Mountain bike bits are undeniably expensive, and not all of the costs come with equal benefits. While all of the following technical elements may offer some level of advantage, which do you feel offers the least improvement to a rider’s experience on the trail?
Which Mountain Bike Technology is the Biggest Waste of Money?
ountain bike bits are undeniably expensive, and not all of the costs come with equal benefits.
Oil slick is definitely a waste of money since it’s just aesthetic and will wear like regular paint. I picked electronic shifting since it’s supposedly good, but cable shifting still works really well while being much cheaper.
Electronic shifting is “supposedly good?” I guess that means you haven’t tried it. I’m curious to know if anyone who has ridden with an electronic shifter picked electronic shifter as the biggest waste of money.
As soon as I saw “oil slick finishes” that was the obvious answer since that doesn’t provide any improvement on the trail whatsoever.
Everything else provides some advantage. Perhaps not worth the $$$ to all riders, but there is some advantage.
The one thing on the list I can’t believe anyone would check is a dropper post. I don’t care how good you are, what skill you have, unless you are riding on flat ground, you are disadvantaged by not having a dropper. The benefits far surpass the $ cost and any weight gain. A dropper post is the #1 item I’d tell a new rider to purchase for their bike before anything else. Can you still buy a real mountain bike without one these days?
Why can we only check 1? lol
Whether it is a waste depends on your purpose. If the tech is used to improve you riding then the money is not wasted. If you are purchasing cause it is the newest/greatest and there is not improvement/gratification, then it MAY be money wasted.
Man, people really hate electronic shifting. Werid, as it has a profound effect on shifting quality. It’s expensive, yes, but so are a lot of the other options that do less. And yes, I am all aboard the AXS train, and have been riding since 92 or so..
Except for the part where you have to charge up your shifters or theyre useless
Weakest argument. You have a cell phone? I thought so.
Yeah. I have a cell phone that simply cannot work without a battery.
A necessary evil.
My shifters, however, work without a battery.
But you can simply live without a cell phone, yet choose to be tethered to a battery charge.
If you can’t handle charging a battery for your bike once a month, I’m guessing you also don’t check shock and tire pressures, make sure bolts are tight, etc.. So, again, weak argument. In 1.5 years of riding, “having to make sure my batteries” are charged has stopped me from riding exactly zero times, and has left me stuck in a single gear exactly zero times. Find something else to hang your hat on.
Expensive? Yup. Well, sorta now that there’s GX. But, that’s the price you pay for awesomeness and clean crisp shifting every. single. time.
Good day sir.
And yours won’t work without a cable.
Making sure the shifter is charged is no different than checking your tire pressure, checking screws/bolts, filling your water bottle, etc. Part of the pre and post ride routine.
It’s a little different… I dunno how long they take to charge but probably longer than it takes to fill my water bottle
The other stuff can be done at the trailhead
Just add more stuff to charge, more stuff to prepare…. No fun
I’m laughing at you in advance of when your shifters inevitably die mid-ride
So you’re the guy who rides past stopped riders without asking, “All good?” Cool.
You’re quite the assumer
I suppose. How should I read you telling me you’re going to laugh at my (assumed) misfortune? Would it be even funnier if my bottom bracket failed and I couldn’t ride at all?
No, it’ll just be funny when your batteries die
Can you replace the batteries if they lose their capacity, which they eventually will?
Fair enough. The batteries are replaceable. About $50.
I have two mechanical XX1 Eagle drivetrains and two XX1 AXS Eagle drivetrains. I checked the box that electronic shifting is the biggest waste of money. I honestly don’t find that it improves the experience much if at all vs the mechanical brother. There is a slight improvement in shift quality on my FS bike with relatively poor, tight cable routing, but that is a routing problem more than an actual groupset problem. Where I saw the biggest advantage with the electronic AXS drivetrain is on my gravel setup where it allows running road brake/shift levers with the Eagle rear derailleur and cassette. But on the MTBs this was/is a non-issue, and I really don’t feel like there is much improvement in experience. Certainly not worth the double price tag over mechanical. Just my .02.
Couple things I forgot. I do appreciate the cleaner cockpit without the shift cable, and dropper hose/cable for the AXS Reverb (don’t have one but have used one and it is really nice, definite improvement over the hydraulic Reverb in actuation ease, consistency, and lack of cable/hose). But some of that is offset by having to remove batteries when hauling the bikes long ways on racks to prevent the batteries from going dead, and having to remember to charge batteries periodically. Not exactly hard, but just one more thing that prevents it from being “just pull the bike down and go”. Also I like the ability to just each gear individually for shift quality and running quietly, but again this has only mattered/been needed on my short chainstay gravel rig (Santa Cruz Stigmata), and I actually haven’t had to adjust at all from factory default settings on the MTBs with their longer stays. This re-iterates to me that it makes great sense for the drop-bar bike, but doesn’t deliver the same value on the MTBs for me.
