Bespoken Word – Turn Black Friday green

Rider at night
(Image credit: GuyKesTV)

I always feel conflicted by having a go at Black Friday, or any attack on the business of selling bikes and kit to people. After all, I earn most of my income working for a website that spends a lot of time creating Black Friday specific content because this buying frenzy is a big spike in the yearly traffic. If you count my time working in bike shops I’ve also spent nearly four decades getting excited about new bikes and kit and leading other riders into temptation to try it themselves. At first glance that definitely puts me on the dark side of the line when it comes to encouraging greed rather than need behavior.

Canyon Black Friday deals

New bike day is a great feeling, but refreshed bike day might well be a better deal (Image credit: Future)

A greener shade of black

Hopefully I manage to stay the right side of rational with my reviews most of the time though and I certainly scrutinise the spendier stuff extra hard to see if it’s worth the extra money. Even though a lot of new stuff is awesome I won’t tell you to buy you something that won’t suit you or the way you ride either. When I think it’s the right move I’ll always advise servicing or repairing what you already have too. 

That’s just scratching the surface of ways you can not only save yourself money but also save the natural world we enjoy playing in so much any extra harm too. So to try and combat the Black Friday madness, here are some ideas for having your own Green Friday.

PNW Loam Carbon Handlebar

I'll always recommend servicing or upgrading your current kit when it's the most cost effective and sustainable option (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Upgrade rather than replace

While there have undoubtedly been some big techno advances in some areas – particularly e-MTBs and e-components like shifting and suspension control – the basic bones of bikes have been stable for a few years now. That means – apart from maybe some XC bikes – if your bike is a few years old, the geometry, suspension layout/behaviour, hub axle and BB standards won’t be outdated, so it’s well worth servicing/upgrading rather than just binning off for the sake of it. 

The other big factor right now is that while buying new will get you some 'great deals', the price you can sell your second hand kit for has totally fallen off a cliff. In fact, in some cases you can probably buy a totally new bike etc for the price you'd have expected to have been able to sell your bike secondhand for when you bought it. And whether you're on finance or not, that loss in 'selling on' price needs to be added back onto the 'saving' price to get the effective overall cost.

While out of the box performance on forks and shocks might have slightly improved, most new kit isn’t noticeably further ahead than what a skilled tuner could achieve as part of a service of old dampers either. In fact, with the right information on how you ride, your old custom tuned suspension might well ride better than a new unit off the shelf. The same ‘better than new’ potential applies to rebuilding wheels and frames with top quality bearings rather than cheap like for like replacements when they’ve worn out.

If you’ve been riding a few years, you’ve hopefully learned to shift well enough that you don’t need the foolproof assistance of SRAM’s latest T-Type Transmission or their Powertrain Auto Shift e-bike tech. In fact, the older SRAM AXS systems or the analogue transmissions from Shimano and SRAM actually shift significantly faster than the latest gear.

I’m not just talking about hardware here either. Shell jackets can be reproofed with spray on or rinse in treatments. Glitches in fit can be modified by a local tailor much more accurately than you taking a punt on another unseen coat just because it’s 60 percent off. Bust zips, broken BOA dials, fabric tears etc on clothing, shoes and bags are often easy to put right, and steel and carbon fibre frames can be repaired too.

Repaired jacket patched up with gaffa tape

There are several bike and outdoor clothing brands that offer official repair options if your DIY skills are as bad as mine (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Buy for life

If you are pulled in by today’s sales – or the current discount frenzy that’s turning the whole of 2023 Black for the bike industry not just this Friday – maybe don’t buy purely on the basis of top performance or bottom line. Pick gear that’s designed to last and be easy to service. Ortlieb are a prime example of this as they design all their bikepacking bags with modular screw-on fixtures. They’re also running a discount on their in-house repair service for Black Friday. Brands like Apidura, Alpkit, RAB, Rapha, 7Mesh and PNW – plus others I’ve forgotten, sorry – all offer repair services for their kit. 

On the hardware side, look for bikes and kit designed to be easily serviced or rebuildable. Not just for a short while but with a history of spares back up long into the past. Hope are probably the most obvious example of this in component terms as they'll still service kit from the '80s and they also have open source 3D printer codes on their site for making your own repair tools. DT Swiss are another brand with a richly deserved reputation for easy servicing and epic reliability too. SRAM introduced a lot more rebuildable aspects into their latest Transmission rear mechs too, while Shimano introduced Linkglide gears in XT and Deore spec a couple of years ago with claims of 300 percent improved longevity. Schwalbe now run a tire recycling scheme via local shops and they’re starting to use as much Fair Trade rubber in their manufacturing as possible too. 

Santa Cruz still use grease injected, fully serviceable pivot bearings on their bikes, while other small brands like Nicolai/Geometron, Cotic, Privateer and others are all leading the way in more sustainable manufacturing methods or modular build options too. And while supporting brands that are paying attention to their environmental footprint or investing in the wider riding community might not make you - or them - richer financially. It’s certainly a smart investment in terms of our overall future not just as a sport but a species though

Santa Cruz Hecker SL

Santa Cruz mix the latest tech with old school longevity and self maintenance wins like fully rebuildable, grease injected pivot bearings  (Image credit: SCB)

Multiple savings

In other words while it might be more expensive initially, buying kit that’s easier to repair and will last longer is definitely a saving long term compared to picking up a throwaway ‘bargain’. Upgrading, servicing or repairing what you already have can also deliver a better result than buying fresh too. So bear than in mind whenever you’re hunting for ‘bargains’ today or any other day and also remember that there’s more to the ‘price’ of a product than just it’s dollar/pound/euro etc tag.

Guy Kesteven

Guy has been working on Bike Perfect since launch in 2019. He started writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.

Current rides: Cervelo ZFS-5, Specialized Chisel, custom Nicolai enduro tandem, Landescape/Swallow custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg