Pet peeves can be a bit silly and irrational, can't they?
No one ever tells you that your so-called soulmate is going to be the only human on earth who insists on having pineapple on your pizza. Or those ridiculous 'Baby on Board' stickers that people put up in their car's back window... Congratulations, you made a baby, but no one driving behind you cares that you figured out how your genitals work and managed to reproduce. Yes, I was totally going to merge into you at 120kph, but then I saw your dumb sticker and decided against it.
It's probably not a stretch to assume that everyone has a short list of things that make them want to smash into a car carrying a small child, and I've always found that the more passionate I am about something, the more likely I am to have a pet peeve or three relating to it. I mean, you probably won't get riled up if you don't give a damn, and eating, dogs, and driving are all close to my heart.
And mountain biking, of course.
This sport is literally the best thing that's ever happened to me, no word of a lie, and because I care so much about it, there are definitely a few things that, to use a phrase coined by one of the greatest philosophers of our time, really grinds my gears.Fixing Flats
The first is an obvious one that I probably share with many of you. If there's one thing that all of us mountain bikers can agree on, it's that flat tires are the worst. Okay, not actually the worst, but it can sure feel like it when you're on a great lap that gets interrupted by a puncture. They're usually easy to sort out, even if you do end up having to put one of those stone-age tubes in, but having to stop and do the repair at all is a sure-fire way to deflate a ride's fun factor. And short of running solid tires, flats are probably never going to go away, regardless of how many silly, overpriced pool noodle inserts are on the market, 1,200-gram tires with moto-worthy casings, or if you completely filled your tires with sealant. Please try the last one and film it for us, though.
Don't get me wrong; I'm the kinda guy who revels in working on his own bike, and I don't shy away from the most involved repairs or tech work, but it's the simple and widely despised flat tire that I'd most like to see disappear. The ridiculous thing is that despite me hating flat tires with the fury of a thousand burning suns, I'll still run lightweight, questionable rubber at questionably low pressures. That might make it my fault...?Microscopic Bolts
On a similar front, what's with companies thinking it's okay to use a bolt requiring a micro-sized hex key? We're talking about mountain bikes here, not haute couture watches, and I don't think I should ever have to reach for a ridiculously small hex key, especially when the microscopic bolt that I'm using it on has to clamp a cable or shiny, slippery carbon handlebar. But tiny bolts require tiny amounts of torque, you say? Yeah, sure, and in the real world that tiny bolt will likely have to deal with a rounded out tool, someone being clumsy or in a rush, and people simply not taking care.
Shoutout to every dropper post with internal routing that employs a teensy-weensy cable clamp bolt, to the clamp bolts on Pinion's twist shifter, and especially to the M3 hardware on Thomson's otherwise beautiful stems.
And who could forget the reach adjustment screws on those early Hayes brakes? Not only were they the size of a gnat's dick, their tendency to migrate called for the smallest dab of blue thread locker to keep your levers where you want them, and that only increased the chances of it getting stripped by about 300-percent. The result was countless levers that were either too close or too far away from the handlebar. Fixable and annoying.
Pinkbike's comment section takes a lot of heat from some people, and I can't count the number of conversations I've had with industry-types who don't hesitate to deride what goes on underneath some of the articles. Sure, things can get a bit off the rails now and then, but I'd argue that the propping system, as well as a more informed and invested community, have largely turned what was often a circus into the online cycling community's best group of commenters, trolls included.
You guys have me laughing and learning daily, and it's this interaction, positive or negative, that print can't ever provide - I couldn't imagine writing an article, review, op-ed, or some silly clickbait, and not getting to read the comments below it, shit talk included.
But one thing I can do without is the wheel size hate. I get it, you've decided that a wheel being a certain diameter isn't "cool" or whatever, but you're letting your bad attitude get in the way. Firstly, grown ass men and women pedaling bikes in the forest isn't "cool,'' either, so crawl down off your high horse already and realize that we're all just dorks trying to have a good time. Secondly, you're looking at it all wrong: Wheel size is just another tool that you can use to your advantage, and instead of associating sexual orientation or fashion with the diameter of aluminum or carbon circles, you should be thinking about what size is going to benefit you the most, be it for speed or fun. Instead, save that loathing for motorized "mountain bikes" or for the idiot who thinks calling a bike a "down-country" rig is a good idea
. At least he deserves it, unlike 29'' wheels.
Saracen and Norco both have the right idea by offering similar frames that are each designed around either 27.5'' or 29'' wheels.
Mountain biking must be a pretty damn amazing thing if all I'm grumbling about is the odd flat tire, a few tiny bolts, and a bunch of dorks trying to make their case for one wheel size being cooler than another. That's all I can come up with right now, though, probably because I'm busy fixing the torn sidewall of my too-light 29er tire before I drill out that tiny bolt that I stripped because I wasn't paying attention. Wait, maybe this is all my own doing? Anyway, while I'm doing that, you should fill me in on what your mountain bike pet peeves are.