Thursday, April 01, 2010


A long time ago I convinced my wife that the great thing about cycling is that once you have the bike, you're basically done spending money.


Okay, so I love upgrading parts (who doesn't?). And, thanks to the superb marketing and continual drive for "innovation" of the leading manufacturers in the industry, there's plenty of things I need to buy.

That's right, I said "need." However, even though I need these things, I avoid buying them--which shows how much sacrifice I'm willing to endure for my family.

There are, however, a few actual needs that cyclists have if they a) ride bikes, and #2 want to keep riding them. These include, but are not limited to, new tires, new tubes, pedal cleats, clothing (c'mon Assos, at that price I should be able to wear this stuff the rest of my life--and I look good enough in it that I might), grips/bar tape, drivetrain stuff, cables, etc. Besides that, I've learned from long experience that I can't bleed brakes to save my life (and believe me, my life is in the balance when I bleed brakes and then go ride a white-knuckle descent!). So, while that isn't a "part" as such, I need to pay someone at least $50 to bleed them.

Though I could go on and on about the woes of buying tires (a tire sponsorship would honestly be enough for me, I'm not greedy), that's not what I want to focus on. No, I want to call out that little tiny thing I fairly glossed over with the words "drivetrain stuff." Here's what's bound to wear out in your drivetrain fairly often: chains, cassettes. Of course, if you don't replace those, then you'll be looking at chainrings too. Actually, if you stay on top of the chain, you should be able to extend the life of your cassette. Well, that and if you keep your chain clean.

But I'm not here to talk about proper drivetrain maintenance.

The truth is, other things will wear out eventually, too. When you're laying down the kind of power I am, you'll find that the expensive Dura Ace cassette you've been rolling with just disfigured your expensive (light-weight!) aluminum freehub body on your expensive (light-weight!) wheels. So now you're all-of-a-sudden looking at a chain, a cassette (expensive and light-weight!) and a new freehub body. Can I get mine in buttery-soft aluminum, please?

On a separate thread, I'm also, secretly trying to own as many bikes as possible. Not because I'm trying to one-up my neighbor (I'm looking at you, Rick!), but because I love bikes so much. Unfortunately (sort-of), three bikes does not equal three-times the drivetrain maintenance costs. Oh no. You see, I'm the kind of guy who also likes to have multiple wheelsets. I mean, I need one for the rollers (who wants to be swapping out tires all the time?), and one for the road. Ideally, I'd like one for racing on, but since I don't really race much, I can put that off for now.

Just like neglected chains, a neglected chain wear tool will also rust.
So, now that I finalized my order, I'm starting to regret not measuring my chain to see if it's stretched.


Red Bike said...

I swear manufactures have deliberately started to make things so they wear out. When I was a kid the only parts I can remember ever having to change were a rear tyre and one set of brake blocks. That was in 4/5 years of riding. (And then the only reason for the rear tyre was I insisted on sliding it all the time.) I can't remember ever having a punture or worrying about oiling the chain or pumping up the tyres.

Now it seems like i'm constantly replacing chains and if I so much as dare to ride in wet muddy conditions then I destroy at least one set of brake blocks a ride.

The freehub on my Hope hubs was that badly chewed I had to cut the cassette off them. I can't remember that sort of thing ever happening with me cheap steel wheels!

Dave mostly, Bridgette sometimes said...

This sounds so much like me Jon, Happy Riding!