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Upgraditis or Gear Lust

How do you muster up the fortitude to resist buying new gear when your current ones still work?

So you just bought those new top-of-the-line racing flats. They look great, feel even greater, and they just cost you half a month’s salary. Expensive? Who cares? Because after a week of breaking them in, you feel like you could challenge Dean Karnazes to an ultra smackdown! Hey, bring it on Bikila. Usain Bolt, your days are numbered haha!

But a week later, you pass by your favorite running store. Something catches your attention. What are those things on display? What are those bright, shiny, gorgeous, kickass things? Salivate. Drool. They whisper to you: “Come to me baby… Take me home… Bring me home now and I’ll show you all the pleasures of the world…”

It takes all your moral fortitude to grit your teeth, turn away and walk away from the temptation. You seek alternative comfort in a bag of sugary donuts. Gear lust. Who has not been afflicted with it?
I wish I could honestly say: Not me. Kara actually thinks I ought to enroll in Gear Addicts Anonymous. I’m not sure if she’s wrong.

In March this year, I bought a new pair of New Balance 810 runners–even though I had yet to wear out the pair I bought last Christmas. I told myself that since I was participating in the Natgeo Earthday Run, I needed a new pair of shoes… just in case. A few weeks after completing the 21k Natgeo run, I bought a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves… because I wanted to transition into a more natural style of running.

Earlier in the year, I upgraded the bottom bracket for my bike to Shimano Deore, and the rear derailleur changed from Acera to Alivio. I also changed forks from Suntour XCT to the more advanced Epicon. After several weekends of getting my butt hammered while riding the trails of Lamesa, I also decided to switch to a wider saddle that had better cushioning. Now I find myself lusting after 29er bikes which seem to be taking over cross country mountain biking. And let’s not even talk about accessories like jerseys, gloves and shades.

But then again, I don’t think I’m the worst offender.

I’ve heard of runners who buy shoes almost on a monthly basis. How they rationalize this, I have no idea. Maybe there’s some kind of Imelda gene present in all of us, and these people just happen to prefer sneakers to stilettos.

Biking equipment on display

Nice shoes… nice bikes… upgrade time?

Mountain bikers are the worst. Since bikes are made up of dozens of components, it is not uncommon for bikers to lust after one or two or three new higher-end parts, even though they just bought a new bike. New shocks? New drivetrains? New pedals? A new cycling computer with GPS and HRM functionality… and it can pick up CNN and HBO? Gotta have em. It’s a well documented disease in the biking community called upgraditis.

The only sport I’m into that doesn’t seem to infect me with upgrade addiction is climbing. Here you get one pair of good shoes and a harness, and you’re set. Most of the climbers I know don’t go lusting after new gear. It’s all about upgrading your skills, leveling up your body to overcome that nagging boulder or wall problem. No one really cares about your brand of climbing shoes, as long as you get the job done. It’s a much purer activity in that sense.

I probably should carry the climbing ethos into my running and biking. It’s not about the running shoes and the bike (to paraphrase some famous athlete who made millions riding the most high tech expensive bikes ever made).

Gripping the handholds on a wall

No fancy gear, just a firm grip

Maybe it is really about enjoying the activity itself, and improving yourself in the process.

At least until the gear breaks down and you finally have that much needed legitimate excuse to upgrade.

Posted in Biking, Climbing, Gear, Otherstuff, Running and tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 Comments

  • francis del rosario

    August 8, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    boss may difference ba kapag ang seatpost na nakalagay sa frame mo is 31.6 tapos ang binili mo 31.8 or 27? sorry newbie lang kaya madame pang dapat malaman… TIA

    • outsideslacker

      August 9, 2014 at 1:25 am

      yup, that number refers tot he diameter of the seat tube, so kung iba sukat, di kasya. kung 27, pwede lagyan ng shim para tumaba at magkasya. pero yung mataba ng seatpost, di mapagkakasya sa mas manipis na seat tube

  • francis del rosario

    August 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    boss planning to upgrade my stock fork ” SR Suntour XCM with Hydraulic Lockout” to a epicon fork. As they say that epicon is one of the lightest fork in the market because air spring daw siya compared to a regular coil spring, but very affordable. The main reason why i want to upgrade my fork is to have my bike a little lighter, medyo hirap sa ahunan since mabigat ung bike itself. is that a good way to go? if yes anung epicon fork naman ung pwede sa akin? i do city and a little bit of trail pero mostly city riding lang… 29er pala ung bike ko boss and looking to upgrade a epicon fork na cheap lang din… sensya na medyo mahaba… but thanks in advance…

    • ok na yung epicon xc for you, 100mm ang travel nya na tamang tama lang for trail and road use. baka di rin pwede sa frame mo yung 120mm or 130mm na version dahil aangat ng husto ang front end mo.

  • francis del rosario

    September 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    eh paps advisable ba convert ang coil spring sa air spring? meron bang ganito?

  • francis del rosario

    September 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    yes boss fork… mga 0.5 kilos ang mababawas daw pero hindi ko naman sure kung safe siya gamitin… any thoughts?

    • ngayon ko lang narinig na pwedeng i-convert ang fork from coil to air.
      sa akin lang, baka mas mainam na bumili ka na lang ng fork na air na talaga, kahit second hand

  • ARLENE I. CACHILA

    March 31, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    ano po ba ang 650b?thanks

  • ang ganda po ng mga blogs nyo. pwedeng pwede sa mga newbie na katulad q. meron po ba kayong article tungkol sa mga things to carry while biking. i.e. basic hand tools for bike at emergency stuffs. thank you.

  • francis del rosario

    January 25, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    boss question lang… i already have a deore 3×10 gs… gusto ko sana convert sa 1×10 lang ung gs ko… is it possible to just remove the existing chain rings ko para maging 1×10 lang? anung need gawin para mangyari un? salamat sir…

    • yup, pwede naman yan. pero mas ok kung kukuha ka ng proper replacement sa chainring. upgrade ka na to a narrow-wide setup para mas ma-maximize mo yung 1x setup mo. kuha ka na rin ng wolftooth para may laban ka pa rin sa akyatan. i would advise that you bring your bike to a bike shop with a mechanic who can set it up for you. mahirap din mag-experiment if you are still just learning. pasensya na sa long overdue response. medyo busy these past few weeks eh 🙂

      • Francis adrian del rosario

        February 20, 2016 at 1:29 am

        Update lang sir nakakuha nako ng narrowwide oval chainring mas okay pala sya especially sa akyatan din hehe nga pala sir i was planning to change my kenda small block eight 2.10 tires… what can you recommend na tires na i can use for my everyday bike… coz i use my bike for bike to work… yung hindi sana madali mapudpud… thanks sir for answering to my queries… more power and ride safe sir…

  • Ferdinand Marte

    August 26, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I have to admit I was afflicted by upgraditis recently, just 4 rides away from getting my first real mt bike. Here’s what I lusted for: thru axle fork with gold stanchions with remote lockout, hubs (red!), new BB, Deore brakes, Velo saddle, new wider pedals (red!), wider tires, new chain (red or gold!), new handlebar (white or red!), and god know what else I drooled over. BUT LUCKILY, I bumped to a 8 years seasoned biker in one of the bike shops here in Cebu and gave me an advise that put me back down to a natural state. His advice: only upgrade parts when they break down. Man, I am so thankful for his advice. So for now, even though I have enough mola, I holding off on ‘blinging’ my bike. It’s a Giant Talon 3. It’s giving me pure, solid, reliable and safe ride to the outskirts of Cebu. Hence, I’ll only buy stuff when they wear out but not before.