How Many Bikes?

I thought I’d piggyback on the theme of the last post about getting a new bike by asking the question, How Many Bikes? That is, how many bikes do you think you need, and how do you use them?

Now, I’m well acquainted with the old joke about the number of bikes you need equalling n + 1, where n is the number of bikes you already have. But seriously, how many do you need?

I’ll start. I have three bikes, my Allez, which I use for 95 percent of my riding. It’s a road bike, and goes on road rides. I do not use it for grocery runs or other utility types of riding. Then there’s the mountain bike, an old Trek hardtail. Since I am not a mountain biker, I tend to use this for errands and shopping, if I use it at all. Mostly, it just hangs in the garage. My third bike is the old steel Raleigh 10-speed, which I had long thought about upgrading, just to do it.

Lately though, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Trek isn’t being used much for errands and shopping. I’d just as soon be rid of it. And the Raleigh — I doubt I’ll even get around to fixing it up. Vintage bike collectors tell me it’s not worth much anyway, and one has tried to dissuade me from putting money into it.

So that leaves me with one bike — the Allez. And that’s fine with me. It does what I need it to do, and does it acceptably well. As I alluded to in my last post, I’d be happy with something better, but there’s really nothing to dislike about the Allez. As the song says, I think I’ll keep her.

How about you? Do you find a need for more than one bike? How do you use yours? Or do you find that your bike collection is missing one, because there’s a certain biking role that’s not being filled by any of the ones you currently have? Given the kinds of riding you do, what would be the optimum number of bikes to own?


  1. says

    We have 2 bikes each:

    Mine: Road/Touring bike: 2012 Jamis Coda Sport, with “trekking bar” conversion.
    2012 KHS Vitamin A, Utility and back up bike, converted to a “semi-cyclo-cross bike so we can ride on the “dirt paths”, I also use this bike for errands/utility, with added trailer coupler and back up bike.

    Wife: Road/Touring bike: 2011 KHS Vitamin B, with “trekking bar” conversion.

    2012 KHS Vitamin A, Commuter and back up bike, converted to semi-cyclo-cross bike so we can ride on “dirt paths”, she also uses this bike to “commute” to work and as a “back up”.

  2. Barbara says

    3 here:
    2011 SL3 Tarmac Expert roadie stays on the road. 70-80% of my riding time is on this bike.
    2005 Bianchi Volpe cyclocross for commuting and grocery getting, sees dirt on occasion Recipient of hand me downs as I upgrade the Tarmac.
    2010 Rockhopper Expert I picked up for cheap on Craigslist for mountain biking.

  3. BA says

    3 owned:

    – TT bike for triathlon and training
    – MTB for offroad, of course
    – Single gear track bike for the city

    1 more needed:

    – Classic road bike without aerobars for uphill riding in the alps

    With that one more sweety added, it would just be an awesome collection for absolutely every need :)

  4. Mel Hughes says

    I rehomed my 1988 Bianchi Tangent this spring. So right now, I have 3. I bought a used 1998 Litespeed Natchez frame about 5 years ago and built it up to be the first real “road” bike I had bought in about 20 years. Two years ago, I bought a very cheap electric/mountain bike for the novelty of it. This past spring, I finally admitted to myself that my beloved Litespeed was really too small and hurt to ride any long distance. I ordered a Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen to be my true country road bike.

    My wife has an older Raleigh 21 speed touring bike and a Raleigh mountain bike. So 5 for us right now. The electric bike may be “rehomed” with my son who just got on-post housing at Camp Lejeune, NC…

    I don’t really have any great need or desire for anything else right now. I keep looking at different handlebar setups though. I might change the Rivendell over to moustache bars with a shorter stem as an experiment in comfort. Most of my musing about changes has more to do with tires, racks, bags, and possibly a dynamo front generator…

  5. ofoab says

    I have a few , I swear some of them followed me home.Sometimes you have to take that ride-deprived bike and give it purpose and life, like bringing a dog home from he S.P.C.A.Bikes are grateful and devoted if given a chance!

  6. Tim says

    I wouldn’t listen to the vintage bike collectors too much. That Raleigh has value that goes beyond $$. Raleigh turned out some nice steel back in the day. It could make a very nice bike with a few component upgrades and some new wheels.

  7. says

    I’ve got three and don’t see anything else coming along in the near future.

    My road bike is a 2011 Trek Madone 5.2 that I won in a raffle from Fatty. See for the details on that. It’s got a little less than 300 miles on it because it’s not really the bike of choice for “fun” rides.

    The bike of choice for weekend rides is a 2005 Burley Duet tandem. It’s basically an entry level tandem, but we’ve put 10k miles on it. Riding tandem is a blast if you’ve got a good stoker…and I do. We’ve actually got the money set aside for our next tandem, but it will be major purchase so we’re waiting till we get a little closer to retirement before pulling the trigger on that one. When we do, it will be coupled so we can take it overseas.

    The bike that gets the most miles per year is my 2009 Surly Cross Check. I built it up as a dedicated commuter a couple of years ago. Prior to that, I was commuting on my road bike, but it was beating me to death, and I was beating the tar out of it on the rough roads through downtown Springfield.
    This bike is much more suited to the demands of daily abuse than a nice road bike.

  8. says

    I have a road bike for 90% of my fun and a hybrid which I use for short rides in inclement weather or with the family when riding my road bike would be too much. I’d like to get a touring bike – a nice steel one – and I think that should do quite nicely for me, or at least until I see the next bike I like!

  9. says

    A road bike and two mountain bikes. Since I bought the road bike last spring the mountain bikes have sat neglected. I’m contemplating selling the newer of the mountain bikes, so basically all I need is just one of each. If you decide to get a new bike, go carbon. You’ll love it.

  10. says

    I currently have three, with the next two hopefully far out on the horizon.

    I started with a 2008 Raleigh Detour 4.5 hybrid which I use for neighborhood trips and occasional 16 miles treks to my girlfriends house. It is a good, sturdy bike but I felt it was too slow to use as transportation. (it’s the bikes fault. Not me.)

    I felt I was spending too much on gas, but knew it is too hot to ride a normal bike to work in the summer. I started looking at electric bikes early this year and picked up an older model R12 from RMartin. It was on sale, and Austin gives an electric bike rebate, so I ended up getting it for well under a grand. It turned into my main form of transportation over the course of the last year. This bike is quite the opposite of the Raleigh. I can go through the motions of peddling and still move along faster than the hybrid. It’s much quicker on the hills, but definitely a lower quality build. After about a month, I started popping spokes and got sick of the turnaround time at RMartin, so I had my LBS build me a hefty rear rim. After about four months and a thousand miles, I had the front wheel replaced. It will hit four thousand miles this week, and I’m starting to think the battery will go soon. Most likely right after the warranty runs out. :-p

    After all the electric bike riding, I felt that I was stronger at riding and was looking for a road bike to ride on the weekend trips. Kept an eye on Craigslist, and picked up a Trek 1.2. it’s almost as fast as the electric though takes more effort, and I have racked up 1400 miles in the last 15 weeks. It turned into my main bike once the weather cooled off enough to ride to work in the morning without being all sweaty.

    N+1 (+1)
    My next bike will likely be a Kalkhoff electric. They are pricey, but supposed to be great quality. Besides, the car mileage avoidance will pay for it eventually. The RMartin paid for itself (without the upgraded parts) in under four thousand miles. At some point after that, I’ll be looking at a new road bike that is better fitted to me.

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