Bike Math: A Powerful Tool for Athletes

Do you need help justifying your recent bike purchase or convincing your partner to let you sign up for a race? How about that new aero helmet or sleek set of wheels you've had your eyes on?

Bike math can help.

Bike Math (noun):

  1. A calculation that defies traditional mathematics—used to justify the purchase of seemingly expensive endurance equipment.
  2. An equation that's used to calculate the actual cost of gear over time rather than the perceived or immediate cost.
  3. Commonly used for items such as bikes, helmets, shoes and race registrations.

More: 7 Steps to Find Your Tri-Specific Bike

The term first came into play when endurance athlete Christian Minor started using "interesting equations" to explain to his wife Jennifer why buying new bikes was so economical.

One of her favorite lines: "My goal is to save the family money."

More: How to Save Money on Sports Equipment

The topic usually arises when there's a sale or a good deal. Most recently, he used bike math to explain why buying a second single speed would be cheaper than not buying it.

He already had three bikes in the garage—a mountain bike, a road bike, and yes, a single speed. But he wanted a new one.

More: Get Equipped for Tri Season

"Do you know how much this would cost us if I bought it retail?" Christian asked.

This inevitably leads to the "do-you-really-need-it-you-already-have-one?" conversation.

You're an athlete, you know the drill: "It's lighter, faster, better"; "it will help me take my racing to the next level"; "I need it to cross-train"; "I can sell the old one." And the most weighted argument: "The new one is safer."

In Christian's case, it was the 29-inch wheels he wanted most, and that's where bike math came in handy.

More: How to Make Your Own 29er

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