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  • Mountainbiking is just a sport for the rich?
    Free Member

    “Mountain biking? Surely that’s just a sport* for posh twunts?”

    This was the response from a colleague of mine when he found out I was a mountain biker. Now, needless to say I had it out with him but bizarrely I couldnt shake his belief in this assumption.

    Anyway I cant claim to be “working class” but I could never be accused of being posh or god forbid middle class, but I cannot deny that as sports/hobbies go mtb’ing is pretty expensive. Also the majority of people who I ride with/ meet on the trails are well educated, comfortable professional people.

    Is this sport* the preserve of the wealthy professional? Is this a good or bad thing?

    No agenda here other than curiosity. what are your thoughts?

    *My use of the word sport in no way implies that mountainbiking is actually a sport. Unless you race, in which case apparently it is a sport. Like darts.

    Free Member

    I can sort of see where he’s coming from, but its a bit of a flawed opinion that you have to be a posh toff to spend money on anything slightly out of the ordinary.
    In theory it can be inexpensive, but it seems shiny things get the better of ‘us’ and ‘we’ start to miss buying things. If it plays a major part in your life then why not?

    Free Member

    People I usualy ride with – one runs a rockers pub, one is a care worker, one is a trainee solicitor. None of us are posh, but none particularly poor either. Judging just by this site though it seems pretty solidly wealthy professionals.

    Free Member

    I feel I should just add that the person who made the comment comes from a comfortable suburbanite background, is a white collar professional and is a rotund little couch potato. Apparently he was a “proper mountain biker” back in the day” as he had a rigid peugeot 15 years ago.

    Not trying to character assassinate him – just adding some context.

    Full Member

    If you take STW most seem to be well off, professional types. But most people I tend to meet out on the bike tend to be be ‘normal’ recreational bikers, working class types with one bike, who may like something better but cant afford/justify it, but are out there riding and enjoying themselves anyway without the hangups/envy/willy waving we sometimes see on here.
    A sport for posh ~~~~~s? I dont think Ive ever met any one “posh” in all me (mtb)travels!

    Free Member

    It does seem to have become a bit of a richer person’s sport if you go by the STW regular’s at least (refering to the “What do you earn” thread a week or so ago that revealed wages on here are generally WAY above national average).

    But then it is quite an expensive sport if you’re going to do it to the point where you push the boundaries on your equipment. I mean, most of us consider £500 a very cheap mountain bike these days. Compared to the sport which used to be seen as the preserve of the rich (and is now anything but), Golf, where £500 buys you a top of the line set of golf clubs now as prices of Golf equipment has come down dramatically over the years. And you can’t argue that Golf costs loads to play in comparison to mountain biking, cos how much do we all spend on petrol driving to various trail centres each year?

    Certainly, of the kids I’ve known into Mountain Biking, the ones that have stuck with it at all have almost without exception, had rich parents that have helped out financially with the sport to some degree.

    And of course there’s the usual “you could’ve bought a car for that” response from people if they don’t ride that ask you how much your bike cost.

    Of course it’s not exclusively for the rich, but because it’s not a cheap sport, primarily that’s going to exclude a lot of less well off people from getting involved with it in the first place as it would represent far too large an investment for a “hobby.” To make matters worse, the rapid devaluation of the £ isn’t helping right now as it’s pushing the prices of everything up, further alienating the less well off from trying it!

    Now I love the sport, have done since I started as a 14 year old kid. I will admit though that my Dad did buy me my first bike for Christmas when I was 14, though I never recieved a penny more towards the hobby after said bike was bought. But I was desperately saving up for a bike and buying MBUK every month for 6 months or so, before my Dad stepped in and bought me the bike for Christmas, so undoubtedly I’d have tried it anyway.

    There are exceptions to the rule, but certainly most people that I know that ride, and most I come across that do, are reasonably well off themselves, or have had financial support from parents when starting at an early age. Much as I’d like it not to be the case, and that MTBing really was a sport for all classes, sadly due mainly to economic reasons it isn’t!

    And like Golf used to be, it’s now seen as the “socially mobile” sport to be seen doing by many people. Though of course there are those of us that have been riding a long time, and just love riding and don’t care what anyone else thinks! 😀

    Full Member

    Hmmm, MBoy Im with you on your last comment, but the golf thing? £500 They pay that just for one stick dont they? The balls are about £3 each!
    Anyway old, young, fast, slow, gears or not lets all just have a good time!

    Free Member

    I would tend to disagree ,lots of people love the sport and ride an entry level bike, as far as beleving what people quote as there income on a mtb website ,good luck!. My self, I have no job(as of april last) but a very modest income and spending my time in my campavan cycling the best spots in OZ(after touring round it). all you need is a bike, and some dirt!!

    Free Member

    All hobbies are expensive. Some people choose the hobby of drinking all day, others chose to smoke, some have massive train sets ans people do actually collect stamps while some even play golf.

