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You know, the $200 35 lb POS no-name bike with no-name components someone gives someone (who doesn't ride) for Christmas and it's such a POS that the recipient will continue to not ride? And he bought it!

Him and his girlfriend both have one. I eyeballed them, held my tongue, figuring why does he need me to tell him to upgrade? He did eyeball my Burner once and mentioned something to the effect that "that's sure different from mine" which elicited me saying, well, if you ever want to talk bikes just ask. I won't bother you except to say that keep the number $1500 in mind if you're thinking of getting a "real" mountain bike.

Today I'm cleaning the most mud I've ever had on my bike, for hours I was cleaning, what a mess. He walks by and sez "I'm taking back that POS bike I got. It's falling apart already!" I walked over and looked at the 2 week old bike that's falling apart and asked which part? A telling fact here is he had to point down at (I'll just not say the part) and said "I don't even know what that's called, and it broke in a week!" He was loading it into the back of his girlfriends trunk and just rested the door down on the poor bike. I can just imagine the damage to come as he bounced his way to Sports Authority.

The guy seems athletic, him and his girlfriend run and look fit. But from that short conversation it was painfully obvious that maybe the guy's lack of mechanical ability was "scaring" him from even thinking about a decent ride. Maybe.

Since he was returning his current $200 POS I asked him if he was thinking of maybe spending more for a better one, you know, one that might not fall apart in a week. He said, yeah, I might go $250 next time. If he'd said $800 I was going to offer to find him a used $1300 bike but it wasn't going to happen.

I mean, really, how many people do you all know that are into mountain biking? We're just an infinitesimal percentage of the general population. The money we spend on our bikes would shock 99.99% of everyone else. This guy is just so typical of almost everyone you see outside of a gnarly trail. We're freaks!
 

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I know what you mean. I ride allot after work, and bring my gear and bike to the office so I can leave straight from there. About a month ago one of my co-workers tells me that he wants to get into some “serious mountain biking” and asks me for help picking out a bike. I asked him his budget, and he says that he would go as much as $500 for a really serious full suspension bike. At that point I couldn’t hold back the laughter. I even offered to let him us my old HT until he could save up enough to get a good HT of his own. I told him $700 was a good starting point for a HT and $1500 for an entry level FS. He looked at me like I was some whack job and went out and bought a $250 POS from Dick’s anyway.

There is another guy I ski with that is starting to get into riding. He is an ex MXer who loves drops and jumps and has no fear of going big. He too went out and bought a POS Dick’s HT and has beaten the crap out of it on the 4 or 5 rides he has been on with us. Luckily he is a pretty small guy and hasn’t snapped the bike in half yet. He finally realizes that its time for a bike meant for that kind of abuse and is willing to spend a whopping $600. The really scary thing is I am the only one in my riding crew that is really worried about him doing these kinds of drops and jumps on a POS department store bike. For the record we are talking about 5 foot drops to flat and some pretty big gaps.
 

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Thrifty Respect for Quality or Crass Materialism?

Good thread. Compared with most folks - though not with you all - I am definitely a gear head when it comes to my ski and bike equipment. I just like thinking about the toys - tweaking, sharpening, waxing, reading, optimizing .. whatever. And when things aren't just right mechanically, I notice it when I ride or ski, and it bugs me.

The point I'm getting to here is that there are a lot of people out there who constitutionally just aren't like us. I'm not saying the guys in the last two posts fall into this category - I don't know. But I do know that there are are riders to whom equipment simply does not make that much difference to their enjoyment of the sport. I ride with a guy who is twice the bike handler I will ever be. He was a pro BMX rider for a while. Until a couple of months ago he was riding a heavy FS monster from about 15 years ago, with essentially non-operational shocks on both ends, and rubber on both the tires and the cantilever brake pads that was so old it was shiny and cracked. Plus he always pumps his tires up to about 50 psi. (And he's not a big guy.) So he rides in our group, blowing by us all over the slippery moss-covered roots, nose-wheely-ing gracefully to a stop at every intersection to wait for us with a hugh scheiss-eating grin like he was riding a custom Seven. He just doesn't care. And he probably has MORE fun than the rest of us because of it. I envy him his lack of materialism.

Yes, there is an issue of maintainability and durability here. I totally get that. (I own a Turner, remember?) But once you get past a very basic level on that stuff... well, I said what I have to say.
 
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