Ever wondered what your life would be like if you won the lottery? Would you spend the world chasing down singletrack on an endless supply of bikes? What would you buy? I think it would be harder than you might imagine. I mean, if you had 100 bikes in your garage, or even 20, would you ever really get a chance to ride them all? Probably not the way they should be ridden. Wouldn’t you gravitate to the few select ones that made you grin from ear to ear or challenged your knobby skills?
A friend and I once had this conversation, and he thought I was kinda crazy when I suggested that I would only have 3-4 bikes if I had unlimited disposable income (that was before I fell in love with fat bikes, so I now have to choose 5). He vowed to have a mountain of bikes: downhill, all mountain, XC, singlespeed… and on and on and on. It’s a tempting proposition. Part of me would want to go nuts and turn my house into a shop of bikes and parts.
On the other hand, I bet a few of you out there might just have one very expensive custom titanium commuter with a hand-stitched leather saddle to put on top of your Lamborghini. But I’ve decided, that when I win the lottery (okay, maybe I’m daydreaming here), I am going to try to stick to just a quiver of five, and learn to ride them well. It took a long time for me to think about what would challenge me the most, and I wrestled with a few of these choices.
But here are my top five dream bikes:
I ride this bike now, and I simply love it. I have tried quite a few bikes in the 26, 650b, and 29er categories, and I think this bike fits me very well. I have been fortunate enough to take this rig to places such as Moab, Fruita, Durango, Crested Butte, and so many others… and I have never had so much fun on two wheels. It climbs technical singletrack well, flies over sloppy chunder, and begs me to jump higher and farther than I am willing to.
Still, this was the most difficult bike for me to choose because of the wide array of awesome bikes emerging in the “Enduro” category: the Santa Cruz Bronson C, the Pivot Mach 6, the Norco Sight LE, the Intense Carbine, the Ibis Mojo HDR, the Niner WFO 9… and about a dozen others! There has never been a better time to be a trail/AM rider: the bikes, trails, and races just keep getting better. Awesome! But sadly, I must choose only one…
Alternate choice: Pivot Mach 6. Crafted to near perfection, I think this will be the bike to beat this season in the Enduro market. Very well balanced, it is built to handle almost anything.
If you’ve read anything I have ever published here on Singletracks, you know I own and love this bike too. I ride it in the deep snow. I race it. I take it down double diamond trails. I ride it when no one else can get skinnier tires to sync up with the lonely, frozen singletrack. It is amazing and makes me feel like a kid again.
Fat bikes in general are extra-ordinary to ride, and this is also a difficult category for me to pick just one. Manufacturers like Borealis and 9:Zero:7 have upped the ante and advanced the market well beyond what fat bike riders dreamed would happen just a couple of years ago.
There are a lot of great bikes out there. I chose the Beargrease because I love the way it rides and it all but replaced my XC bike, though I have been known to ride it over anything and everything. The hardest part will be squeezing the tires into my private jet to take it to my “other” home in Key West. 🙂
Alternate choice: a custom Black Sheep full suspension titanium fat bike. Nothing is cooler than owning a Black Sheep (ask any pro), but I am not sure I would be worthy of a bike of such caliber, even if I won the lottery…
3. Niner Air 9 Carbon/RDO single speed
Riding single speed on the Colorado front range takes some lungs and some legs. For that reason, I don’t own one yet, but I secretly lust after one because everyone I know who has one is a much stronger rider than everyone else.
My wife has a Niner Air 9, and we have it set up XC with an XX1 drivetrain… and it is a one of the most amazing bikes I have ever ridden. Squeezing myself on the small frame, at 21lbs it just whips uphill like a billy goat. But it is also surprisingly flickable for a hardtail and squirrely in the air (in a fun way) because it is so light and nimble. It will launch over tabletops and rail around corners without any effort. I look forward one day to slapping the Niner RDO rigid fork on it and converting it to a 17 lb singlespeed… before I break it.
Alternate choice: I can’t think of any other single-speed I would rather ride than this, creaky EBB and all!! Okay, maybe the Pivot LES. Yeah, I know, another Pivot…but their bikes are sexy and their sliding dropout is awesome.
4. Pivot Vault
Chris Cocalis knew what he was doing when he set out with his team to design this bike. I hope one day to replace my road bike with the Vault, because it seems like an awesome road crossin’, gravel grindin’, commuter monster. Having ridden a Titus for the better park of my mountain biking life, I have good reason to want to own a Pivot (including the Mach 6). At around 18 pounds, it has great geometry, mud clearance, grippy tires, and disc brakes. There is not much room for improvement if you are looking for a renaissance “non” mountain bike.
Alternate choice: Specialized S-Works Crux Red Disc. A proven race winner, I honestly just like the way it looks, and I know the quality is top-shelf.
5. Santa Cruz V10, Greg Minaar Limited Edition
I don’t have any business owning a bike like this. Few of us do. But I stare at the V10 endlessly and marvel at this bike, a pinnacle of bicycle engineering design that is vulcanized with aesthetic genius. The thought of roaring downhill and off of jumps on the V10 makes my heart skip a beat, but I think I would cry like a school girl on the side of the trail the first time I scratched it. There is nothing wrong with the regular V10, but it is pretty cool to celebrate the South African colors in the year that the world remembers for the passing of the great Nelson Mandela. This bike means more than just World Cup heroism…
Alternate choice: Specialized S Works Demo 8. Can’t go wrong with this workhorse, and the graphics this year are wicked.
As you can see, picking just five bikes can be a challenge, but I have lived long enough to know that if you buy everything you want, you get bored of it pretty fast. So stick with five, my friends, and if you buy more, loan them away to my friends and I to “maintain” them.
The good thing is, if you win the lottery, you get to replace these as often as you want! I am slowly building that Quiver Perfecta already… just in case I don’t win that lottery.
Do you have any of your dream bikes in your stable already?
Your Turn: What five dream bikes would you buy if someone handed you mucho dinero and said you had to spend it on just bikes? Could you narrow it down to just five?