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:
1. Niner RIP 9 RDO
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.
2. Salsa Beargrease XX1
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?
Since I have no interest in road riding or downhilling, my quiver wouldn’t be so broad, but rather full of trailbikes for any mood/trail
Fatbike: Salsa Beargrease
Cross Country hardtail: Rocky Mountain Vertex
Cross Country fully: Cannondale Scalpel 1
All Mountain Bike: Yeti SB-66
All Mountain 29er: Yeti SB-95
It’s fun to think about though, right? I have a great idea for a beer game involving this…
Since you already own 3/5 of this list .. who needs the lottery? 😀
Hey, like I said, I’m working on it 🙂 Buy hey, it would be nice to refresh those bikes every once in a while, and they do break. All my friends know that if I own a bike long enough (i.e. a week) then I’ll break it. ‘sides, it’s taken me a very long time to build that quiver, and I’m happy with it.
And, I could have been smooth and just picked three, so I could have named my current quiver the Trifecta Perfecta…but I’d rather have 2 more bikes 🙂
While you think you wouldn’t have time to ride more than five bikes NOW, if you won the lottery, think about how much more riding time you would have?! Thus, I wouldn’t restrict it to just 5… especially since there are a few gaps in your lineup that I’d like to see filled.
Road bike: if you win the lottery, why bother struggling with ‘cross geo and swapping tires if you could just get a dedicated road bike? I’d probably grab something from Specialized or Cervelo.
Next up, Pivot’s cross bike is pretty sweet… I’d dig that!
Getting into hardtails, I agree, the Air 9 is pretty fantastic. I’d probably strap a 1×11 or 2×10 drivetrain on it, and have it setup as my lightweight race whip.
3rd, I’ve always wanted to own a singlespeed, but have never ponied up the dough to add one to my stable. I think the Vassago Verhauen would be just the ticket!
4th, there would definitely be a carbon fat bike… either the Salsa Beargrease, or one of 9:zero:7’s top-end rigs.
5th, a Surly Krampus… just because, it’s awesome!
6th, for full suspension race whip duties, Trek’s top-of-the-line carbon FS Superfly is tough to beat!
7th, for a full-sus trail bike, I’d be pretty torn between the Niner RIP 9, the Ibis Ripley, and the Yeti SB-95. The Ibis might win out in the end…
8th, I think you have a hole in your lineup in the all-mountain category, as the Niner RIP 9 just doesn’t have the burl of a bigger bike. I’d probably fill the gap with a Specialized Enduro 29er.
9th, the Santa Cruz V10C would be epic for lift-served shredding!
Also, do you know what the bonus of having plenty of spare bikes floating around the house is? Spares for friends and guests to borrow! I love being able to loan out bikes, so having a quiver big and broad enough that there’s a bit of something for everyone would be perfect in my book 🙂
Of course, I guess it all depends on how big the lottery payout is… and I would actually have to buy a lottery ticket…
Wow, you have put some thought into this as well my friend 🙂
I will say this: I rarely play the lottery, but if I did win big, I wouldn’t quit working…I’d just work for myself, work less, and work for free. I love what I do and this sounds strange but I think I would get tired of mountain biking real quick if that is all that I did. Instead, I’d rather travel around the world with my family and a couple of bikes in my quiver perfecta, doing what I love: a little bit of everything.
At the moment, the RIP.9.RDO fills my gap nicely. I’m too chicken to jump off of anything requiring the full 155mm of travel. Buy hey, nothing wrong with owning a few spares…strictly for friends of course 🙂
If money were no object I wouldn’t want a bunch of plastic bikes made in a factory that just anyone could buy, I’d want custom!! I’d get a custom road, cx, HT MTB, and rigid SS MTB. Get a nice mix of steel and ti. And maybe a carbon longer travel FS ‘trail’ bike as well.
Builder’s I’d be looking at…Zukas (CX and geared MTB), Firefly (road), and 44 (SS).
I will get me a Zukas eventually…hopefully this year, a “road” bike that’ll take 40mm tires for gravel duties.
1. (Trail/Do it all) Norco Sight Carbon LE FS
2. (DH Park Bike) NS Soda Air
3. (Rowdy DH bike) Kona Supreme Operator
…that’s all I need.
This is a really hard question but my five would look like this:
1. Specialized S-Works Tarmac
I currently own a Tarmac that I commute on and cross train with, but not the S-Works version and if I win the lotto I see no reason not to upgrade.
2. Yeti SB-95C in yellow
I currently have a Stumpjumper FSR 29 that I love, but have recently fell in love with this bike. I tried waiting for Yeti to release the 95C before buying my Stumpy a few years back but they kept taking to long and I got tired of waiting. I don’t regret buying my Stumpy, but I love the lines of the 95C and would love to see it hanging in my garage.
