Posted by: ReductiMat
Don't forget the elephant in the room, brand new direct-to-consumer bike vs. bike-store bike. $6,000 is $6,000.
Yeah, I considered that, but looking at how I put deals together on my new to me previously enjoyed bikes, I still saved a bunch of money. IME with my upgrades this past year, while the newer bikes have been better when I'm in the meat of my riding as long as things are running well - suspension set up properly, tires sorted, etc - I haven't noticed any majorly stunning revelations. This makes me wonder if the extra money is really worth it for the jump in performance. Diminishing return? The things I have really noticed are:
- the improved geometry improving descending and climbing, more so on the climbing but a lot of that is also better frame sizing going from a med to a large. the descending hasn't gotten noticeably better, a little smoother in some instances but that could also be due to larger wheels. to counter that however tho there are a few spots where the older, smaller bike actually worked better. however as Cam noted on my comment in his seat article, I'm still behind the latest wave of geo improvements. if i'd splurged for a brand new rocketship last year might my opinon be different? probably, but I would have only gotten one bike instead of three. I like such a wide variety of riding that one do it all bike would mean making compromises somewhere. do I go with a burlier bike that can handle more thrashing but would be a bit more of a chore for climbing/pedally rides or do I get something more climbing oriented and give up smashability and ended spending more on maintenance/repairs? I've fully bought into the min/max idea and that seems to make used a better way to go. I don't make the kind of cash where spending $15-20K on bikes is a reality in combination with the other things I do.
- brakes are better for sure, but they weren't so bad before that I could say they limited my riding at all except for waaaay back on a set of Hopes that ended up being a nightmare
- dropper post has been awesome for uppy/downy trails. tbh tho i never found it a big deal to stop and drop the seat at the top of a climb, but there are a few trails descents with a climb in the middle where it's really nice to be able to bring the seat up without having to stop. the caveat to that is it's easier on those section and I don't always like easier when it comes to tech climbing (or descending). when you've come to appreciate a certain difficult section and the new bike/gear/trailwork makes it easier, i personally find that to be a loss rather than a gain. at the end of the day the dropper gets a thumb up for sure.
the next big thing seems to be adding cush core, but that's an expense I would have had to add to the price of a new bike anyway so it's kind of a moot point.