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approach here would be to emphasize how it would be safer, and less expensive to upgrade because the old bike is too outdated to repair and too much of a safety hazard.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