    Its a decision we make where to put our disposable income.

    Ask him what he does of the weekend.

    Also the majority of people who I ride with/ meet on the trails are well educated, comfortable professional people.

    I tend to agree though. But as I always said, Mountain biking is the new golf.

    Free Member

    Mmm, it’s hard to assess someone’s class when you see them sat on a MTB.

    IMO, someone’s ‘class’ is often your own perception of them based on your own preconceptions of wealth. I’ll wager that there are a lot of really good riders out there on sub £500 bikes who aspire to nothing more; equally, I’ll wager that there are an awful lot of riders out there on somewhat more expensive kit and debts up to their armpits.

    I’d wager that there are very few off-spring of the aristocracy mixing it with you at Chicksands. Now, to me, a “posh twunt” might be that member of the aristocracy. At the same time, some chav from the inner city estate may see me as a ‘posh twunt” 😉

    Free Member

    Sometimes, people mistake all the equipment, clothing and image associated with a sport for the sport itself, and can’t see the point of buying specialist kit for an activity because they have never done any activity themselves.

    Your colleague is just ignorant; no-one’s ‘posh’ when they’re cold, wet, hungry and knackered. But it doesn’t sound like he’d ever understand that, so you should punch him.

    … although he sounds pretty unhappy to start with. He’s probably envious, too. He probably fantasises about strutting in to the office looking windswept and interesting, attracting females, instead of oozing in on his own slime.

    Full Member

    Your typical working class sport is probably watching football which you could argue is equally expensive than mountainbiking.

    We may spend a few thousand on a bike initially with the odd upgrade along the way but the yearly running cost aren’t too high (or maybe I just haven’t counted). But it often costs greater than £500 for a season ticket, then many travel to away matches too, buy strips too then of course there seems to be the obligation to get hammered in the pub beforehand.

    Free Member

    Yesterday I was riding some local dh/jumps and there were some kids on £200-300 bikes doing fine and riding pretty well. I started out on a £70 bike and didn’t have trouble keeping up with my local xc club rides.

    To do MTB to a high level, ie: compete and travel far and wide does require alot of money. If you have good riding on your doorstep it can be done fairly cheaply.

    Free Member

    I guess with mountain biking, its sometimes obvious to see where money has been spent, nice kit, bike etc. Compare it to following a football team, where you’ll have a season ticket, foreign cup games, transport, clothes etc and it probably doesn’t look quite so expensive.

    Powerboat racing, now I’d say thats a posh sport, doesn’t really compare to riding muddy bikes into a headwind 🙂

    Free Member


    Free Member

    The guys I ride with mostly are bike mechanics. Definately not rich!

    Full Member


    I ride bikes
    I sail
    I can’t stand watching football

    does that make me posh? Always makes me laugh the phrase “everyones shi* smells the same”, i beg to differ, (looks arround office at well fed, middle aged workforce), judgeing by the smell in the little boys room poo smell increaces with earnings.

    Free Member

    All hobbies are expensive. I can see alot of people riding less and less in the months to come due to bills, prices, job losses, kit prices rises. Kids will take up more money and riding will fall bythe wayside. Sad really.

    Free Member

    Mountain biking is a minority sport and for whatever reason seems to attract a high proportion of reasonably comfortably off professionals, probably mostly in the 25-45 age group. I would bet that if you talk to most people that fit into their category they spend more on drink, drugs, meals, clubbing, clothes, big TV’s, cars etc that we do. Its just a lifestyle choice

    Free Member

    Don’t the “poor” spend all their money on beer, fags & lottery tickets? 🙂

    Full Member

    I think mountain biking (as with most other ‘sports’) can be expensive, but don’t have to be.

    It depends if you have to buy all the latest bits and pieces, or are happy with what you have. And I am sure i would have had just as much fun cycling if my bike had cost half what it did.

    And as others have already said it depends where your priorities lie. Where I used to work there were smokers who would go on about my bike everytime it was on the roof of my car – can’t believe it cost so much etc. etc. When I pointed out that it cost me £70/month for 1yr then it was mine and I have owned if for getting on for 7yrs it didn’t seem so expensive. Compare that with £42/wk on fags, erm…..£168/month….hmmmm.

    I think golf is a similar thing – you can pay stupid money on golf equipment, but it doesn’t mean you will play better or have more fun.

    Free Member

    I admit that I was privately educated and don’t really work as I have a substantial trust fund. However I only own 2 decent bikes (Ok they are very bling) and I ride alot due to the love of bicycles and dirt, always been the same. Just cus I’m well off doesn’t mean I’m any less of a biker, and certainly not ATGNI, I’ve paid my dues.

    Free Member

    The appeal of MTBing to me (when I was a poor 20-something earning under £10k) was that I just had to buy a bike and the rest was pretty much free.

    I didn’t have to drive to the coast (like windsurfers) or fly to the Alps (like skiers) to do my chosen sport.

