Friday Group Ride #454

Friday Group Ride #454

Like you, I have been fortunate to own more bikes than I needed, more bikes than I reasonably ought, and more bikes than a sane person might want to pay for in two lifetimes. That’s ok. I loved them all, even the ones that weren’t very good.

I didn’t need the BMX bike that I bought after my first son was born. I had the idea that he would be riding his 20″ wheels up and down our dead end street and that I could get back into BMX by riding up and down with him. I imagined myself honing all those skills I had when I was 10. In reality, I wrenched my shoulder pretty badly on my first ride, showing him how to wheelie. That hurt for about 6 months. I sold that bike the following year.

For the longest time, there was always a next bike in my mind. Sometimes that bike was a bike I already had, say a road bike, but different. I wanted one of those Saeco Cannondale road bikes in red and yellow for a long time for no good reason. I had three road bikes at the time. Sometimes that bike lived in another genre, like when I spent two years shopping for a cruiser. Does that sound like the behavior of a sane, grown man?

We’ve all made the n+1 joke, where n is the number of bikes we own currently and n+1 is the number we think is ideal. The joke only stops being funny when you never let go of any bikes and you shift from enthusiast to collector to hoarder, a TV crew perched by your basement door, unable to walk into the space for fear of treading on something valuable and/or getting tetanus.

There is some bit of cycling motivation that lives in the urge for a new bike though. For all the minutes and hours that accumulate in the saddle, turning over the pedals and little bits of dissatisfaction with the machine beneath us, an idea for something better germinates.

Right now I have a short list of new bikes in mind, topped by a dual-suspension mountain bike. I’m not convinced I need that bike, but I am convinced I want it. I’d also like a vintage three-speed and maybe a new gravel bike. I have no room for those bikes. Except in my heart.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what is your next bike? What category? What type? What color? What brand? And what’s keeping you from getting it? Time? Money? Space?

Image: Curbside Classic

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  1. Lyford

    The obvious gap in the lineup is a dual-suspension mountain bike. I’m too old to be seeking air, but it’d be nice to take the edges off the roots and rocks. Obstacle is money and time to use it.

    On a different note, I recently got a new gravel bike which is changing my “n+1” thinking. I’m looking at my Strava times and realizing that it’s barely slower than my road bike but much more comfortable. So now “aero gravel bike”, which seemed like a joke, is making a lot of sense as a way to thin the herd.
    I suspect that a pure road bike would show a bigger advantage on smooth pavement, but on the lumpy, cracked NH-VT back roads that are my reality, compliance and comfort are not the enemy of efficiency. Wind resistance always is.

    So for *my* world, it’d be something with relaxed, stable gravel/endurance geometry, great compliance and all the modern aero tweaks. Add medium (40ish?) aero wheels optimized for tubeless 40s and lower-than-Road gearing. Doing all that at a competitive weight would be out of my price range, but I’d have a hard time arguing that I needed anything else.

    Except the dual-suspension mountain bike, and the full-fender commuter, and……..;-)

  2. Quentin

    My most recent gravel ride featured a couple of mud pits and sand traps, so now I’m convinced it would have been easier if I had one of those new 650B gravel bikes.

  3. Aar

    My next bike would be a “grocery fetching” bike. Internal gears, belt drive, built for racks and paniers, low gear range for hauling a load up hills.

  4. Ron Callahan

    Several years after getting out of the full carbon race bike mode and going to an alloy, all-road bike, I’m itching for a race bike again. Carbon fiber frame, SRAM Red eTap, carbon fiber wheels, etc. I just don’t want to spend to what my desire could drag me into.

  5. MattC

    I got an awesome 29’er full suspension mtb a few years back (to replace my ancient 26″ mtb that was damaged), and then last year I got a new disc brake gravel bike. Turns out the gravel bike + the mtb I currently own have strangely erased the n+1 feeling. I’m getting up there in years, and the MTB satisfies anything that I would possibly want to tackle (including my new desire for bikepacking). The gravel bike had HUGE potential…but you need to change the tires to suit the mission…(came w/ 35’s). So I finally got 2 more sets of wheels…a nice carbon set w/ tubeless 28’s for the road, the original tubeless 35’s for crappy road/reasonable dirt, and a set of tubeless 45’s for more serious dirt. That makes the gravel bike three bikes in one…and I can change the wheels in moments (aligning all 3 sets of rotors to the calipers so all wheels drop in w/ no rotor rub is a bit of a chore tho, but well worth it in the end)…it’s freaking brilliant! On the road it’s a bit heavier than a serious road bike, but it’s OH SO COMFY! It’s a serious all-day bike (AND, it has all the mount points for road touring…racks/panniers)…which will go hand in hand w/ my bikepacking on the mtb…that’s some serious bucket list stuff! I’m talking about north to south Hwy 1, and then a full X-country trip in the coming few years. That bike is a true chameleon….does everything quite well except for full on mtb’ing. It’s funny that for the first time in my life, those 2 bikes are all the quiver I want…who would have thought? (instead of buying bikes I’m now buying touring/bikepacking gear, the wife sees it all the same as buying bikes sadly).

  6. scott g

    I prefer the daily bike system, I’ve a bike for the Tuesday & Thursday rides, another for the Saturday rides,
    another for Sundays.

  7. Stephen Barner

    I’m with Scott on the daily bike thing. One bike for the 1st, another for the second, a different bike for the 3rd. I shound be all set until mid-July.

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