I found this blog post by Michael Doleman to be a refreshingly honest critique of our seeminly endless craving for lighter bikes. Or is that endless consumption of bicycle manufacturer's marketing?

"The bicycle is one of humanity's greatest inventions. One of the things that makes it so is the fact that it is a device not particularly prone to obsolescence. "

What do you think?


Tags: consumption, marketing, weight

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@Derek "Cowabungaaaaaaa!!!!!"
CowaFIRKINbungaaaaaaa. I even let one rip when I went past Jim going down Greenhill Rd last Sunday.
I hope that anyone who can afford to drop $10K on a bike also gives a fair bit to charity, but in a capitalist society some conspicuous consumption is inevitable, and that person probably already pays more toward the support of the welfare state than you do!

I ride with a few guys who spend this sort of money on a bike every few years, and I can report that in nearly every case they have to negotiate painfully with a better half and economize on other things. The old joke about a real cyclist's bike being worth more than his car is true more often than you'd think - it certainly is in my case.
Yeah, I hope so too Michael.
Without wanting to turn this into a political thread, I'm no fan of the welfare state but am totally in favour of helping those who help themselves, and those who are helpless through no fault of their own.
'Economising' in Australia bears no comparison to what many people have to do just to get food on the table in many parts of the world.
The thing I find hiarious is seeing someone who is clearly 10-15kg overweight bragging about how their newly purchased carbon seat tube or pedals etc are 45grams lighter than their already lightweight ones. They've often paid as much as my entire bike is worth too!
Compare that with shedding even a few kg of body weight by riding the damn thing a bit more and not eating as much and it becomes even more absurd.
We get sucked in by all the marketing which tells us that if we buy this or that widget (or entire bike) we'll be able to ride as fast as Lance or Fabian or Andre. Great, but is it really going to be worth it for the sunday ride or commute during the week? I guess it depends on the size of a persons ego and/or bank balance. Sure light bikes are easier to ride but how light is light enough...
So essentially I acho the broader concerns of Ryan's post. Cycling seems to have become the new middle aged bloke's golf and the silliness and big-noteing has crossed over too for many (but not all).
Righto, off my soapbox and back to work.
I've never met anyone who's sucked in by the marketing, or bought a bike or wheelset because so-and-so rides it. Sounds like a straw man to me.
Let's face it, like most things, if you are really into it you want the best equipment. Sure the bike companies marketing works, but it's not just the bike companies, we have been told by shoe, car, tennis racquet manufacturers (bad luck Sam) etc etc etc that we "need" the best equipment to "perform", and we all love to emulate our heroes. I know if I had the money,I would upgrade in an instant. Until then, as I ride for fitness and fun, I just keep telling myself I get fitter faster on a heavier bike.
ps. We have a sport (?) that attracts a great range of people, and to anyone selling anything to do with cycling.. that's called a "market".
I think it's simplistic to say we want "the best". All roadies realize that diminishing weight returns rapidly kick in beyond a certain point, and reliability and maintenance costs can also become a worry. I ride a lot in the hills, a fair way from any help, and reliability matters as much as weight to me - that's why my wheels are hand-built with alloy rims and my handlebars are alloy, for example.
Go fixed or SS. Lose the gut AND the weight of your derailers. My next bike is going to be a super tough, light weight, fixed gear, steel frame cyclocross. Should be fairly light and plenty strong.

But yeah, cycling is the new golf: the benefit for us is that those Saabs, Volvos and Land Cruisers bought by overweight white dudes to truck the golf clubs around are now slightly more likely to be driven by someone mindful of bicycles.

Even if they only ride their Italian carbon fibre confection once a week, it's one more window into the world of being a cyclist, so they're more likely to look out for you. And that's good!
Good idea, except that those fat, unfit middle-aged guys sometimes get invited on hills rides. It'd be kinder to encourage them to get compact cranksets :-)
You're too modest Jim. Fat and unfit you are not.

Gearing and technique are topics for future discussions to which I'm sure you can add some wise observations.
Yeah, but you aren't 106kgs now.

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