There are lots of good ways to self-test, you know, to see how bad the disease is. Number of times each day you check Strava, how well you know the inventory at Competitive Cyclist, and of course the old standby, how many bikes you have in the garage or, better yet, in the living room.
But there is no better diagnostic tool to determine how far the illness has spread than the number of wheels you own. Because let’s face it: A bike can’t really use more than about two. So when you find that you own, say, four sets of wheels, you have a problem. A spare wheelset is defined as more wheels than will fit on your bikes. So if you have two bikes, you should have no more than four wheels.
This time a couple of months ago I had two spare wheelsets. That’s exactly two sets too many. One reason you keep extra wheelsets is because WHAT IF ONE OF THEM BREAKS? This is a huge fear, that you will break a wheel and then not immediately have another one. If you don’t have a spare wheelset you might have to miss a day riding while you shop. Goodness knows you don’t know anyone who has an extra bike wheel you could borrow. No, sir.
Anyway, I had two spare wheelsets. One came with my ‘cross bike. I immediately yanked them off and replaced them with a set of FastForward disc F4’s, because for someone who doesn’t race ‘cross and who hardly ever rides off road, it’s crucial to have all carbon high-performance wheels for all the low-performance rides.
The other spare wheelset was, of course, ma racin’ wheelz. Cuz ever racerz gotta have racin’ wheelz. These were a gorgeous set of Fast Forward tubular F3’s. Light, lighter, lightest, and they handle like only sewups can handle. Problem was, not that there’s ever a problem with having crazy light race wheels, after three years they had less than 2k miles on them.
In other words, I never got to enjoy their awesomeness very much, only about fifteen times a year, to be exact. Also, the tubular tires meant I couldn’t really train on them. Also also, I had just gotten my wife a pair of FastForward clincher F3’s, which weren’t as light as mine, but could be ridden daily. This purchase also resulted in another set of spare wheels and an acute case of spousal carbon wheel envy.
So I worked out the biker math like this:
Sell the wife’s old wheels for $20 + Sell the Giant tubeless wheels for $20 + Sell my F3’s for $700 + Sell my F4’s for $600 = I wouldn’t have any wheels for my road bike.
However, when you add the above it comes out to just enough to buy a pair of NEW F3 clinchers, which like my F3 tubulars are all carbon and made of 100% carbon. In other words, sell four wheelsets in order to buy one.
This doesn’t sound very economical, but it is a huge space saver and plus now I have new wheels and not a single extra pair laying around anywhere. Not even in my living room.
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