This is a bit of a departure from what I've been writing about lately, but just go with it. I've got two mountain bikes at present. I've cut that number down from having several more, but in the spirit of being a "normal" person, not to mention the idea that having more bikes than you can possibly ride in a week is in itself ridiculous, I decided to sell off the others and stick to two that get the job done every time.
I would say that the major difference in these two steeds is the amount of suspension travel they each have. My Stumpjumper FSR EVO has 150mm front and rear, getting the job done on just about any trail, while my Enduro EVO has 170mm up front, and 160mm rear. The Enduro is a great bike for just about any trail as well, only it climbs a bit more sluggish. As well, along with the bigger fork, steep grades are a bit of a hassle, though not so much as to stop me from saying it climbs decently well for such a big bike. Both bikes weigh just about the same, a result of the Enduro, even though it is the bigger and burlier of the two, having better and lighter components. A carbon crank, nicer wheels, and better derailliurs have taken care of any extra weight. Still, each bike shreds, and each is a blast to ride. For what the Stumpjumper gains in climbing, the Enduro makes up for in descending. The bikes are a wonderful interpretation of my "split mountain biking personality".
The dilemma I face on a daily basis regarding these bikes, lies more in the fact that my personality (and perhaps this is an American trait more than just a personal trait) dictates that I must debate the argument of "if I only had one bike, which would it be?" over and over in my head. There is no clear cut winner. For what one bike has, another may lack, but in that lacking, another advantage is uncovered. Follow?
All of this was perhaps spurred by an event that took place this past weekend. Sunday, as I mentioned in a previous post, was a big ride for me. I had a blast getting lost in the woods and riding trails I never have before. At the end of the ride, while descending a section of double track, my Stumpjumpers down tube was struck by a large rock, giving the bike it's first real "ding" since I've got it. Ah, an imperfection! From there, I inspected the bike and found yet another-deep cable rub on one of the chain stays. Oh boy! The bike is now worthless! Sarcasm aside, the bike has now lost it's luster that only a person who rides bikes everyday can understand. It's not a roadie thing, and it's not a mountain biker thing, it's a cyclist thing.
Anyhow, because of my now "imperfect" bike, I'm fighting the battle of "which one would be the one" if it came to that.
Well, in the end, the good news is that neither has to be. I've got two solid bikes that work, and work for what I use them for. We can get stranded in the conflict of upgrades, bike lust, and the n +1 is the perfect number of bikes (where "n" represents the current number of bike one owns), but in the end, we've got to just get out and ride. You can go blue in the face thinking about bikes, swapping parts, and dreaming of what you would do if you only had the money, but the simple fact remains: If you're lucky enough to have a bike, or two, or three, ride the hell out of it. For all the time you waste "thinking" about riding, you might as well be out there getting the most from what you've got. Remember, some people don't even have ONE bike to ride.