akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Keith Bontrager said something like that


Once you're diagnosed with the virus infection, it's quite hard to get rid of. The virus is ever evolving by the hour; and you could only abate it with constant supply of information, or a flow of serious money. Or, just sit back enjoying whatever it is that you have and hope the itch would lessen as time goes by. It is by no means a rare disease, because there are many fellow riders infected too. Newbie, and seasoned alike.

Technology is one of the causes UGI. The mere hearsay of technology advancement currently brewing in a test lab could spur an epidemic in certain circles. Sometimes they are potent enough to cause a serious concern. But sometimes they do, in which there are no other cure except to fork out $ and go with the flow. Usually when industry-wide adoption takes place and certain parts are discontinued.

The push factor
Well, sometimes upgrades are unavoidable. Will 9-speed system fade away and 10-speed become the norm like what 9-speed had done to 8- and 7-speeds? Are v-brakes dying, in comparison to adoption of disc brakes?
Or is it actually a technological push created by the industry itself?

I don't really know but I do know that some 'old' things still have their places, in terms of usage. We have to look into what sort of parts do we really need, and good enough for our usage. My commuter bike do not need disc brakes and even 7 speed on the rear would suffice. However, I choose to use 9 speed cog on the rear (and shifters) due to parts and compatibility factor. All the bikes with gears at home are with 9. Easy for me to swap/interchange parts between them. Also, my spares inventory is kept to minimum.

Feel good factor?
Placebo effect?

Sometimes the upgrade that we are eyeing for are not really giving a positive effect on performance. Most of the time it's the bling factor, or the notion that 'new tech are better'. Or, the hype surrounding the product makes it like a cult or a must have 'upgrade'. Thus, we tend to feed our brains that by upgrading those new grips, our riding experience would be enhanced. Well, this fares a bit like the uplifted feeling that we have upon driving the car out from the carwash.

Take my recent experience with Fi'zi:k Gobi XM saddle. I have been aiming for it for a long time since all the good riders are using it. Plus, the fact that it is expensive would equate to the performance, right? Well, to put it simply, the rule does not apply to me in this case. My butt hurts on the 25km on it offroad. I have no choice other than to resell it. Hmm... I wonder if Brooks B17 is better...

Anyway, if it would somehow make you feel better, by all means go for your cure. It's your money, right?

The waiting game
If time = $, then you have to wait for the cure to become affordable.
It takes some time for the technology from the highest caste of a product line to trickle down to their humbler brethren. However, I'm happy to report that in recent cases the period is short. In not more than a year, the XTR tech would be seen on XT's. The same goes to XT curves would eventually show on SLX, Deore, etc. So, weight aside, to have the upper end tech available on your budget parts would need you to be patient.

Of course, if you have money, anything goes.

The real cure
It's not the bike, it's the rider.
The real defense against UGI is to develop yourself. Your strength, both physical and mental. While technology is needed to get the best machine possible (and lightweight), your strength is the core of it all. You're the engine, to get the machine works, above all. So build up strength and then only the best machine that you could afford would be much more enjoyable. Even if you're using 8 speeds, or singlespeed for that matter.

Sure, technological advances would always churn out better products and new ideas unleashed as offerings. However, they might not be necessary for you. This is where mental strength is required, to resist the temptation to UGI (especially when $ is of no object). Truthfully, you have to look at yourself (and your bike) and think honestly and deeply, do I need those upgrades?

When to upgrade
Bike parts are subject to wear and tear; that's the beauty of it for UGI sufferers. The best time to upgrade is when you're replacing your worn out parts. Start looking in advance what parts needed to be replaced; and if there are opportunities for upgrading.

One example is the drivetrain. When replacing the chain, it is imperative to change the cassette as well. And the crankset. Might be as well upgrade to 10 speed (if you see it as a necessity), if you're using 8 or 9 speed system, especially if the price for your favored 'old tech' would be more or less the same as the new ones.

Sometimes, the problem is solved for you whereby the parts you're looking for is now obsolete requiring for a necessary upgrade, or parts for your old system is now becoming rare and costlier than going for a newer system. In other words, no choice for you.

In any case, do not overdo it. Spending on bikes is not a profession for a weekend warrior. If you're starting to eat only rice and fried eggs for lunch in order to cure your UGI, it's a sure sign that you're in a critical stage. There are other things in life other than biking.

A friend would always ask:
Akaun Tabung Haji hang dah cukup?

Thanks for coming over, and have a good day ahead.
Ride safe, bros! 

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