There is Always a Better Bicycle to Buy

Have you noticed that as soon as you buy the best possible bicycle, quite shortly something even better comes along? This is not just true for bicycles, but any cycling related paraphernalia – except perhaps Brooks saddles, which were just as good in 1893, as they are now.

trek 2013

With this in mind, I don’t know what to make of the new Trek Madone 2013.

On the one hand, it’s great to know that the technology of bicycles continues to improve – offering an ever improved ride potential. Lighter weight, stronger, stiffer / more aerodynamic.  Or as Trek say:

330g less drag than the previous model. Their figures say that riding at 40kph/25mph (with a wind at 10° yaw) takes 25W less power than before. Or, for the same effort, a ride that would have taken 1hr now takes 57:56mins.

 It’s so good, even my paint work feels inadequate compared to this beast of a model.

The new Trek Madone 2013 is so much better than my existing model that I’m sure it could go up Wrynose pass as if it was merely an incline over a railway bridge. In fact, it’s so good I’m only surprised they haven’t put a perpetual motion motor in the bottom bracket.

On the other hand, I’m deeply disappointed they have made so much progress. (Not that I really want to admit this fact publicly) The bike is so much visibly better, it means my old 2010 model is now consigned to the dustbin of technological progress. It might still be OK for retro days out with my Faema wool cycling jersey; it’s perhaps acceptable for 3rd cat races – but how can it be fair to compete against other cyclists who may have a frame weighing a whole 183 grams less than mine?

The only saving grace is that I now have a ready excuse for not winning. = Compared to the 2013 model, I’m virtually riding a Victorian safety bicycle, little better than the speculative hobby horse without pedals.


To be honest, I’m not sure why the UCI didn’t stop all bike technology in 1976, the year Eddy Merckx was at his peak (they kind of did with the formerly prestigious world hour record). But, just think if all bike technology had been stopped at 1970s technology, then life for a cyclist would be much simpler.

  • We would be always able to compare ourselves to Eddy Merckx, thus proving the fundamental rule of cycling that indeed Eddy Merckx is the greatest ever cyclist.
  • We wouldn’t have to keep spending £5,000 to upgrade our bicycle to latest model, every time a major manufacturer finds a new way of weaving carbon fibre.
  • Without spending hours researching the latest developments in bike technology we would have time to train properly and maybe become as good as Eddy Merckx.
  • There would be no need to listen to the excuses of every cyclist from a sportive rider to 2nd Cat Road racers – that they really would have won, if they hadn’t been saddled with antiquated 2007 bike technology.

Cycling Info’s Formula for Length of time satisfied with current bicycle.

  • T = 360 days – C/10 – 4(B)
  • ( C = cost of bicycle)
  • ( B = the number of bicycles you already have)

The more you spend on a bicycle, the quicker you will realise you should have bought a better one. This is generally related to the fact that people happy with a £1,000 bikes are not obsessed with marginal gains, but can enjoy a bicycle so long as pretty much it goes in a straight line.

The more bicycles you have, the sooner you will be dissatisfied with your latest purchase. This is related to the fact that people with seven bicycles, usually feel that buying that elusive eighth bicycle will be the solution to all their cycling problems. The fewer bikes you have the more likely you are to be content with a bicycle as long as it goes in a straight line.

see also: Formula for optimal number of bicycles.

If you bought your bicycle 20 years ago, and are still completely satisfied with your purchase, congratulations, you have achieved cycling heaven.


8 Responses to There is Always a Better Bicycle to Buy

  1. haz October 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Brought a Clements racing bike (1970′s 80′s (?) ) for £120, been around brittany on it and the occaisional long ride. It is the most reliable well made thing ever. Now I bike the mile (and a bit) every day to the bus stop. I try to find slightly older and more ‘old school’ more cooler and more cheap to keep. Anyway thats my opinion!

  2. PATANGA July 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Nice post, Tejvan.
    After riding a friend’s 900 USD bike (and loving it), I am selling my 3,500+ USD good bike to get a cheaper one instead and use the leftover money to do other things in my life.
    Maybe go to cycling or some other heaven?

    • Hurumph July 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm #


      That has made me think! I have a 50GBP bike, 2nd hand – Dawes Windsor and have loved it for years but the gears don’t want to work and I’ve spent too much money it doesn’t deserve for years so I had come around to the decision of getting a 3500GBP Thorn with Rohloff gears and SON hub dynamo (each to their own) Hopefully ‘made-to-measure’ will avoid the shock you must have had, Patanga

      • tejvan July 11, 2012 at 8:27 am #

        sounds good value bike :)

        • Hurumph July 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

          It did extremely well in your formula!

  3. George July 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    My new bike will be 700 EURO but still it will be a great progress compared to my current one :) But I am such a amateur cyclist after all. Never mind…
    I am looking at the cyclist from the posted picture and a question pops up in my mind. I am watching Tour de France now and I have noticed that the now days cyclists are extremely and I mean EXTREMELY slim! They look like aliens with their tiny hands. The cyclists from the photo on the other hand look normal, like ordinary people. Could someone explain to me why there is such a big difference? Seriously, It is no normal for a guy to be so extremely slim.
    Thank you very much!

    • tejvan July 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

      Being 6′ 3″ and weighing 63Kgs I’m not sure I’m too well qualified to speak on cyclists being too thin. If you look at track cyclists, they will have an extra few Kgs and look more normal. But, it’s hard to be competitive in the Alps without some amazing power to weight ratio.

    • steve July 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      Pro cyclists are highly tuned athletes. Part of this tuning will include the equation that drag increases with the square of frontal area. Frankiy I’m surprised that cycling isn’t dominated by jockeys on their off season :)

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