Well, I finally did it.
I dropped the hammer and bought a new bike. I don't have it in my possession yet. Not until tomorrow. But right now, I'm not sure how I feel about it. About the whole idea of buying a new bike, that is.
Buyer's remorse, I suppose.
Or maybe I just wonder if I was hasty.
First, maybe I should look at the reasons I want a new bike. Notice I said want, not need. First and foremost it is completely about want. The bike I have currently would more than suffice for many more years. Hell, it's got a new frame, so I guess it's nearly a new bike.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about about why I want a new bike.
I ride a lot. We've established this already. And as someone who rides a lot, I want to have the most comfort I can while making the commute. In a self-powered vehicle that can mean a number of things. A lighter bike makes for easier rolling which makes for a more enjoyable and comfortable ride. In the winter, wider rims provide a bit better tire profile for flotation meaning a bit easier riding through the snow making for a more comfortable and pleasant ride. I'm hopeful that a wider bar will also lead to a more comfortable ride.
Another reason I've been looking for a new bike has to do with the recent snafu with the Pugs frame and being without transportation for a couple of days. Generally I don't go in for the idea that one needs to have an extra car or bike just in case one quits working. But, I've found myself in that situation too often. And it sucks. I want to know that on any given morning even if my primary bike is down, I can still get to work. Without driving.
I also am getting tired of riding by myself. Particularly in the winter. I don't have many (any) friends and a really challenging schedule which makes it difficult to set up rides with people outside my family. With the new Pugs frame being size large, all of my kids and possibly my wife can ride the bike, giving me four different possible riding partners. So, the bike will no longer be set up optimally for me as the rider, but it will be available if I need it and will give my kids something to ride along side me as I explore new areas this winter.
The large frame on the Pugs feels just a touch too cramped for me to ride everyday without putting on a new, even longer, stem that could affect the handling and with the slight differences in geo, the large already feels a bit twitchy to me.
And I just want a new bike. I've ridden the hell out of the Pugs and have gotten the per-ride cost to somewhere way south of a penny per ride. I've gotten my money's worth out of it. I still like the bike, but am just ready for something new.
So what makes the new bike better than what I currently have? Well, not much. Or maybe a lot.
I've already mentioned the wider wheels. The frame is non-offset, so easier to build a 29er wheelset for for summer riding. The hubs are out of the factory with sealed cartridge bearings rather than the open bearings that caused me so many problems on the Pugs until I rebuilt the wheel (which is now entering the break a spoke phase...). The brakes are hydro vs. mechanical. I don't know if this is better or not, yet. I've had a few times where the mechanical brakes felt a bit sketchy. The frame is aluminium and has a lifetime warranty - so no seat post bonding going on here. I've have aluminium frames break in the past. They have a life span and all. But that frame, too, had a lifetime warranty and the company replaced it. Unfortunately at the time I didn't have the funds to build up the frame as few, if any, of the parts from the original bike would work on the new frame. That said, I'm in a different place now and by the time this frame bites it, well, I should be getting to the point where a cruiser might be more my style.
Other than those few items, it's not like the new bike is light years ahead of the old bike. It is just new. Which is part of the hesitation I feel now that I've made the payment. Is this really what I want to spend that much money on? What else could I use that money for? The kids could use some skis. We could probably use a second car since we have one child who is licensed and one that is going to be soon. We could use a new X, Y, or Z.
I tend to get this way after making a large purchase. Not with cars, because when you finance something it feels a lot less real in terms of the cost.
I'm sure that I'll love the bike. And I'll ride it all the time. I just don't know that I'll ever be able to say that its purchase was ever anything more than me wanting something new and having the funds to afford it.
On the flip side, I do find that a new bike, or even new bike parts, tends to cause me to up my riding, which should result in a corresponding reduction in weight, thus better health? Yeah, I needed a new bike for my health. That's it.