I'm probably a product of the time I grew up, but elite kit, and elite bikes, were for cyclists that could perform at that level.
Doesn't work that way.
It does for me.
Maybe I'm a product of the time and / or circumstances I grew up - maybe it's the concept of being impressioned / conditioned about feeling foolish if the kit I have overshoots my talent and / or ability - in which case, probably rather uncool to think that way.
All the same, it is what it is.
Great guitars sound great, regardless of your ability.
Indeed they might, but I suspect peoples' drive to own them, isn't purely about the sound. I'm not sure I can directly relate, anyways - my own experience of music is playing the piano. If I was rich, had some huge rooms in my house, would I aspire to some elite concert grand? I doubt it. I probably would buy a very decent, albeit not opulent or elite, piano that would look appropriate for the room I'd put it in.
Great bikes ride well, regardless of your ability.
And decent bikes ride decently too - I doubt anybody became a great rider just because they got a fancy, schmancy bike. All I'm saying is I'd get more benefit from using them more, I doubt I'm going to be inspired by a particular high-end bike, I never have, nor have the people I grew up with or cycled with.
Yes, we all aspired to decent bikes, true enough - but I never had some poster on a wall of some elite bike I always lusted after - because I never lusted after any particular bike.
I do see parallels in other hobbies - skates, for example - on ice, I'm sure a high end pair of hockey skates would be very nice and all, but I doubt on the rare occasions that I get to go, my very decent hockey skates are really going to be eclipsed. Same with my inlines, some of them are very decent, but I suppose the kind that most suit me, now, would be slalom / freeskates - again, something which you can spend lots of money on - but I'm not inclined to, simply because it wouldn't make sense to me.
I also have a thing for certain watches - some would aspire to some designer or high-end brands, but truth be told, most leave me cold. Maybe a Grand Seiko would be nice, if I had that sort of money to spend on one, but all the same, there's some aspect of aesthetics and subjective value to what people like where watches and jewelry are concerned.
The only important question is whether you should be spending your money on them.
If you are not neglecting other needs then hell yeah!
Thing is, I'm not trying to suggest what other people should spend their money on, or aspire to. Merely explaining my own perspective (as is everybody, really, in this thread) and why this "epiphany" that I've read made comment of a few times, does nothing for me. Yes, I get there's some divergence, here - some people are continually collecting, building, breaking selling, over and over; some rationalise, or are very selective. That doesn't mean there's no middle ground - I have 5 bikes, clearly more than I actually need, but not excessive, and perhaps not totally beyond sense for me. I've no desire to expand that collection, or keep the whole process going, or aim for something more selective. I like what I've got, and as a generalism, I'm not looking to either expand or shrink what I've got.
The whole rationalise and be selective argument, seems to be based on the notion that everybody is continually growing their fleet, with a group of no-mark bikes, and that it's a pointless idiom, if only they'd see sense, become aspirational, get rid of loads, and buy a select bike that will make all the demons go away, and make cycling a truly great experience. Well maybe for some that's true - but like a lot of propositions, it occludes the middle ground.
Sure, if the whole hamster wheel of acquiring, building, breaking, selling, rinse and repeat is becoming fruitless and unfulfilling, that's one thing - especially if some do have aspirations for certain bikes. I don't see the universality of it, that's all - not that the OP necessarily asserts there is, but often when I hear the notion trotted out it's at least implied.
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