Opinion: Shiny Objects Aren't The Answer

Feb 11, 2015 at 12:33
by Mike Kazimer  
Spinning Circles column Mike Kazimer

Mountain biking isn't about shiny objects. It's about where those shiny objects take you, the adventures they facilitate, and the stories that result. There's a raw simplicity to it all – even the most elegant and meticulously crafted bikes are still designed to be ridden away from the concrete, to be pummeled and thrashed like pugilists, enduring round after round of use and abuse.

It's the sensations that matter; of speed, of tires spinning and clawing for traction, the moment of weightlessness that transpires just after leaving the lip of a jump - those are the reasons to ride. Not to impress or convert, but for yourself. Riding is good for the soul, and as long as you're rolling on two wheels, roosting around corners on a rigid singlespeed is
just as much fun as doing the same aboard a high-zoot carbon fiber wonderbike. The experiences, not the equipment are what really, truly matter, and the memories of splashing friends with a well timed wheelie through a mud puddle, or watching the sun dip behind the mountains just before racing down the final section of trail in the alpenglow will never go out of fashion, or need to be upgraded.

There's also an underlying grittiness to mountain biking that's easy to overlook, to gloss over with that lingering sunset imagery, but it's one of the things that originally drew me to the sport. The idea of exploring, of getting scratched, bruised and battered, away from the rules of home and school was hugely appealing to my 12-year-old self, and that appeal still remains. Just like how I'd rather go see a noisy punk show in a dingy dive bar than a watch a sugarcoated and over-processed pop concert in a stadium, I'll take a steep, muddy, rocky, chewed up trail over a smooth, manicured ribbon of singletrack any day.

The same sentiment applies to the bikes themselves - a well used bike, with grips perfectly worn to matched each hand's calloused contours, the crankarms polished smooth by countless muddy revolutions - that's a bike with a story, a story that's infinitely more interesting than that of the spotless bike with the little rubber spikes still protruding from the tires, the one that looks like it's never been anywhere more challenging than a gravel rec path. Bikes and bodies alike are meant to be used, to be pushed to their limits, part of a continuous experiment to find out what's around the next corner, and how quickly it can be reached.

That rawness is what has fueled my addiction for all these years – mountain biking isn't easy, which is why I can't get enough of it. The fact that there are no rules, that it's an anarchic activity free from whistle blowing referees, makes it all the better. Deep in the woods there are no speed limits or safety nets – your decisions belong to you, along with the consequences that come with them. Mountain biking is a constant a balancing act, a teetering on the edge of chaos and control that forces the brain to block out everything else except the moment at hand. Best of all, once I'm far enough away from the masses there's no one to judge my mismatched kit, my tire choice, how I hold onto the handlebars – it's just me and the squirrels, bears, and mountain lions, and they definitely don't give a f*ck about head angle or chainstay length. I ride for myself, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


  • 195 2
 I just spent $6000 on a new bike. Six f*cking grand. That's more than I've spent on anything in my life. And I was so happy to do it. Not for the image, or to be sporting a brand new bike, but because I love riding. If there's anything that I should be willing to spend the money I so diligently save, its the one thing that I'm most passionate about and what gives me the biggest grins. I'm excited to have a new bike and to have components that are much better than the last, but I know that new bike excitement will fade. But the excitement of pulling up to the trailhead on a day off, or that excitement of racing a thunderstorm 4000' down the mountain never will. And that's why I love it.
  • 52 1
 Congrats man! Sticker shock melts away pretty quick once that freshy starts spinning. Shinny things are cool, not the reason why we do it but it sure don't hurt. First scratch hurts the most. The rest is downhill and thank God for that.
  • 25 2
 I have a fully matte black specialized enduro which I (gladly) paid $3,500 for. Every time it gets splattered with mud it leaves behind a permanent patina of scratches after I wash it off. It may hurt the resale value but it adds character, and now its really MY bike until the day I break the frame and upgrade.
  • 56 2
 anytime I buy bike parts I think
"I could either have these pieces of green paper, or a new fork" makes the decision making process much easier.
  • 14 1
 I also just bought a $6000 bike (that's aussie $'s) and I had to drive 600 km to pick it up (shop wouldn't send it to me). But I got to take it straight to one of the best trail networks in my state and explore somewhere new. Didn't even ride 10% of the trails there but the memories of exploring a new riding spot will stay with me long after my new bike has lost its sheen.
  • 12 1
 I did the same thing recent, I decided "F*ck it I've done awesome for myself this year" and bought myself a new Nomad sight unseen and drove for 8 hours straight to go get it and go home after work.

It was absolutely worth every dime I spent on it. That grin after nailing a line perfectly and knowing you just destroyed the fastest you've ever gone on it is worth it. The equipment just makes an activity I adore on anything even more fun for me!
  • 21 2
 You've captivated the passion that everyone has on here Mike. The strange thing is though, it sounds like you're trying to justify something to yourself more than others. haha. I'll play devils advocate on this a little:

Granted, you will have a very small number of individuals that go out an blow thousands on bike products that will inevitably, never really use them to their full potential. That is the reality of life. They either don't have the ability to ride it as hard or fast as their idols or they haven't been overwhelmed by the deep down, out of control addiction. they may have purchased the bike to try and chase the dream of being in the "bike bum" lifestyle, but the clinch of metropolitan life has too strong a grip on them that they can't break away. Going down to the trail centre is the only escape they have from a life less fun. That on it's own is a start. If they don't break through that first barrier, is that such a hardship??? Are you not then segregating them from the two wheeled family as an outsider?
The upside is though, these types help keep the evolution of the sport alive. They buy the latest products that intern, are sold to other riders after a year/small period of time. They are actually helping others to gain the parts that some can't afford at the full retail pricing. The sport is the freedom of expression as well as a platform to explore and go on adventures, as close or as far away from your home as you like. Do with it what you will I say and don't be prejudice. We are all chasing the same dream.
  • 10 26
flag chyu (Feb 11, 2015 at 23:20) (Below Threshold)
 Thanks to people like you, your current setup going to cost $7000 next year.
  • 15 2
 @chyu That my be true and I long ago accepted I'm more than willing to pay the premium for the thing I want the most, but at the same time I've seen more amazing bikes for low prices (Look at the entry level Reign, especially in Canadian prices!) and more and more of my friends have picked up really good second hand bikes from guys like me that LOVE buying the new toy to enjoy our biggest passion on. f*ck I know I sell my "old" bikes to my friends at absurdly low pries to help get others into the sport I love so much, so while my buying habits may drive an extreme high end they help other riders too. There's pros and cons to everything.

And sure, I may have bought a bike I had no hope of riding to it's potential at the time, but I've advanced by leaps and bounds because you know what? I just love being out riding the thing because it's wonderful, and for me, that's worth it.
  • 4 0
 Most important question, what did you buy?
  • 9 2
 @chyu People like me?!!! Ok, so its my fault Research and development as well as production costs need to be covered by a company in it's prices? Fine, I'll accept it mate. I spend good money on bikes each year and I ride them as hard as I like. Yes I clean and shine them up real nice as this is fundamental to maintaining its function. If you don't want to spend cash on something, you don;t have to. It's totally your choice. Don't hate those that choose to.
Human natures simplest desire is to evolve and hunt out new things as well as to improve. If you we didn't crave this, where would the sport be and why bother doing anything if you're willing to just accept something and never thrive to improve it.

Well put @Uberbob102000. Thats a mature and objective outlook on it.
  • 9 3
 Well, I'm glad to read that some of you are proud of spending the cash like me (new high-end bike every year). There's been a few PB articles and comments in the past week or two propping up old bikes and technology: OPs and PB members are telling stories about how they ride a shiny bike but get overtaken by someone on an old bike, or they ride an old bike and overtake people on shiny bikes. The fact is that if you are really into bikes, you spend the cash. Go to a big race and you will see that there won't be bike more than two years old under the riders who finish in the top 10%. My bike starts every ride shining like a new penny.
  • 5 2
 @iamamodel I agree with you totally buddy. If you can afford it and want something, why should you be pigeon holed for it.
  • 2 0
 @sup3rc0w- Was that for me mate?
  • 5 0
 Lets be honest though, that gold stem adds atleast 10mph to you top speed.
  • 11 2
 iamamodel - I guess that whatever we do is ok as long as it makes us happy. If it is truly the case then we should roll with it, if you are genuinely happy with what you do (and spend your money on) everyone around is happy. There are only two rules - 1.Don't clench to it 2.Don't push others to do as you do, don't shout about it as well.

I reached the almost top end of what is possible with the bike and from all my life/biking experiences I've seen what of it makes me happy, for instance I will never buy a carbon part or frame again unless it is a banger deal (eventually 29" rims), I will never consider suspension type again, I will never again go through geometry chart with microscope. In that sense I will never buy most of top stuff again. From my experience, for me myself, it makes no sense what so ever, sometimes even makes it worse, than some middle-class choices.

Each life is a set of experiences and circumstances, and there is no single concept (God and Science included) that applies to everyone, and it is utterly short sighted to weigh a human being, if only his MTB riding alone, on the bike he rides, whether it is low end, high end or everything in between - and here's this, that does not mean that it doesn't matter what you ride, a squirell, bear or mountain lion don't give a sht if you ride bike at all, they could not give a bloody damn if you exist. So you may as well relax about whatever you have between your legs (even if it looks as shitty as the latest Nomad Big Grin )
  • 1 0
 What bike did you get?
  • 7 0
 I remember when i was young my parents used to buy me a new bike every year for passing school and entering into a new grade. Now looking back on it, it was more that I out grew my old bike and just needed a bigger one. The deal was the same evrey year 100$ for the new bike...I had banana seat bikes, i had bikes that looked like motox bikes with front and rear suspensin and plastic fenders and tank, I had 10 speeds, and bmx's. All of those bikes jumped great (wooden ramp traps, angled curbs and drops, they always wheelied really great, they all turned in both directions, and they made it to my school, corner store, the neighborhood pool and park, they all went down every bike path, creak crossing, lake jump, ghost ride. I would leave my house at 8 in the morning and come home when my dad would yell out the front door it was supper time, in his big, loud, boisterous, military trained voice. The only thing I can not remeber is wheather the bikes were actually shiny or not! I guess because it was the freedom and adventure it gave me...it was a tool to the other side!
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns and @Bird-Man, Two very good and valid points being brought across.
  • 1 0
 Bought my bike slightly used. No plans of replacing it.spend my hard earned cash on things like brake pads and tyres.my next bike im thinking would be new...until then..im enjoying every ride as they come
  • 4 0
 Without even bringing a wheel size into this debate, I have to make a point here. I can totally appreciate the fact that people love their aging machines with every scratch to tell a story. That's how I feel about my 97 TJ compared to my 07. But I wont lie to you and tell you that the manufacture of the product didn't update the hell out of everything, and improve nearly every aspect.

It's the same story with mtb's, I rode my brothers (06-07?) Specialized Epic for a little bit when I was just getting into the sport and every descent felt like I was making a death wish especially on 2.2/2.1 tires. Then I got on a Stumpjumper Evo (slacker, longer travel, shorter stem) and immediately noticed a night and day difference.

Being the person I am, I cannot help but be effected by the dreaded placebo effect. For example, if you changed my stem from a 40 to a 60, and bars from 780 to 740, I could hardly even concentrate on the trail because my brain would never let me relax knowing I don't have the right tools in my hands. The other side of this is the marketing of new products isn't always just a load of shit. A lot of the times a company has worked very hard to bring people something innovative, and the stubborn / broke PB'ers call it absurd when it very well may be the next best thing.

We are who we are, and its a beautiful market, overpriced, full of bright colors, and most of the time unnecessary. But god damn it feels good when you spent the extra hard earned $1000 and got the model with the X1 drivetrain. As well as a 2X system works, mentally you cant help but love the idea of finally ditching that 2nd ring.
  • 11 0
 Then the question that needs to be asked.....if my riding partner is a dog and she beats me on the climbs but I beat her on the descents is she more all mountain or am I more enduro? and if so do I need 27.5 wheels with maxxiis or four paws with claws. or maybe she needs a wider collar and some five ten booties for more control in the corners.
If you water and take care of your lawn then the grass on the otherside of the street is not so green! im just sayin!
  • 4 0
 Cool points - Let's put it this way, as I was also after it: some of the stuff in those latest bikes is awesome, and does change the game, and that's why they are worth it, for everybody, that's why people who buy them should not be labeled as sheep because it is their money that brings those goods to the market and make R&D work worth it for companies. I am far from saying that i 10k S-Works or Ibis is what everyone needs, for fks sake no, in reality nobody needs that, pros included, but certain pieces of technology in those bikes will be soon appreciated by others: droppers, wide bars, wide(r) rims, geometry
  • 3 0
 The worst part of a new bike is you actually notice the scratches!
  • 12 1
 People spend LOTS of money on their hobbies: boats, golf, hot-rods, etc. I was dropping $2-3 grand on car parts and I had to PAY to have people look at my car at a car show before I got into mountain biking, and this was for a car I refused to drive! Sold my car, got a 4x4, and got me, my wife, and my 2 kids mountain bikes (and had money left to put into the bank). We have way more fun as a family, we are much healthier, and we have vacations that most people only dream about. I don't regret a single dollar I spent on mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 @Thustlewhumber what type of car were you building up?
  • 3 0
 1966 Mustang fastback, 351w, Hurst 4 speed inline shifter, side exhaust, 9" tubbed rearend, red w/ white racing stripes. I couldn't ever figure out where to put the bike rack on it.... Smile
  • 2 1
 Without a dropper and wide bars, you may not consciously know it, but you are actually competing in a life long XC event and everyone is watching
  • 2 0
 Reading this as my bike is hanging on the wall next to me, still with last year's dirt on it. Get it shiny from time to time, but also don't be afraid to get it real dirty. Free things are more satisfying than getting that new and shiny machine covered in mud.
  • 23 2
 "Mountain biking isn't about shiny objects." You say this? On just about the biggest gear fappage site there is? It is a nicely written counterpoint I'll grant that.
  • 11 4
 This this this. Totally this. Bike parts are cool. Bike parts are expensive. All the coolest shit from any hobby is the high end expensive stuff. No one cares about daydreaming at work to some boring aluminum framed, SLX equipped, Reba forked crap machine.
  • 4 0
 Buy what makes you happy and stoked to ride. If you aren't happy with your ride, then go for an upgrade! But if you feel the impulse to buy a shiny new part because of the industry's pressure, you're doing it wrong.
  • 18 1
 You sir, are a true mountain biker.
  • 1 0
 this is what i was thinking too!
grandma says : doesn't matter the bike brand, go and ride your bike!!
(french citation)
  • 19 7
 I don't have erectile dysfunction but if I did, I wouldnt need Viagra. I would just walk out to my garage and stare at my intense t275 and bam! Boner achieved. Works every time. Just got Enve wheels too so I am talking mega boner.
  • 14 2
 dude that's weird Smile
  • 10 0
 sounds like a nice bike, but i wouldnt borrow it now!
  • 19 0
 That must make it hard to ride.
  • 3 1
 My TR26'R still gives me an Intense chubby every time I stop an stare, ride on or paint the ceiling dude Ye-Ha!
  • 3 0
 I hear those Enve wheels are stiff.
  • 4 0
 Inviting as it looks, that isn't what the hole in your saddle is for...
  • 13 2
 Great piece Mike. Thanks, I needed that. I'm sorta pissed at mountain biking as a business at the moment but I'll never ever be pissed at what mountain biking means to me and the handful of folks that I live to enjoy it with, including yourself.
  • 8 4
 I've worked in the bike industry my whole life. A wise man once taught me how to make a million dollars with bicycles. His solution? Start with $2 million. None of us get rich. Hell, some of us can't make rent. There will always be bikes or cars or houses that are just a little out of our budget, that's just how it is.

One thing's for sure though, a $1000 bike nowadays destroys a $1000 bike from 10 years ago. Same goes for the $3000 or $6000 bikes out there too.
  • 4 2
 It's an industry, Their here to make money. No point blaming them for doing the fundamentals that they have been out to achieve. Innovation costs money. Nothing in life is free, well, apart from death.
  • 13 0
 You can keep your shiny things... I'll take my carbon fiber with a matte finish
  • 11 1
 "The same sentiment applies to the bikes themselves - a well used bike, with grips perfectly worn to matched each hand's calloused contours, the crankarms polished smooth by countless muddy revolutions - that's a bike with a story"

This should be implemented into a Pinkbike Competition or even just a community image request - 'Show your bike' with the emphasis being on a well used bike opposed to a showroom fresh model on a plinth?

