Dear Loyal Readers,
School’s out this week, which means I must parent more aggressively. In turn, I must short-change you, so welcome to the Bike Snob NYC “Week of Half-Assed Blogging,” or “WOHAB.” The theme for WOHAB will be cheap-assed used bikes, and for the next five days I’ll be featuring my hastily-chosen personal recommendations, one on each day. Thanks very much for reading, ride safe (or at least as safely as you can on a cheap-assed used bike of mysterious provenance), and next week I’ll resume “MUMBOB,” or “My Usual Mediocre Brand Of Blogging.”
PS: I know calling it “WOHAB Week” is redundant, like saying “ATM Machine,” but sometimes you just need an extra syllable.
Okay, for the past couple days we’ve been looking at road bikes. But what if you’re interested in riding on the dirt, and you want something cheap, yet still fun and interesting? Well, if you consult the so-called “Internet” for an entry-level mountain bike, you’ll find something like this:
BO-ring!!! I mean seriously, just shoot me now. 99% of these bikes are brought home in the back of a crossover vehicle, wheeled into a garage, and never ridden again. Maybe in 20 years when you find one at a yard sale the passage of time will have rendered it somewhat interesting, since by then you’ll need some sort of neural interface suppository system just to shift your bike, but right now it’s duller than Stanley Tucci* on barbiturates.
*[I don’t know why Stanley Tucci, I just imagine him all zonked on pills in that pretentious show where he eats his way across Italy, nodding off with a bunch of spaghetti hanging out of his mouth.]
So what about vintage mountain bikes? Can you get a deal there? Well, unfortunately, thanks to the Soirée-Pace Ultra-Bromance Nerdavist Gravelista set, they’ve become the NJS Fixies of the 2020s, and thus their prices are grossly inflated:
$1,200? Go shove it up your ass.
However, prices drop quite a bit once you cross over into the early-to-mid suspension fork racy hardtail era, which means you can still get a pretty good deal on something like this:
Nice parts and free shipping? Sounds pretty good to me:
“But 26-inch wheels!” “But dated geometry!” “But I might need to brake with more than just a single pinky!” “But I might have to shift a front derailleur!” Oh for chrissakes, toughen up and stop whining. (Please note I’m in parenting mode this week, which means NO CODDLING DAMMIT!) You can ride a bike without a freaking dropper post, you won’t die. By the time this bike came out mountain biking had been flourishing for at least a decade, but you’d think from the crap people write on the Internet now that it was somehow impossible to enjoy riding a bike on dirt until 2018. Instead of listening to these soft idiots, why not spend half of what a fucking wireless dropper post costs and find out for yourself? Unless you’re launching yourself off shit you’ll probably find that this thing is a lot of fun to ride, while simultaneously learning to appreciate for yourself why bikes have changed since then and deciding which of those changes are worth it to you and which aren’t?
More importantly, a bike like this is a good platform for experimentation, and if you’re interested in learning how to work on your own bicycle this one will teach you how to do that. Pick up a cheap steel fork and ditch the stupid suspension one. Change the bars to something more comfy. Switch to V-brakes if you feel like you want a little more stopping power. Put on a modern 1x drivetrain, or else Riv it up with some friction shifters…or do both! Or get some drops and turn it into a “gravel bike.” Even if you do decide old mountain bikes are stupid and you want to invest in a modern one, this one can always serve as a nice little runabout. Anyway, working on bikes is almost as fun as riding them, and you can be a lot more creative with older bikes than newer ones.
Or get that depressing new Rockhopper and never ride it, whatever works for you.