questions to people that are commuting


New Member
what is is your wear and tear experience with repacing parts with commuting 4100 miles/6560km a year
A lot of variables here, but I will jump in. I would plan on setting aside $30 per month and see how it plays out. Some of the big variables are what type of bike, what climate, what road conditions? For example, is it heavy R&M with road salt, freeze/thaw with hilly cobbles? Many bikes have some components that cannot be worked on by the 'owner'. Some have expensive yet fragile parts. Some bikes have things such as very expensive, proprietary internal batteries, and other complex tech. For a commuter I want a workhorse bike that is simple, not proprietary, and with the right to repair.
Thats about how much I ride annually in commute / shopping mileage. Or at least it was last time I counted, which has been awhile :)

Most of your expenses should be up-front, buying things that don't wear out in the first place. Same goes for having wheels with durable hubs.

Do the bike up right as a commuter in advance and you will have to replace next to nothing across a year at the mileage you are describing. You'll spend most of your money on chain lube as that will be an ongoing task.

I'm in California and while I live within a mile of the shoreline now, I used to be in the Central Valley, which does not have the salty air to deal with. Climate hovers down to freezing in the Valley, and is higher on the coast, but much wetter.
  • In advance: Replace every bolt on the bike with ones made of with stainless steel. Typically that means M6 bolts for anything related to the brakes and M5 bolts for most everything else. Many bolts like the ones that clamp on your handlebar stem will not need any change. If its chromed, don't mess with it. But if its black oxide it'll rust quickly and badly. This is not just needed for coastal areas as a commuter is used rain or shine and will get a lot of gritty water splashed on it during rain days.
  • In advance: Use a quality chain. In particular KMC chains have a variant that has a weatherproof coating on it. You want something like that. A nickel-plated chain is good too. The SRAM EX1 chain is 8, 9 and 10s compatible and reinforced for mid drives. And its cheap and includes 144 links so it should work on a wide range of bikes. My chains last in excess of 3500 miles, but expect your mileage to vary. This is a mid-drive-powered bike I'm describing.
  • In advance: Your rear gear cluster should be nickel-plated or similar. Same deal with the rust and rain over time. Change the gear cluster (cassette) with the chain. Use a gear cluster that is pinned together and does not have separate cogs/spacers. They're much stronger and distribute the force of pedaling/motor across the entire cassette body so cogs do not dig into it and kill it prematurely.
  • In advance: Use a steel cassette body. They are less expensive, heavier and last effectively forever.
  • In advance: Use tires that are durable and flat-resistant. In my case that means a Schwalbe Marathon Plus, which can provide up to about 10,000 miles of use and are almost flatless. A similar tire is the Schwalbe Pickup that has a double-thick casing and is highly suited to taking a beating. The Continental Contact Plus City wears like iron. I've never been able to wear one out. BUT all high-mileage, hard use tires are hard riding thanks to their tough casings. You either prioritize flatproof reliability or you go with something less reliable and more comfortable. For me since the bike has a critical job I go for reliability and moderate the ride with suspension of some kind.
  • About every 6 months on a geared hub motor bike I open up the hub motor and re-grease it. Very simple task involving 8 little bolts, a rag to tidy up and some white lithium grease.
  • Brake pad replacement will vary widely. On flat ground and a 28 mph bike my 4-piston Magura brakes will need new pads maybe twice yearly. In steep hills, my first set lasted only three months but the replacements are wearing much better so not sure about long term there.
  • You can expect brake pad wear that is going to vary widely by terrain. Just keep an eye on the pads and replace when they are down to 2mm. Mine last 4-6 months per set. I use hydraulic brakes not subject to cable stretch. If you have cabled brakes, expect corrective action to deal with cable stretching to be an every-other-week affair. Same with caliper centering on cabled brakes.
If you don't do the things I'm describing above, you can expect to replace/service affected items more frequently.

thats all I can think of off the top of my head.
Last edited:
In my 1st year of ebike commutes I logged about 3,000 miles & replaced a chain and tires. OEM chain was not an ebike chain, so only lasted 1,000 miles or so. Ebike chain has not worn enough to show up on the stretch-o-meter yet. Tires were not made for this, so I switched to IRC Boken Plus - minimal wear at 2,000 miles. OEM Schwalbe G-one rear was pretty well worn at 1,000.
That’s a lot of miles, good for you! I had to replace chain and cassette at 2000 miles per the bike shop. Tires look to be due in another 1000 miles or so. Just did rear brake and front brake may need replaced in the next year or two.
that is fast the chains, im 3 weeks commuting now and have 576 miles, but i have a gates belt drive Ebike, i thought schwalbe could last 4000 miles
most of my consumables last around 2000 or so miles chains and brake pads (more life on my commuter) tires can be all over the place as I have been trying tubeless and finding the best tires. marathon plus could last 6000 miles.
that is fast the chains, im 3 weeks commuting now and have 576 miles, but i have a gates belt drive Ebike, i thought schwalbe could last 4000 miles
The Gates belt should be good for a few years easy.

These are my tires, and this guy is 3000 miles into them so far. started out regarding them as purely a winter tire but they roll so smoothly I said screw it and just leave them on year-round.