Says a lot about the rider.
  • 8 0
 Well said, Mike. That's the most straightforward, heartfelt thing I ever read on on this site. And I agree completely... my old Nomad is pretty beaten up nowadays, and sits on those outlawed 26" relics. Every dent is a memory from some track it did its best to spare me injury on: Finale Ligure, Andorra, Morzine, Rotorua ... God, I love that bike, not because of what I spent on it, but the places it took me.
  • 6 0
 Biking is for everyone to enjoy and shouldn't matter if your bike is the latest, is made of carbon fiber, or your ride skinny tires and wear flashy spandex. Run whatcha brung. Ride what makes you happy. Leave the elitism in Beverly Hills.
  • 5 0
 The problem is not the bike, it's the influence. Expose yourself to inspirational adventurous people, rather than expose yourself to pinkbike and you will want to adventure, rather than buy fashionable stuff so you would look good in a picture/video.
  • 5 0
 Broke my carbon frame and have been off the bike for two months. Wonderful opportunity to reassess why I mountain bike. Now I'm building up a hardtail with my 26 components, and the excitement is building for this coming weekend when I'll be able to ride once again. More than anything I just want to ride. When you strip away the thin veneer its all about getting kicks on your bike, and over the last two months I'd have traded all the carbon XO X1 Saint Clutch NW fanciness in the world just to have a bike I can hop on top of. Soon...
  • 5 0
 I actually had this discussion with someone today.
I love my original Juicy Ultimates, and my original Codes.
I still have my XTR 970 cranks, they just work.
Shiny = Expensive
Old faithful = Reliable fun.
  • 2 0
 I just built up a spare parts rigid bike with those cranks and juicy carbons. Not the greatest brakes but MAN it makes riding so much more fun when you are a little scared because you don't think you are going to stop in time!
  • 2 0
 I have raced the Juicy Carbon on my Dh bike in the past with no issues, 203 up front, 180 out back. They give great stopping power with the Nukeproof pads. I have them on 2 bikes (Nomad and Azure) just now and a 3rd set at home as spares (well they are actually pretty much new, but that is a story). There might be an issue with your ones.
  • 3 0
 @betsie I think I must have been missing something; when do you ever use your brakes?
  • 1 0
 @betsie, maybe, I have ridden the hell out of those things for 7 years and have kept up on the maintenance but they still don't have the stopping power for my hayes 9s or my xt's
  • 1 0
 I had the new XT's, they were great for the 3/4 brake pulls when they worked. Went back to Juicy Ultimates.
Did not realize the ultimates were that old, or I was that old Frown had mine for that long too.
Hayes 9's + power.... keep them bad boys, never seen a set, sticking pistons, leaks and the horrible feel.
  • 5 0
 This reminded me of when I was a kid riding crap 2nd hand bikes. I've had some very nice bikes since then but those days are still some of my best riding memories. Really good read. Screw recovery gels, eat cake!
  • 4 0
 Mountain biking isn't all about the latest and greatest, but in some ways it is. Most people who ride, most likely also just love bikes. I know I do. Its a hell of a lot cheaper than being a "car guy". Like some of the other posters, I just recently spent way too much money on a carbon dream bike and I'm not disappointed. For me, riding is therapy. It gives me something to look forward to after a long day or week of being in the office. I base a lot of my vacations and getaways on being able to ride. I don't live in the mountains, and my bike is probably overkill for my daily rides, but I enjoy it and it rides great. It allows me to do what I love at my highest level possible. I don't want a bike that works perfectly for my daily riding but holds me back when I'm riding the trails I dream about. I know a lot of guys that are consumed with all the tech and its almost more important than actually riding. That's fine, to each their own. Ride what you like and can afford. When it comes down to it, your body is the engine, and you're the pilot. If a high end bike stokes you up and gives you the confidence to do what you love doing better, then that's what its all about.
  • 4 0
 I guess the tl:dr summary would be "go ride your damn bike."

It's funny how much people are concerned with being authentic and all that. Yes, there are riders who are insanely gear focused. They geek out over their gear, the spend embarrassing amounts of money on it, and they just won't shut up about it. And yes, we've all seen "that guy" who shows up at the trailhead with a $10k wonderbike, but can't ride for shit. Just like we've all seen the guy who rides his 10 year old beater hard tail so insanely well that we all feel guilty about even having a rear shock.

But let's be real - money can't buy happiness, but it can buy better bikes/bike parts, and that's not a bad start. Everyone has their own little happy place sweet spot. And, like with most technical sports, geeking out about the gear at least a little bit can be part of the fun. There are a lot of people who spend way too much on gear. There are a lot of people who could really benefit from investing a little bit more instead of protesting loudly how they don't need any of that shit, and if you were truly hardcore you wouldn't either. There are poseurs on both ends of that spectrum. And then there are a lot of people in the middle who just go for a ride.

Shiny things are fun. They are nice. They can become a distraction. As can overly focusing on the "purity" of the sport. Just go ride your f*#)ing bike, whether $100 hand me down beater, $10k carbon wonder sled, or anything in between. Riding > preaching/judging.
  • 14 9
 This is why I still ride 26. I like to play with and feel the trail. Steaming over everything with big wheels to the point it feels like a road ride gets boring.
  • 5 1
 you can seek out features and adventure and challenges on any bike. Perhaps someone just starting out goes for big wheels and ease of use. Perhaps that's the way it's presented. Maybe this person graduates to try different styles of riding and different types of bikes. Adventure, challenge. Maybe this person just likes plowing over everything on big wheels (or big travel) and never tries anything else.
I'm a roadie. And a mountain biker. (climber, disc golfer, blahblah)... they're my yin and yang, equal loves that I approach differently and satisfy me in very different ways. I ride with roadie friends who ride mtb not too differently, all xc, milage, fast, more business than play. I ride with mountain bikers who scoff at road bikes- other than fixies Wink
The ones I get along with best understand sport is sport. Most ride with the goals of riding better and having fun. Not the goal of looking good, either through their gear or their attitude toward other disciplines. (Though if you can make any trail look like butter and ride with steaze, power to you- keep posting sick videos)..
Same as many of you I have a shiny new wonderbike. Thing is sick, and i'm in love. Spent way more than i'll admit to most people. Something has held me back from posting it here, though certainly I know it's worthy. Like Lance said it's not about the bike. I mean, we all like nice things and so it kinda is, but I want to ride this thing not showcase it. And I know it's way more beautiful than my riding, so I dont want it to be about the bike! I just want to keep learning what it and I are capable of.
  • 2 5
 @fatenduro - bit of a flippant statment buddy. if you still want to "feel the trail" take a bigger wheeled bike on a gnarlier trail. You sound like a person who's afraid of change?! Haha. Have you tried all three sizes on the same track????
I personally don't get this "steaming over things easier" concept. You still feel the trail but you will adapt your riding slightly to suit the sizing.
  • 4 1

