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N+1 Addict Taking a break? Kinda

I remember when I got back into Mountain biking in 2015, I bought a 2006 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR and to me, this bike was solid gold.  Talked the guy down from $800 to $600 bucks and rode away feeling like a lottery winner.  Unfortunately I only rode that bike a few times over the next 3 years until I met Kailey (My Better Half) and we started riding together.  Soon enough I found myself surfing the used market for an “Upgrade”.  A 3 hour road trip later, I bought a 2014 Diamondback Mason Pro FS.  My first Proper Mountain bike with a 1x drivetrain and a dropper post.  It was about 4 years old, had 140mm Travel front and back and Kashima Coated fox 34 … how could things get any better? 

Fast forward a few years I've bought and sold over 60 bikes, most of which were in my size.  Some Fix and Flips, some for Kailey, some for my kiddos … But MOST for me to test.  On many rides my friends would joke about how they had never seen me ride the same bike twice.  Can the truth be a joke? 

I have a problem, but is it a bad one?

N+1 is a formula that helps mountain bike obsessed people like me justify how many bikes they own.  n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. The idea behind n+1 is that you should own one more bike than the amount you currently own.  So by this formula you should always be on the lookout for another bike.

It’s tiring honestly and at the expense of more productive things I could be doing.  But I don't want to stop … I like finding a deal, riding it and selling it when I have so many bikes I can’t afford to buy another without selling, I sell them and start over.  Besides the expense, it’s getting harder to play this game and justify it. So it looks like I'm going to need to reign it in a little for the time being.  Here is why

  1. Paypal is now reporting to the IRS when you select a “Good and services” sale and counting that as income.  But they don't care that it's not a business and that you opted into goods and services for the buyer protection it offers.  Not to mention that you spent as much buying the bike as you did selling it.  So to combat that you will need to sell locally, which means a much smaller pool of buyers.
  2. The bike market is in a tailspin right now, good time to be a buyer, but uncertain as a seller.  You have to keep a VERY good track  of the market and the prices bikes sell for are not listed, so a lot of my buys are calculated risks.  Covid hangover has changed the residual value of a bike in many bike owners' minds.  MINE IS STILL WORTH 95% of retail!  Right .. Not so much. The supply is back, and demand is down … get real.  
  3. General Economy is impacting my day job and we need to be more careful with money. 

So what do I do?  Well, I still enjoy finding and riding new bikes.  So I'll need to find a solution.  Here is my plan moving forward.

Rule #1

No more than 3 extra bikes at a time in the house.  Each rider in my house can have 1 analog bike and adults get 1 EMTB, then I can find, buy/trade, try and sell 3 more.  Based on this rule, I have at least 3 bikes to sell right now to remain within my guidelines and If I want to buy another I will need to sell MORE than 3.  My plan right now is to sell 4 bikes.  I just don't know which … ☹️ Below is a list of my current bikes which I need to determine if I'm keeping or selling.  

Current Bikes for each person that we are Keeping

  1. Kailey: 2022 Propain Tyee Carbon, 2022 Trek Rail 5 
  2. Bradley: 2019 Ibis Mojo HD 4 (No Kid’s EMTB’s yet)
  3. Michael: 2020 Norco Range VLT C1
  4. Davis: 2020 Norco Fluid 20
  5. Juju: 2020 Diamondback Release 2
  6. Alex: 2019 Marin San Quentin
  7. Carson: Can fit any of my bikes.

Extra Bikes:

  1. 2022 Propain Tyee Frame (Have all parts for Bradley's 2023 race bike this year, small)
  2. 2017 Specialized Enduro (small)
  3. 2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer (Buyer lined up for March 1st)
  4. 2022 Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Alum Comp (XL)
  5. 2021 Evil Offering (XL)
  6. 2022 Cannondale Jekyll (XL -Have not recieved yet, In transit to me)
  7. 2018 Ibis Mojo HD4 XL(Listed for sale)

Rule 2: Sell locally first to reduce the possible tax burden that comes with selling online.  

Rule 3. When possible, before sale, downgrade parts.  Most of the time, luxury bits like carbon bars, cranks, AXS are more valuable and sold separately or just as backup stock for another build. 

Rule 4:  Track all costs.  New parts, shipping, Gas money,  components and give conservative valuation to take off parts.  I’ve been loosely tracking this already, but if Uncle Sam is getting involved, I'll need to run this like a business.  I may even need to start an LLC to write off expenses and report income.  

Rule 5: Don't let bike buying get in the way of my Family life or real  work.  Do it after hours, automate alerts, but get your work done and be attentive to those people that matter to you FIRST and foremost. 

Will I be able to maintain these rules throughout the year?  I have to, I can't afford the N+1 lifestyle if I don't.

I have one more idea on how to use the evil of N+1 for good. Ill post more about this in a few days ... But there will be a bike giveaway at the end of my experiment. Cant wait to tell you more.

**Picture in this article is of my old garage, all bikes have since been moved to my basement and are guarded by a vicious trail dog named Ollie.**

Michael Neef

Co-Founder & Editor

Dad, Mountain Biker, chauffeur and N+1 enthusiast.

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