I've heard 10,000 miles on the Bullitt cargo bike facebook group, and the guy in the vdeo above says the same thing. But the 6000 @fooferdoggie mentions is easily in the same range depending on rider, load etc. I am at 4000 on one bike and the articulations on the center blocks are worn away and thats it. My Conti City's are at least as durable as this, but the ride sucked with them and on that bike I could not do anything acceptable about it. I went to Vee Speedster 26x2.8's which are poofy balloon tires for that bike's 32mm inner-width rims. They did what I wanted for load capacity and ride comfort, at the expense of longevity. I will be happy if I get 2000 miles from them. I also have a super sticky Maxxis Minion on one cargo bike that is necessary for the deep sand that often blows over the bike paths here. I'm sure it isn't long-wearing, either.
Last edited:
I have two 2016 4" fat tire Radrovers I purchased for weekend fun rides and later started work commuting at around 60-70 miles per week (excluding rainy/snowy days). My work commuting pretty much halted when the lockdown started and did the work from home thing for +2 years. I was at +4000 miles on each ebike before lockdown in 2020. I was extremely surprised how economical ebike commuting was and my expenses were a fraction of driving to work. All other parts are 2016 original on both ebikes; except:

- Switched out Kenda Juggernaut to Vee8 120tpi 26X4 tires. The Vee rubber Vee8 had longer tread life, better paved road traction, less noise, and higher stability at 18-25 mph. I rotated the tires 1/2 way during tread life to even out the wear. On my second set of the discontinued Vee8s.

- Upgraded the OEM cable brakes to TRP Spyke brakes. Improved emergency stopping power, less noise, longer pad life, and easier to adjust. Just changed out my pads with around +/- 20% pad life.

- Upgraded the OEM brake cables to MTB Jagwire. The OEM brake cables starting to fray/break strands from braking at +20 mph and occasional emergency stops.

- Spare battery charger to leave at work to top off if needed. Sometimes take detours to hit the single track trails after work on the way home (extra 5-15 miles added to commute), windy days, or extremely cold days. The extra charger at work was an cheaper option compared to buying a spare battery.

All other expenses was "one and done" for:
- gear for hot weather,
- extremely cold weather gear,
- wet weather gear,
- commuter backpack & rack bag,
- tire liners with Stan sealant added,
- tools and spare parts (extra sealant, spare tube, patch kit, hand held light, PSI gauge, air pump, rubber gloves, etc...),
- suspension seatpost + larger Cloud-9 seat,
- extra front/rear lights for visibility at 5am,
- triangle bag to keep battery temp in the normal operational range
- cleaning supplies and dry lubricant for SW dusty conditions to service the ebike and chain more often (this is probably to #1 reason for +4000 miles on a original chain).
My mileage is lower at about 1,500-2,000 annually. I'm on my second battery and the first lasted 5 years. The Schwalbe Marathon rear tire lasts on average two years, front is a year-old Schwalbe Mondial and has plenty of tread. I go through maybe 2-3 inner tubes each year. The Enviolo CVT is enclosed in a chaincase so the chain stays clean. Front brake is a drum and just needs the cam greased and drum lining wiped annually, rear brake is a rim brake and my shop replaces the pads once or twice a year on average. My Kodak PixPro handlebar mounted case is getting a bit scratched up, and picture quality was never sharp, so maybe time to replace with a used GoPro Hero
Last edited:
I ride ~ 2000 miles a year, 60% unpowered. I use $26 kenda or giant knobby tires, I get a year out of them. No flats if the knobs are taller than 3/32". I recycle the schwinn or giant tubes to the next tire. I change tube when flat out on the road. No liners or slime, a flat every 2 or 3 years from huge metal shards or truck tire shreds with wires sticking out. .
Chain 5000 miles, 2 KMC, (took 2 116 link chains to make the replacement). I'm on the third from Sunlite which at 120 was longer than any other in stock. Still 4 links short. Rear sprockets 11000 miles no visible wear. Front small sprocket (of triple) showing wear, I'll change it this winter. Brake pads 1 front set so far, rear I do not use it much. Twist shifter, I have used 3. Brake cables one each. SRAM front derailleur, holes wore out ~8000 miles. SRAM S3 derailler takeup, 1 was destroyed when it was poked by a stick on garbage day. New one is a SRAM X3. I've changed the shifter cable, housing, shifter, rear hasn't shifted since 6000 miles. Extra length of bike may be the problem. Would shift down if I was strong enough, but spring will not shift it up. Spokes/wheel rims, zero. Seats, I've used 6, wore out padding on one. I'm still not happy, sewing a cover over an 8" tall sofa cushion over a hard flat seat. Hard to sew naugahyde. Takes pliers to push & pull needle.
Geared hub motors, first one ebikeling plastic gears wore out ~4500 miles. 2nd one was killed when ASI controller shorted 2 pins in the rain & burnt the wire harness off the Mac12t motor too. 3rd motor was a used 350 w 36 v bafang, after 500 miles burnt the winding climbing the 60th hill of 77. Not strong enough for that hillyroute, I was running 48 v instead of 36. 4th 350 w used bafang motor got 1000 miles before the state started construction on the flatter route, restricting lanes to 108" between cones. I stopped riding to summer camp for 8 weeks while I ordered a 500 w geared hub from China. First set of spokes 2 mm too long, 2nd set of spokes didn't come in at 8th week by which I managed to rewire the 2nd motor to fit a square white hall effect cable and ring terminals on the phase wires. 2nd motor is 1000 watts, great for hills but wouldn't run on the 3rd controller, a 500 w. Changed to 4th controller 1000 w. 1st ebikeling controller was running the 350 w bafangs @7000-9000 miles when it developed an error code (pas pickup wiring) which was a complete lie. Bad pcb via I guess. Motoring on successfully on 1000 w Mac12t motor with 500 w motor spare in garage.
Battery, 1st & 2nd defective as delivered from Amazon & Ebay. 3rd battery from Lunabikes has lasted 5 years, 10000 miles, still fine after ~400 charges. (Rode bike unpowered for 1000 miles before electricity added). Battery is not used in the winter, not big enough to go 30 miles & 77 hills at below 55 F. No heat out at the summer camp anyway. Trailer is as drafty as a barn. I just bought the original farmhouse out there, brick with LPG heat, will be rebuilding a car engine to drive out there some in winter.
Last edited: