I got a new bike.
I feel guilty. Because my quiver is getting a little bit big. Because I have 1 bum, but 6 bicycles. Because I am feeling like I ought to be donating to the poor or volunteering at the food bank or something and not buying more pieces of expensive carbon for my selfish self.
There are bike brands that have been colloquially branded as “dentist bikes”, bikes that are expensive, carbon, with high end componentry and suspensions. They are referred to in derogatory terms with the assumption that the “dentists” who buy these bikes can’t actually ride.
I worry about being a “dentist”.
The bike I have purchased is somewhere between an xc race bike and my enduro. It is not a company typically thought of as a dentist bike brand, and in my opinion, its price point accurately reflects its componentry. Founded in the US and now based out of Switzerland, their bikes are generally respected and innovative. I bought it because I’m coming up on a race that I feel terribly unfit for, and, well, good equipment helps. The used xc bike I’d intended to buy for the race was stolen a few weeks ago, and finding reasonable alternatives has proven difficult at this point in the season, supply chain and all. I’d researched this bike when it was first unveiled last year. It’s a little unconventional in design, but reviews have generally been positive.
Nonetheless, I am plagued by poor little rich girl guilt.
I run it by a trusted bike friend. He sold me his old downhill bike, made by the same company, and his bike advice over the years has generally been sound.
What’s the point in earning money if you don’t spend it? BCBR [the race I’m doing] is going to be more fun if you put some additional cash that way and the XC bike will reward you in spades in terms of riding progression.
I chat with the shop owner about what he can do. Another friend of mine is sponsored by this bike company, and he’s told me he can usually swing a 20% discount.
Lies, says the shop owner. I can’t do that. There’s no margin on bikes. I’ve gotta tell [said friend] to stop telling people that. I can do 10%.
I am quiet for a bit.
In med school, when learning how to do patient interviews, we were taught to simply be quiet. People get uncomfortable when it’s quiet, and they talk to fill the void. Soon, you’ll learn everything you need to know with minimal effort, needing only to give direction to the verbiage every so often.
Really? That’s the best you can do?
He pauses to think.
Okay, I can give you 12% off and throw in the pro race package for the race, where we take your bike at the end of each race day, tune it up, and bring it to the start line in the morning. I’ll throw in a formal bike fit to start, and a standard tuneup after 20 hours. And warranty of course. You come to me for any issues with this bike. The pro race package is $1200. That’s over $2k in value.
I get him to send it to me in writing.
His shop and his mechanics are the main mechanics for this race. His shop has been around for ages and he is obsessive and particular about bikes. I like people like this dealing with my bikes.
So far, for the race, there are about 400 registered riders, 27 countries represented. There are only 40 pro race packages available, as that’s all they can haul. After some conversation, this race is clearly one that’s close to his heart.
He gives me numbers, because I like those. Head angles, reach, seat angles. An average of 15 Watts per pedal stroke in efficiency compared to an enduro bike, he says.
I laugh. “You’re going to get me on this bike and tune it every day and I’m still probably going to come in at the back of the pack. I’m bad for your marketing, just so you know.”
I talk with the reps from the bike company. I’m hesitant, as I’ve not had a chance to demo the bike. One guy is from Ontario, where the riding is notably different than here. Another is from the town south of us. Both ride this same bike, and swear by it.
I am leery. This has got to be a sales tactic.
I grab some pedals and put them on the bike they’ve brought for the festival display, hand them my wallet, and pedal to the parking lot and back. It’s stiffer, notably different in feel and geometry. 29″ wheels. I can’t adequately test it on trail, but on first ride, it feels good. The shorter travel suspension will force me into precision riding.
Also, it’s beautiful. Matte black carbon, hidden shock, clean lines, and a fascinating, creative mechanism to lock out front and rear suspensions with the click of a lever.
My enduro bike is loud and colourful. The rear hub buzzes obnoxiously and anyone who sees the bright green and orange colour scheme knows it’s my bike.
My downhill bike is older, and brash, and anyone who sees the blue and fluoro orange paint and characteristic shock design knows it’s my bike.
My dirt jumper is elegant with a bit of flash. It was a very popular black and gold frame, but with little green and gold accents on the stem and spacers so that anyone who sees it knows it’s my bike.
This? This is a stealth ninja.
I don’t know how I feel about it yet. I’m waiting for the protective wrap to come in before I take it out or I will inevitably chip the paint.
Could be one of those questionable boyfriend types; aesthetically pleasing but performance is iffy, and we don’t bring out the best in each other.
Or it could be husband material.
We shall see.
My actual husband though?
He rolls his eyes as I justify to him the purposes of each and every bicycle I own.
Then he tries his best to be excited for me as I wheel it in.
“It looks amazing, ” he says with a low whistle, though he knows nothing about it. I appreciate this effort, this effort put into feigned enthusiasm for something that is, to him, simply a very expensive and redundant bicycle.
My only task? Reorganizing the garage so there is a place to put it, because he has drawn the line at my leaving it in the living room to ogle.