Editor’s Note: “Over a Beer” is a regular opinion column written by Greg Heil. While Greg is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com, the opinions expressed in this commentary are his alone and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Singletracks.com.
After SRAM’s recent announcement of their new Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, the internet veritably exploded with angry mountain bikers foaming at the mouth and gnashing their teeth about “how horrible this is, that this new technology is being forced upon us.”
Those same commenters said the same thing about Boost 148.
And fat bikes.
And… the list goes on.
But here’s the thing: this technology is NOT being forced upon you. You don’t have to buy 1×12… unless you want to.
It seems to me that some of these naysayers think that just because a new drivetrain has rolled out, that support for everything that ever existed before has ceased.
That’s simply not the case.
A quick Google search reveals that 3×9 drivetrain parts are still readily available from many distributors—brand new. While not as widely available, 3×8 can still easily be purchased. And 7-speed… etc.
With the millions of bikes that have been sold over the years, and with industrious folks looking to make a buck, I see no reason why you won’t be able to buy parts that are as common as a drivetrain, for a bike from most any era since mountain biking manufacturers started standardizing components across brand lines.
While I am fortunate enough to own some pretty nice mountain bikes, my road bike isn’t nearly as new. In fact, it’s a ’99 GT triple triangle with an old quill threaded stem/headset. This was a horrible design and idea, and I wouldn’t recommend buying one to anybody, but I was able to go online, and replace my fork with a new carbon fork with a threaded steerer, for not very much money.
The parts are out there.
One of our local shops (we have three in a town of 5,500—that’s just crazy, but a topic for another time) sort of specializes in restoring old cruisers and making them run and ride well again. Many of the bikes that end up in this shop’s work stands are older than the oldest mountain bikes in existence—they predate our entire sport! Despite what might seem like insurmountable age, the mechanics are still able to locate, order, and install the parts that the owner of the cruiser in question needs in order to pedal down to the bar next week.
So do you need to buy 1×12? Hell no! But do you want to buy 1×12, and do you hate yourself for wanting to spend $1,500 bucks right this instant for a GOLD drivetrain?! Yeah, maybe a little.