In Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes commented very briefly on utility vehicles—both motorized and human-powered—being used to their specification:
"Just as most SUVs never went off the paved road, most mountain bikes sold probably never touched the dirt."
Cars and bikes both can be used to their exact specification. You can get a Land Rover or a Gary Fisher and go crashing through the wilderness. You can get a sports car or a cyclocross bike and race it.
A lot of people don't do that though. They don't use their vehicles to their exact specifications. They don't take their mountain bikes outside the city, and the only racing they do is from traffic light to traffic light.
Which is okay.
As long as you're on a bike. Not so much if you're in a car.
If you're consuming all the extra resources needed to fuel an over-sized sports car engine, or to fuel an over-sized SUV, but you're not doing anything with those vehicles but commuting to work or going to the grocery store, well then than that's kind of wasteful isn't it?
It doesn't require any extra resources to move a mountain bike or a racing bike through the same urban environment. Because, after all, your engine remains the same no matter what bike you're on. (Your engine is you!)
What I ultimately mean to say is that I got some bias! I got some bias, and I got some double standards!
I think it's okay to have a mountain bike that never touches dirt. I don't think it's okay to have an SUV that never leaves the road.
And I'm quite content in my bias here, folks!