Hand-me-ups

I’m not sure why women generally have worse bike equipment than men, but they do. It may be because they don’t see the value in spending a lot of extra money for things that have little or no added value. And women seem to ride their stuff for a lot longer. I know serious women cyclists who are riding bikes six or seven years old.

That’s a Stone Age bike to the average guy enthusiast.

When I got my wife her bike it was a pretty basic deal. Carbon frame, Shimano 105, and aluminum rims.

The first thing I upgraded were the wheels; a nice set of super light FastForward carbon climbing wheels. Why? Because wheels make a huge difference, but also because I ride the same wheels and they are very nice.

Why shouldn’t she have the same things I have, especially at upgrade time?

After a while the Shimano 105 thing wasn’t working out so well. She could shift okay but actually she couldn’t, and I quit trying to explain it. Part of it was because those levers aren’t easy to move. The other part is because at age 51 she wasn’t all that interested in gear-inches.

A month or so ago I scraped up all the spare change I had, sold everything I never used, and got her e-Tap. She loved it and it made riding so much easier. For both of us.

Then the other day, Baby Seal was riding with her. “Hey,” he said, surprised. “Are you riding e-Tap?”

“What’s that?”

“Your shifters. Are they electronic?”

“I think so. Seth had them put on. They are really easy to use.”

“Oh, he got a new set?”

“Yes.”

“And he just put his old stuff on your bike and the new stuff on his?”

“No, this is the new thing. He has the old thing.”

Later on, Baby Seal and I were riding together. “Dude,” he said. “You bought your Freddie wife e-Tap and kept the old stuff on your bike? You didn’t give her the old stuff and put the new group on your bike? It’s the NEW generation e-Tap, man!”

“Why would I do that?”

“Everybody does that,” he said. “Everybody.”

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END

18 thoughts on “Hand-me-ups”

  1. It’s interesting to compare my solo bike attitude to the way I feel about our tandem bike. I’m not fanatic about having the latest and greatest on my solo bike, but I do like things to be fairly modern and in tip-top shape.

    On our tandem bike my wife doesn’t know anything about shifting, except that when I call out “up” or “down” it gets harder or easier to pedal. On the other hand, you better believe that her seat, handlebar, mirror and pedals are in exactly the right position and function perfectly!

  2. Love it.

    My wife got us into mountain biking. One day she asked if we could rent them and she loved it so much we used some of our wedding money for a pair of hardtails rather than some crazy dinner.

    A year later she decided to try some enduro racing which meant she ‘needed’ a full suspension. Frankly, the full squish has been amazing for her – upped her confidence on both the climbing and descending. A few more upgrades later and she decidedly has the better bike (I’m still on the hardtail).

    Guess what? We ride far more because of it.

    So, I support the wife whip upgrades. It’s another chance to shop for bike parts but it also leads to more time together on the bike. Which is what I really enjoy.

  3. Ha! One of my pet peeves – “women-specific” bikes come with ‘dumbed down’ components IMHO. It’s not called upgrading to put better components on- it’s making it right. We won’t talk about the silly colors! And yes I ride a 10 year old bike lol.

  4. My dad used to buy my mother inferior electronics because “she couldn’t appreciate the better stuff’. That was lame. And I told him so!

  5. Lucky wife!

    I’ve always noticed women feel they need to earn better equipment by riding/racing better while men always think the only way to get better is with better equipment. I’ve found that fasinating.

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