Tuesday, September 18, 2012

n=bykes(x*-1)

A recent google+ strand concerning the efficacy of wheelsets in concert with Pondero's recent minimalist meditation on the appropriate non-size of a bike stable has me also considering the degree to which the discussion, rumination and interchange of bicycle-shaped objects has superseded the two-wheeled experience itself.

How many is enough? too many? not enough? necessary? Unlike Pondero, I do not want to minimalistically whittle myself down to a magical ONE. While he lives out in the country away from the urban commuter blight and urban-park-rendered-mountain-bike trails I have to take advantage of, I live squarely in the metro area. He needs a country bike for his country. I at least need some kind of city commuter.

Specious ramblings aside, what is the optimum number in the stable? PJ has two bikes, nice ones, his AHH road bike and a Fargo, his fat-tire cum tourer. Those take care of two, or three, or what I consider the basic needs for an avid cyclist:

  • Road machine- obvious in a way, preferably something that can carry a bit of luggage for a 200k brevet. No slimmed-down crabon unless you have designs on slithering into the skinsuit. A la I/Grant, I'm a firm believer that 75% of the folks buying super-sleek road machines would be better off with something more generous, hearty and malleable.
  • Fat-tire- meaning mtbike or even modern fat tire bike. A trail bike. Something robust for trails. If you like to get your jams out, then the bouncier and fatter the better, i.e. suspension
  • City/Commuter- Can be a beater, a dandy, a tourer, a fixie, a something that you can grab and commute without reservations. For me, for a long time, that was my dyno-wheeled LHT. I've sold numerous bikes. This is the first one for which I have remorse. Shouldn't have sold it. And I mention dyno wheel b/c a city/commuter should have dynolights. No discussion. You grab it, you go. No limitations.
Things get interesting after this. The fundamental needs are met, IMHO. Road. Trail. Everything else and in between. Finished. 

Unless we're talking boutique. And there is always time to talk boutique.

8 comments:

Pondero said...

Elegantly said, my friend. I think your plan makes tons of sense.

Just to be clear, my Quickbeam/quiver meditation was not intended to get me down to ONE bike. My minimum is two. Got to have a back-up. My main point was that I enjoy simple and fixed so much that I'd like to be able to use different set-ups for different applications.

And those boutique discussions can be loads of fun...

Barturtle said...

Bringing the numbers down on how many bikes you own, has to do with several factors.

First would have to be how many types of riding do you do. A pure road cyclist could do with many fewer bikes, while someone who snow-bikes, trail-rides, grinds gravel, does triathlon, tandems, tours will likely have a larger stable.

Second would be how much compromise you are willing to accept in order to limit the numbers. Are you willing to either shoulder or slowly pick your way through baby-head boulders on a carbon tri-bike or struggle to push a Pugsley 112 miles during your next Ironman?

I could see myself getting down to 3 bikes, two of which are currently owned.

Tex69 said...

No, @Pondero, you misunderestimate me. I have no intention of getting down to three. You missed the little "botique" comment at the end. As much as I can see the logic, I can escape the botique.

@Barturtle, I think we can see eye-to-eye that you could get down to three, but then there are many more opportunities to expand for forced-yet-rational reasons. Fat Bike being exhibit A.

lithodale said...

Yes, three...a Road Race bike, a 29er for MTB racing, and a CX bike for those races...that's all you need right?

Haha...of course I still manage to also have a commuter, a clasic steel geared bike, a fixie...WAIT! I'm **missing** a single speed...

A Midnight Rider said...

My needs are met with a road, a touring and a commuting bike. I am really considering replacing the commuter with a single speed. Not a junk but a really nice one.

Kokorozashi said...

Right now my assortment of one fast road bike and a 'cross bike (that could take still-fatter tires than the ones I just slapped on there, but I'm waiting to see how these do before I think about buying yet another pair) seems to be doing the job.

I may take the rack off for the Grovel, but I ran it in the Death March and wasn't laughed off the face of the earth. I do think I would feel obligated to take it off for actual 'cross racing, since that takes place in such close quarters. I am also pondering the idea of swapping out the frame and fork for something that fits a little better.

That said, I have realized that I would really love to have something more tour-y and (GASP!) probably a mountain bike -- most likely a 29er (or a monster-cross type rig).

I would probably want to set the touring rig up in a way that would let me commute on it as well ... at 17.5 miles, my commute (when I do the whole thing) is long enough to warrant it. I would do it more often on a bike that was better-suited.

I have trouble with n+1 syndrome once I start thinking about things like fat/snow bikes. We don't have enough snow here for me to really be willing to justify a snow bike, but something super-fat could be fun under other conditions.

DerrickP said...

For me it's road (which is my nice weather commuter), dirt, foul weather bike and cargo bike. I can't figure out how to make the cargo bike fit into one of the three categories. So it sticks out as a fourth.

And of course, the wife has a bike (which I'm thinking you might drive to Lexington, push her off and steal it back :)

Tex69 said...

@DerrickP, I would most certainly *not* push your wife off the LHT. You, on the other hand, would have no chance. I would pay you back at least 75% of sale price.

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