Why are cyclists never satisfied with their lot?

Posted: January 18, 2011 in 2011, General

I have often wondered this. Having taken part in various sports at a good competitive standard, cycling is the only sport I have come across where a rapid turnover in kit is de rigeur. When I played rugby, all that mattered were that your boots lasted a season or more and if they started to fall apart, more often that not, you would make sure they got you through for as long as possible. Cricket, new boots or whites when they wore out, very occasionally a new bat and that was about it. Running, swimming etc required very little by way of kit. Shooting, once you have a gun (air rifle in my case) that works for you and is accurate – well, you will just hang onto it because it works perfectly well and there is no point in changing to an unknown quantity.

When it comes to bikes though,I am as bad as everyone else. I have enough bikes to cover every eventuality except maybe 4X or Downhill. I can race on the road, train on the road, ride CX and XC both in rigid mode and on a full suss. None of the bikes are what you would call top end but they are generally well specced and more than adequate for the sort of treatment I give them yet, no sooner have I got over the desire for a bike that will “fill a hole” in my collection or make me the next cycling God than I start to lust after another. Last year it was a 29er, this year it was CX and now I have fallen in love with a Giant Anthem 29er. At £3,000 it is too much for me to consider without thinning down my other bikes but it will always be there, nagging away at me until I either take the plunge or find something else to lust after.
Giant Anthem 29er

Am I alone in this sort of uncontrolled, rampant consumerism? The answer seems to be no. OK a few people I ride with are riding bikes that are quite “old” (for old, read maybe three years) and some even older but everywhere I look people are popping up with new kit, replacing old machines that were more than adequate, or almost impulse buying. I won’t mention the person I ride with who bought a  Titus Racer X frame to have as a second bike, second to his other Racer X and titanium Titus HT, or the people who spend close to £1,000 on new forks to “make my bike lighter” and have retired the forks that were “feather light” only a few weeks ago. Is it the “boys and their toys” syndrome, a sort of collective mid life crisis or is cycling all about flamboyance, whether or not you are covered in mud?

I am sure the lure of shiny new machinery or the lust for trick parts for my bike will stay with me as long as I ride a bike but understand it? Now you’ve got me! Answers on a postcard etc.

  1. PeterH says:

    My HT is 6 years old. Do I win a prize?

  2. Ross Burton says:

    Why? All of the above, probably. Mainly boys toys and surplus income has to go somewhere (and with the recent crash, would a bike be a better investment that stocks and shares?).

    I’ve a good friend who has just purchased his forth Santa Cruz (1 hard tail, 3 full sus) and all of these are XC MTB. His bad influence convinced me — lowly me who is still a beginner — to splash this years bonus on a SC Superlight on the grounds that I clearly need a full suspension bike…

  3. slowjo61 says:

    As a beginner, heed the advice and wisdom of a far more experienced and older cyclist.

    “There is no such thing as too many bikes, you might need a new shed or garage but it is nothing to do with the number of bikes.”

    Have fun with the Superlight but make sure you can ride a HT or even rigid well before you consign them to the scrapheap. The Superlight is a lovely race bike but it isn’t a skill compensator. 🙂

  4. Ross says:

    Oh I’m certainly keeping the hardtail, its got shiny XT brakes and shortly a reasonable fork (same range but not as pimp as the SL). At the end of the day Thetford doesn’t need a full susser, although I’m going to be hitting Cannock Chase later in the year which will appreciate the suspension more.

    All I need to do now is arrange to prang the crankset or rear mech on a tree stump to justify a replacement chainset, and then it’s just a simple move to a replacement frame. 🙂

  5. slowjo61 says:

    “All I need to do now is arrange to prang the crankset or rear mech on a tree stump to justify a replacement chainset, and then it’s just a simple move to a replacement frame.”

    I like your style, you really are showing promise in creative justification theory!

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