Trying to Justify My Heavy Bike

When I grew up, in my house, if you needed something you went out and bought the cheapest (least expensive). We certainly gave no thought to aesthetics and very little to quality. If and when it broke, however, we didn’t throw it out because you never knew when you might need it, even in its broken condition.

I’m a grown up now, responsible for buying my own tools, computers, furniture, etc., and I hate settling for the cheapest example I can find. I don’t trust the quality. I want to know that I’ll be able to use the whatever it is for a good long time. But there is a trait I carried with me from my upbringing; I still don’t like actually spending the money.

When it came time to replace my bike last year I knew I could spend more than what my first car cost and get a very fine bicycle and be quite pleased with it. The cheapskate in me, however, argued against an expensive bike asking, is it really worth it? I decided that it was not and bought a bike you have never heard of for $579.00. (My parents would choke to think anyone would ever spend that much on a bike, but you cyclists know you can’t buy “good” wheels for that.)

The bike weighs in at 22 pounds, so that’s over $26 a pound. The lighter the bike the more you spend per pound, because apparently the more material you actually don’t use the more you have to charge for the bicycle. I could, for instance, buy a 17-18 pound bike for $1500-$2000 or more.

In order to minimize the psychological impact all those extra pounds on my bike would have on my performance I took to the internet to find out what I really already knew: The difference is negligible.

Since I’m not intelligent enough to get all sciencey, read this posted by a fellow named Jim Gourley.

There are scads of other articles out there that also say for us amateurs the best thing we can do to go faster is to train better. So, until I can admit that there is not one more thing I can do conditioning wise, I’ll stick with the anchor I’m riding now. I always assume this is what pushes the pros into trying EPO and growth hormones. If you can’t train any harder and your bike is over the top light and aero, what else is there to do to gain an edge?

Besides, I can’t ride a bike that’s too precious. I predominately ride on a railway converted to a bike trail, the Katy Trail. It stretches from my town, Clinton, MO, on the western side of the state, all the way over to St. Louis. The surface is fine gravel, with the occasional rut and other actual gravel drives and roadways that cross the trail. I’d be too worried about breaking something or getting all of that dust up on some part it’s not supposed to be in.

Will I ever move up to a lighter bike? We’ll see, but for now I’m content. I rode this one at Ironman 70.3 Branson and lived. If it fails me at Ironman Louisville then I’ll think about splurging on less weight.

Gavin Bicycle

Gavin Bicycle

About The Pretend Triathlete

Just a 46 year old trying to stay in shape. Not pro-athlete in shape, just 46 year old guy with a family and a house and a job in shape. Signing up for races is the best way I've found to do that. I blog about things that happen to me and things I observe while training and racing. Let's do this!
This entry was posted in Cycling, Health and Fitness, Ironman, triathlon. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Trying to Justify My Heavy Bike

  1. bgddyjim says:

    Love the targets in the background! You and I are A LOT a like. I was also afflicted with the same penchant to go as cheap as possible (mostly to get what I wanted by my wife without fuss). In 2-1/2 years I went from a $20 per pound bike to a $37.50 per pound bike to a $205 per pound road bike (17.3 pounds with cages and pedals so it’s closer to $215 with those). I can tell you with all sincerity, and only because I could afford the nicer bike painlessly – cash on the counter, no financing – that it is worth every stinkin’ penny. It’s a joy to ride compared to that old aluminum Cannondale. It is marginally faster, but the big difference is that I can actually ride it comfortably ten times farther. That’s the big difference is the comfort. Now the pain just comes from trying to push myself beyond my ability, not from riding a gnarly bike. 😉

    For yours, the way it is now, I’d upgrade the rims. You can pick up a decent set of Vuelta SLR rims at Nashbar for around $360. That’s what I put on my machine and they made a HUGE difference. Very smooth, very fast. It feels like cheating compared to the wheels that came on my bike.

    Happy training brother.

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