You hear mountain bikers on the trail talk all the time about how much faster they would be if they were on a newer, shinier or more expensive bike. One with Sram XX components or the latest Fox fork. They moan and complain about their old bike and blame problems not on themselves, but on the bike. So is it all about the bike?

I was even one of these bikers for a while.

After riding the same bike for a while you just get down on what you have. You miss that new feeling and you crave something different.  You visit the bike shop on a weekly basis, scour the web for smoking deals and watch the hottest new bike reviews and videos.

Instead of being content and happy with the bike you have, you constantly are looking for something better.

So… How much difference does the bike make?

As a recent buyer of a new bike, I feel I can definitely speak some truth to this question.

I moved from what would be a comparison of a cheap rowboat to a luxury Yacht when I bought my new bike. My old bike was a very bottom rung starter bike purchased for under $500 and ridden hard for 5 years. I switched from a hardtail with 26″ tires to a full-suspension beast with 29″ tires that rips apart the earth underneath with every pedal stroke.

If there was ever a situation where switching bikes should make a difference this was it.

But it didn’t make a difference. Or if it did it was so small that you wouldn’t notice. My lap times at the normal courses didn’t decrease, instead they went up just slightly. Even now, almost 2 months after buying the new bike, I still have almost the same lap times. The new bike did next to nothing to make me faster.

Ultimately it comes down to this. You dictate how well you perform, not your bike, not your friends. Nobody but you. The more you ride, the better you are.

What about you, have you bought a new bike thinking it would help you become a faster rider only to find that you have the same times as before? Post your story in the comments. I’m dying to hear.