts of my current steed in a few years.

If your old bike makes you happy, that's great. Ride it. I just enjoy some of the progress in design that has been made, and I can't imagine riding the same bike for the next 15 years. I don't think it would last that long anyway. Sooner or later I imagine that I will do some irrepairable harm to the frame, probably racing. Enough miles and something is bound to happen eventually.

So, it's not about needing this year's parts to me. It's just that I can't realistically say that I even could ride the same bike for such a duration of time. I would say that those who have ridden their steeds for so long have had some luck on their side.
Well, this is easy...Greg Taylor
May 7, 2001 12:35 PM
Because we assume that you are racing, common wisdom says go with the limited-lifetime (and I assume lightweight and sharp handling) bike. Get a deal through your team on a framset and just beat the crap out of it.

There are exceptions to everything, however. I have a Cat 2 neighbor who races a wonderful Japanese-made custom (steel, and the tubes are supposedly filled with an inert gas and sealed) that is is ONLY bike.
what ...Bosephus
May 7, 2001 1:04 PM
Why would you fill your frame tubes with an inert gas?

Don't tell me weight ... go do the calculation of that volume of the lightest gas you can find I doubt if it saves 20 grams.

If it's not for weight then what ism the purpose? I'm not saying I don't believe that some frame builder did this, I'm just curious what their purpose was?
Won't rust on the inside(nm)Dave Hickey
May 7, 2001 1:37 PM
what ...Ted
May 7, 2001 1:40 PM
Probably under the theory that oxygen in a corrosive gas and will slowly eat the metal away where as an inert gas will not.

what ...Bosephus
May 7, 2001 1:52 PM
Ahhh yes now I see ... durability is what we're after then. Makes sense. Thanks, not being a chemist or chemical engineer these kinds of things don't usually cross my mind.

I also ride two Aluminum bikes so rust is not a problem for me ... neither is a lifetime frame for that matter I guess. ;)
Bingo -- No Oxygen means no rustGreg Taylor
May 7, 2001 2:29 PM
I seem to remember that he said that the tubes (except, of course, the seat tube) were filled with Argon gas.
Heliumgrz mnky
May 7, 2001 5:55 PM
Hey, guys on the tour were filling their tires with helium for the weight savings. It wasn't legal, but so what. For a frame it would be better to pull a vacuum and have *nothing* inside the steel tubes. Obviously this isn't going to work for tires. There is no limit to which people will go in competition when there's a lot of money on the line. Of course hydrogen would be lighter, but Hindenburg flash backs probably keep people from playing with it.
Passing Gas....Greg Taylor
May 8, 2001 6:49 AM
I have heard that Truck and Aircraft tires are often filled with nitrogren or other similar gas. The explanation that I've heard for this is that (1) it doesn't react with the rubber carcass, and makes the tires/tubes last longer, and (2) it is more stable and handles heat and temperature extremes better.
no such thingDog
May 7, 2001 2:16 PM
I don't think there is any such thing as a "lifetime bike." Although I have my 1980 steel Bianchi, one crash and it's done; if you race long enough, it will probably happen. Plus, it's not really suitable for racing. It's quite a bit heavier, and utilizes totally different and incompatiple components from today's bikes. Who knows what we'll be using another 20 years from now.

Racing is a little different than other uses. In racing, you pretty much want the fastest equipment available, or at least close to it. 20 years from now we will likely be racing on bike frames and parts that haven't even been imagined yet. Something will come along that is faster, lighter, more aero, etc.

You can buy an inexpensive, fully raceable, lightweight frameset right now that will last plenty long. I think your assumption that you must spend more to get a more durable frame is flawed. The USPS bikes are a good example; you can get one for about $2000, and they are plenty durable, according to them, at least.

If you get a bike, say steel or Ti, especially, down around 18 pounds, you will not suffer any significant disadvantage in a race. If you're not racing, then it doesn't matter that much.

I'd get what I liked and not worry about it. Take care of whatever you get, and it will likely outlast your interest in the bike, anyway.

Lifetime bikes can be cheap ...Humma Hah
May 7, 2001 2:18 PM
... My bike will be 30 years old in a couple of months. It has somewhere around 20,000 miles on it (some folks here will put that on a nice roadbike in a couple of years). Many of those miles are off-road, and the bike has been left in the weather a bunch. It cost $89 when brand new, and a comparable bike today would be a few hundred. It has been raced, exactly once, placed third in a field of 6. I'm not a racer and neither is the bike.

My next bike will probaby be a venerable old steel-framed roadbike of similar vintage to the cruiser above. It will also be a lifetime bike.

It is not difficult to build a rugged, durable bike that can be ridden for many years, for low cost. The high prices generally come from hand-building or limited-production efforts using exotic materials and extreme weight-saving measures. The bikes are typically compromised structurally in order to squeeze out the last grams of weight saving. Cheaper bikes are frequently more robust, and heavier.
re: "Disposa-Bike" vs. "Lifetime Bike"dustin73
May 7, 2001 8:20 PM
you know, i'd say get the lifetime, just 'cause you'd probably be happier with it and you wouldn't be like "doh, why didn't i get the other one...dangit."

just my opinion, though....
Here's a thought...Dougal
May 8, 2001 2:55 AM
If you race a lot, there is no such thing as a lifetime bike IMHO.

Picture the scene. After shopping around, finding the perfect blend of fit and specifications, maybe even waiting for your custom frame to be finished, you finally get your dream "lifetime" bike. Your first ride is perfect, smooth, quick you feel at one with the bike and the road.

Your first race is even better, you feel faster than ever before, like you could take on the world. Then you crash, and wreck your frame, as well as writing off several of the components (been there, done that). Suddenly the bike you were planning on riding for the rest of your life is wrecked and you're $5k out of pocket .

If you can afford this kind of thing then great, but I would never race a frame that I was affraid to crash because especially in mass start racing there are two kinds of riders. Those who have crashed and those who will.

TTs you could probably get away with it.
my experienceDuane Gran
May 8, 2001 5:30 AM
I recently came to this decision as my main steed is out of commission with a broken fork. (Thankfully it will be replaced this week) This underscored my need to have a secondary bike as a backup and for criterium racing. I wouldn't exactly call my main bike a lifetime bike, but it would break my heart to mess up the frame in a crash so I plan to only use it in the safer road race environment. I'm getting a used Giant compact aluminum frame. According to many, this is a throw away frame that probably won't last two seasons of hard use. I don't much like that viewpoint, as I am not a fan of our throwaway society, but I expect crashes to happen and I don't want my main ride in the mix.
If it helps your conscience ...Humma Hah
May 8, 2001 7:55 AM
... since the bike you're considering is already used, you'd be recycling it. And when you're done, it can be recycled with the beer cans.