Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It doesn't taste like a peach...

Saying you don't like apples because they don't taste like a peach is pretty silly sounding. You hear that and you immediately know "well, duh because it's an apple."  Neither an apple or a peach is bad.  They're just different.  They both do the same thing by providing you with nutrition and are on the sweet side of the scale.  They both have a skin that can be eaten or peeled.  They both have centers that aren't usually eaten.  Pretty simple right?

Saying "I don't like cantilever brakes because I like disc brakes", however, doesn't sound so silly.   Or, how about this one, "I don't like carbon frames because I like steel frames."  Pretty easy to understand.  The problem I have with statements like those is that they start off with a negative statement.  I don't like X because I like Y.  There's no logic there.  It's okay to not like X.  It's okay to not like Y.  But not liking X because you like Y is not logical.  Philosophy 1A.  A better logical argument would be, "I don't like cantilevers brakes (or steel frames) because disc brakes (or carbon frames) are the new generation and I embrace new technology." 

The bike industry and media play to the consumers desire for "new."  They want to make you think that that apple you are eating is a peach that you like so well.  It's what they do.  It's what they need to do to survive.  They need to sell new bikes.  However, when you already have that cantilever equipped steel cross bike, you aren't likely to buy another steel framed, cantilever equipped cross bike.  Nope.  The bike industry needs to figure out something new to sell you.  So, the steel cross frame becomes an aluminum cross frame and then when aluminum is stagnant, ta da!, carbon comes on the scene to save the day.  And discs are coming on the scene and that old steel, canti equipped cross bike is now really old.  At least, according to some folks.

During the big bike boom of the early '70s, there was no new technology that lured customers to bikes.  Campagnolo Record parts remained virtually unchanged throughout the '70s and most of the '80s, yet folks were more than happy to hop on a new bike in 1984 that was essentially the same that could be bought in the late '60s.  What sold bikes (besides an oil shortage) was the fun of riding a bike.  Riding a bike is not about the latest and greatest and if that's what it is to you, come back to this in 10 years and I'll bet you're not riding any more.  Riding is about the joy of pedaling and feeling the pain in your legs climbing that mountain, the gasping for oxygen, the pain in your ass when you sit on that saddle for hours.  The fun is pushing yourself.  It's not easy.  It's not comfortable.  But when you get done with an exhausting ride and you're plotting your next ride while recovering from your current ride, you'll know what it's about.

When it comes down to it, I really don't care if you think cantilever brakes are dumb and that if it doesn't have disc brakes, then it's a deal breaker.  I'm okay with that.  Every bike out there is valid, even carbon frames.  Well, except for those tall bikes.  Those are stupid.

By the way, I don't care for peaches, but I do like apples. 


(What's playing:  R.E.M.  Until The Day Is Done)

7 comments:

Isolation Helmet said...

I totally agree. The best bike is the bike that gets ridden

Chris said...

Bikes are kind of like bacon or good coffee... it's hard to get enough, even if the new one if not much different than the last one... and it's always fun to try a new flavor... :D

Alex said...

The scenery + above + other factors depending on the day = :)

H.O.M.E. said...

When will the new monster cross frames arive?! I want to get my adventure mode on!

blackmountaincycles said...

The new cross frames should be on their way here within 2 weeks. Soon, soon.

Bike Hermit said...

What is the deal with the bike "industry"? It seems as if the focus is on selling newer, lighter high zoot bikes and gear to people who are already into it. It might make more sense to focus on getting more people to think about riding and using bikes. And pushing lighter, faster, latest and greatest is not going to do that.

blackmountaincycles said...

Hermit - "seems?" That's exactly what the case is. There is an overwhelming imbalance of image vs. reality. The image of bikes is all high-end racy, but the reality is the majority of bikes sold are to non-racers. However, the non-racer doesn't necessarily read or follow cycling magazines/web sites, therefore the advertising dollars to towards enticing the high end customer.