Easiest way to "feel the trail" switch to hard tail, or how about completely rigid.
  • 10 1
 Why you gotta make this about wheelsize?
  • 1 0
 @Questlove967 Exactly the point. Just a flippant and rather poorly structured comment.
  • 1 4
 You can pop off of smaller trail features with 26's, while a 650 or fatbike just numbs the whole trail, esp if your shocks are properly setup. Riding fully rigid takes the most skill, and is the most fun, if you can handle it. But it needs mad skills. Designated bike trails these days aren't quite as gnar as multiuse trails once were before mtb hit it big. @gazmataz, max gnar is when no trail bike can roll it, and the boulders are so big you have to trials it. So it's either get off and walk it with a big wheel fatbike or 650b, or stay on the pedals and trials it on a 26'er. If you truly enjoy the style and technique of riding off road, you'll pick the wheel size that lets you ride the whole trail, not just the parts easy enough to fit wagon wheels. For me that's 26. You can ride more of an unbermed ungroomed extreme trail on 26's than you can on 650's or 29's for maneuverability reasons alone.
  • 5 1
 Rubbish!!!! You can pop off anything you want to. It will only roll over things and "smash" and "Numb" things if you want to ride that way. You are coming from a very negative and subjective approach @fatenduro. Yes, "max Gnar" as you put it isn't what trail bike was initially designed for. It's either a DH track or a remote location that is specifically chosen by a Specific type of Rider to suit their needs. But if the rider has the ability to ride any bike then yes, it can be.

So, give Hans Ray one of his may 650b or 29er's that he has in his garage and go tell him he- "can't ride this area because he's on the wrong wheel size or bike design" and see what response you get........ This is exactly the same for the likes of Danny Mac. Small features have formed in the sizes they are, because of the standard 26 inch wheelbase for the last two decades or so. If the overall wheel size and wheelbase grow, so do the spacings and sizes of said small features. You feel as if your "popping" off these as you're used to riding them on the wheel base that you are used to.

Your flippant comments have no substance buddy and you're looking at it from a very naive mindset. Evolve your mind and approach to looking at things or, alternatively, get left behind and then wait for the moment that reality slaps you in the face and you have to skulk back into the group of people, you spent so much time calling weirdos for changing, only to say "I was wrong".
  • 2 3
 Yeah! And what the hell is a disc golfer anyway!?
  • 2 0
 I dont always post to web forums... but when I do...
I've often been partying and *think* I have something insightful to say Wink

@speed10... building up the 26" steel hardtail now, need only a new wheelset. stoked.

And disc golf is what they call "the shit."
  • 1 0
 disc golf is the perfect wind down after a session on the bike.
  • 2 0
 I'm really into "max gnar"
I agree that trialsin through seeming impassable parts of trail is badass. I disagree that 29 or 27.5" wheels will be incapable of this. Countless videos come to mind.

The end of the day, it's the rider, not the bike (or wheel size) that makes it.

PS disc golf: Why does smoking pot need a sport? Just sit on your couch.
  • 3 4
 @gazmaz get off your flippant name calling bs. You're a perfect example of an industry yes-boy who buys all the newest stuff and needs increasingly artificial and manmade trails to have fun. The point of this article is having fun, without the latest and greatest. 650's 29's are faster and more efficient on fire roads and smooth climbs, bermed corners, groomed trails. And you're completely right. You need bigger (and more artificial) features to pop off and play on a trail with big wheels. An industry yesboy like you gazmaz probably needs a DH bike, enduro bike, enduro light bike, dj bike, wanker bike, and road bike to have fun. Consequently you spend half your time buying crap. Natural trails, are more fun on a 26. It takes more skill to ride a DH track on a small travel bike or hard tail. Sure you aren't as fast, but it's way more fun upping your skills to ride stuff with no travel that an industry patsy needs 8 and 8 to ride. If you need a specific bike for every trail then you probably lack the skill and creativity to really have fun.
  • 3 1
 Haha, well well. Industry Yesboy........ I like that one, thank you for my title @fatenduro. First off, I own three bikes yes. A hardtail an XC bike as well as a DH bike. I live in the UK and unfortunately, we don't suffer the vast amount of Groomed Trails here as you do over the bond buddy. Yes, theres trail centres but I don't use them.
Firstly, if you can't take Criticism for what are stupid comments then well, you'll live a very poor life my friend. haha.
Yes it's about having fun but you brought up the silly little comment about wheel size and how it ruins the "fun factor". The reality is, you are like a lot of people on here. You haven't tried a certain thing, yet you instantly have the title of computer chair champion and you have all the knowledge in the world on anything. Have you ever ridden a different wheel size for a justified period of time to make such drastic comments????? I'm not talking about a few days here either. The Bigger gnarly comment wasn;t stating that you need to go bigger to feel the track at all either. I said, if it doesn't challenge you enough on your normal trails, take it somewhere more challenging. Go have a re read it. I also said you would just adapt your riding style as well. That is being creative and finding the fun factor in itself. Also, i mentioned the fact you can still Pop off the same features with a normal creative style on any bike.
  • 3 2
 All the points I've raised are justified and yours are just subjective drivel. The fact you've got your little panties in a twist shows it for what it is buddy. You're making me laugh right now because of it.
I don't buy crap, I buy products that are relevant to my bikes and needs. I buy it if it's justified and only when broken stuff needs replacing.
I've been riding for 20 + years on all kinds of bikes and locations around the world. Get off your high horse buddy, its more manly to accept that you can be wrong in life than to be a complete idiot and stand your ground as it crumbles underneath you.

