Does a more expensive bike make you a better rider?

This is a very unscientific poll really to test out the capabilities. Feel free to cast your vote, voice your opinion and have some fun with it.

I don’t think it makes you better. But a higher end bike may be able to help you achieve more (lighter is generally faster). In Time trialing the high end super bikes can really help you achieve some good time savings. But the old engine can only do so much and if it isn’t trained up, the best bike in the world won’t make you better.

I think there is a threshold. My limit for hardtails is around $1500, I think i’d put my upper limit for full suspension to be around $3500.

That being said, I don’t think they make you a better rider so much as make you

  • be able to ride on harder terrain more , cause the bike will hold up.
  • be able to go faster with less skill

On this is totally “on topic” :slight_smile:

I’m with bignose on this one. For mtb a better bike will to a certain point stand up to more abuse and you’ll make it through even if you make some ‘mistakes’. Lighter, stronger frames, higher end suspension, brakes ect. generally perform better and inspire confidence that will allow you to ride things that you might not be able to on lower end products. That does not make you a truly better rider, it compensates for your inabilities. Really good riders are really good on whatever bike they are on, be it a department store special or a pro team edition bike.

Many people argue the opposite. e.g. they say start out on a hardtail rather than a full suspension, because it will make you a better rider.

Suspension and technology make the bike more forgiving, so that mistakes won’t be as costly, and the ride is more comfortable. I’d argue that for those reasons, it’s actually better to start beginners on full suspension bikes (although that rarely happens due to the cost of a good quality dually).

In fact, you sometimes see expert riders tend to go simpler (and cheaper) with their rides because they like the challenge and have the skills to make up the difference e.g. single speed or fully rigid

One word : Aaron.

In a sense yes.

For me a bike that is not going to fall apart or distract me with derailleur skips etc. is important. Confidence make a big difference. But you don’t have to pay a bundle for that.

Another factor, is the “sweet ride effect”. Where you love you new bike so much it motivates you to ride more often and harder (and have more fun).

(I’m assuming by expensive you mean quality and features)

I have always stood firm in saying that a mountain biker should always learn to ride on a hardtail before making the jump to a dually. That, however was long before the advent of 29er’s and 650B’s.
Now, I feel that with today’s technology the playing field has been leveled somewhat and I have formed a new and better opinion:
Any bike will make you a better rider. You just need to ride it! The more you ride it, the better you get.

Saddle time is what ultimately makes someone a better rider but having decent equipment will inspire confidence and keep someone biking long enough to get good.

Having grown up riding junk, I’d say it makes YOU a better rider, but will not make the ride better. We learned to MTB on BMX’s out behind the trailer park, and every garbage day we had a new bike/parts. Also, cheap department store bikes would come along on the odd Easter or birthday. Now, those heavy, clunky, poor performing and bad designed bikes made you work the bike, learn how to ride, shift weight, pedal properly, etc. And they showed you how to wrench, because they were junk, and they always needed it. However, once spoiled with better bikes, you learned how precise and deadly a weapon a good bike is in well trained, (Abused), hands. That’s all fine and dandy, if you can afford to stay in the game.

I still think a hardtail/rigid is best to actually learn proper riding on, personally, but no one has time nowadays to learn anything, or to give it a good try, so all the fancy new duallies out there and big hoops are perfect to get someone fairly green out riding on actual mountain bike trails, to a degree. This is the sad truth, but take someone who starts on a full on top shelf bike, and they are lost on a poop-cycle. Is it a problem? Not really, but they are still limited by the skill level and fitness they are at, and if that’s fine with them, that’s all that matters. And if they are new, chances are good they don’t know how to set up/maintain all that fancy new stuff, like suspension, hydros, etc. And then the bills hit to repair it. Also, I see a LOT of customers with poorly set up bikes. Can’t blame them, if nobody told them. But there is so much more potential there for when they are ready. Mean time? Nice simple, reliable bikes are all out there to be had for fair money, that can get you out riding, and getting better. I saw the same thing in motorsports and hockey. Some of the best are using crap, and just killing it! Money won’t always make you better, but by all means, when you are ready and the gear is the only thing holding you back, move on up!

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