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"Consumables?"

Old 07-28-22, 11:34 AM
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smd4
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"Consumables?"

Yet another term that was completely foreign to us in the shop during the mid-1980s - mid-1990s.

Although we didn't use the exact term, of course we all knew that things--especially tires and brake pads--wore out over time, and needed to be replaced. But after seeing the term used here, it seems like there is precious little on a bike that isn't "consumable." The term now encompasses chains, chainrings and cogs. But as we've seen, hubs wear out; headsets wear out; bottom brackets wear out; brake springs (for rim brakes) eventually wear out; integrated shifters/brake levers wear out (at what to me seems at a fairly high rate); aluminum handlebars can break if not inspected regularly; RD pulleys wear out; rear and front derailleur cages wear out. Hell, even rims subject to rim brakes can wear out and steel frames can rust away.

Is there really any part on a bike that isn't "consumable" in some way, shape or form?
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Old 07-28-22, 11:42 AM
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that term to me is related to how fast it is used up. An average person eating a typical sandwich doesn't take more than a certain amount of time to consume it. Similar logic for those "wear items" that used up in an X amount of Y time.

Brake pads, non rechargeable batteries, zipties, rubber straps = consumables.
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Old 07-28-22, 11:44 AM
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Zipties? I would have thought those would last a very long time in most situations.
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Old 07-28-22, 11:50 AM
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Depends on time, conditions and mileage.

I imagine e-bike batteries are also a replaceable consumable too.
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Old 07-28-22, 11:53 AM
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Not to be confused with "edibles".

Is there really any part on a bike that isn't "consumable" in some way, shape or form?
Is there really any part on a bike that cannot be replaced? And if every single part on a bike has been replaced, is it still the same bike, if it has been in continuous existence since it was built?
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Old 07-28-22, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Not to be confused with "edibles".
Is there really any part on a bike that cannot be replaced? And if every single part on a bike has been replaced, is it still the same bike, if it has been in continuous existence since it was built?
Ah yes. Grandad's ax.
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Old 07-28-22, 11:55 AM
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You must not have left zipties in the sun very long. Though some handle UV better than others. Nor seen what salt water environment after one year does to cheap worm clamps made of the common 304 stainless. But I guess both of those things are better for a discussion in the sailing forum. <grin>

The zipties on several of my bike's lasted a long time since I didn't leave my bike out in the sun for days on end as they have been on the sail boat I use to have.
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Old 07-28-22, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Ah yes. Grandad's ax.
aka The Ship Of Theseus.
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Old 07-28-22, 12:28 PM
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I think every component of a bike is a consumable. They just last to differing stress usage. I've seen 'lifetime' guarantee frames worn out and broken from heavy mileage use - well beyond what the average cyclist will ever do.

A friend of mine wants to dip his toes into MTB racing but doesn't have a suitable bike. I've offered him a loan of my 22 yr old Giant MTB to see what he thinks. The bike looks new. It has hardly been ridden - perhaps 100 miles in all those years. Age means he ought to replace the tyres and tubes and give it a general service but it is otherwise ready to race. It is, at the moment, entirely original.

My 2019 MTB is on its 3rd set of tyres and has had several services with minor consumable's replacements. My two road bikes (2019/2020) have been through a few chains, tyres, handlebar tape and on their second BB's - because they have seen a lot of mileage in their young existence.

As another has posted: it all depends upon age, use and abuse. I think it also depends upon how long people still use things beyond their recommended use. Some folks run stuff well beyond their being safely stretched or worn or aged.


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Old 07-28-22, 12:29 PM
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Alum handle bars break? Are we talking hardcore riding and/or crashing?
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Old 07-28-22, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Zipties? I would have thought those would last a very long time in most situations.
In most cases, once you cut them from what they're holding secure, they don't get reused. If you unfasten a cable clamp, those are expected to be reused. It is not always a lifespan determination, it can also be a purposed situation. Even though the word "consumable" is one word, it can have several meanings.
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Old 07-28-22, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
In most cases, once you cut them from what they're holding secure, they don't get reused. If you unfasten a cable clamp, those are expected to be reused. It is not always a lifespan determination, it can also be a purposed situation. Even those the word "consumable" is one word, it can have several meanings.
Yeah, that makes sense.
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Old 07-28-22, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kap 7 View Post
Alum handle bars break? Are we talking hardcore riding and/or crashing?
They're prone to corrosion under bar tape, if you sweat heavily, like if you use your bike on a trainer a lot, and don't use a towel on the bars. You can, of course, replace bar tape periodically and inspect them.

