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  1. #1
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Does being 50+ change view on equipment?

    I just ventured over into the Road forum and left with a thought I'd like to shoot out here for others to kick around. There's an apparently frequent discussion about who "deserves" high end equipment. During the recent incarnation of this discussion, there is a fair amount of chest thumping, name calling, etc. Frankly, I don't understand the logic. I suspose when I was younger I had some need to assert myself in the larger world, but not concerning bike equipment. I've always thought it best to buy the best equipment you could afford. Granted, I had to work a second job in a bike shop to afford decent equipment, but I did so gladly.

    When I first started taking guitar lessons in 1966, my music teacher said, "Buy the best guitar you can afford. You want an instrument that produces great sound and seduces you into playing longer than a poor sounding one." My grandmother, who was a professional chef, said, "Buy good knives even if you don't cook that much. Your tools should never stand in the way of enjoying your work." I've kind of approached bicycles the same way. Buy what seduces you to ride even longer, and try to avoid anything that takes the joy out of it. Is this view abnormal, or more typical of those over 50? Or, maybe it's not age related at all?
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    If you like something, we agree: buy the best you can afford.

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    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I'm familiar with the arguement you're reffering to. Someone says it's not right for an overweight, older guy to have a $5k bike, or some such nonsense.
    I can't afford to spend $5k, but I just spent $2k on a new bike, and even if it was $5k, it's my hobby, my sport, and my money, and it's much cheaper than motorcycles, cars, or other things we could spend our money on.
    After I turned 50, I think it's easier to justify any bike expenses.

  4. #4
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    I think as we mature, the judgements of others mean less while we simultaneousy tend to avoid judging. This thought does not apply necessarily to all, but is rather generalized. Nor does it apply solely to cycling. I imagine there are younger folks out there who wish they had my bike and feel that a fat, grey old man shouldn't be riding it. In the army, younger troops tended to accept and even support the priveliges of rank, understanding that as they progressed those priveliges would eventually acrue to them as well. I appreciate respectful jealousy.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  5. #5
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    For quite some decades I;ve found "do your own thing" works for me. I learn alot about myself along the way, not always what I expected either. Lets me consider the same privilege for anyone else. Course that doesn't mean that all is 'equal'.
    I consider cycling a 'higher form' of enlightenment, so the approach brought to it by the rider matters a lot. But that in no way is related to equipment.
    On many planes the bici as industrial art, visual candy, symbiotic extension, math & physics applied, instrument of torture and pleasure can be appreciated without any inference into the act of 'riding'. And ownership has significance only in 'accessibilty', it implies no 'higher being' to the owner.
    It seems increasingly hard for the global 'us' to separate selfworth from accummulated crappage.
    There is no 'worth' curve to what you are buried with, contrary to what the Pharaohs thunk.
    And we all do get buried...
    So the earth of worth is 'flat' and whether one rides a carboniferous one-off, vin-taghe gaspipe or discountstore beater, one always rides on the same plane.
    after all, enlightenment is a bit more difficult than whippin out the plastic.

    Does being 50+ change view on equipment?...
    yes
    ... 50 miles changes view on equipment...

  6. #6
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    Life is short and you only live once, twice if your lucky, so my motto is no regrets for the rest of my life as I ride my expensive bikes and loving it.

  7. #7
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    I always figured that if you were good enough, you'd get the good equipment given to you. So I've always fallen for the line that you should earn the right to use the best equipment. Part of this is just the mystique of really good bike stuff. When I was a young bike racer, Campagnolo brakes were the ridiculously-priced epitome of bicycle technology. I never used them, not just because I couldn't afford them, but because I didn't feel like I deserved them. I don't remember when or how I got my first set of Campag brakes, but it wasn't for full retail from the LBS, and I think I was over thirty, and I was getting on the podium fairly regularly. I think it's dumb for parents to buy Dura-Ace or Record-level equipment for junior riders; they need to win them. But then, I think it's OK for cyclists over 50 to use Record-level stuff because they can usually afford it, and there's a certain latitude you have to allow for age. However, having said that, I think that if you're going to use Record-level stuff, you should look like you know how to use it.

    I like the notion of "being seduced to ride longer." As I was riding up the hill to my house this morning, I was admiring the thick lines of the front Ultegra dual-pivot brake, the simple black Bontrager stem, the Kestrel EMS carbon fork, and I was glad to be on the bike. Something very aesthetically pleasing about looking at good equipment.

    - L.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by big john
    Someone says it's not right for an overweight, older guy to have a $5k bike, or some such nonsense.
    Of course when he becomes an overweight older guy, it will be alright.

