Mountain Biking, More About the Equipment than the Ride?
When I got my first mountain bike it was all about fun and freedom. Wheelies, riding up and down the stairs on campus, exploring area trails, riding the local BMX track, man that bike was fun! It had a sweet straight fork that transferred the impact of every bump directly to my hands (most rigid forks have a bend in them that flexes a bit to absorb some of the impact when the wheel hits a bump), the brakes had gigantic levers that you used three fingers on to squeeze those awesome rims brakes and slow you down and it had no suspension. Heck the bike lasted four years with zero maintenance except for lubing the chain. Then I sold it for about half what I paid for it. For all I know it is still being ridden, original wheels and all. After all it was a mountain bike, my sturdy, trusted friend, oh the fun we had! We met other riders too and they showed us their favorite trails, regaled us with stories of near death experiences and travel to exotic places like Moab. We shared adventures, ate by campfires together and enjoyed ourselves. Our conversations were fun and diverse, where are you from, do you snowboard, have you ridden the Two Peaks trail, ever bonk on ride? this one time in Moab …, wow, is there good camping in Hurricane? Great times, great friends and great memories!
Then a few years ago at a campsite in Fruita, “Is that a free-ride bike or an all-mountain bike?” my reply, “I’m not sure I just ride it. It is a fun bike!” “Wow, is that an X9 derailleur? Does it shift way better than X7? I’m thinking of buying ….”, all night, equipment questions, my bike is better than your bike statements, that bike is good for this but not good for that, my derailleur is better… It was one of the longest, most annoying campfire evenings of my life.
Bikes can cost over $10,000 today! I’m not saying there haven’t been some amazing improvements to braking, suspension, geometry, wheel size, tire tread, etc. and many of those improvements have definitely added to the fun, but they don’t make the fun, you make the fun! A $2,500 mtb today is better than a top of the line titanium, all XTR bike was in 2000.
Stop worrying so much about your equipment and enjoy the moment, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the company of your riding buddies and simply be in the moment on your bike! Nothing wrong with nice bike stuff but I know so many people with $7,000-$10,000 bikes and really nice cars/trucks with cool aftermarket rims that constantly tell me how lucky I am to be able to ride so much! Well, if they didn’t spend every penny on new shinny parts (that they post photos of on facebook) they could afford more riding time!
Bikes are made to ridden and enjoyed!
PS The day after writing this my $1,500 carbon wheel set (traded to me for a spot in one of our skills progressions) blew up the rear hub on it’s eighth ride! I had to walk out 2-3 miles (all usually fun downhill) because a wheel set that costs 2.5 times what that first bike cost pooped bearings all over the trail!