But also, aluminum bars, like aluminum frames, have finite fatigue strength (I think that's the term) and may eventually fail, and the lighter they're built, the more likely that is.
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Old 07-28-22, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kap 7 View Post
Alum handle bars break? Are we talking hardcore riding and/or crashing?
Even without racing, aluminum handlebars have a finite life. Sooner or later, the metal will fatigue and break. it's what aluminum does. I had it happen once. Luckily, it's rare for both sides to break at once.
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Old 07-28-22, 12:37 PM
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I think "consumables" in the bike sense would be everything you'd replace if you bought a used bike with a significant amount of wear - tires, cables, housing, bar tape, etc. Maybe brake pads, too.
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Old 07-28-22, 12:46 PM
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I thought that consumables were just wear-and-tear type stuff - stuff you'd eventually need to replace just through use rather than defect or damage.

So any bearings, springs and friction parts.

Like a pedal isn't a consumable item, but the bearings in the pedal axle are. A fork isn't consumable, but the bearings in the headset are, and so on.
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Old 07-28-22, 12:57 PM
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Chains? Depends.

My winter bike gets a new chain every spring. I try to maintain it, but because of the eff-ing road salt it's still partially immobilized by the spring.

My nice road bike that only goes out in nice weather is now on at least year 3...maybe 4, I lost count...with the same 10 speed chain. Lube it and clean it periodically, but so far, so good.
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Old 07-28-22, 01:06 PM
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Among high-mileage riders, chains and freewheel cogs were considered consumables in the '70s, and some would snicker after selling their stretched Regina Oro chain as desirable bling at a club auction. Shifter and brake cables were consumable because few capped the ends at the time, and so they frayed. I had never heard of rims being regarded as consumable until reading this forum, but I'll believe it.

I think some of the disdain for "modern technology" among retro-grouches comes specifically from more and more parts being regarded as something that you should expect to replace, especially the main part - the frame. Another portion might be having to wonder whether replacement parts might be available when they need replacing. If a component wears out, can it be rebuilt?
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Old 07-28-22, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
A friend of mine wants to dip his toes into MTB racing but doesn't have a suitable bike. I've offered him a loan of my 22 yr old Giant MTB to see what he thinks.
I'm thinking he would give the bike back to you after a race considering he would be going up against more capable bikes that are much newer.
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Old 07-28-22, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
I'm thinking he would give the bike back to you after a race considering he would be going up against more capable bikes that are much newer.
Yes, it is just that his finances don't stretch to a new bike at the moment. He's got a new gravel bike but that isn't allowed and there are no gravel races locally yet. He was going to try with an old rigid beater bike but the old MTB will be better. If he likes it, and he is a former Cat 1 roadie from the USA, he may be tempted to save his pennies for a new bike.
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Old 07-28-22, 01:37 PM
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The only thing that has changed is the terminology. The word consumables most likely originated from warranties and just became everyday jargon. It used to be that the same things just wore out.

There is probably differences in the lifespan of some components such as chainrings and cogs. Decades ago those components were thicker and had more material. I don’t know the longevity differences of bushing vs. bushingless chains.

As with hubs and other bearing components, properly maintaining these have always gone a long way towards longevity.

John

Edit added: Decades ago you get twice the life on freewheel cogs by just flipping them; except threaded ones.

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Old 07-28-22, 01:39 PM
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I am walking around a giant sculpture of a bike (in my mind) right now, and I think the consumables on a bike are the following (in order of how soon they are generally consumed by regular use)
  • Tubes
  • Tires
  • Handlebar Tape/grips
  • Brake pads
  • cables/housing
  • Chain
  • Bearings (some can be rebuilt but many/most modern hubs and bottom brackets are cartridge bearings, headsets likely last longer than hubs)
  • Cassette (esp if you don't change your chain frequently)
  • Derailleur jockey wheels
  • Rims (on rim brake bikes, disc brake bikes generally only need rims replaced if crashed)
  • Disc rotors
If memory serves me, this is roughly the order in which I wind up replacing parts, usually based on perceived need, although I might inadvertently leave some of these things in service longer than I should. YMMV.

Few 'non moving' parts are true consumables - frames and rigid forks don't last forever, but that's not the same thing as being a 'consumable' - the term refers to things you are expected to replace regularly to keep a machine running, not things whose end-of-life is synonymous with the end of life of the whole machine.
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Old 07-28-22, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Fredo76 View Post
I had never heard of rims being regarded as consumable until reading this forum.
Same.
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Old 07-28-22, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
In most cases, once you cut them from what they're holding secure, they don't get reused. If you unfasten a cable clamp, those are expected to be reused. It is not always a lifespan determination, it can also be a purposed situation. Even though the word "consumable" is one word, it can have several meanings.
Ultimately, everything can break.
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Old 07-28-22, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Ultimately, everything can break.
intentionally, that is likely possible.
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