I think an electronic dropper post is worse than electronic shifting
Interesting — I would go the other way. Avoiding the cable maintenance on a dropper sounds great, and it isn’t likely to get broken. That’s my main objection to AXS — a $1000 derailleur which is guaranteed to get broken sometime.
Other than the one time I somehow got water in my fat bike dropper cable, which then froze, I have never maintained my dropper cables. They just work.
While it may not get broken, it is more likely to get stolen. One twist of an allen and it is gone!
Your luck is better than mine — I’ve had to fix two bikes this year. I guess the other times are self-inflicted (upgrading to a newer/longer post).
Good point about how easy one would be to steal.
I’m halfway down an obstacle before I remember to drop my post. AND, my synapses are much slower that I’m still focused on not dying before I remember to drop my post. Operator error.
Too bad you can’t rank them, or pick more than one.
I picked oil slick finishes. There’s zero benefit, and purely aesthetic. But some of the others offer marginal benefits. Electronic suspension valving. Carbon crank arms. Electronic shifting is a very minimal benefit, just a small nicety for a lot of money. The two things that don’t even belong on this list are dropper posts, which are super beneficial, and carbon rims. Those are two of the biggest benefits any bike can gain if not fitted with them.
Totally agree with most of this. The one I am still anxious to be able to try is electronic suspension valving. I used to have some full suspension Specialized bikes with the brain technology and really liked what it was trying to go for and the value it attempts to bring to the rider. The problem is that when you are relying on inertia of a brass weight, there is an inherent and unavoidable time-response to control the damping circuits. With the speed of electronic accelerometers, processors, and valves, I feel like electronic damping may offer some real “have your cake and eat it too” when it comes to the balance between efficiency and ride quality, and making plush, longer-travel, more capable bikes that don’t suck to pedal around, or have to rely so heavily on kinematics and chain tension to pedal well which have other drawbacks. BUT, the proof will be in the pudding, and at this point I haven’t even actually seen a bike equipped with say Fox LiveValve in real life, so until people can actually ride them to experience it, and have some justification for the high price tags, it’s going to remain fully on the fringes.
Have you ridden with an electronic shifter? I’m with 87vr6 above–it has a profound effect on shifting quality. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are–I’ve been riding for 30 years–you will not shift as precisely or as quick with a cable. All it takes is the quickest tap of the thumb, almost zero effort, and it’s done. And every shift is perfect. Minimizes the time your thumb isn’t on the bar, the time spent anticipating/initiating/completing the shift, and the time you are not fully on the pedals. Maybe it’s only a half second or second for every shift, but over the course of a ride it adds up. And if you’re not into the speed thing, it’s still just easier. Sort of like clutch-less paddle shifters on a car; expensive, but it’s hard to argue that mashing the clutch and working the stick every shift is the more efficient method.
I have. Maybe the best way I can put this is to say it seems electronic shifting is grossly overpriced for something that’s more nice than necessary. If you’ve got plenty of money, or you’re getting them cheap, or you’re making the jump from junk, sure. But I still contend it’s a nicety, for a lot of money. Keep in mind also that I voted for oil slick finishes.
I hear you. But where do we draw the line on nice/necessary? All that’s necessary are two wheels, one gear, bars and a saddle. Dropper posts used to be a nicety. But now? I have a friend who still rides without a dropper. He acknowledges it’s a poor choice, but says, “that’s just the way he rolls.” It’s more about him than the equipment. Surprised oil slick was on this list. It’s purely aesthetics, nothing to do with technology.
You didn’t have 1 by systems which is more than a waste of money, it is a danger to our health. I developed RSI in my right thumb after upgrading my bike. My old bike was a 9 speed with 11/34 cassette and 3 at the front with 22, 32 and 44. It worked perfectly and while a lot of gears overlapped it had a range from 44 by 11 = 4 to 22 by 34 = .64. That gives an effective range of 625% so more than the 500% to 520% you can get from 12 speed SRAM/Shimano and certainly more than the 11 speed SRAM NX I have with 11/42 cassette.
The RSI was caused by the amount of shifting with one thumb after a long ride and after over a year it is not getting better and the doctor now thinks it never will. Now I can’t play guitar, I can’t carry my grandchild in my right arm and I can’t ride my MTB bike. The only thing I can do I enjoy is riding my road bike but I much prefer MTB to road.
So from my experience a 3 by 9 system works and because you change gears with either hand depending on the circumstance much less chance of RSI. I certainly did much longer rides on my old bike with no issues what so ever.
I am trying to decide whether to try upgrade the bike to Eagle ASX and try put the shifter on the left side of the handlebar, or maybe have it angled so I can use my fingers as it is just my thumb that really hurts all the time. But I am still angry that I now can’t play guitar due to what the manufacturers SRAM and Shimano think is an upgrade.
If you have any influence with the manufacturers can you tell them my story about how they need to work out how to help people with injuries keep riding. I rode past a guy one day with one arm, he had a 3×9 setup with both shifters on the left side, a 1 by could work for him if they made shifters than fit on the left side – which they don’t from my research.