I need it… I need it not….
I want it… I want it not…
How can you tell the difference? Are you even able to distinguish the subtleties between these notions? Do you even register an odd stab of confusion when you find yourself confronted with a situation that triggers desires or yearning? And more importantly, what the fuck am I talking about?
Allow me to explain with an anecdotal story. When I got back from Trans Provence, the Nomad 3 had been subjected to quite a hammering all up and down the south coast of Europe. High speed shredding in Sospel, Finale Radness, mud rape in Roubion and then 7 days of being pounded from Embrun to Menton during TP. As such, it was time for a much needed service, and fuck do I mean service:
Added to that, my new Enve M70 rear rim was waiting for me, ready to roll in one of the fastest warranty turn arounds you’re likely to experience – A real pain in the ass when you just want to back up a dump truck of scorn and pour it all over them.
My point being, once I had picked up the Nomad, it was absolute mint… Perfect, smooth and in theory, general contentment should have reigned. This was the bike that had gone up against some of the unruliest Euro Gnar you can break a rim on and mostly conquered it all. Now we could enjoy peacetime together…
To expand on that point, one thing I had noticed throughout Dirty Mega March and then again in EuroEnduro is that with the sharp increase in real riding, there was a corresponding drop in my desire to buy stuff. Granted, my purchasing of consumables went up clearly (thanks Maxxis), but ultimately I wasn’t frothing about buying the latest shit that was being plastered all over Pinkbike or Vital MTB. Its like the more I rode, the more I would rise above all the clawing marketers, the filthy on-line deals and the latest fads and was instead filling my nostrils with fresh air and the sweet scent of shred in the morning. Righteous as bro.
I like to consider myself semi immune to the bike industry (I’m actually not really… at all, but allow me the delusion), which is one of the most effective crack dealers known to man. Even the Columbians and Mexicans know that they can’t hold a candle/AK47 to the Bike companies when it comes to getting people addicted to shit.
Unlike in the road bike world where there is a new innovation every 10 years or so (to be noted – PF30, NOT an innovation), the Dirt side of things is constantly coming up with new ways to make us froth and reach for the security code on the back of our Visa card, assuming you don’t already have it memorised like a furry junkie.
But generally, I thought that it was now a period of relative calm… I could retire to an out of the way country property, relax, tend to my garden and sit on my deck while watching my dogs hunt pheasants that were strategically fattened 5% too much to fly. But, like all those cliche movies (yes ‘John Wick’, I’m looking at you), the INDUSTRY heard about my rebellion, hunted me down and brought trouble to my small town… And here’s the culprit they sent to lure me back into the hedonistic world of dirty spending:
Yes, its a Coil shock… And not just any Coil shock, the new Cane Creek DB with Climb Switch, look at that, it rolls off my salivating and semi famous tongue faster than I can get that blue pill down my throat. If you don’t know the history here, then Coil shocks used to be cool until we had a wave of banditry/new driver of sales sweep across the sport and it was decided that everyone needed to be on Air shocks.
Moving from Coil Shocks to Air shocks was a bit like going from dating a Hooters waitress to a Long distance running chick… It was ok, it was definitely lighter and you appreciated the svelteness, but no matter how much you forced a smile at your mates and said “Yeah… It’s good eh“, deep down you couldn’t help but feel that something was missing… It was a little less rad… It didn’t look quite as cool… And you didn’t feel quite as dirty.
Clearly we’ve reached ‘Peak Air’, or there is a PowerPoint graph somewhere showing sales drop off, so guess what’s back in vogue BIG time all of a sudden – Coil shocks. It started in EWS of course, which is ok as that’s as PRO as fuck and they probably have a good reason to be on them (I’m guessing more than a few blown Monarchs being tossed in the bin), but quicker than Ebola in a mosh pit, its spread to the masses and we are now feverishly working on our inner monologue speeches as to why we need to change (back).
And here is the interesting part – The moment I saw this product and the fact that it has a ‘climb switch’ to essentially make the thing climb without impersonating a kids trampoline with a fat pissed uncle on it during Christmas day, I had a fascinating reaction:
“Oh fuck, I NEED that shock”
Need? Really? I need wifi, air, water and Instagram (in that order) for my basic human survival activity, but my brain was sending me signals that also in that hierarchy of needs now was this Coil shock. But the big question is, do I need it? Or is this a Dirty ‘want’ dressed up in a skin tight ‘need’ outfit? Licking its lips at me and leading me to believe its come out to the club sans underwear?
