Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride one bike for a year…

Posted by Matt | January 11, 2018 | 6 comments so far

Bike Snob Pine Mountain
The Bike Snob has recently posted an article to Outside magazine saying he’s going to ride one bike for a year and call it biking monogamy.

He may have a point I guess. How many of us own multiple bikes which could, if pressed, function perfectly well in any given situation we are likely to ride all year? Maybe we are kidding ourselves that we need all these different bikes, and maybe the niches we claim they are for are just chimerical and don’t really exist?

In which case, just get on and ride and stop… fussing… about how you are going to do it. I suppose it’s a bit like tech guys who only wear black, so they don’t have to think in the morning about what they are going to wear.

There are caveats of course. Principally, he reserves the right to swap wheelsets for different conditions (MTB, road etc.) and allows himself to use Citi Bikes and Cargo bikes as he sees fit, while imposing draconian penalties to keep himself on the straight and narrow.

Given all that, I guess you are all wondering what bike he is using for this biking equivalent of a hair shirt; at least its a hair shirt to us ‘enthusiasts’ but for most people, its a reality anyway.

Well, if you haven’t managed to identify the contraption in the photo I can tell you. It’s a Marin Pine Mountain such as I own myself. Unlike mine it has been ‘upgraded’ with the addition of some Jones H bars and, for road work, a set of 29er wheels with skinny tyres. The original semi-fat wheels are for his MTB riding.

Now I’ll be honest. The idea of riding my Pine Mountain for a year would fill me with dread and despondency, but I see why it’s his choice – it will be able to go anywhere, be low maintenance and with those skinny road wheels would probably zip around town just fine. It doesn’t matter if, during the course of town and country riding it gets knocked, or bashed and it won’t fall apart on rough city streets. But I can’t imagine there will be a great deal of joy in this particular exercise.

Just for the avoidance of doubt, I have no intention of emulating his grand experiment, but it will be interesting to see how he gets on. The questions uppermost in my mind though are ‘what bike would I choose?’ and more importantly, ‘what would everyone else choose if they wanted to give this a go?!’


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 ‘Ride one bike for a year…’

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  1. Elliot says:

    I was wondering what on earth you’d done to the poor bike on first seeing that photo 🙂

    I don’t reckon it would cause me too much of a problem to use one bike for a year. After a while things might start to get a bit boring, and a backup would be useful just in case of breakages. A short to mid travel full sus gets my vote, what I use for pretty much everything anyway at the moment. From previous experience using a rigid like the Pine Mountain all the time starts to get a little too choppy for proper trails at any reasonable speed. Pretty sure I got rattled into the bushes last time I took one down Blind Terror…

    • Matt says:

      The bike does look damn ugly doesn’t it?!

      And I can vouch for the problems of rigid forks. The PM pings me in all directions and is pretty bruising (I don’t think the alloy bars help).

      It’s one of the reasons I think ‘adventure’ bikes aren’t for round here but would make excellent commuters over scabby roads and provide options like a shortcut through past Norbury House etc.

  2. StevenD says:

    I only had one bike for 7 years, the Trek Fuel Ex, until I doubled my fleet with the Orbea. The only concession was changing tyres for the winter months. Worked for me for 25,000 miles. I am spoilt for choice now. ?

  3. Mat-S says:

    Something akin to my Solaris. If it was the only one I was going to have it would probably be a fair bit blingier though.

    I reckon something carbon with decent 120mm forks and some hilariously expensive 12s groupset for road and MTB range ought to be pretty nimble on the road and handy on the trails with just a change of tyres. Some big (40mm+) compass slick tyres would absolutely zip along without dropping the BB too far.

    I would miss the lack of care required of a singlespeed at 11pm on a freezing winters night post ride though

    • Matt says:

      You see Mat, you’re rationalising your choice already!

      I think you’re right, the ideal bike would be a hardtail with an effective fork lockout and the flexibility to run skinny wheels and tyres or 27.5 x 2.6 wheels and tyres. The H bars make sense for giving different hand positions but look ‘special’…

  4. Mat-S says:

    Aye, there’s always rationalisation to be done! Arguably I’d be pretty happy with it as it is now with just a change of tyres and that’s pretty much what I had for a while when road, commuter and singlespeed bikes got nicked from my garage a few years back. It was changing tyres for the commuter that annoyed me. But if I’m only allowed one I’m going to rationalise it as nice as I can!

    I’m undecided about the h bars for it- I’ve had a brief go and hold no strong feelings on them but I’m not sure they add enough of a second position for road to be worth it.

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