TCI Friday

An hour into a remote mountain bike trail ride, where you might cross paths with a half dozen riders in three hours, I pull to the side halfway up a short steep section and check my bike.

I’m nearly wasted on a route I cruised comfortably a few days earlier. I’m spent and pissed.

I check my tires. No, not flat. I check my spokes. All fine. Then WTH?

I’ve been quietly cursing my ‘96 Cannondale US Olympic Mountain Bike, that I got for $150 on craigslist, since this trip began for no fault of its own, but simply because it is NOT my Ibis Mojo, rest its soul.

On climbing days like this I miss my Mojo’s lightweight frame and generous gearing. Its frame broke two days before our trip began.

I’ve previously mentioned the gobs of gear I lug into the woods on my bike. Much packed into a really nifty handlebar bag.

Wait! What?

The heavy bag pushes against the Cannondale’s front brake cable partially stopping my wheel — creating my misery!

The cursing no longer remains quiet. Are you F-ING kidding me I yell to my Golden Lab Summer, only to see another rider 10 feet away and climbing.

He stops on his multi-thousand dollar carbon steed and offers a look of pity before asking if I need anything. I say I’m fine to which his expression says “Fine on that?”

I’m used to it now. I get those glances all time time. I’m probably an amusing campfire topic. That’s me, and I kinda like it that way.

You’ll notice I almost always mention my Cannondale and that I got it for $150. That’s on purpose. I want newcomers to realize they don’t need to dish out thousands to join the “club” of cycling lovers and dreamers.

A number of years ago the gang of ride promoters took a survey of their riders and found that a healthy majority rode bikes they bought used. Especially higher end bikes.

Currently I have five bikes, one bought new (newish, it was a showroom model Bike Friday I bought when I worked there), the others bought used.

I’ve already scoured craigslist in search of a possible Mojo replacement and there are hundreds and hundreds of options.

This week’s question: How many of your current stable of bikes were bought new and how many bought used?

BTW, I dismissed the handlebar bag and have enjoyed the Cannondale much more.

Join the conversation
  1. jlaudolff says

    No used bikes at the moment, but my stable is only 2. I had a run of very bad experiences with used bikes. The problem was less that they were used and more that they were not quality in general. So I got 2 ti bikes and haven’t needed to replace them since. Both are more than 10 years old, though I have completely rebuilt one of them.

  2. alanm9 says

    I’ve bought dozens of used bikes but as it happens my 3 current bikes were all new. Including my still favorite Mercier fixed gear that I bought through mail order from the back of a bike mag for $300 in around 1994. Yes kids, that was a thing.

  3. khal spencer says

    I bought the 2004 Co-Motion Primera as “new old stock” for about a 30% discount in about 2007. We still enjoy it.
    The Litespeed Gravel was bought new a couple years ago. Hat tip to Nick Legan’s review in Adventure Cycling, that turned me on to it.
    The Specialized Stumpjumper was bought new in 2005 and I still like riding it, even though I still get those annoying looks from those folks on their newly purchased and most modern mountain bikes. Hat tip to The Broken Spoke in Santa Fe, which seems to always have a way to repair or refurbish old bike stuff.
    Both my Cannondales and my two commuters, a Surly and a Salsa, were bought used, or bought as a frameset and built up with previously owned parts as upgrades. The Long Haul Trucker sports many of the components that were on an old Trek tandem we owned in the 1990’s back in Hawaii, which also sports a triple crank I bought from Sheldon “Captain Bike” Brown that makes it priceless!

    I’m not a fan of the current trend of “planned obsolescence” where drivetrains are constantly in a flux and bikes cost a quarter to a third of a normal person’s annual income. Bike fun should be accessible, not an exclusive club. So I hope we continue to see affordable bikes and old bikes refurbished and sold to those who need them.

  4. rides in be says

    Both my BMC’s were demo bikes. I don’t think either had more than 150 miles in them. Saved a lot. Couldn’t be happier. Would repeat the process indefinitely as needed!

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