Delivery times, marketing bla and compatibility issues. The end consumer takes the stage to rant.

Yeah you read that right. The insider got bumped out and it’s time for me the ‘end consumer’ to let off some steam. All that whining of these folk with amazing jobs got my blood boiling. If there’s anyone with the right to moan it's us. Where do I even begin? Delivery times? Industry standards? The never ending river of marketing jargon aimed at selling me the latest fictional upgrade? The list is endless! 

Anyone longer than a year or two in the bike game knows the marketing push is strong in this industry. Almost every single brand out there releases a completely ‘new’ lineup every year. They forget to mention that this is basically last year's bikes, with a different paint job and some spec downgrades and price increases. Sure, sure, there are some new funky acronyms and occasionally there are some 0,5 degree geometry changes, but come on. Can’t we just introduce new models when there actually is something new?

I used to be able to haggle for a discount in June on a current model year bike with my local retailer. I mean, there have been spy shots spotted on the web, so whatever he has in the showroom I consider old and worthy of a 30% discount at least. This whole pandemic thing ruined the discounts game a bit though. Now you can’t even buy a complete bike anymore. At least not if you want to have it in the shed before end of 2023. 

You’re better off trying to build one yourself, but that brings you to the joy of industry standards. Does your new frame have a boost, super boost or boost plus rear end? What about the Q factor of your cranks, or a boost or non boost chainring. Trying to run that 12s chain on a Hope chainring? Enjoy the skipping quicklink. Oh and why on earth can you only use a quick link ONCE ?! Looking for a cassette? Is it HG, MS or XD you’re after? 

Brakes! Do you need an IS/IS PM/PM or IS/PM adapter? and just the adapter or also some spacers to go with that? Rotors then. That’s easy, you only have the option between 140,160, 180, 200, 203 or 220mm in either six bolt or center lock. And the center lock can be an internal or external tool variation. Who the hell carries a center lock tool in his backpack?! And you should, because the damn things loosen up every now and then too.  

I’m just going to skip the whole headset situation. I’ll literally implode if I think about this too much. In my opinion there needs to be a tribunal for that clusterflake. 

What do you say? I should support my local LBS and trust in his knowledge? You mean the shy kid with the complicated skin? Or the grump owner who looks like he is carrying a helmet under his shirt? Truth is, knowledgeable people are hard to find and often I find myself schooling the shop staff on what's new. They’re just too busy earning a living, I understand. 

If they have the knowledge I’d consider leaving my hard earned money there. But there are limits. Some of the webshop retail pricing is lower than the trade price of my LBS! Explain that to me. Spending a little more is ok, but when there's more than 30% difference it gets tricky don’t you think? It is true that dealing with warranty issues is a lot easier with the local shop. They tend to be actually concerned and helpful, mainly because you meet them face to face. Things just start to turn weird when you’re able to hide behind a keyboard (said the guy from behind the keyboard). 

Warranty is a whole new can of worms to be opened. The 2 year standard is a bit of a joke, but some brands extend it even longer to lifetime. Note that according to definition this is ‘The expected lifetime of the product’ and not how old your tired old body might get. It doesn’t really matter anyways. A lot of times the warranty guy just claims you crashed or used a jet wash on your bike to get rid of you. Isn’t mountainbiking about crashing in the woods? How come I am able to jet wash my car? Or let’s talk about the bearings in my washing machine that last for 10 years without a bi monthly service? 

Truth is there is a lot wrong with mountain biking, but in the end there is always more stuff that feels right about riding your bike in the woods, hills and mountains. In the meantime I will keep working on my career as dictator of the continent, so I can prosecute the headset designers, put a ban on marketing jargon and abolish any bolt smaller than m6.