Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

How much do you spend on mountain biking?

Posted by Matt | January 15, 2018 | 6 comments so far

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Like the act of breathing itself, pretty soon into our mountain biking career we instinctively learn the art of creative accountancy. It’s like a form of self-preservation…

As we all know, to be a True Mountain Biker is to embrace a time when there is never a reason NOT to spend money. It’s what N+1 was invented for, where N is the number of bikes you currently have. The more creative – and those with finer judgement – like to operate under the X-1 maxim, where X is the number of bikes at which your spouse leaves you (or you sleep on the sofa, for ever).

Bike acquisition is by far the biggest cost of cycling, but no-one makes us do it and the cost can be cut to nothing if you’re prepared to stick with what you’ve got – at least for a while – and are prepared to suffer the indignity of last years bike geometry.

However, whether you’re a Collector, or a Swapper or a Keeper, there’s one thing we can’t avoid and it’s the whetstone on which our creative accounting skills have been finely honed. I’m talking about the cost of ‘consumable’ and ‘ad-hoc’ spending.

Now, I don’t know about you but I have no idea how much I spend each year keeping my bike(s) on the trails. It’s a lot more than I want to know really, and definitely more than I think, but this year I’m going to try a little experiment.

I’m going to keep a track of my bike spending, in the interests of science. The question is, how to define a consumable expense versus ad-hoc spending?

Well, anything that’s not obviously a new bike is going to be either a consumable, or ad-hoc cost. Anything that needs replacing once used – like brake pads, or fork seals, or chain lube – is a consumable expense in my book, whereas something purchased to be used again and again – like a tool, or a Camelbak, or a new light, is ad-hoc spending. There’s also a subset of ad-hoc spending – ‘exceptional items’ – like a new dropper post for example, but this is a more considered spending choice, and therefore not exactly a hidden cost.

After just a couple of weeks of the new year, I’ve bought a 16oz bottle of Rock n Roll Extreme chain lube (an obvious consumable) and a nifty little valve core remover for my spares box in my Camelbak (an ad-hoc cost), to go with the spare valve I bought last year. So I’m already looking at about £23 spent.

I know it won’t end there but at this stage I’ve no thought as to what else I might need to buy. It’s going to be interesting to see what story my Spreadsheet of Doom tells me in January 2019…


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 6 comments on ‘How much do you spend on mountain biking?’

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  1. Elliot says:

    I reckon that could be interesting to keep track of. I did occasionally loosely work out the cost per mile of some bikes and parts. Not that the value of a bike (or ride) should necessarily be calculated in miles but anyway. Looking at things in this light sometimes made for unpleasant reading, like the barely used fat bike, but made my Roval carbon wheels seem like a bargain 🙂

    So far this year has cost me £40 in consumables, a bottom bracket and set of jockey wheels for the Kona. Nothing silly yet…

  2. Gordo says:

    Ah, I think you are doing yourself a gross injustice on this. You should deduct car miles saved on required journeys to give yourself a net spend on your hobby. So if your road commute by car is just over 30 miles, then at 45ppm you get £15 per day to spend on bike stuff (and extra food). So if you’ve cycle commuted 3 times this year you have saved £45 and only spent £23. Gosh, your en route to buying a new bike!

  3. Tony says:

    I’m definitely not counting! Two new bikes last year was the start of it. Even having cycled 5000miles it’s still expensive per mile

  4. Lloyd says:

    I prefer to count the pleasure and not the costs. Just as well really?

  5. Related: New bike kit purchased recently | Mutterings, Stuff & nonsense | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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