    Sadly, that forum is becoming a festering cesspool of penis envy and a barren vacuity of wisdom.
    Last edited by Louis; 10-20-06 at 01:00 AM.

  9. #9
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Have to agree that better equipment will be better and nurture your enthusiasm, but heart can be given to those of us that cannot afford the top equipment. Your abilities will only allow you to ride to your abilities- no matter what equipment you have.
    If the legs and lungs are not up to the standard of a TDF rider- do you need the ultra expensive bikes that they ride?
    There is a progression that all sports, hobbies, and skills take. I am not saying that you are better off buying the low end bikes until you improve, but I do think that it is pointless paying extra $$$$'s for a bike with top of the range equipment that has to be taken care of (Cannot be abused by poor riding) and is 14ozs lighter, if you cannot use it to its full extent.
    Common sense tells me to buy the best I can afford- without buying the Ultimate.

    I started off with an old heavy bike- found out that I liked it so progressed up to a decent bike. Then I have just started road riding. Road riding skills are different to mountain biking so decided to start gently. Instead of Buying a $2,000 bike- I was around the $800 mark. Remember, I am already a cyclist. So far I have not found any failings in the bike. In myself yes but the bike will do me untill I want to do a 100 miler in 6 hours, or am able to.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  10. #10
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    I dont know. Its kinda like golf in a way. You can be the world's sorryest golf player. All your friends know you suck, your wife knows you suck, the golf shop you trade at knows you suck, and to top it all off, you yourself know you suck too. But all of that is irrelevant, because if you have passion for the game, and you can afford it, then you're going to have the best g'ddamn golf clubs money can buy.

    Whether you deserve it or not is irrelevant. I've read posts from some of those young punk roadies, complaining about some overweight 'old geezer' undeservedly riding his 5K bike, and looking 'silly' in his team kit, and how the punk ran him down and dropped him as he so richly deserved, then goaded himself into triumph for doing so on his sub-standard crappy road bike. All I can do, when I hear that is tilt my head back, face pointed to the sky and 'bark' out laughter, because it is indeed funny.

    I ride a '91 Tommasini, Columbus framed, custom painted, chromed and engraved rolling masterpiece, and am just the overweight guy these young punks need to drop. Does my skill level or fitness level match the bike???...."Hell No" it dont match the bike, but you can bet your sweet arse I deserve it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wino Ryder
    Whether you deserve it or not is irrelevant. I've read posts from some of those young punk roadies, complaining about some overweight 'old geezer' undeservedly riding his 5K bike, and looking 'silly' in his team kit, and how the punk ran him down and dropped him as he so richly deserved
    A few months ago I was riding through a neighborhood I rarely visit, and I passed some guys in their late teens or early twenties in a driveway, all standing next to pretty good road bikes. As I passed I could see them talking, and about 30 seconds later one of them came spinning past me going half again faster than I was. As he passed he turned and gave me "the look." Then he turned around and rode back to his drivway.

    This guy actually hopped on his bike and chased after me to prove the point that he was faster than an overweight guy in his fifites!

  12. #12
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I've never worried much about what other people think of what I do or buy. Not being a big fan of advertising I tend to remove or cover up labels on my bikes, I think the bikes look much better that way, sometimes a biker will express shock when they realize I've removed the labels from a custom frame or covered the labels on my high end componants. I earned the money to buy a really nice bike that I can enjoy, I didn't buy it for status and I certainly don't care if someone thinks I don't deserve it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    It's a good thing I don't get what I deserve or I wouldn't have much. Having quipment envy and moaning about it is silly and says a lot about the person doing the moaning.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  14. #14
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen
    ...So the earth of worth is 'flat' and whether one rides a carboniferous one-off, vintaghe gaspipe or discountstore beater, one always rides on the same plane...
    Is this a quote from that mathematical thriller, "Flat Land?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Paulie
    ...As I passed I could see them talking, and about 30 seconds later one of them came spinning past me going half again faster than I was. As he passed he turned and gave me "the look."
    This summer I was out on the 39 pound 5 speed Collegiate. I had stopped by the lake to watch a Loon, when a 20 something dude buzzed by on his CF/TI whatever steed and sneered at my wheels. I decided to see how fast he was "not" going and caught up in about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile. As I pulled along side I said, "HI! How are you?" He looked very confused. When we came to a Stop and T intersection, I asked if he wanted to continue riding together and that I was turning left, he said he needed to turn right!
    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt
    When I was a young bike racer, Campagnolo brakes were the ridiculously-priced epitome of bicycle technology. I never used them, not just because I couldn't afford them, but because I didn't feel like I deserved them.
    I finally got my first set!
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  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    When I was 18 I got my first full Campy bike. Nuovo Record. That was Campy's top of the line then, so I was riding a pro gruppo. When Campy brakes came out, I got them too.

