Mountain Biking, More About the Equipment than the Ride?

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!

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11 replies
  1. Ben says:

    Geeks will be geeks. I’m sitting here dreaming about that great campfire you called “the most annoying campfire evening of your life.” All I have to say is what a great life you have. But consider that perhaps it is the technology that drew in more people (geeks), those same people who now seem to annoy you.

    Reply
    • Gene says:

      Hey Ben,

      Interesting point! Sometimes it is tough to see things from another persons perspective, thanks for helping me see your perspective! Funny, I have have often laughed at what a geek I am but I am a riding and skills geek (kind of like the mtb version of my brother who is an electrical engineer), I geek out on how to do things and the sheer beauty of riding in amazing places. You and those guys by the campfire geek out on bike parts. Funny, I still somewhat feel you are missing out on the point of riding in the first place but now I realize you probably feel the same about me! Me and my friends, “… was amazing, the views stretched for miles, that descent took every bit of skill I have, it was like being possessed, so focused everything else just disappeared…”, You and the guy’s from the campfire, “… it is all about cool technology making our ride better, this hub is 42 grams lighter than last years, and check out my new 11 speed ……”

      As long as we are having fun who am I to judge?

      Reply
  2. dennis says:

    I see both sides of this, I like the bling parts, but I refuse to pay retail. I do all my own work, I ensure my bike (an ’01) it’s in top shape so I never have to walk. when I’m riding I don’t think about the bike except for gears.

    fixing and searching for deals is 1/2 off the fun for me.

    Reply
  3. Dan says:

    Nice! I got away from spending massive amounts of money on my mtb! Spent $1300 on a single speed 29er … all I ride and race now for the past 4 yrs. Having a blast while my skills keep improving without all the bling. This bike gets to the top and the bottom just like my friends $6-8,000 bikes, and usually ahead of them!! :)

    Reply
  4. Wacek says:

    No Gene, being after expensive gear isn’t the problem, being after wrong gear is the problem. You should just stay away from Easton wheels, and get some Enve on Chris King hubs :D How to know which gear is right or wrong? Spend lots of time researching instead of riding!

    Ahaha kidding – good write up!

    Reply
  5. ronin says:

    can relate, gene. best money i’ve spent was on a $200 used 20″ GHP to ride at the track again. Did more for my skill and technique mentally than any mtb upgrade. i go by a simple rule -Less icing more cake!- hehe

    Reply
  6. CrossStuntry says:

    I agree with all of you… Yet lean toward ‘Simple’ and ‘Shut Up & RIDE!!!’ We can talk about it over dinner…
    My ’89 Bianchi Peregrine was my primary bike until 2005, when I purchased my first Full-suspension mountain bike which was a $4000 2002 carbon Cannondale Raven 4000 Volvo World Cup Team Edition, for $800 shipped, via eBay… Since then, I have collected a Yeti as-X, SuperV -> ÜberV, another as-X, San Andreas & Shockwave, SlingShot FarmBoy 29er, Balfa BB7, LenzSport ProDescender, GT iT1, GU Typhoon, Sinister DNA, and numerous others totalling 27 mountain bikes… My favorite? Probably the simplest – a rigid singlespeed SoulCycles Dillinger 29er… Grins-a-plenty!!! My next? A BigFatTire SingleSpeed & a full-susser I am calling a BigFatFuss with 5″ Tires and 5″+ suspension… I am somewhat aware that the Dillinger may still remain my favorite, yet I am also very aware that I still ‘remember’, and periodically Enjoy, “My First”!!! (and Second, and Third… and Seventh… and Next…) I Enjoy the ‘Toys and Technology’… I LOVE To RIDE!!! Talking about it? Well, that just goes with the territory… Just Sayin’…

    Reply
    • Gene says:

      Holy cow BFF, 27 bikes?! that is quite the diverse collection and full of memorable bikes from back in the day. You start a museum (where people can ride the bikes, not just look at them.

      Reply
    • Gene says:

      Holy cow BFF, 27 bikes?! that is quite the diverse collection and full of memorable bikes from back in the day. You start a museum (where people can ride the bikes, not just look at them).

      Reply
  7. CrossStuntry says:

    By the way… Dillinger cost me $700+ using some parts I already had around… The $6000 carbon Jekyll I rode last year, that helped me make it up a certain hiking trail without dabbing that I have NOT ‘cleaned’ Since (or Before)? Awesome!!!
    I do not have one, yet… Same with the $8500 Ti Carver Trans-FAT, Yeti SB-95, Surly E.C.R. Ogre or Moonlander, 9:Zero:7 Tusken, and so many others… I do not necessarily Like ALL Women (or Mountain Bikes), but I LOVE Many Mountain Bikes (and Women)… Is that not the point?!?

    Reply

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