TCI Friday

If you’ve been listening to our Paceline podcasts, you’ve heard me talk about some older bike gear, a Walz wool hat and a pair of SIDI mountain shoes, that I love, not only for how well they work, but also for their durability. If you haven’t been listening…what? You’re too good to listen our podcast?

Yeah. OK. I buy that.

In this age of disposable crap, I have come to love the stuff that lasts, the stuff you can fix when you break it. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sure does feel like the bike industry has put out a lot of proprietary and non-repairable product in the last decade. I’m not saying those products are bad, functionally. I’m saying that I don’t like things that aren’t upgradeable, upcycleable, and or just durable.

I don’t want to be old man steel, but it bears saying that I saw a Phillips 3-speed on the curb the other day, and the frame was intact. A fresh chain and a pair of tires, and that thing was good to go. It was built about 70 years ago. So…

Some stuff, we use up. We wear a pair of shoes until the tread disintegrates or one toe pokes through the top. We shift a derailleur until its jockey wheels fall out. We rock our favorite jersey until it has wicked its last drop of sweat. And that’s fine.

Every product has a lifecycle, and what I know from spending a bunch of years selling bikes is that few riders focus on anything other than what a bike is when it’s new (or new to them). They don’t think about what that bike will be in five years, or ten. Another thing I know, based on my coterie of cycling friends, is that they’ll still have that bike in both five years and ten.

This week’s TCIF asks, what is the good stuff? What’s something you’ve got that has proved not only outstanding, but outstandingly durable? Do you consider long term value when you buy a thing? Are you a “mend and make due” sort of person? Or a lover of shiny new objects?

Join the conversation
  1. bluezurich says

    My Ritchey Logic turned 5 this year and I ride it like the first ride every single time. Tom knows.

  2. Neil Winkelmann says

    Rode to work this morning wearing a 15 year-old merino wool Rapha jersey that has seen regular use over those 15 years. Still looks basically brand new. Quality that lasts is the best.

  3. Jeremy Land says

    I also love the Walz caps. I have two that are my go-to when the weather gets a bit of chill on my follicley challenged melon. One a beautifully shaped grey corduroy the other a wool tweed that classes up just about anything you wear from cycling kit to trip to the local brewery.
    Next… A beautiful deep red 1974-ish Schwinn Traveler that served time under me, my mother, and has now been condemned to being fettered on my dads old school magnetic trainer. This 47 year old machine has been through the hell of a 16 year old riding all over central Arkansas less than stellar back roads in the early 80’s and the gentle graces of my mothers pedal stroke in the 70’s and later 80’s. Once rediscovered under a solid 1/4″ of dust, the tires were inflated, the chain and cables were lubed, and the poor thing became my fathers foul weather bondservant that still serves quietly and faithfully.

  4. Jeff vdD says


    1. Dan Murphy says

      Ditto on Ti
      A hundred years from now, my ti frames will be under somebody’s butt

  5. Austin says

    Ooo. Those scratched up Shimano SPD pedals I need to put back on my road bike. An 8 or 9 year old SRAM Apex 2×10 groupset (worn parts replaced, of course). Crankbrothers multi-tool that is definitely rusty. Some non-cycling-specific set of hex wrenches that work well enough even though those cool bike shop hex wrenches look cool.

    I’m admittedly a lover of the shiny, new things. But I also adore the trusty, well-used. Maybe I like the shiny/new because advancement is sometimes fun, but if I receive said shiny, new thing, my excitement becomes the opportunity to make it old and worn. I only really got into cycling back in 2012 or 2013, so I’m looking forward to seeing what will still be with me 5 or 10 – maybe even 12 – years down the road.

  6. alanm9 says

    I go on about my 30 year old Mercier fixed gear but the original emerald green paint still gleams like brand new. For clothes it’s anything by Pearl Izumi. A prized possession is my great grandfather’s brickmason’s level; solid oak and still straight and true; I use it to hang shelves and pictures, and level saddles and handlebars.

  7. khal spencer says

    I’ve still been wearing Protog wool jerseys I bought in the 1980’s. They are great. There is something to be said for building stuff to last. I put a new Campy setup on a 2005 Cannondale Six-Thirteen and it is a great bike. Especially with the latest generation of Vittoria tires. The 2002 CAAD5 is a great test mule for whatever I can dream up in terms of gearing and running gear. And the 2005 Stumpjumper is getting a new cassette, new chainrings, and yet another chain after sixteen years. The basic stuff is bombproof.

    Although my old man worked for General Motors, I cannot stand planned obsolescence. Stuff should last and when it breaks, be fixable.

  8. tommilani says

    White Industries urban platform pedal, which, sadly, they no longer manufacture. Plus their single-speed freewheels.

  9. Hautacam says

    1989 Rodriguez (slx), 1993 Bridgstone RB-1, vintage Salsa quill stems on both… you get the picture

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