We find that mountain bike riders have no problem investing into their gear – full suspension bikes, latest standards, carbon frames, and high-end components are all great, but they’re definitely not the best investment you can make. Here are a few simple reasons why.
1. The Obvious “its the rider, not the bike”
Everyone knows this, some deny or ignore it – but at the end of the line, its the rider that gets the job done. Of course, gear and technology can make us faster, safer and have more fun, but only to a limit.
A skilled rider will outperform an unskilled rider even if he has a bike with major disadvantages. We know you’ve seen it!
2. Enjoying good gear vs over relying on it
Again, investing in good gear is great, it’s fun and if you’re a good rider you can enjoy it! A common problem is that people over rely on gear. We often see riders struggling with skidding that run off to buy “better” brakes instead of practicing their modulation, others might that run off to buy a longer fork when because they aren’t confident on descents, instead of understanding the basics of descending.
In most cases, the upgrade might have a placebo effect for a couple of rides, but the problems will bounce back up pretty soon. Get the technique right, and you can save money on upgrades or simply enjoy them to the fullest. One other problem is that an upgrade might make some riders overconfident while still retaining some common riding errors, leading to mistakes and injuries on the trails.
3. Wear and tear vs improvement over time
Buy any gear and give a couple of years on the trail – it will be used and abused. That’s the job of bike parts, to work hard until they’re ruined and done.
Get better skills and they will improve with time. Good skills will make you feel confident and in control and will become a habit.
While we’re at it, having better skills will make you a smoother rider – actually decreasing wear and tear on your bike, so you will probably be saving on tires, chains, brake pads, and broken components.
4. Skills go with you to the next bike!
Skills are mobile and easily transferable from bike to bike – since they’re always with you. If you’re confident with your skills and at the very least have built good fundamentals, you should hop on just about any bike in any trail and have a great time, and that’s what we’re really riding for!
5. Trial and error vs. experience and methodology
Student: “Where does good judgment come from?”
Teacher: “From experience.”
Student: “Where does experience come from?”
Teacher: “From bad judgment.”
Coaching gives you a shortcut for better results. When choosing professional coaching, you’re learning from organizational and personal experience while also enjoying a methodology which has matured over the years and has proven results with countless riders.
Buying new gear will usually send most riders out to “just try again”. Trying again is good, trying again while getting good directions on what to do and feedback from a professional coach is even better!
To sum up
We’re not different than you! We love all the new gadgets, but don’t think another compression dial on the fork, carbon bars or boost hubs will make you a better rider.
It is important to also remind you – that a bike only runs as good as its setup.
Invest in coaching and your return on investment will be much better on any bike. You will also become a smarter shopper and take better advantage of your bike and component upgrades as they come.
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