I think there’s definitely some purpose in having different bikes for different purposes, and I’d always advocate any serious cyclist has a spare bike, just so you have something to ride if one is in the shop or develops a fault you notice 15 minutes before you go out.
An obvious example would be a fast road bike, a TT bike, a gravel and an MTB, but there are others.
When you start having multiple bikes that do essentially exactly the same thing, in the same conditions, then you’re a collector Or maybe it’s consumerism. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I have often wondered how people with garages full of gorgeous bikes get around the ‘problem’ of only riding their Parlee/Speedvagen/Colnago/Sachs 2 or 3 times a month. But then you could apply exactly the same logic to collectors of most things, tbh, and I bet most of us have bought things in our non-cycling lives simply because they were very nice things, and in retrospect don’t actually use them that much.
The other thing is once you have multiple bikes, you do start to think of reasons not to sell! I’ll use my own ‘fleet’ to illustrate.
I have 4 bikes:
- Mason Bokeh, with 2 wheelsets (gravel & audax)
- Donhou DSS1 (fast road)
- Ridley Helium SLA (light summer road)
- Giant TCX (CX, currently lives on the trainer)
I love the Mason and I really like the Ridley, even though it doesn’t see that much use.
In honesty, I could sell it; other than being a bit lighter than the others, it doesn’t do anything the others don’t. But it’s rim brake and mechanical, which I don’t want all the time but I do want sometimes. Moreover, when I work out what I’d get for it, especially in the current market, and how much I enjoy riding it when the mood and weather is right, it’s not worth it.
The Giant could also go. It’s an ok bike but nothing special, and I have no plans to return to CX, but again, when I work out what the bike would sell for now or in the foreseeable future, it can stay on the trainer.
I actually don’t love the Donhou, but looking back at how much I spent on it, and how much of a hit I’d take if I sold it second hand (one of the problems with custom), my inclination is to try and make it work, much as the N+1 part of my brain argues I should just sell it and buy a Definition with the proceeds (now there’s a bike I shouldn’t have sold!).