I am at a very fortunate point in my cycling life that I don’t have pressing needs for a new bike. That is not to say that I don’t know what my next bike will be, but I’m not currently missing out on any flavor of ride for lack of the correct machine. That allows me to (attempt to) be judicious in planning what comes next.
Part of those considerations is what I refer to as upgrade and afterlife. How long will I be able to keep and ride the next bike? How will I evolve it over time? I don’t like to relegate parts to the bins in the garage. I give away most of what I upgrade.
For me, too many of the components on today’s bikes are proprietary. Their frames have no way forward. I avoid that like the plague, and so far I’m plague-free.
I’m good for a new drivetrain every five years. I know. I know. That’s glacial. But I have plenty of friends still 9-speeding their way through life, and they don’t seem to be enjoying themselves any less. Other friends think I’m a dolt for still employing cables, like some retro-plebiscite. I change out my chain annually. That seems to help the rest live on.
Wheels, for me, have a 3-4 year arc. This could be wasteful, but I’m not the best truer, so I can just about limp a pair along for that period of time before they need help beyond my skill set. Wheels are also evolving pretty quickly. Quick releases are going away. Rims are getting wider. These things pose challenges for longevity. Whole branches of velo-evolution are closed off. I find it frustrating.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what is your upgrade cycle? For drivetrains? For wheels? For a new bike? I know a lot of you are out there on older frames and gruppos, and I applaud you. What is the thing that will inspire you to buy new again? For those of you who are early adopters, what have been your biggest disappointments? Di2 chainstay batteries?