Monday, October 8, 2012

Appropriate Bicycle Parts

I'm feeling a tad (just a tad) surly today - as well as a bit tired and punchy. Not precisely certain what got me here... but, I'm here nonetheless, and of course, pondering bikes. I'm oddly happy with the small stable of two-wheeled friends at the moment, but frankly, I almost fear this feeling more than the influx that typically takes place. Have I found a happy place with bikes? Sure, there's always some little thing to be changed out or to experiment with, but as a whole, things seem to be rolling along nicely (pun intended).
Despite this fact, I was having a conversation recently with a stranger who informed me that I do not have "appropriate parts" on my Rivendell bicycle (he was referring to the Hillborne specifically, but it would apply to the Homer just as easily because they have very similar builds). I couldn't help but be curious as to what he might be referring. To me, all the "appropriate" parts are there... everything needed to make the frame roll functionally is present and working. Not being horribly concerned with such matters, it would have been easy to let it go, but interest in what he was thinking got the better of me and I had to inquire to learn more. After all, I couldn't help but think it possible that something had been installed incorrectly.

When we dug a bit deeper, I discovered that the stranger in question believed the parts on my bike were not of the quality befitting a Rivendell. I am personally inclined to immediately disagree, but he made the case that if one is willing to spend the money on the frame, why wouldn't one be willing to spend money on "better" parts? I couldn't help but pause for a moment - particularly hearing such a statement from someone I don't even remotely know - but, I'm not sure I can agree.

I believe there are many flaws in this way of thinking. First, I don't believe the parts on the Hillborne are sub-par in any way. Yes, I have a Sora front derailleur; I have fairly inexpensive wheels; and, yep, I have the cheapest seat post I could possibly find. So what? We had the pieces needed in our plethora of unused bike parts and they happened to work on the bike. Does that mean I love it any less, or that I don't "deserve" to have the bike because I choose to spend money on other areas rather than on an $100 seat post or $2000 set of wheels?  Of course, there are those who would agree with the stranger and see that there is purpose in spending more on the parts. While I can understand wanting to have the best one can afford, these parts have worked brilliantly for years now (except for the seat post which was recently replaced - of course, with another sub-$25 one), and I have no intention of rushing out to spend money on more expensive parts.

I've been left a little befuddled by the whole run-in with this individual. It's so rare to come across someone in this area who even knows of Rivendell, but then to be told that basically I shouldn't have this bike because I don't know what it needs - well, it's left me a little speechless. What do you think? If you had the opportunity, would you buy a more expensive frame if it was what you wanted and put less expensive parts on it, or do you think that in order to have a more costly frame, one must also have more costly parts?

7 comments:

  1. Gear snobbery is sooo annoying.

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  2. This person sounds like a "Poser", who might be found in a nearby city, driving their top end Subaru, or low end Mercedes with a moots sitting on a roof rack, and not a spec of dirt on it.

    I would get the frame I want, for the fit, and the ride. The parts are negligible to a normal non-lance person, as I can't tell the difference between Deore, XT, XTR or Tiagra, 105, Ultegra. It only makes a true difference in my pocket, and does not make the ride better. Isn't that what it's all about? I guess I could say that on any level.

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    1. No idea where he lives, and it doesn't really matter. I thought the whole convo was mighty strange, so this shouldn't have been horribly shocking to me, I suppose.

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  3. Your Rivendell build is very typical and I find his comment mystifying. It seems he is not familiar with the manufacturer and their philosophy.

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    1. Agreed. It was all quite puzzling. I'm not sure what he was expecting to see, and I can't help but think he's not as familiar as he may think with Rivendell, or perhaps he's used to a particular brand or set up and believes anything else is unacceptable. I wish I understood.

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