The only thing to do was of course to consult the internet, as it would only tell me the truth and in no way try and skew my thinking or use native advertising to convince me to acquire something I don’t actually need. Thank fuck then that several leading websites had already tested the shock (I assume the one sent to me was lost by the courier as the intercom at my condo is mega cunted eh) and much to my relief, they declared that owning this new shock would significantly improve my standard of first world living.
In fact it went on to remind me that it was irrelevant I already had one of the best shocks on the market and that if I didn’t get this new one I may move from being FULL AS FUCK ENDURO to diet enduro, important to note that’s all in lower case too. #champagneproblems! Holy shit, would I be able to show my half shell with goggles face again at an ENDURO race without a coil shock? I couldn’t work out if I should cry or piss in my Troy Lee shorts first as consumer panic gripped me tighter than a bad hand job.
But this onslaught of new stuff to consume isn’t just confined to the Mountain Bike world, hell no… While I’m busy fiercely battling my desire for new shred kit, the road product managers have opened a second front (and in usual fashion its taken them a long time to do so thankfully) in an attempt to flank my willpower and lead an assault on my piggybank with Road Discs, third generation electronic shifting on the way and a whole host of other shit I don’t really need, but is all designed to give me status anxiety if I don’t have it and keep seeing it on Instagram. Fuck.
But this is no joke… Its having a real world impact as well. Riders are suffering out there at this very moment, convincing themselves that they need gravel bikes, bike path bikes, gran fondo bikes, aero bikes, city bikes, 25mm road tires, wondering when to get discs on their road bike and hating their 29ers which don’t have 148 Boost rear hub spacing… Its an on-going roller coaster of punishment that not all of us are able to cope with.
To help outline what sort of damage the bike industry is doing to friends, family or even your next door neighbour, I’ve interviewed a gearaholic, as you’ll note we have gone to the most extreme lengths to mask their identity in order to protect their family and friends, but for the sake of the interview we will refer to them using a highly complex codename, known only as Mr Canis lupus:
DN: “What is it that makes you feel that you have to buy the latest offerings from the industry?”
CL: “Well… Look, the way you ask that question you make it sound like I have a choice”
DN: “You feel like you don’t have a choice?”
Mr Lupus shifts uncomfortably in his
kennel seat and has to take several deep breaths, clearly trying to keep emotions at bay.
CL: “Phhhhhh… this is a lot harder to talk about than I realised… I’m not sure I know how to find the right words to discuss it”
DN: “Its ok, just take your time… I have some odd bone shaped biscuits here if you’re able to get through this”
CL: “Ok… Well, I try to ignore the industry, but its everywhere now… In my Twitter feed, up in my snout on Fuckbook, Instagram is flooded with high definition kit shots and all my favourite websites are pushing product in a way that makes Tony Montana look like a Girl Guide biscuit seller. But that’s not really the problem…”
DN: “Its ok, go on… You’re doing great, I know this is tough”
Even though he’s close to breaking down, he battles on, what the industry has done to this man/K9 is about to come to a head as we arrive at the furry underbelly of the addiction…
CL: “Oh god… Fuck… ok, its just that all this new kit and gear… Its… Its… Well, its just awesome. The carbon is so smooth, the new geometry is just better, the new fork cartridges are so supple! I mean, how am I supposed to ride a bike on anything except Enve rims? Is that even possible, like by the law of physics? This is the part that people don’t understand. I’m so deep into it now I can’t tell if I need a Chris King BB and Headset or not.
I know I have 8 pairs of riding shorts, but have you seen the new Troy Lee colours?! HAVE YOU?! DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW GOOD IT LOOKS ON GWIN?! I’m sorry… I’m sorry, this is emotional for me. I also know its scary for my family when I disappear into a bike shop for 4 or 5 hours or they catch me in the bathroom wearing only a Fox cap with my CRC cart so full its crashed their servers”
DN: “You raise a good point, what sort of impact does this have on your family?
