The cycling retail business I work for just sent out a company wide internal email discussing the availability of some demo products for sale to its employees.

I am having trouble understanding the last line. I can't find whether this is a standard English expression or some sort of cycling industry term:

Everything has previously been ridden and are sold entirely ‘as seen’, so please make sure you are happy with your chosen bike(s) before taking them, as due to their nature we can’t offer any warranty or returns process.

So remember, N+1 and come down and grab a bargain!

What could that final line possibly mean? Could it mean "anyone"? or is specifically it bike related?

Here is a picture just in case it has some sort of visual context: enter image description here

  • This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network. Commented May 4, 2018 at 15:13
  • 2
    While the context appears to be specifically about bikes in this case, I think it does have wider relevance and should belong on this site. It appears to be referring to a expression meaning that it is better to have redundant backups.
    – JonM
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 15:15
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    I think @EdwinAshworth's argument is a circular one. Only by establishing the meaning and the context attached to it can we even suggest that it belongs elsewhere. Thus we need to establish the meaning, which is on-topic.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 15:50
  • @Chris H The give-away is ' I can't find whether this is a standard English expression or some sort of cycling industry term'. OP shows no signs of research in a dictionary, which would probably not turn up a positive, so the obvious place to check is on Bicycles.SE. I'd say it's not standard enough at this point to be considered 'standard English'. Commented May 4, 2018 at 16:29
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    @EdwinAshworth there's always a bigger dictionary just out of reach, or a bigger source of quotes, and "I can't find" implies an attempt to find. A naive search leads to hits like n+1 redundancy on Wikipedia, which might be related but doesn't answer the question.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


This is specific to a bike-related quote:

The ideal number of bikes to own is N+1

i.e. one more than you already own, or "you need to buy another bike"

It's discussed at bicycles.stackexchange.com, but without an original source, which I'm trying to find.

Rule 12 of The Rules states

Rule #12

The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.

While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

These rules are a well-established collection of cycling lore. They often cite sources, but not in the case of rule 12.


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