This post will show my obsession with bikes, or better yet what I deem as the necessity of possessing numerous bikes. Different bikes serve different purposes. A full suspension Mt. Bike serves a much different purpose than a triathlon bike, and consequently if a person is to become an all year cyclist, numerous bikes are required. The following categories are my idea of how many bikes I could possibly have at one time and still not think it too many (my wife disagrees, but that is the point of a hobby no?) Also within these categories are a few desired niches fulfilled. These niches include: Leather Saddle, Internal Hub, Belt Drive, Dynamo, Full-Suspension, Aerobars, Steel, Aluminum, Titanium, Carbon Fiber, 26”, 700c, 29er, Bar end Shifters, Disc Brakes, etc.
This is usually the least expensive bike, and may be the most versatile within the arsenal. My personal preference for this style of bike is an old Mt. Bike Frame converted to be capable of high speeds on the road. Slickish but fatter road tires, fenders, a rack, good shifting (but only the gears you need), and reliable breaking are usually the requirements. This bike is desired to be inexpensive or at least should look inexpensive because it may need to be locked up to a post for extended periods of time (work hours). A back rack that can facilitate a set of panniers is usually sufficient for commuting needs. Just like every style of bike, you could end up spending a fortune on this style of bike, but as little as 80 dollars could be spent to acquire a sufficient commuter. This bike will also be the grocery getter, or random errand bike. Attaching a kiddie trailer to this bike should be possible.
A Road Bike:
An all-purpose road bike is needed. This is your go to bike when a pavement or road ride is considered. This bike needs to be light but durable. Aluminum is usually sufficient but this is also preference. This is the bike that will be used for Century Rides, club tours, road races, and in pinches can be used for triathlons. For this type of bike cheap usually means that more time and money will eventually be spent on repairs. The third tier components for each company is usually the lowest that I look to purchase for this category, although I have had lower. Considering quality however, the higher the price doesn’t always mean the highest quality in this category; it usually means the lightest. Little details with this road bike purchase can save money which enables the purchase of more bikes. If a steel frame with fender eyelets and the capability of wider tires is purchased, this road bike can also serve the purpose of a Randonneur used for Breves and credit card tours. In my opinion, this bike should cost somewhere between 1000 and 2000 US dollars.
A Mt. Bike
If just one Mt. Bike is to be purchased, it is more beneficial to purchase an all style Mt. Bike, or All Mountain. Personal preference decides as to whether this is a full suspension or hard-tail. This category can encompass many different styles and choices. Because of this the niches of different bikes can be fulfilled within this bike. A titanium frame for example could be fulfilled by this category as well as a 29er. Disc brakes are almost a necessity and commonplace these days, but rim brakes are acceptable too. For this bike expect to spend anywhere from 500 to 3000 dollars.
A Touring Bike:
This is a niche bike and only needed for those that do tours. However, it can also be doubled as a commuter when spec’ed appropriately. Those that do tours swear by a few things. Steel frames, Leather saddles, reliability, and compatibility. When you go on a tour, you want all of those things. Thus, my ideal Touring bike would incorporate 26” tires, chromoly-steel, disc brakes, a Rohloff 14 speed hub, a leather saddle, and a Dynamo. Front and rear racks are also needed for this style of bike. This being a niche, there is also possibility to get very high prices in this category. For me, this bike would cost between 2500 and 4000 dollars, but I have seen some people spend as little at 80 and still make it work.
A Triathlon Bike:
You haven’t really experienced speed on a bike until it has been done on a TT bike. My first race with a dedicated triathlon bike shaved nearly 10 minutes off the same 25 mile course. That is a big difference. A road bike with good geometry can be tailored a bit to become a Triathlon Friendly ride, but it still isn’t exactly the same, and I have found them a little twitchy. A dedicated TT bike has a more vertical seat tube angle and thus on average a different thrust angle with your legs. This steeper angle also helps with the twitchiness when you are in the tucked or aero position. Idealy, a TT bike should have the following features. TT bars. These increase speed and drop times sometimes better than any training or speed intensity program can. Stiff and Light wheels. A deep V wheel cross-section for the rim is a good thing, and somewhat more aerodynamic. A nose padded or triathlon specific saddle. Riding in the tucked position is hard on the body’s saddle contact point unless a Tri specific saddle is used. Being comfortable in the tucked position is pivotal for better split times. There are many more specifics with Triathlon bikes that are nice to have and shave seconds off your time, but everything has a price. This bike is like the ice cream toppings of the collection because it is not absolutely necessary, and can be anywhere from 800 to 8000 dollars. I try to keep this bike in the “one paycheck” range.
Every bike collection should have the bare bones no frills fun of a fixed gear. Some use this bike as the only method of transportation, and usually carry that stigma around with them too. Fixies have developed their own following and subgroups too. My favorite style of a fixie is a refurbished steel framed 70’s or 80’s road bike. This takes some mechanical intelligence, but it usually results a pretty sweet and enviable ride. Not as fast as the aluminum and carbon options out there, but a lot of fun. This bike should cost somewhere between 100 and 1000 dollars. However, if one of the novelties above can be included like a belt drive, more money can be appropriated.
A Refurbished Roadbike/Randonneur:
This bike is all about beauty. It will not be light, and not have the newest technology, but it will look nice. Usually a touring frame from the 80’s is desired. Some refurbishing is possible, but other likewise replacements can accommodate a good-looking retrofit. The parts will all be as shiny a silver as possible, and the accessories like handle bar tape and saddle should all be honey colored brown. It is tough to say how much a bike like this could eventually cost, but the frame should usually be picked up in the classifieds and be no more than 100-150 dollars.
A Fat-Tire Bike:
Because I think companies like Surly and Salsa are awesome, and why not!
As is the nature of a blog, this post only represents my opinions. I am fond of bikes and the simplistic and beautiful mode of transportation they can provide. Tweak that simplicity and you obtain art. Then my desired collection becomes no different from a useful art gallery right? Thanks for reading.