The n + 1 principle is a universal law that applies not only to mountain biking but to all things cycling. The rule, formulated by Velominati, is thus:
Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n + 1.
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n + 1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s – 1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.
The truth of n + 1
How can this be true? Why would I ever need more than one bike at a time?
Ah, if you voice these questions then it’s obvious that you’ve only just begun your journey into cycling. Yes, we focus on mountain biking here at NTX Trails, but in reality we love all things cycling. We have “drunk the Kool-Aid” one might say.
Maybe you haven’t purchased your first mountain bike yet, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to us if you begin looking at websites for your next bike almost immediately. There’s just something about buying your first bike that triggers an innate desire for more.
What do you do when the trails are wet and you can’t ride? Well, that probably means pavement. What? You don’t have a road bike? Well of course you need one right away. Now you have two bikes.
What’s this “gravel biking” thing you’ve heard about? Is it fun? Yes, it is! Can you ride your road bike on gravel? Absolutely not! Are you crazy? You need a gravel bike. So now you have three bikes.
Fall comes around and you learn about Cyclocross. It looks like a ton of fun! Can you use your mountain bike or gravel bike? Well, you could, but only if you want to mess up your drive train with all that mud. You need a bike made for Cyclocross racing! Now you have four bikes.
Hey, we heard that your spouse/significant other/best friend/random stranger doesn’t have a mountain bike. You’ve only got one mountain bike hanging in the garage which means you need another one. How else are you going to teach them joys of dirt? Now you have five bikes.
You’ve decided you want to commute to work some days, and maybe participate in a pub crawl now and then. You certainly can’t use your mountain bike on pavement, and neither your gravel or cross bike are ideal. And there’s no way in heck you’re going to take your really nice road bike on such a pedestrian ride. You need a townie/cruiser/hybrid bike for that. And now you have six bikes.
Now you’ve really outgrown that hardtail and need to move to a full suspension. Of course, you’re going to keep your old hardtail just in case. Why would you sell your first love? Now you have seven bikes.
Oh yeah, you discovered the pump track across the highway from the trail. Sure, you could take your hardtail there and give it some love, but it would sure be sad to damage that old beauty. That means you need a bike made for riding a pump track properly. Now you have eight bikes.
One of your riding buddies is one of those weird single speed cult members you’ve heard about. He lets you ride his bike and teaches you another bike equation: 1 + 1 = 1. You don’t understand the appeal of being in the wrong gear all the time, but something about it makes you feel the need to get a single speed bike. How else are you going to become a really great mountain biker? Now you have nine bikes.
One of your other buddies takes you to Colorado for the weekend and you ride downhill for the first time. Wow, what a rush! You need one of those super-long travel, double-crown beauties just in case you get to head for the mountains again. Think of how much you’ll save on bike rentals in the long run! Now you have ten bikes.
Do e-bikes qualify as real bikes? You’re not sure, and are a little afraid that your friends will disown or make fun of you if you get one, but you never know when you might need one in the future. What if you develop bad knees? How will you ride trail then? Now you have eleven bikes.
Oh, you have kids? You need one for each of them. Now you have twelve to fifteen (or more!) bikes.
Did you see the new models just came out? It really is time for a new bike….
Have fun, ride smart, and keep shredding!