3. Intense Hard Eddie 29 SS
I just finished building a fully rigid steel Kona Unit SS, but have always loved the look of this bike, especially as a SS.
4. Specialized S-Works Epic 29
I borrowed my wife’s Epic (not the S-Works) to do a 12 hour race last year and was blown away by how good it was. For the 12 hour races in my future, this is a must have.
5. Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
I don’t really care to hit the bike parks and this could tackle any singletrack that I could throw at it.
Now the important question to ask yourself, where would I store these bikes? I currently live in Albuquerque and love it here, however if a sudden influx of money came my way I would sell my place in ABQ and store my bikes in my new garage in Durango, CO. With amazing singletrack as well as not being far from Sedona, Moab, and other CO locations I couldn’t think of a better place. Not to mention Wolf Creek and Purgatory for when I wanted to play in the snow…
Good point. If YOU win the lottery please move me to Durango too 🙂
Nice list. A fatbike is missing though 🙂
The thing is that SB-95 and Stumpy FSR 29 are very same bikes. For example, chainstay length difference only 5 mm. And both bikes handling feel same. I wouldn’t mind read YETI on my bike’s frame, but Stumpjumper looks good too, at more reasonable price.
Well …..Hmmm It’s tough
Trail bike would have to be either the Bronson C or the Range LE..Both bikes are sexy in their own way.
DH bike…I have that already and that still is my favorite V10C
DJ bike I am totally happy with a Banshee AMP.. fast and nimble.. You can build it any way you want…
Road bike I would stick with Pinarello Dogma Think2…Although if i could I would get the new Hydro version with Di2 or the new Sram red22.
I would love a Carbon Fat bike like the Salsa Beargrease as well.
If I could have only 5, then my all Colorado Quiver would be
Guerrilla Gravity DH
Yeti SB66c setup for shuttling/park with coil over, 160-36mm fork, 2.4 tires
Yeti SB66c setup for trail riding, sub 26 lbs
Moots Mooto X RSL – 20lbs
Alchemy Airon Road, all ENVE with DI2
Mach 6 carbon AM (2nd choice RM Instinct carbon 27.5″)
5010 C Trail
Seven Ti HT 29er
SB66c or Specialized Evo carbon
some sort of carbon road bike.
and throw in one of those fat bike thingys.
Trek Stache 8
Santa Cruz Bronson c
Santa Cruz Tallboy c
Trek Boone 9 disk
Banshee Legend Mk II
That Vault is pretty sexy… Do you know the retail price ? I started looking for a true road bike to replace my hybrid. So far, i have the specialized Roubaix in my target…
I already have my dreambike frame 🙂 (santa cruz blur lt carbon). Now i just need to put high end parts on it, like those sexy enve wheels ! One day maybe! One day …
No doubt the top would be a specialized enduro 29 s works, then a Santa Cruz 5010 c, a Scott scale 700 sl, the bear grease carbon fat bike, and I’m debating between a full on DH bike (V10c) or a carbon road bike(spec. Crux) for the 5th.
For my everyday ride, it would be a tossup between the Specialized Camber Expert Carbon Evo 29 and the Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er. I’d have to test ride them to decide.
Second would be a DH rig: Santa Cruz V10 but the Demo 8 is a close second.
Third would be a carbon fatbike (pick one), geared, but with SS dropouts also and a second rear wheel.
Fourth would be a DJ bike: Specialized P3, Yeti DJ, Transition PBJ would all be options but I might go for the Specialized P.Slope. It would be a Transition Double, but they no longer make it. Dang.
Last would be BMX race bike, probably a Redline Flight Carbon Pro XXL.
Or maybe I would skip the last two and just use my P.26 and Proline Expert since I just mess around on those to improve my bike handling. Even though I just won the lottery, I’m still cheap 😆
I find it interesting that a lot of the same bikes keep coming up, despite the plethora of new “enduro” bikes that flooded the market in the last two years: The Bronson, SB66c, the V10, the Stumpys, and the Enduro 29er. I also find it intersting that a carbon fatibike, namely the Beargrease, keeps coming up. Maybe we should do a poll or infographic on what bikes people would choose if they only had ONE bike.
Impressive list, @delphinide. Looks like you’ve covered every discipline. Always like to read your posts.
As for me, I wouldn’t have 5 bikes even with unlimited budget. First should be a full suspension trail bike (Stumpy FSR 29 fits alright). The second might be a Ti fatbike with spare set of summer wheels. Sure, fatty with skinny tires looks awkward, still could be a rigid MTB or city cruiser at the same time.
I don’t have enough time to ride more then 2 bikes, unfortunately 🙁