Hey, i your eyes I'm a Factory yes boy. In someone else's eyes, I'm the guy that sells them a bike in 18 months to 2 years that they could never afford outright.

The drama mike has created with this article is that he's segregated those that spend cash on bikes that others won't or can't. This instantly drives a split between the community that is supposed to be all after the same thing. Riding is an escapism for most, me included.

I'll lay this out for you buddy, feel free to come over to the UK and visit. I'll put you up for a few weeks. We'll go explore all the none groomed trails that I ride and I'll come visit you afterwards at some point. We can even do it on fixes if you're willing to look Uber factory yes boy cool. Or I can just lend you my top end, overpriced and pointless bike. haha.

  • 3 0
 Nice article. I have fun on any bike, any ride. I can't help it! At the same time, with fitness being my greatest limitation I know I can go on longer rides and stay away from civilization longer if my bike isn't as heavy... which requires a little bit of shiny expensiveness.
  • 5 0
 as much as a man's gotta be proud of his scars, you gotta be proud of the paint scratches on your bike. The only bikes without scratches are those that are not ridden.
  • 5 2
 Mike, you review about a dozen or so 'shiny things' a month. I've read many of these reviews and never once did you say 'f*ck this/that, you don't need it, keep your old bike/forks/shock/stem/bars/shoes/brakes/pack/helmet, ride the ar5e out of it and never give it a second thought. This is not what mountain biking is about!"....
  • 5 3
 "I ride for myself, and I wouldn't have it any other way....and a biking website that makes money selling advertising in exchange for cushy bike reviews in a never ending attempt to push the newest, shiniest thing down your mountain biking throats."
  • 3 0
 I like shiny bits. Give me 10 grand and yes id probably spend half of it on a bike and upgrade it on the way. But not everyone has access to those kinds of funds, what i like is making it my own and how i like it. I bought an 2011 remedy frame and then built up the bike how i like it, got it repsrayed etc and probably hav spent in total £2k on it. And i love it, i feel more connected with the bike as i built it from the frame up how i want and it now looks how i want, ive tried a £4k enduro and i wouldnt swap it for mine at all. I have that connection with my bike. As we all know its not all about the bike, most imprtant thing is exploring, seing new things, new challenges and those little moments that juts make you grin Smile
  • 5 1
 There is one unspoken rule that seems to be forgotten, don't skid and roost hand built trails like you are the star of a fresh new pinkbike edit. Have some respect for the builders!!
  • 3 0
 I enjoy riding the bike deep in the woods mostly or just to get out for the day a ride around the town on limited time. I haven't bought a new bike in about 4 or 5 years now, in the past I would purchase a new bike every two years or upgrade to the latest and great new shinny stuff every year. These days, I clean the bike as much I can, tunes up and buy components if worn out. Keeping the shinny new bling stuff down to a minimal or none. I just ride the bike with the skill set I have enjoying the trails as much as I can.
  • 3 1
 Have to agree. I can afford a new bike buy why spend the money. Plenty happy with my 2 year old DH bike with many parts still from the last build and my even older little bike. Would rather spend more time on the trails and less in the office.
  • 3 1
 I agree,too. But...i just can not resist the temptation of new designed frames, updated components, carbons...
  • 2 0
 Theres benefits to both, just depends what type of rider you are and your personality. Do what makes you happy
  • 1 0
 I won't spend the money until I feel that the incremental improvements made each year have accumulated enough to actually make my frame obsolete. My geometry is pretty much still spot on for a 160mm 26er, the only thing really dated is the 2x9 trasmission.
  • 2 0
 The most important thing is safety. No need for the most expensive bike, but make sure it is safe for what you use it for.
Also if your bike is so cheap/bad that it breaks down on every ride, ruining all your sessions, it can suck all the fun out of riding: all your buddies happily shredding the trails while you're waiting in the car because you just bent the shit out of your forks.

Also a bike always "needs" to be specific to the trails. I really enjoy riding rigid single speeds (preferably with big ass enduro or even DH tyres for extra grip and speed on the descents), but once the trails start to get really rough, like many decent downhill-trails, it sucks riding a bike where you're at your maximum speed at 10km/h, while you could go 25km/h if you had a decent downhill bike instead of your rigid machine.

But back to the point, I totally agree with you. My set ups have always been focussed on durability. I want to be able to trust my bike 100%, and make sure it will last as long as possible, without spending insane ammounts of money. The cost/durability-ratio is one of the most important things for me in a bike.
  • 2 0
 Think of it this way instead. It doesnt matter if those with 'all the gear and no idea' spend a fortune. In fact it helps the industry and perversely also helps all of us that buy second hand off of sites like ebay. Without the magpies changing things seasonally there would be a lot less second hand. And there is nothing more satisfying than beating the 6,000 bike down the hill on something much cheaper!
  • 2 0
 "Mountain biking isn't about shiny objects. It's about where those shiny objects take you, the adventures they facilitate, and the stories that result. " -- So basically, in the beginning, you admit it IS about shiny objects.
  • 1 0
 And maybe the fact that the shiny objects work SO much better. Riding on junk suspension sucks, and after having a good full susser id never go back!
  • 2 0
 My take on it is; mountain biking for many is a form of escapism from what we could call modern life - it is a form of freedom and riding is in many ways a catharsis.

However a contradiction occurs when the form of escapism is now rooted with many of the issues that made you want to escape in the first place - complexity, comparison, inadequacy.

I remember a ride I went on and someone in my group laughed about my SLX gears and suggested I buy a new bike. It's not the comment that bothered me, it's more the realisation that mountain biking as a form if escapism has it's limits and like most things has reached a stage where it's not drastically different to other parts of life.
  • 2 0
 My first mountain bike was free; nothing fancy at all - I just needed something that could take me deep into the woods. Then a couple of months ago I upgraded a few things and I do miss my Big Red (don't miss all the problems it had with it). Old bikes know the lines of each trail and after time your brain melds with the bike and it's one big fun shindig. That's where the shine is. However, my new hardtail...holy cow I love it to death!! There is nothing fancier about its my new sparkle, and what's a girl without some sparkles?!?! When I ride it I feel like I have owned it since the beginning of time!!! Fo sho..parts don't make a bike shiny, what you do with a bike does.
  • 2 0
 " Bikes and bodies alike are meant to be used, to be pushed to their limits, part of a continuous experiment to find out what's around the next corner, and how quickly it can be reached."

OK, you're young! Let's see how all that limit pushing feels when you're 40+ Wink . Nice piece of writing & beautiful sentiments.
  • 5 1
 "No speed limits"

Well you can tell our parks and rec Department about that. We have this BS 15mph limit in the bay...

  • 3 2
 I love mountain biking for all the same reasons. However, when you ride so much you beat your bikes to shˆt and it's cheaper to replace them every (other) year, than to swap-out all the broken or breaking parts, then I'll take a new bike thanks. That shiny new bike at the start of every season definitely resembles the one you romanticize about by the end of it though. Yeah bikes! Yeah Whistler trail riding!
  • 1 0
 I was in the process of rebuilding my old retired 1999 Ellsworth Dare frame that I stripped the parts off to build a bike for my brother. I was just contemplating bailing on the project until I read this article and the comments that followed. I now have a newfound enthusiasm for resurrecting one of my favorite bikes that I've ever ridden. Thanks!!
  • 3 0
 Apapun sepedanya, yang penting sepedaannya!

Sorry, can't help to say this Indonesian phrase that really goes along with the spirit of the article. Wink
  • 1 0
 Setuju om ! Smile
  • 1 0
 I used to love getting new bikes. But it represents breaking from a bike that is perfectly tweaked and set up exactly the way I like it. A new bike means devoting the next bunch of rides to that, and the possibility that I didn't choose well. Now I continue to enjoy my bike lust but I don't act on it until I have to. I'm riding so much these days that parts wear out by attrition so regularly that I get to buy new fun parts often enough. Since I commit to bikes so hard now, I make sure to buy the very very best one I can afford.
  • 3 0
 good writing Mike ....except for "It's about where those shiny objects take you"
I do not agree, it's about where YOU take the shiny thing!
  • 1 0
 Right on Mike; but only regret is I couldn't afford to spend 2x the amount I did on my new shiny thing! But it is still great fun! Next time...gives me something to look forward/save to while "keeping current on the latest" here on the trendiest mtb site of them all - PB! cheers
  • 1 0
 i just ride what works and dont let me down in the worst moment: preferable in the middle of nowhere with no chance of field-repair a LONG hike back.
i dont give a s*it for bling.... if you ride hard and fast, no one will see your gear, only your speed and style.
just buy what its needed out there. the price-tag says absolutly nothing about the function, and that is what you really need on the trail.
  • 1 0
 Great story Mike, your starting to grow on me. If you're ever down here riding the Front Range, hit me up for some of the best steep, rocky, technical fun you'll have on what ever whip you have, hanging with some of the best people I know. Isn't that what it's all about ?
  • 1 0
 And sudenly everybody comments on how much they spent in their new, ubber expensive bikes. I enjoy doing exactly the opposite: going cheap and still be capable of keeping with the carbon fiber guys in the uphills, and leaving them behind when the trail points down.
  • 1 0
 "Best of all, once I'm far enough away from the masses there's no one to judge my mismatched kit, my tire choice, how I hold onto the handlebars – it's just me and the squirrels, bears, and mountain lions, and they definitely don't give a f*ck about head angle or chainstay length. I ride for myself, and I wouldn't have it any other way." - True that! And snakes, them snakes don't care either-- until you accidentally spook one on the trail that is!
  • 1 0
 When I was aged 13-18 years old I had no money. I made do with the bike I had and could only dream of buying a brand new set of cranks for £100 off the shelf.

Now I earn money I buy bike parts. I buy them because I can afford to and because I don't need / want to spend my spare cash on anything else. Why would I ride a shonky worn out crap bike when I have money in my account that could make it ride / look better?

New bike parts are better than old bike parts.
  • 1 0
 I built my dream bike 2 years ago, and still have it. Yeti ASR-5 alloy in turquoise. Mostly XTR, hope brakes, hadley hubs to whatever rims i haven't smashed yet. it was a dream bike- and its worth as much as my car. My friends constantly talk about their next big upgrade- i can't think of one part I would want to upgrade. The bike doesn't hold me back- it just wants to be ridden.
  • 3 0
 And that's why, amongst all my expensive bikes, I still own and ride my 1997 Stumpy.
  • 3 0
 Totally agree and nice to be reminded. Conversley, paraphrasing Farris, if you have the means I highly recommend it.
  • 1 0
 Great write up. It can be easy to get caught up in what bike or what gear we have - we should really be worrying about who we are riding with and the good times we take away from it all
  • 2 1
 My 2005 cannondale Prophet has Nokian studded tyres om it for Canadian winter ice storms! My 2014 enduro 29 is stock, I am not a competitor - I am an Explorer on our cool trails, That is what mountain biking is to me!
  • 1 1
 I recently upgraded to a new Scott genius LT, my first exy bike in years, I still like to bang out on my "bitza" 29er hard tail to remind me of what it's like to play ruff and dirty, hell I have a 2000 era norco VPS 2 I might drag out and have a bang on..

None of my kit matches and I use a camelbak that I got in 05 and I have to admit a dirty bike looks a lot better than a shiny one..
I admire those out on the trails ripping on bikes that are 10 plus years old..

