Back in my bike shop days, the other mechanics liked to say I was like junkyard owner Fred Sanford from the old TV series. I earned it, I guess – by not buying new stuff constantly, by wringing every last mile out of my bikes and parts. Sure, sometimes I pushed the notion too far and wound up riding jalopies.
Those days are over. Kind of. I still love taking care of my bikes and stretching my gear-buying dollar.
I hadn’t really thought much about this until today’s ride. My rear derailleur got a bit glitchy. It took me longer than usual to dial it in. Then I realized something: My Shimano LX shifters and XT rear derailleur are eight years old – which qualifies them for AARP in bike years. They came from my 2005 Gary Fisher Cake 2 DLX (still one of the most awkward bike names ever).
Same goes for my Fox Vanilla fork and my Hayes Nine hydraulic disc brakes. I think Shimano, Fox and Hayes all deserve props for making stuff that stands up to years of use. These parts have been through multiple epic races. And they still work well. Adventure Bicycle Company rebuilt the fork a few years ago, and I’ve just kept fresh pads in the Hayes brakes – I’ve never even needed to bleed the lines.
Here’s why this makes me so happy: I can think less about gear and more about having fun when I ride.
So, what are the oldest bike parts you use for every ride?