Do you remember the feeling of freedom that washed over you the first time you hopped on a bike and pedaled away? The wind in your hair, the thrill of exploration, the sense of independence.
Bikes have always been a symbol of freedom, and for many, they serve as a catalyst for growth. In this article, we delve into the world of ‘beater bikes’ – those trusty steeds that may not be the flashiest, but are reliable, affordable, and allow us to focus on what truly matters: the joy of riding.
- The author has owned and ridden dozens of bikes, but the Diamondback Apex was the best brand-new bike they ever had.
- The author’s first encounter with mountain biking was in 1989 when they saw a tri-color Specialized Hardrock and fell in love with fat, monster-truck tires in a rugged setting.
- The Diamondback Apex, a sparkling green bike with a True Temper steel frameset and full Shimano Deore LX group, became a catalyst for the author’s riding experience and shifted their perspective on bikes.
- The author still owns the Apex after 20-odd years, with chips in the paint and scars on the stays, and it has remained a reliable and ready-to-ride bike.
Why a Beater Bike?
If you’re looking to grow as a rider, a beater bike can serve as a catalyst by providing you with the opportunity to push your limits and explore new trails without worrying about damaging an expensive bike.
The importance of resilience is evident when riding a beater bike. These bikes are built to withstand tough conditions and take a beating, allowing you to push yourself and your skills to new limits.
The transformative power of cycling is undeniable, and a beater bike can be the key to unlocking that power. It allows you to experience the freedom and joy of riding without the fear of damaging an expensive bike.
So, hop on your beater bike and embrace the challenges and adventures that await you on the trail.
Early Cycling Role Models
As a young rider, you were inspired by Evel Knievel and the Dukes of Hazzard, who served as your early cycling role models. These larger-than-life characters embodied a sense of freedom and adventure that resonated with you.
You admired Evel Knievel’s daring stunts and the Dukes of Hazzard’s wild car chases, and you wanted to capture that same spirit on your bike. Their fearlessness and love for all things fast and thrilling inspired you to push the limits of what you could do on two wheels.
You began to see bikes not just as a means of transportation, but as a way to experience the world in an exhilarating way. Whether it was jumping ramps like Evel Knievel or tearing through the countryside like the Dukes of Hazzard, you knew that bikes had the power to set you free.
First Encounter with Mountain Bike
When you first laid eyes on a tri-color Specialized Hardrock in 1989, you fell head over heels in love with the fat, monster-truck tires and the rugged setting that mountain bikes were built for. The combination of the bold colors and the beefy tires immediately caught your attention and sparked your curiosity.
You couldn’t help but collect brochures from bike shops, dreaming of the adventures you could have on a mountain bike. It was during a cross-country train trip from Long Island to Seattle that the mountain bike bug really started to spread. You were captivated by the idea of exploring new trails and pushing your limits in the great outdoors.
The Tri color Specialized Hardrock was your gateway into the world of mountain biking, and it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for you.
Mountain Biking in College
During your time in college, you visited the local bike shop in Newark, Wooden Wheels, where you discovered that Delaware had miles of pristine singletrack trails just waiting to be explored. It was like finding a hidden gem right in your backyard. Excitement grew as you realized that mountain biking was the perfect blend of road biking and BMX, offering a thrilling and adventurous experience. You knew you needed a reliable bike for these trails, so you opted for a steel hardtail with a chromoly frame. Equipped with the highest-level Shimano groupset, your Diamondback Apex was ready for action. It became your trusted companion as you navigated the challenging terrain and bonded with the college biking community. The bike shop became a second home, where you exchanged stories, tips, and recommendations with fellow riders. Those college years were filled with adrenaline, exploration, and the freedom to ride wherever the trails took you.
The Diamondback Apex
After discovering Delaware’s pristine singletrack trails in college, you eagerly chose the Diamondback Apex. It was a steel hardtail with a chromoly frame and the highest-level Shimano groupset. This bike was your trusted companion as you conquered challenging terrain.
The Diamondback Apex proved its longevity and reliability, standing the test of time as a classic bike. Its sparkling green color reminded you of your BMX days, and its True Temper steel frameset made it trails-ready. Equipped with a full Shimano Deore LX group, the Apex provided a smooth and reliable riding experience.
With minimal upgrades, such as purple titanium Salsa skewers and a matching Salsa QR seat collar, the Apex remained mostly original. The joy of riding this classic bike was in its ability to disappear. It allowed you to fully enjoy the world around you without worrying about the bike itself.
Even after 20-odd years, with chips in the paint and scars on the stays, the Diamondback Apex still holds a special place in your heart.
Riding Experience with the Diamondback
While riding the Diamondback Apex, I experienced a newfound perspective on bikes. I shifted my focus from constantly tinkering with them to simply enjoying the ride. This shift allowed me to appreciate the bike for what it was – a reliable and versatile machine.
I realized that constantly upgrading and modifying my bike wasn’t necessary to have a great riding experience. Instead, I embraced the minimal upgrades I made to the Diamondback. For example, I added purple titanium Salsa skewers and upgraded to a matching Salsa QR seat collar. These small changes enhanced the bike’s functionality without detracting from its original design and purpose.
Through this experience, I learned that sometimes simplicity is key. The true joy of riding comes from being in the moment and immersing yourself in the freedom of the trail.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some recommended affordable options for mountain biking today?
If you’re looking for the best value options for mountain biking, consider entry-level bikes like the Trek Roscoe 7 and the Rocky Mountain Growler. These affordable options offer great performance and are perfect for riders who desire freedom on the trails.
How did the author’s early cycling role models influence their love for bikes?
The author’s early cycling role models, including Evel Knievel and the Dukes of Hazzard, had a significant impact on their passion for bikes. These role models influenced their love for bikes and shaped their perspective on riding, pushing them towards BMX and allowing them to ride in ways that would horrify manufacturers.
What other brands or models of bikes did the author own and ride before the Diamondback Apex?
Before owning the Diamondback Apex, the author rode and owned various bikes, including a hand-me-down Columbia, Motobecane Nomade, and a stolen 50-pound Spooky downhill bike. Today, recommended affordable options for mountain biking include the Trek Roscoe 7 and Rocky Mountain Growler.
Did the author make any upgrades or modifications to the Diamondback Apex over the years?
Yes, the author made some upgrades and modifications to the Diamondback Apex over the years. They added purple titanium Salsa skewers and upgraded to a matching Salsa QR seat collar. However, they mostly kept the bike original, focusing on riding rather than wrenching.
What happened to the Diamondback Apex during the author’s last ride with it?
During the author’s last ride with the Diamondback Apex, a careless driver wiped out the Waterford. Opting for the Apex on a muddy trail, they fell into a boggy marshland. The beater bike’s journey came to an unfortunate end.