In large part, I sell bikes for a living, as do many of my friends. They might be reps, shop owners, fitters, manufacturer’s reps, marketing people, all of them basically aimed at selling bikes. And so I talk a lot about what people want, why they want it, how best to get it to them, etc. There is a lot of wisdom among my friends and colleagues, much of it received, which gets me to wondering.
I suspect a new bike represents one of the most freighted decisions a cyclist can make, unless he or she has the income to suck up fresh wheels like a Roomba cleaning Cheerios. Why do regular people really buy new bikes?
Yeah, yeah, there are a million reasons, including but not limited to: new technology, new riding styles, new friends, new fitness, simple lust, boredom, hoarding, etc. But what are the main reasons?
At this point in my cycling life, a new bike has to offer me a lot. It either has to offer me a better way to ride than one of the bikes I already have, or live in a genre that I don’t have access to yet. Or it has to look great.
Think about it. You walk through the door of your LBS to buy, say, a road bike. What is important about a road bike to you? Do you test ride and pick the one that handles the best? Do buy based on color? Part spec? I know that each of those is important, but in what priority?
For me, handling is most important, but if it comes in colors I don’t like, then I probably keep looking. I tend not to let part spec bother me, because I know I can change those things easily. Whether or not I like the salesperson, the shop or the brand factors in, too, but I can’t say how without betraying a whole ton of biases with little grounding in reality. It shouldn’t be complicated, but it is.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what are you looking for in a new bike? What are your priorities? And do you find them often met? Or do you feel like the right bike is always out there, like a great white whale, showing it’s plume in the far off ocean, but never submitting itself for capture?