When my buddy first asked me to be on his mountain bike team I had to find a proper mountain bike (I had a 12 year old wanna be bike). So I went out and spent what I thought was an insane amount of money ($1,100) for a used Gary Fisher SugarRace. It was a great bike for racing, it was my partner for falling in love with this sport. It got me through my first mountain bike season. But I am a 200 pounder, and our local trails are some of the most technically challenging anywhere. It was not the bike for this terrain. I ended up breaking the frame. I was devastated. I was now completely hooked on the sport...and no bike.
Well, I ventured down to the ATM; then to my LBS, and purchased a brand new Specialized FSR XC. This was a great bike for our local trails (and an outstanding wood finish paint job), but it wasn't a great race bike. I struggled into the next mountain bike race season, and traded it up for a Specialized Stumpjumper 29er hardtail. This was a fantastic race bike! But I am a 200 pounder, and our local trails are some of the most technically challenging anywhere. I ended up breaking the frame. Broke the rear triangle. Specialized honoured the warranty, so with the new frame in at my LBS, I traded it in and upgraded to a Specialized Epic Comp 29er.
By this time I had also mashed my way through several stock hubs. According to the folks at my LBS BicycleWorks, I produce a tremendous amount of torque when I ride. This was understandable to me. In my mid 20s I tore up my right knee playing backyard football, in my 30s I tore up my left one playing hockey...both have been reconstructed. But the instructions of the surgeons were to focus on keeping all the muscles associated with the knees strong; and this became a focus of my workouts. I had built up my leg strength to the point where I couldn't stack enough weight plates on the leg press machine to give me a full workout, other gym members would gather around to watch me workout and I would have some of them stand on the loaded machine to add weight. I was up the point where I was leg pressing 3 sets of 12 reps of 1400 pounds on my leg workouts. My thighs, arse, and calves were huge, and the stock hubs that came on the stock mountain bike wheels couldn't take the torque. So now my wheels are upgrades with hubs that are built to take that kind of torque; even though the endurance aspect of this sport has mellowed my leg size somewhat. Apparently it was this torque that led to breaking the Stumpjumper.
Anyways the Epic Comp 29er was the perfect bike for our trails, for racing, but...I torqued the rear triangle in two again. Again, Specialized honoured the warranty (have I mentioned how much Specialized has more than earned my respect, and loyalty?!); of course this also involved Paul and Jim at BicycleWorks representing me well to Specialized. So another warranty, and I again took this as an opportunity to upgrade my bike; this time to the Specialized Epic Carbon Expert 29er.
Earlier this race season, about 15 kilometres into a 70 kilometre race, powering up a steep, switchback with a logover in the centre of it, I snapped the chainstay in the middle of the drive train side. Snapped it clearly in two; the only thing holding it together was the shift cable. However, once again BicycleWorks and Specialized honoured the warranty, and replaced the chainstay. The black chainstay doesn't quite match the red and white bike, but it looks very cool.
So that is what I am currently riding...I also broke down and bought a road bike this spring to help with my training. A Specialized Roubaix. I am not at all a fan of roadbiking, but I cannot say enough about what it has done for my endurance levels!! So I have progressed from thinking spending $1,100 on a bike was ridiculous to having a bike that is worth more than the car I carry it on. And to top it all off, now I am saving up my dollars to hopefully upgrade to the 2012 Specialized SWorks Epic 29er when they come out in the spring; the ultimate race mountain bike. Gonna take a lot of training to make it worthwhile....stay tuned.