In the annals of sound financial advice, one key argument is to invest only in quality assets, so as to avoid replacements (a.k.a. duplicate purchases). For major goods, like cars, this mentality is easily adopted. But in the outdoors industry, the desire for “the next best thing” often trumps the longview. A bike with 15 percent less drag? A pack with more capacity and less weight? Shoes with new laces? The instinct is to always upgrade.
For those with the means, today’s road bike marketplace rewards this habit. Each year turns out lighter, stiffer bikes, more advanced electronic shifting, and improved disc brakes. It’s all great, but it also — technologically speaking — becomes redundant. If the only thing a rider needs is a competent road bicycle with good feel and a bit of snap, those minor grams, slight aerodynamic increases and shifts in components won’t translate to life-shattering improvements. You’re better off sticking with something good, and ignoring the marketing frenzy.
This is the argument for the “forever bike” — a one-time purchase that’ll outlast its rider. If purchased today, one of the best prospects comes from Aaron Barcheck’s shop in Boulder, Colorado — the Mosaic RT-1d, a titanium performance road bike equipped with disc brakes and customizable to fit any contemporary groupset. Barcheck sent an RT-1d to me a few months back, and — if it wasn’t obvious from appearances, with the raw titanium finish, Rolf Prima wheels, Enve fork, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 components and Chris King Headset — the bike proved, after a good thousand miles, that it is a machine to retire with.