Canis lupus is sobbing now, trying to wipe away the pain with his paws… This is where the addiction really starts to hit home, literally.
CL: “It impacts them on so many levels… First they cancelled my credit card, but I got one of those Amex platinum card offers in the mail, so went deep web on that shit. Once I had all my on-line suppliers directing shipments to a secure third party location is when things really started to go sideways. I was able to get high with total immunity. Each shipment that came in just felt incredible… But I know its impacting loved ones. A constant stream of strangers from Togo Parts coming to my front door at night to buy discarded kit, its confusing for everyone when I try and pass them off as ‘uncles’ and I was even asked the other day if I’m Heisenberg. My proposal to homeschool the kids using Sesame Street DVD’s also caused some friction, a minor set back from a gear funding perspective.
Sometimes I can be having a good day you know… Maybe I’ve just brought a few Gels or something… And then… Then… Competitive Cyclist will send through a promo e-mail with 40% off a bike that I really don’t need. (sobbing again), I try to click delete, but next thing I know I’m in the check-out flow… With a hard on and that feeling of sweet rush welling up inside me… The thrill of the chase bursting through me… I’m also nude by this point and giggling as my details pre-populate in the order form… I have to say, fuck that’s a good feeling… Its like they really know me and understand me”
DN: “Its ok, its not you… Its the industry, you’re just a victim. Are there any perpetrators in particular that you feel are responsible for your situation?”
CL: “Enve are a big player for sure, no matter which way I look they have an overpriced rim for whatever bike I happened to have snorted up my nose that day. They then fully rimmed me when they came out with colour coded decals… I’m not sure the audience can understand the feeling of how amazing it looks when your wheel decals match your frame one HUNDRED percent. I would say SHAM also have a big role to play here, their marketing is better than a subscription to Brazzers. But, most of the time I wake up nude and slumped over my PC, its because of Santa Cruz.
I could literally buy every single model in their line up, 3 times… Just when I think things are stable, they either come out with a new colour way or a model update and oh fuck, I find myself on my sponsors doorstep usually atop the latest model and unable to explain myself. I mean, tell me how I’m supposed to stop when these bikes are so awesome? Can you even explain it yourself?!”
DN: “I know, its a very challenging time as they start to retrofit the industry leading internal cable routing, recessed linkage and update the geometry…”
CL: “Exactly! I feel like its a conspiracy at times (Mr Lupus starts to frantically scratch his arms as his eyes dart around the room), but I have to trust Joe completely you know… He speaks the truth. But I’m not sure he understands what is happening to people out there when we can’t decide between the Bronson, Nomad and Solo… And so just need to have ALL of them. I mean, you don’t turn up to an orgy at an ex-pat cul du sac and say ‘gee, I think I’ll just have a chat with the quiet one in the corner’ do you?”
DN: “Not usually… No… Look, I think you’ve been incredibly brave talking to us today, so thank you for discussing an issue that people need to be focusing more on. Is there anything you’d like to say to people suffering out there at the moment?”
CL: “I just want people to know that they’re not alone… And they need to try and speak out if they can. There ARE cures, just look at the new 27.5+ Fattie bikes, or Fatbikes in particular. Gravel bikes as well are a good example of how its possible to wake up from this binging and realise you’re gulping from the cup of cuntery. No one wants to buy those turds, so it gives us a chance to start life over again, I’m hoping with the right support and understanding I can get down to one new bike every 3 months to start with. This chat is all off the record right?”
DN: “Oh, of course… And that’s a great goal to have, I applaud you… If you find it difficult, please just remember to buy those Santa Cruz’s in Large… And with Ohlins shocks. It’ll… er… help with re-sale I hear”
So there you have it – Don’t underestimate the struggle that some of us are having with just doing something as simple as getting through the day without having to get new kit, being upgraded on a pair of shoes we didn’t need or changing a saddle you’ve been on for 12 years because someone told you it was too narrow for your sit bones. And just remember, this happens to us all, even those that fucken hate buying stuff:
The weekend is here – Log out of CRC, put down that brochure, close down the lap top and get out for a couple of massive rides! #Yeoowwwwww #whydoIkeepputtinghashtagsinposts