Are you a Luddite or an early adopter? I think this story will tell you where I would have been the night the weavers burnt the mills.
I’ve got a new bike. Hip hip hooray right? Nuh! Most new bikes I get I’m forced into. In fact most changes in my life are the same. I was pretty happy with my 1970 Holden Kingswood but the police forced me to get a new car. Sort of, they also gave me choices like catch the bus or walk or ride a bike or get a lift but none of their choices involved my old faithful Kingswood staying on the road. So I bought a new car and I hated it. At least at the start, but I got used to it and by the time I had to let it go I wanted to keep it.
Same with my first Specialized StumpJumper. It was a 29er hardtail with 90mm front suspension, 3 x 9 gears and an aluminium frame. It was black and it looked tough. I bought it the day before a race because I needed something a bit faster than my 26″ Diamond Back. By the end of the race we had bonded and I wouldn’t hear a bad word about it. My early adopter mates started getting 27.5″ dualies, dropper posts, big suspension, slack head angles, 1x 11 gears and chunky tyres. They were riding better than me but I would never blame my faithful Stumpy. I rode that bike every day for 5 years and I loved it. And then the day came when my mechanic and buddy, James, said “Its time to let it go and get another bike Jono. This ones had a good run but its getting harder and more expensive to fix every time you bring it in.” What would he know! So I kept riding it, and it kept breaking and I kept giving it to James, he kept fixing it and I kept paying the bill. But someone else with joint access to my bank account was watching … On my birthday I found a bright new shiny Stumpjumper . It was a (tiny) 27.5″ dualie with a (ridiculous) 150mm pike fork, a (dumb) dropper post, (slow as) chunky tyres, (unresponsive) slack head angle and (only) 1×11 gears. It was different and I hated it! It was milkshake green and I hated that even more. The back end wallowed, it wouldn’t rollover rocks and roots like the 29er rolled over. The wide handle bars hit trees I’d never hit, there were never enough gears and it felt scary with the seat way down and not clenched tightly between my thighs.
But I got used to it and then I loved it. In fact, I’ve never loved riding as much as I have on this bike. For 3 years I rode it every day and I thrashed it within an inch of its life and… and then beyond. My new mechanic, Steve, called me with the bad news a couple of weeks ago, “I don’t think I can fix it Jono, but we may be able to get a new frame under warranty.” He paused for me to say something like “YIPEE” but I only said “Is it the same model?”. I think he was a bit confused and continued “No it’ll be the latest model.” and paused again. “Oh” I replied ” can’t we fix my frame?”. Then he got stern “That bikes had a bloody hard life Jono. Specialized could very feasibly say that the frame damage was 100% due to the way you rode it. If we get a new frame under warranty replacement it will be a great result.” Oh,Okay then.
The warranty claim came through and now I’ve got a new bike…and its different and I hate it. Its gunmetal grey and I hate that even more. I’m thinking of painting it milkshake green.