The bike industry is a great example of trickle down innovation. It’s a world where the high end technology funds the continued improvement of the mid-range components, and it’s also a world where media and advertisement focuses on that expensive technology. In ways it works much like the auto industry. Formula 1 racing drives a lot of technical innovation in the performance car world. The new hybrid supercars, the Mclaren P1 and Porsche 918, are running gas and electric engines that work similarly to the KERS system in F1 cars.
But there is a difference in how cars are advertised compared to bicycles. Most folks see car advertisements on television, where they advertise mid-range and some upper mid range models. Bikes however, are advertised differently. Bike magazines, how most people interact with bike advertisements, review bikes like Top Gear reviewed cars. A reviewer will argue the finer points of the Trek Emonda SLR 10 in terms that make many feel like to really enjoy road biking, you need that $15,000 bike
There is, in my humble opinion, a disproportionately vocal population of bicyclists who will tell you what kind of gear you need to do pretty much anything on a bike. To go bikepacking you need a rigid 29er with a frame bag your sleeping pad mounted under your seat, etc… There are numerous things you can do on a bike, and there is a subset of cyclists that will tell you what you HAVE TO HAVE, to do certain things. There is also a vocal group that is reactionary to the HAVE TO HAVE attitude. These are cyclists who will tell you you don’t need an expensive part, that the cheap one works just as well, and that you’re foolish for spending that much money on your bike, and so on and so forth.
We try to find the more reasonable center here at Beemuns, and I’m encouraging all you, in the words of Mcalisterium, to hike your own hike. There are people that like to spend a lot of money on their bikes and their bike components. I’m one of them. I enjoy the lighter, crisper shifting of an Ultegra groupset. I’ve been spoiled with higher end gear and believe it makes cycling more enjoyable, for me. But I’ll never tell you you need component x to enjoy cycling. Hike your own hike. If you want to go on a trans-continental tour with kitty litter panniers on a bike you pulled out of the dump, we’ll help you do that. If you’d like to ride the continental divide route on the nicest mountain bike money can buy, we’ll help you with that too. Hike your own hike. Your joy in cycling will come from traveling your own path. That’s the beauty of cycling. Its such a vast tent that includes all kinds of people doing all kinds of riding. People with different tastes, needs and budgets, and there is room for everyone. So next time someone tells you its just a bike, and a $20 derailleur works just as well as a $100 dollar one, or that you could have gotten the same performance from the cheaper model, remind them that you’re hiking your own hike, and that you’re happy they’re hiking their own.