Saturday, 27 December 2008

I ride a 2003 model Trek 2300. It is equipped with full ultegra componentry (9 speed), standard Bontragger Race Light wheels and the standard issue San Marco saddle. It is a US made unit and at the time of purchase, was at the bottom of the Trek elite range of bikes. (This was the pre Madone era)

The frame is aluminum, as is the seat post and handle bars. Folks are carbon.

I run Michelin Kylion tyres and basic Shimano pedals. Cranks are alloy (naturally)

It has lasted very well and shows little wear and tear despite being on “its side” a few times.

I have travelled a little over 35,000 k’s since purchasing the machine new in December 2004 (it was a bargain at a superseded price)

It has successfully seen me through 2 six day rides each of 850 plus kilometres in length, countless river rides, a couple of dozen goat track/Mt Nebo rides, who knows how many Coot-tha accents, far too many Nudgee Beach and Redcliffe trips, 20 or so races (one win, three places) and where ever else it has taken me.

I am basically pretty happy with it.

But why do many of my cycling colleagues continually ask me when I am getting a new bike?

Why am I constantly being badgered about upgrading to a carbon frame and durace?

Why is a friend living in Singapore calling a friend in Brisbane soliciting his support to put pressure on me to buy a new bike?

At the moment, I do not see that my relatively old and unsophisticated machine is preventing me from doing anything. I do not feel my cycling ability has outgrown the ability of my bike to deliver what I want it too. Maybe when I am fitter and stronger, it might become an issue.

A lighter bike might improve my climbing times. But, there is a lot I can do first to improve my climbing before I invest in a new bike.

Will a new bike improve chances in a bunch sprint? Not if I continue my practice of not really training for sprinting.

I am very aware of a comment I heard a few years ago. It was something like: “He has a $10,000 bikes and $10 legs.”
One of my motivations in holding out against buying a new bike is I rather like being able to match it with most of my cycling friends on most terrains, despite running what is so called far inferior equipment. And I think it secretly and significantly annoys them too.

Finally, in the current market, what do you buy? We have the likes of Trek, Specialised and Cannondale who make great bikes but arguably lack style or Euro Cred. There are many brands (I wont name them) that have Euro Cred but allegedly lack reliable warranty support and have dubious construction quality. Then there are beautifully designed options such as Time, Fondreist, Olmo and Cinelli.

I know I don’t like Cervelo, Giant, Pinarello and Colnago, but there is no logic to this at all.

And I love the look of the Brisbane made Llewellyn and the Victorian based Baum but really don’t know if either of these would suit me. Is light weight steel a good alternative?

At the end of the day, I cannot come up with a logical reason to upgrade.

But given the pressure I am under to do so, I ask the question. Is it more about the bike than the cycling?

Then again, in what is somewhat a contradiction, I am constantly searching for new and different jerseys and delight in receiving overseas offerings from several sources and being the envy of others for having them. It is all about the jersey.


blue_butterfly said...

i love biking too...i love to bike when i was younger, but now that iam older i would settle for a scooter ( yeah, i know no pedal, hahaha)
but its the exhilirating freedom iam after. when i get home from work, i would take it out and just make a dash around the subdivision where i live.
i like to feel the wind brushing my face, the way my hair sways, the rush of cold air in my lungs...its amazing!
oh i just stumbled into your blog as i love to visit and read other people's pages.
happy new year!

Groover said...

Great post. I rode a Trek 1400 before I bought the Time a few years ago. As you, I was constantly encouraged to upgrade and resisted it with the laconic "I can't even do my current (perfectly fine) bike justice. Any other bike would just do the same. It's a bike for god's sake. How can another bike make such a difference?" Very much along the same line as you. Until I test rode the Time (without the initial intention of buying). It was a smart move of the bike shop to let me test ride. I immediately noticed a huge difference. It's like driving a Ford Festiva and then piloting a Porsche ... I had to have the fancy carbon bike. :-)

Colin said...

Groover ----- That hurts. Calling my bike a Festiva ouch :) I have been offered test rides numerous times, "We'll set up a bike for you to take for a ride on Saturday. Take it for a decent ride, do some laps, hammer for a while" It is my fear of discovering just how good an upgrade would be that has seen me say no. And re Time, in black, they are just about the coolest - all class.

Blue Butterfly - thanks for your interest. I appreciate it but you are never too old to ride a bike, besides, bikes keep you young (and free) Happy New Year to you too