This article is specifically in regards to bike builds and the components owners adorn their rides with.
Everyone that knows me knows that i spend a lot of time on the net. I surf a variety of forums and i store all the inspiration that i get into this little compartment at the back of my head. Funny thing i noticed is the fact that most of those inspirations come from one area. Europe.
Chances are that if i find inspiration it would be from either Germany, France, Italy, Holland etc etc. It is almost never from Australia…Almost
I wondered why this is so and in the process of trying to answer that question i might have found an answer. I say might loosely because i know not everyone is the same but the over whelming perception is Aussie riders are very very sensible. Sensible is good you say? Yes and No imo. I can respect being sensible. After all sensibility is generally known as a good trait to have. However, at other times, i think being sensible translates to lacking a little flare and maybe a little bit of excitement in general.
I have noticed on forums and on the road that a lot of riders enforce a system of sensible bike speccing. Why the hell are you riding tubulars daily? Why are you running carbon wheels on a massive descent infested course? Why are your components more expensive than my car? Why why why? Why not i answer back? Is it wrong to be tempted by the less sensible idea? Where would this world be if every bike was sensible and specced exactly perfect for the intended riding that one does? is that a world that you would like to be in? Wouldn’t it be so uninspiring? I for one do not want to log into a forum and see 100 billion caad10’s all on 105’s and alloy clinchers. Would you?
Our bicycle riding counter parts from Europe seem to be quite the complete opposite to us in this regard. Log into any European bicycle forum and you will be astounded by what everyone posts up. It is truly an inspiration. I don’t just mean boutique brands too. It is all the little things they do that at first seem so stupid but upon closer inspection gives you ideas like “hmmm that might just work, i might try that on mine too”. To me that is truly exciting and inspirational. At first i had the same sceptisim that us Aussie riders have. I looked at their builds and thought “yup, dentist” or “i wonder if his crashed on that yet” but then i looked deeper and it shattered my preconceived notions and assumptions. These riders range from amateur to national riders that really rode their bikes. Club racers to junior champions. Sure they would break parts from time to time ending their race but eventually they will trial other options that seems just as stupid. I love this “throw caution to the wind” kind of attitude and i find it genuinely refreshing.
I remember an article on cyclingtips about riders with pizazz. Riders that attack at seemingly stupid moments. Riders that overcome the impossible to go on claiming victory in the face of adversity. Riders that also fail when they try to take the break but is applauded for being aggressive. Were they thinking about being sensible? Bicycle builds to me applies the same logic. Often there is the “sensible” choice and then there is the more exciting choice. A choice that might often not work out and give you repeated headaches but a choice that sometimes might reward in ways you would have never imagined.
People will say “if i had expandable income, i can run any amount of stupid parts i want too” . To which i will answer with this.
It is more than just about expandable income. It is about being a little daring and willing to try things that shouldn’t work. In general it is about being insensible.