Back when I was a newbie and decided to upgrade my drivetrain, another customer in the bike garage laughed at me. Why blew away so much cash for the new shiny drivetrain while keeping the shabby stock tyres? Honestly, I had no clue. I thought that the derailleur would improve the quality of a bike. He told me then, empathetically, that tyres are a lot cheaper, and will improve the ride quality better. It took me months until I swapped to kevlar-beaded aftermarket XC tyres, and I realized, he was spot on.
Back when I was new to cycling, I thought of available speed as a gauge of bike’s quality. My first bike had 3×8 drivetrain, and soon after a family cycling trip in Pekalongan, I upgraded the drivetrain to 3×10 speed Shimano SLX. I believed it wholeheartedly that I was baffled when I saw Scott’s top range XC bike was sold with 2×10 drivetrain. Why 20 speed, if you can have 30? For the past 2 years, however, I rode 1×10, and didn’t ever think of going back.
There was a moment in my cycling history when I spent my days reading Bikeradar’s Mountain Bike Reviews and was sold to the idea that longer, slacker means better. That was the moment I traded my 100 mm cheap coil suspension fork with an adjustable air one and set the travel to 120 mm. Later, as the longer & slacker mantra sank deeper on my mind, I set the fork’s travel to 140 mm and slackened my hardtail’s headtube angle further. That moment, however, has come to and end.