Only show gyms with:

Within miles from me
1 mile 20 miles

Is new kit better?

Is new kit better?

There aren’t many better things in life than putting on a new pair of box fresh trainers.  Their sparkly newness, firmness of sole and strangely enticing smell put – well a spring in your stride. Last year's trainers are quickly forgotten or reassigned to gardening duties or if you have formed a special bond (which can happen with trainers) they’re stored away for nostalgia.

But are the new pair better? Are they going to revolutionise your performance, smash your personal bests and transform your athletic ability to another level?  The marketers say yes (they also want you to replace your trainers every 6 months too) but are they simply pedalling myths?

To answer to the important question “is New better?” I bought a new mountain bike – purely in the interests of journalistic research. No? That didn’t cut if with my wife either! 

This what I discovered:

Mountain bike technology has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Wheels have got bigger whilst gears have been cut from 30 to 11 speed, handlebars are super-wide and seat posts use hydraulics to drop/rise – New means the latest technology and innovation, so far so good. 

When my new ride arrived I was very excited at the prospect of smashing my

segment times and climbing the leader boards. Except I haven’t. It's so frustrating! If the bike wasn’t so muddy I’d seriously consider sending it back! After each ride I’d eagerly scour my ride-data for personal bests on my favourite single track descents to no avail.

How can this be? It's taking a bit of time to get used to the ride dynamics of the new bike and it's set up versus my old ride, the weather has been rubbish, the tyres are bigger and drag more and maybe I’ve been a bit under the weather – I know I’m just making excuses –let's face it, it might just be I’m getting older.

There is one major benefit of all the new technology – the morning after the ride before I don’t feel like I’ve been run over by a bus! This feeling used to last long into the week after a Sunday’s ‘weekend warrior-style’ rampage.  I’ve not seen the marketing tag line ‘buy our bike because it won’t physically wreck you!’ But it's the benefit I notice most.

Whilst New doesn’t seem faster, New does feel good and that gives a positive psychological boost which makes me get out and ride – that’s got to be a good thing. At the ‘weekend warrior’ level of sport the psychological boost might just be the best result the technologically advances in sports kit and equipment can deliver.

So I’m going to keep chasing those personal bests but not let their elusiveness overshadow my enjoyment of the simple pleasure of just getting out and riding the trails.

Want to try out your new (or old!) kit? Find your next gym visit or fitness class here.

the author

Ben Walder

Ben is a keen cyclist, road and mountain biking, runner, skier and even enjoyed a brief flirtation with boxing. He’s cycled John O Groats to Lands End, London to Paris in 24 hours, 5 countries in 3 days and ticked off some legendary climbs from the Tour de France. When he’s not dragging his mates out on cycling adventures across Europe he’s being dragged around by his 2 young daughters to karate, ballet, gymnastics, tennis and swimming..