It's not about need. It's all about want. Bring it on.
Mountain bikers are humans and humans are not always entirely rational beings. But who needs reason when you have unfettered desire?
1. Titanium bolts
You know things are getting desperate when your attention turns away from components and focuses on the bolts holding things on to your bike. If you were to swap put all your existing steel bolts and replace them with titanium ones you’d save somewhere around 70g. At most. And it would cost roughly one million pounds. Ish. Seriously though, Ti bolts are pretty much the worst value weight saving items of all time. BUT they look ace and they don’t rust. So goferrit. Just don’t gamble on cheap Ti bolts from eBay to hold your disc rotors on, eh?
2. Carbon bike
Something of a contentious one this but hey. There are a number of riders who think that carbon fibre is just not worth it. As well as being significantly more expensive than an alloy bike, the weight savings often aren’t as drastic as you might think (it does vary hugely depending on frame design) and there’s growing cult of folk who think that alloy bikes ride better and/or faster. A bit of chassis flex can be a good thing. Having said that, carbon bikes look way cooler than gawky welded alloy, and that’s what really matters.
3. Carbon wheels
See above, kind of. It’s universally accepted that carbon wheels are stiffer than alloy rim wheels. Some people even claim that they’re stronger than alloy wheels. But again, stiffness ain’t everything. Particularly if you like battering over rocks for extended periods. We’ve now got to the point where companies are trying to design carbon wheels to flex more by de-tuning spokes and designing rims that tilt under load. Although you know, seamless carbon rim beds can make tubeless inflation a bit easier. So fill your boots.
4. This year’s version of your current bike
A couple of years ago, it did make a lot of sense to get a new bike pretty much every year. Mainly because geometry was changing apace and there were a glut of new standards coming in (Boost, Metric, Trunnion and so on). This year though, things have settled down a bit and there’s less of a genuine reason to trade in your 2019 Specialized Remedy CF. Depends though… do you really want to spend the whole of 2020AD worrying that your seat tube is one degree off-trend? Not to mention the colourway being out of date now.
5. Cane Creek eeWings
These make no real sense whatsoever. But just look at them. Surely there’s sense in sheer beauty itself? And it’s always nice to have something pretty to stare at while your trudging up interminable fireroad climbs.
Things like ShockWiz and TyreWiz live in something of a contradiction. Essentially the service they offer is best suited to relative novices who aren’t experienced or confident enough to set up their air-filled items. Yet they have price tags that are deeply un-novice like. But, get yourself a ‘Wiz and then hire it out to your mates. It’s a money-maker in disguise!
7. Silca tools
See point 5 above. Ugh. Want.
8. Ai and electronics
Lapierre’s Ei, Fox’s Live Valve, SRAM AXS, Specalized’s BRAIN*… you name it, there’s still seemingly very few (non-sponsored) riders who want computers assisting/interfering in their mountain bike experience.
*okay, BRAIN isn’t electronic (it’s a position-sensitive inertia valve type thang) but you get what we mean.
Anodised componentry never quite works visually does it? Even if you stick with the same brand and same dye, the colour ends up looking different from component to another. Not because of any manufacturing inconsistency, it’s just that anodising takes on a different look depending on what shape of object it’s applied to. Purple flat pedals look brighter than purple headsets. Don’t do it. Or do, it’s your bike. Do what you want.