Building onto yesterday’s post about bike clothing and how it’s gone mainstream-ish and fashion-ish, I gotta say something about equipment.
Time was, a bike had brakes, cranks, pedals, wheels, derailleurs, shifters, five cogs, handlebars, wheels, tars, chain, and a saddle. Bar tape was crazy thin cellophane-like stuff that provided zero padding. Tars were sew-ups, period, frames were steel and wheels were aluminum. 32 spokes in front, 36 in back.
Two things have changed. One, there is now infinite variety in all those parts. Two, there are a whole bunch of parts that never used to exist, for example, valve extenders. There was no need to extend the valve because all the wheels were the same depth and all the valves the same length.
No aero anything.
No electronic anything.
No carbon anything.
And of course no crazy weight differentials between bikes. You want to save weight? Go with the SLX tubing. On your 23-lb. bike it will shave off a few grams.
Is “more” “better”?
Probably, but only if you know how to manage your acquisitions, and frankly, few cyclists do. Make that “few people.”
In the end, more bike things are only good if they result in more actual cycling. I have friends with road, ‘cross, gravel, TT, and MTB bikes, but it seems like they don’t ride any of them all that much. One friend who, as near as I can tell has only a single beat-up beach cruiser, seems to ride it all the time up and down the bike path in flip-flops and shorts. And of course the guy who has zero bike stuff, Shirtless Keith, rides about 18,000 miles a year.
There’s a moral there somewhere.
I sometimes get nostalgic for that feeling of nostalgia. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!