    When I started riding again after many years I found my ego did not require the very best, just something very good. The proliferation of top end equipment made it possible for me to choose among 3 Shimano groups (105, Ultegra, DuraAce) and 3 Campy gruppos (Centaur, Chorus, Record). I ended up with Centaur, I'm very happy with it, but it's a choice that would have left me dissatisfied 40 years ago, since it's not "the best". Though frankly I think each one of the six is better than my dearly loved and fondly remembered Nuovo Record.

    That being said, I still love and appreciate the top end stuff, and respect anyone of us 50+ (or for that matter 50-) who choose to ride it, as long as they're really riding and appreciating what you have. If you're just riding to Starbucks to hang out at the corner so people can view your equipment, no respect.

  16. #16
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis
    Sadly, that forum is becoming a festering cesspool of penis envy and a barren vacuity of wisdom.
    Perhaps the 50+ folks should invade the road cycling forum all at once one day "en masse" and change the "festering cesspool" to a beautiful lagoon?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  17. #17
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    When I first started taking guitar lessons in 1966, my music teacher said, "Buy the best guitar you can afford. You want an instrument that produces great sound and seduces you into playing longer than a poor sounding one."
    Let's follow this analogy a little deeper. Like guitars there are bikes built for different puposes. I often have seen riders on "solid bodies" when they should have bought "acoustic".
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  18. #18
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    I own a bike shop. I could have the nicest set up from any bike line I carry and write it off to "overhead" or whatever. I choose to not ride the high end as I feel it is often just gilding the lily. One or two levels below the highest end will often give the same performance and durability at a much lower cost. I do not do it because I am cheap. I ride the bikes I do because I sell them in my market. My market does not have deep pockets.

    That said, owning any level bike or equipment is up to the owner. They do not have to justify their decision nor should they feel the need to. But many do. If someone wants the most expensive rig in my shop, I will gladly sell it to them without judging whether they are worthy. As far as I am concerned having enough money to pay the price is justification enough. Anything else is just rationalizing.

    The problem I run into more often than not is riders not picking out equipment based on perceived usuage, but price. Having the right equipment is more important than having the most expensive or the cheapest.
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  19. #19
    Semper Fidelis
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    when I was younger and my wife and I were raising our kids, the family always came first all the way to college three kids now all grown.
    Since I have been riding since 1979 i have seen the biking industry take a big swing upwards with innovations, larger $ amounts and better technologies, as well as inflation.
    Now I spend what I want and on the equipment that I want, without hesitation, and do not care how others perceive me.
    there will always be someone that can spend more or be more conservative and spend less.
    It is up to each individual, i view my cycling as a passion and defiantly a plus towards my health so in my mind as long as my bills are paid, and we still live comfortably it is no ones business on how much I spend.
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Perhaps the 50+ folks should invade the road cycling forum all at once one day "en masse" and change the "festering cesspool" to a beautiful lagoon?
    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk
    Let's follow this analogy a little deeper. Like guitars there are bikes built for different puposes. I often have seen riders on "solid bodies" when they should have bought "acoustic".
    And don't forget that there may be a few 50+ folks who don't give a darn about "road cyclist" conceit or owning/coveting the "best road cycling bike" money can buy.

  21. #21
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRUM
    Having the right equipment is more important than having the most expensive or the cheapest.
    Exactly!

  22. #22
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    And don't forget that there may be a few 50+ folks who don't give a darn about "road cyclist" conceit or owning/coveting the "best road cycling bike" money can buy.
    +1

    It sort of depends upon one's purpose(s) for bicycling, IMHO.

    I happen to bicycle because I enjoy it, I like (and need) the exercise, it gets me from one place to another at times, and it is just plain fun.

    In order to meet my goals, I do not need the "best." I need "appropriate."
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Does being 50+ change view on equipment?
    Yes, at least if you actually ride a lot. By the time you're 50 you realize that even the good, expensive bike stuff eventually breaks or wears out.

    You also realize a lot of old guys pay attention to goofy stuff.

  24. #24
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Perhaps the 50+ folks should invade the road cycling forum all at once one day "en masse" and change the "festering cesspool" to a beautiful lagoon?



    You mean like go over there and clean it up?? That sounds like fun.

    You know, it could be done very cleanly too.

  25. #25
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wino Ryder
    You mean like go over there and clean it up?? That sounds like fun.

    You know, it could be done very cleanly too.
    Hey, don't get carried away - it was just a sort of thought! We wouldn't really want to do that, would we?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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