Christmas and the holidays are past, the house renovations have been planned, your taxes are paid, any rebates have been received, and you have had time to look at what is left of your year-end bonus for you to enjoy writes SJ Kotze.
Since you are reading Full Sus we’ll assume that you own a nice Mountain Bike, hopefully a lovely dual suspension rig that you are ferociously proud of. An appropriate bicycle that fulfils your main cycling interests whether it be multi-day stage racing or technical trail riding, and leaves you with a smile on your face every time you ride it.
And we’ll also assume that unless your significant other rides it occasionally, you have managed to sell your old 26er that was gathering dust in the garage. But now, what if your bike goes in for a service and you are desperate to hop onto anything with two wheels, or you want to cruise the promenade and moon light mass on a unique ride, or you want to mix up your training, or you want a slower option to ride around with the spouse or kids, or you just plain want something different crazy and fun, with so many fun genres and great types of bicycles available in today’s world of cycling NOW is the time to get a second bicycle. There are LOTS of great “second bicycle” options and one of these special bikes could do the trick.
Why own a road bike, when you can own a bike that can devour tar road, gravel road, paved road, cobbled road and district road. And you can even throw on some panniers for a bit of touring. Essentially a road bike with disc brakes, fatter tyres and a frame designed for comfort, you should check out the Specialized Diverge and Niner RLT for inspiration.
Whether it be a fixie styled road bike or a single speed mountain bike, the elegant simplicity and low maintenance of these one gear wonders just cannot be beaten. And the inexpensive build cost and low overall weight are big draw cards that make this the easiest “second bicycle” option. If you really want something exclusive, check out the carbon belt drive options for true maintenance free riding. And remember, how do you know someone rides a single speed MTB? … they tell you!
Whatever you think you know about fat bikes, you don’t, and until you have had a chance to ride one and experience the huge grin it’ll give you, only then can you judge the “funnest” new genre in town. And only when you have experienced a fat bike in one of its natural environments, thick grass, fresh snow, soft beach sand or rolling sand dunes, will you really know what all the fuss is about.
Enduro style racing is becoming increasingly popular. You have to climb to the top of a variety of trails in a short overall distance, but only get timed for the downhill trail sections. You do these stages blind (i.e. without any practise) and the race winner is the rider with the fastest accrued downhill stage times. So you need a bike with lots of travel and technical trail capability for the timed downhill sections, but it must still be lightweight and pedal efficient for all the climbing you need to do to get to the start of each stage. These requirements have pushed the boundaries (and significantly improved) modern mountain bike design so check out the Specialized Enduro, Santa Cruz Nomad and Pyga Pascoe for inspiration.
Jump Bike/Trail Hardtail
BMX’s are so last century. A purpose build jump bike or a strong MTB hardtail with a long travel suspension fork, are popular “second bikes” for learning tricks, refining your jumping, improving your flow, speeding up your pump-tracking, or just commuting stylishly and safely through traffic. They are durable and well-priced so you don’t feel guilty throwing them around, falling, hitting obstacles and getting knocked around. Check out the Hungry Monkey from Mercer and the P-Series from Specialized for more inspiration.
And finally, the most practical second bike is owning a well-priced replica of the race bike you currently own. In fact, the closer you can get it in terms of brand, size, model, gearing, suspension, tyres and setup, the easier it becomes changing between this training replica and your full race bike. But why? Owning a R35 000 aluminium version of your R100 000+ carbon racer, helps reduce the overall cost of maintenance and training, gives you a backup if your race bike needs to visit the shop, and can act as a provider of spares should your race bike need a part.
Other Options and Warnings
You’ll notice I have not included a tandem bicycle – it doesn’t count, as it always belongs to at least two people. A Unicycle is also out; it is not a bi-cycle! But kudos to those that do ride them, even though you must remember the majority of unicycle riders are clowns.
And remember, if you do end up owning more than one bike in maybe one or many of the above bicycle styles, the fundamental rule* is defined that “n + 1” is the maximum number of bicycles that you are allowed to own, where “n” is as the current number of bicycles you own.
*If you are married, the formula changes and the new cardinal rule is now defined so that “d – 1” is the maximum number of bicycles you should own, where “d” is the number of bicycles you would need to own that would end your marriage in divorce.