photo: Aaron Chamberlain

Unless you’re single, chances are that you have someone in your life who you need to discuss purchases with, at least to a degree. Whether those are your grandparents, parents, boyfriend, wife, or escaped alien from Area 51 that you’re in a rental agreement with, it’s always a good idea to run the idea past them.

Bikes are expensive, no matter how you dice it up. Hell, even $150 for a department store bike can be a stretch for some people. Chances are though if you are reading Singletracks, then you are a mountain bike enthusiast and not only understand the joy and pride that comes from ripping a quality bicycle down a winding stretch of dirt, but you endorse it. Most people who have been riding long enough also understand the nuances between different categories of bikes, and how they change over time, or even worse — fall apart.

Here are ten reasons why you might (or might not) need a new bike, and how to convince the other person in your life. These are also listed in descending order from most to least important, although the order could be debated, and so could the merits of each argument.

Your bike is well past its prime and kinda dangerous at this point

Now this is a safe area to start talking for a few reasons, which is why it’s at the top. We all know someone who has been riding the same bike for a decade and it sounds like a bag full of tin cans being towed down the trail. This isn’t a knock on anyone who can’t afford an upgrade, but sometimes its safer to spend a little money on a quality piece of equipment that will offer peace of mind.

Start the conversation with the special someone right after you return home from a ride. I’m not saying you should walk in the door with blood all over your shirt like Edward Norton in Fight Club, but it wouldn’t hurt. “Mom, you won’t believe what happened on my ride.” Now is the time to pull her over to your bike and show her how loose the rear wheel is without any hope of re-tapping the dropouts.

“I hate to spend more money on bikes, but I think it would be safer for me to get a new one. The rear wheel washed out on me on a corner today, and this thing just scares me a little. What do you think?”

In all seriousness, the right approach here would be to emphasize how it would be safer, and less expensive to upgrade because the old bike is too outdated to repair and too much of a safety hazard.

Your last bike was stolen

Now, this is an emotional one, and I know exactly how it feels to walk to a wall or rack where you last left your prized steed — which took countless hours of work and sweat for you to afford — and find that it’s gone. It hurts. And that’s why this is one of the easiest arguments to use, because it appeals to emotion, probably the strongest pillar of a convincing argument.

This isn’t the place to get cocky though, so keep the credit card out of your hand and in your wallet when you pop the question. Start by emphasizing how much the other bike meant to you, and how many memories you have gliding across trail and catching dirt in your hair. “I just don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t ride again.” By this point, they should at least have their hand on your shoulder, if they aren’t already wrapping their arms around you.

Pro tip: Buy renter’s or property insurance right now so you can skip most of this and spur for the new bike yourself!

You want the exercise

Photo: Lee Lau

This argument is geared towards those who don’t have a bike yet. Either you haven’t tried mountain biking before and really want to, or maybe sold your bike years ago, and want to try it again. Now this is seemingly an easy argument to win, but don’t be fooled. Your significant other will likely question your need for a nice mountain bike since you haven’t needed one for years.

They also might say that gym memberships, group exercise classes, and fad diet cookbooks are far less expensive than that “dirt bike thing” you want, so you’ll have to explain the other benefits. “Look, a new mountain bike is more fun than going to the gym, and since my best friend rides too, I will have someone to go consistently with. Also, do you really want me to start wearing tank tops and drinking peanut butter cup flavored protein shakes?” The answer to that is “no.” If that doesn’t work, tell them that you can’t stand the thought of walking into a locker room. After all, you’re not in PE anymore.

It’s a better option than a motorcycle or new car

This could be the noblest reason on the list if you can spin it correctly, and luckily there are a few ways this can be done. One approach is combining this reasoning with the reason directly above, and you will have then strengthened your argument by 200%. Not only do you want to ride to work because it will save you money on the purchase and on gas, but you’ll be burning more calories than if you drove.

You might be better off by expressing your concern for the environment however, and that you really want a new bike in order to do your part in helping the environment. “This is greater than me, honey. It’s not that I want a new bike, it’s that I want to see our kids enjoy the world and nature the same way that we did. If I ride to work instead of using a motorized vehicle, at least I know I did my part.” Remember, appealing to emotion is your best strategy.

It’s outdated and holding you back from progression

Photo: Matt Miller

Here’s where things get difficult and the word necessity gets more and more diluted. It’s a far reach for someone to understand that the quality mountain bike that you spent thousands on just three years ago is keeping you from adding two seconds on your manual time. You’re really going to have to relay your passion for mountain biking here and it might take some compromise.

Let your significant other know that if they want you to reach your dreams of being a pro athlete — or even just an Instagram influencer — then you will need the latest and greatest geometry and suspension platform to make it happen. If they don’t buy into this, then go with the ol’ resale value excuse — if you want to get the most money for it, then you will have to sell it as new as possible.

You want to extend the season

Photo: Jeff Barber

This is a tough one. Trying to convince someone that you need a new type of bike to ride in the off-season because all the riding you did over the summer still didn’t satiate you is not an easy sell. Most likely they will think it’s silly because instead of being excited to catch up with them when the snow starts falling, you just want to go do bicycle things with your friends. Again.

Your best bet here is to let your dad/dog/boyfriend know how vital mountain biking is to your mental health all-year round. “You wouldn’t like me when I don’t get my bike time.” This is twice as likely to work if you start ripping your shirt when you’re explaining this to them.

You have fallen in or out of love with a discipline

Things change over time and that’s perfectly normal. Plenty of professional athletes have fatigued over their own disciplines and moved on to something else because they needed something new. Chances are though, you’re no pro, because if you were then brands would be giving you new bikes and you wouldn’t be reading this.

This excuse indicates that you plan on riding in a different manner on the new bike, and that can be a big change, but there’s a good chance that the person you’re trying to convince thinks that a mountain bike is a mountain bike is a mountain bike. Take advantage of this, and stun them with mountain bike jargon, like when a SWAT team tosses a stun grenade in before raiding a house. “This other bike I want only has 120mm of Horst-link controlled suspension, and has a 15% more progressive leverage curve than my current bike. Plus, a reduced, 37mm offset fork!”

After a few minutes of this, their head will be spinning and they’ll likely cave.

You’re particularly fond of a new model year’s color

Photo: Matt Miller

Yes this is the most vain excuse on the list and there’s a really good chance it won’t work. Explain to your wife/son/financial advisor that sure, while your current Matte Battleship colored enduro bike is in perfectly fine condition, you heard that this other new bike that just came out in Must-have Mustard is made from a sustainably sourced paint and a lighter liquid, thus shaving off at least four grams and contributing to a cleaner planet.


Squatch Bikes and Brews. Photo: Aaron Chamberlain

The age old N+1 formula is perhaps the greediest reason on this list, like a snake eating its own tail. There is no amount of bikes that would suit you because this equation is never-ending.

In order to use this as a legitimate excuse it will depend on the other person being absolutely awful at math, and even then, you will want to stretch out the equation and make it so complicated, yet redundant, that they fall asleep long enough for you to sneak out and buy a new bike. It may look something like this: N (40×10-2 / 3 x 0) +1.

Good luck.

# Comments

  • rmap01

    You have to “convince” people to get a new bike?? 😉

  • Matt Miller

    @rmap01, depends I suppose. One time I came home and found out that my GF (ex) bought a puppy when I was at work, and w/o my knowledge. Of course I grew to like it, but I didn’t really want to talk to her for a few days lol. Some of our partners may not grow to love our new bikes, but sometimes easier to ask for forgiveness 😀

  • rmap01

    I totally get it Matt. There are many practical reasons why one should probably not buy a new MTB, e.g. low funds, bought last year’s model, just upgraded, performs flawlessly, etc etc. But many riders I know are convinced (or at least want) a new bike so that’s not usually the issue, at least with the guys I ride with.

  • Matt Miller

    Yeah, this isn’t so much convincing them. I don’t know any mountain biker that doesn’t want a new or another new bike. It’s really centered on convincing your partner/parent/whoever that you need a new bike.

  • Oldandrolling

    I purchased my last bike and told my wife when I went to pick it up. That works too!

  • Robert Dobbs

    Two more arguments that I use:
    1) Cycling is my vice….but it’s a GOOD vice. This is a brutally honest “lesser of two evils” pitch.
    e.g. I’m not addicted drugs or alcohol or gambling, but I am a cycling addict and look how happy and healthy I am!! Hence, you (spouse) should be happy. This usually elicits eye rolling and shaking of head in disbelief from spouse – but the twisted logic of the argument is inescapable. 😉

    2) Archie has 10 bikes – I only have 5! The former president of our local cycling club had 23 (or was it 26?) bikes. He and his wife had a tacit agreement that so long as his collection did not encroach on the right bay of their garage he could get what he wanted. We all used Archie as our touchstone. e.g. “Well Archie has 23 bikes, I only have 6…you (spouse) should be thankful!” This also elicits eye-rolling and sighs of exasperation from spouses but, if repeated often enough within a one week period, usually resulted in acceptance. Of course, if you don’t know someone like Archie, well then, you’re SOL.

  • Phonebem

    Option 1 worked well for me. When I got back into riding (after a 10-year break) I “outgrew” the max recommended weight for the titanium components on my old race bike, after all I wasn’t a 130 lb. XC racer anymore… I started breaking spokes on about every third ride, then noticed the bars had a noticeable down sweep (that shouldn’t have been there) which got me thinking about the number of titanium weight-bearing components that were over stressed and well past their sell-by dates (seat rails, handlebar, pedal spindles, BB spindle, and wheel spokes)…
    I managed to find a deal on a lightly used 29″ hardtail that I still ride and enjoy.

  • ADtheglorious

    The easiest and most simple way is to buy a bike of very similar colour to the one you wish to replace and tell no one! Your riding buddies will notice, but anyone without a discerning eye will just see the same colour bike in the garage.

  • mongwolf

    I think the long-term approach is also super helpful. Don’t just spring the topic on them just before you want to buy. Having that periodic, ongoing conversation gives your significant other time to come on board or maybe gives you time to simply wear him or her down. =) Related to that, it gives you time to work through all their counter arguments. It also gives you time to concede on the topic a bit, buy some of things they may want/need, and you have put their wants and needs in front of your own. Currently, I am delaying the purchase of a new bike for about a year as my wife and I buy new furniture for our home. She is already on board with me buying a new bike after that, and then we will follow that by buying her a new telescope. We will give my old bike to one of our sons (that always bolsters the argument emotionally and with real value added) and also her old telescope to another of our sons. The buying of my next bike is already a done deal. Now I just have to wait it out. It is the long-term, whole picture, comprehensive approach.

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