This sport needs to in some way find it's roots again. Like surfing it's loosing if not lost what it's like to ride in some respects... "Only a rider/surfer knows the feeling"
  • 1 0
 I loce my shiny second hand 26 bargain price things that take me to where I like to be and dont cause trauma when they scratch when I ride like I stole them! focus on where you are and the fun!
  • 1 0
 "I ride for myself, and I wouldn't have it any other way.....and a website that makes money selling advertising by reviewing the latest, greatest carbon wunderbike and telling you that you definitely need it."
  • 4 2
 I agree with the vast majority of what's said, just feels a little conceited / states the obvious / possibly reads a little like an article about how cool you are...
  • 1 1
 My 04 rmx can take me anywhere a brand new shiny bike can. Although id love a new flatline im waiting to see what 2015 brings for rocky Mountain. Im interested to see if that new prototype I saw last year is gonna make it to production this year although I doubt it because weve yet to see anything on it
  • 1 1
 Wish I could agree with the no rules part. My local bike park is heavily "policed" i once made a video and put in on YouTube. They told me if I didn't slow down on the tracks I would get a ban if I met up with them on the trail. We also used to make small jumps and cuts in the track that were funner than the track itself. We used to ride them everyday. Then oneday they were blocked up and my mate almost broke his wrist because of it. The people in charge of my local park have tamed everything in it to the point where the tracks are almost roads... Unfortunatly we have huge rules here. I almost got banned for exploring and ending up on a track that wasn't finished yet, we honestly had no idea where we were untill we saw the equipment....
  • 3 0
 well said, it is about the places our bikes can take us
  • 1 0
 and the trails that take us there
  • 2 3
 Have you had ride buddies practically disappear due to injuries? They prob weren't very skilled, but if they were on a more capable bike they prob would have fared much better. The excuse, "I could do it if I had a better bike," is half-true. It might not get them to do what they wussed out on, but it does push their limits, which in the end gets them to try more things and progress, and that opens up so many more opportunities. These guys research for months while injured, for a new custom spec'd mtb project, to restart the cycle of riding until their body breaks (unintentionally).

Have you had ride buddies that you see maybe 6 times a year, since they're out training on their own, on miles of fireroads, checking out their elevation stats on Strava? They might believe skill comes with fitness. These guys ride way more miles than most, yet they noob it up braking through corners, on rocks, on technical uphills, in ruts, because their wheel went off the trail a little... they follow the worn in noob lines on the trail, even the ones that take you through the washed out part of a corner, or mega-rutted part of a switchback, since they assume it's the line everyone takes. Their semi-bald tires and lightweight gear doesn't do them any favors. Guess all that fitness didn't teach them common sense on the trail, and a new shiny bike doesn't teach them any better, it just makes them spend less effort going just as fast.

Then there's the DH/FR crew that rides 8-12 miles in 3 hours, riding the playground areas with various rock features, jumps, drops, etc. that have little to no transition, practically landing on flat. Once in a while these guys challenge themselves to an epic sufferfest at high alt, drawn by the prospects of a raw DH, and wonder why their parts break on a non-technical uphill (after getting pounded and crashed on repeatedly). A new shiny bike either holds them back, since they don't want to break it, or revs up their competitive spirit even more.
  • 1 2
 A competitive spirit with an aim to get sponsored, so they can go back to those playground areas and pound/crash their bikes some more, and have their sponsor support helping to cover the broken parts, which are likely breaking JRA again.
  • 3 1
 Nice article, but I'm going to have to apologize for being that guy... what about the diggers and trailbuilders?
  • 1 2
 There's obviously 2 sides to each coin. I have quite a few years old AM bike as well as an up to date high end DH. You bet I have fun on both of them, but fun can be too easily broken if the bike isn't up to the task. After selling my DH recently I've tried riding the old AM bike the way I ride the DH, and, surprise surprise, it didn't work. And not because it's not a DH bike, but because the geometry isn't just suited for that riding, the tyres aren't as snug on rims as they would on recent tubeless ready ones,... The trails and speeds we can ride on modern bikes are ridiculous, and if you want to push it, a proper bike is quite worth the price tag. It doesn't have to be the most expensive bike around, but the cheapest used one won't take you just AS far, unless you're really lucky. There's always that chill ride up in your backyard where you can have fun on just about any bike, but if you're one, who sees the fun exponentially raising with speed, you might as well want to ride the latest and greatest, if that's what suits you and allows you to go faster.
  • 2 0
 @identiti124 shiny stuff isn't the answer? :o just wait for my fully chrome bike! that'll prove him wrong!
  • 2 0
 "I'll take a steep, muddy, rocky, chewed up trail over a smooth, manicured ribbon of singletrack any day." - true said.
  • 1 0
 Spot on!! There's too many looking ahead at what's coming and what they need, not enough appreciating what's out there already
  • 2 0
 Great article, that is truly what mountain biking is all about.
  • 1 0
 There are rules and laws in mountain biking. Break the rules and you will crash. Gravity, it's the law.
  • 2 0
 thats it. its cleaning a line or railing a corner, and its all for you
  • 1 0
 Great article Mike - a bike is a tool for adventure. Really think that message can at times be lost.
  • 2 0
 "high zoot"... That took me back to the early 90's mags...
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the great reminder of what it's all about.
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't trade my 2007 Transition Bottlerocket for the world. I practically grew up on that bike.
  • 1 0
 If the question is: Why do I ride? Your description is an answer I can appreciate and relate to.
  • 2 0
 good stuff here.
  • 2 0
 right on!!!
  • 1 0
 Now i cant wait for my weekend rides
  • 2 0
 Spot on!
  • 2 0
 Right (ride) on!
  • 1 0
 Very well said Mike. There are many a quote here for the fun future!
  • 1 0
 Good call Mike K! Run what ya brung.
  • 1 0
 But ... I like shiny things ! ....
  • 2 1
 There is no such thing as mountain biking.
  • 2 0
 But….But…SHINY Big Grin
  • 1 0
 I agree with this article.
  • 2 1
  • 1 1
 Shiny objects aren't the answer.. but what about XTR? Smile
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