    Of course, now I drive to other parts of the country and fly abroad to bike – but I don’t have to.

    I think those who assume there’s a high price of entry for MTBing are mugging themselves to extent. It’s easy to buy a good entry-level or secondhand bike for £300 and have a brilliant time.

    Free Member

    Mountain biking can cost slightly less than naff all, if you want it to.

    Free Member

    “I can see alot of people riding less and less in the months to come due to bills, prices, job losses…”

    I’d have thought the opposite. If you already have the kit, to ride need cost nothing, absolutely zilch. A lot of people may actually ride their bike more.

    “Mountain biking is a minority sport and for whatever reason seems to attract a high proportion of reasonably comfortably off professionals, probably mostly in the 25-45 age group.”

    Possibly because it is accessible and can offer an adrenaline rush with minimal risk.

    Free Member

    “I can see alot of people riding less and less in the months to come due to bills, prices, job losses…”

    What does riding a bike actually cost? A bit of food that you’d have been eating anyway and a bit of tyre and brake pad wear?

    Full Member

    I live just down the road from the Arsenal stadium and there are a lot of posh and non-posh people who are season ticket holders, cheapest of which starts at just under a grand a year. That’d buy a lot of bike, equipment and travel expenses.

    Then again, there are people who’ll have a couple of pints in the local every single day, and that comes to about the same. Add 10 fags a day and you’d be close to the price of a decent full-sus bike after a year.

    Plus you don’t *have* to travel to ride. When I was younger I was quite happy just riding around the local woods and bridleways, just had OS maps of the area and we went off wherever looked interesting.

    Free Member

    It is perceived as expensive and this is perpetuated by the mags. £500 bikes are labeled as entry level and are always criticised. TO many people this money spent on a bike is crazy, especially as you can get one in Motorworld for not much more than a tenth of that. Its a bike not gold! Keeping it running is very expensive. Brake pads at 15 quid at set! for a month maybe in the winter. Transmission overhaul maybe a hundred every year!
    to the enthusiast with money its nothing but to many its ridiculous.
    finally you can get a year old motocrosser for 3 grand and something twice as old for the price of a downhill bike. Whats better value? You do wonder at times

    Free Member

    stumpy01 has it spot on. I have two small kids so going to the pub every weekend is out. That has freed up more than enough cash to buy a nice bike. I do have a habit of mashing drive trains tho’, which means MTBing is hardly a “one off” purchase for me. And then there’s the “old” bike which of course needs bringing up-to-date…

    Free Member

    This isnt an expensive sport at all. A good entry level bike can be had for a few hundred, and a second hand good bike for abotu the same. Sure it’s not as cheap as a football and throwing your shirt on the lawn as a goal but that hardly counts. I tend to ignore anyone who has such stupid views as your colleague, my other spot – now thats quite pricy – £3-400 per board (need 2 to be comfy) and 3-500 per kite and need 2-3 at least to be able to go out regularly. In both cases though, that kit will last you a long time – 2-3 years for kites and 10+ for bikes, with minimal kit. So really all we’re discussing is the perceived notion, perceived by a fool who has no idea. Let him think that.

    Free Member

    I bike to work, although expensive my bike cost about the same as paying for a bus to work for a year, so really my bike doesn’t cost me anything. In 18 months i’ve had one new chain (and that was only coz the 2 month old one had snapped). Biking doesn’t have to be expensive, people tell themselves they ‘need’ stuff to justify buying bike bits all the time, but mostly it’s wants not needs.

    Full Member

    strutting in to the office looking windswept and interesting, attracting females

    I’ve been riding MTB’s since about 1990. When can I expect this to happen ?

    Free Member

    “Wants not needs” is so right.

    Damn my weak will.

    Free Member

    Mountain biking is probably perceived as a rich barstewards activity because the ostentatiously rich can’t stop prattling on about their £1000 watches, £50k motor cars, £200 sunglasses etc etc on forums, and being all ‘bike chic’ in the trail centre car parks whilst the normally incomed bikers just get out and ride the bejoolas out of the damn things then have a laugh and a pint about it aftewards…….

    Full Member

    i am a right posh ****, honest…

    Free Member

    bog trotters:
    nurses & physios
    bus driver
    school kids
    computer and IT professionals
    bank manager

    so, a mixed bag. My current bike is worth about £300 ie a fifth of the cost of my camera…

    Free Member

    Hilldodger, Do you not think that people who are as you call it ‘bike chic’ unable to ride the beejoolas out of their bikes and have a pint afterwards?
    A bit of generalisation there mate.

    Free Member

    Not really, but they sure can’t form grammatically correct sentances innit 😉

    Full Member

    In answer to the original question: Nah.

    Because the poor and dishonest can buy great nicked bikes cheaply, and loads get nicked.

    Free Member

    trail centres car parks seem to be split 50:50 between trades vans and bm’s/audis/ rep mobiles.

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