A Note from Fatty: I’ve got a new article posted on BikeRadar today. You can read the preview below, or click here to go to the complete article.
For years, cyclists thought the road to mountain biking superiority was paved with body armor and motorcycle-like shocks. It’s only recently that mountain bikers have realized that this war of escalating suspension is unwinnable. If you have five inches of suspension, I can get a bike with six. And then you’ll get a bike with seven.
This way madness lies.
The answer to this MTB one-upsmanship? Go the other direction. Trendsetters in the mountain bike scene are now rejecting derailleurs, suspension, and lightweight materials in favor of old-school cool.
The problem is, rigid, steel, single-speed bikes already over the place. What’s left for the trend-setting retro-grouch to do?
I’m glad you asked. There are still plenty of ways you can shun technological progress to impress your friends. Just follow these simple tips:
OK, fine. You’ve shunned carbon fiber and even aluminum in favor of good ol’ fashioned steel. Good for you. But you know, as long as your bike is made of hollow tubes, you haven’t really embraced the material. For your next bike, go with solid steel. Demand that your frame weigh no less than 40 pounds. Ideally, you should have your frame cut out of a solid block of iron, or poured into a bronze mould. Imagine a steel bike with no welds. Beautiful.
But don’t let it end there. Are your tires really filled with air? You may as well fill them with helium, you weight weenie. If you really want to convince your friends that you’re after a pure, simple experience on your bike, you’ll cut out all the complex gymnastics required to keep a tire inflated, and will go with a solid rubber tire — like the kind wheelchairs use, but with more tread.
Just think: no more tubes, no more rim strips, no more pumps, no more flats right in the middle of the road. And all at a weight penalty of only six pounds of rolling weight. Per wheel.
It’s totally worth it, though, because you’re keeping it simple.