Will the rise in oil prices affect our rides?
Skids might traditionally have been ‘for kids’ but with world oil prices set to rise in the wake of Middle Eastern turmoil, Justin Loretz believes they might soon be the preserve of the rich
The bike industry isn’t immune from the effects of world politics. What happens on BBC News 24 can, and does, often have a direct impact on the sport you love. While Libya only provides some 2% of the world’s oil, the impact of the widespread unrest in the Middle East is sending the price of a barrel of oil through the roof.
So what you ask? Well, just consider how much oil your bike requires. Yeah, a bit on the chain, but it’s fundamentally more than that. Tyres are the obvious big oil items. The oil content of the rubber in an average bicycle tyre is between 25 and 33%, which equates to roughly 10% of the tyre’s weight. That’s quite a bit of oil.
The cost of that oil is a major chunk of the change you pay to buy that tyre. With tyres already expensive (next to comparatively heavier and more oil-intensive motor vehicle tyres), we need to consider our tyres as an investment rather than a transitory disposable item that we can simply afford to ‘tear up’ with heavy-handed braking. Those super-tacky, high-grip jobs you bought because you wanted to grip the trail like poo on a blanket are great, but maybe for the next pair it’s worth going for the standard compounds, giving up a bit of grip and saving 30 quid on the pair.
So what are we to do? Well, apart from braking with a bit more forethought and consideration, I know of at least two riders who’ve gone back to using heavier and cheaper wire-beaded tyres. It’s easy to be sniffy about such things, especially when we’ve been used to the joys of lightweight folding tyres over the past decade, but they argue that particularly over the winter the extra weight of the tyres are negligible next to the 2lb of mud stuck to them most of the time…
It’s not just the tyres we roll on, but the grips we hold and just about all the clothing we wear which has a high oil content, save the clever folk sporting Merino wool, though even that has to get here from the other side of the world, by, you guessed it, an oil-burning ship.
The cost of mountain biking will rise. There are no simple answers and some will always be able to reason an argument for spending the cash on the fancy tyres, but you know until this global economic situation changes for the better, we might all need to go easy on the tyres.
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 11:50 am and is filed under Blog, What Mountain Bike. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.