I gave up on all the toys and games from the fat man when I learned the awful truth (last year*)… For a few years it seems like all the excitement Christmas once offered has turned into an annual day to restock on socks, boxers, and clementines. This year all of my friends and family better be reading this list to see what’s hot on my mind, from big-ticket to stocking stuffers…
First thing’s first, it’s time for uncle Mike to get a new mountain bike. Giant‘s Trance Advanced 2 is at the top of my list, its de-branded and modern plaid(ish) design stands out to me personally. Looks aren’t everything though, the Boost compatible frame and fork is a nice touch in addition to SRAM’s 1×11 GX group. It also gets the updated Maestro system with a carbon rocker and trunnion shock mount. Last year’s Trance impressed me with its overall ride quality. The Overdrive headtube is the only thing that made me hesitate with picking this bike. Though I don’t swap forks often, it’s always nice being able to plop in a new part without reducer cups.
Clothes & Gear
Both my road and mountain helmets have seen better days, but if I could get one replacement it’d be the Phenom road helmet by Kali. The main reason for this choice is the fit. Kali’s helmets fit pretty well on my large roundish head. The optional winter cover is a useful feature for cooler rides, and it looks well vented for summer riding. Otherwise, I’ve ridden Bell in the past and one of their new MIPS Overdrive helmets would get the job done.
For rides that end up in an unexpected shower, Castelli‘s Idro jacket should work well. It’s super packable size as well as its light weight, and water tight build would come in handy next time Zach and I get caught in a downpour. Other options that may work well is Twin Six‘s waterproof Standard Rain Jacket. It’s not as packable as the Idro, but its orange is safer than black, and it seems just as water tight.
I’ve always wanted an activity tracker and from what I can tell the Garmin Vivoactive watch is decent for multi sport watch. It has a built-in heart rate sensor that comes in handy for riding and climbing (rock), and an optional sensor enables speed and cadence tracking. My second choice is the Fitbit Charge 2 which is similar in capabilities at a more economical price.
With snow and cold weather coming, it’d be great to keep rolling with Kinetic‘s Z-Rollers. It’s a simple setup, good build, and I find rollers more entertaining than a normal mag/fluid trainer. Another option is Elite‘s Arion rollers system that offers a standard quality build. I appreciate that both offer compact storage options and minimal build.
If those elves are good at cobbling and sewing, I’ll take a pair of Giro‘s Sentri Techlace road shoes. I like its secure Boa system and adjustable lace system on top, check it out on our Factor write-up. I’ve ridden their Privateer mountain shoes for a while and if their road shoes have the same comfort, I’m in. Plus, its carbon sole should offer the extra stiffness every climber loves.
…and Three Small Things
As for stocking stuffers, you can never have too many socks. Any pair from The Athletic or Ridge Supply will do. Also, with Lezyne‘s RAP-15 multi-tool I can ditch my Co2 pump, it’d be nice to have a means of fixing my bike on the go. Lastly, throw in a few of the holiday flavored Honey Stinger waffles, and any Clif Shot Bloks.
Last on my list is the ParkTool happy hour set. Since I’m one of the seemingly few people to break 10+ glasses a year the stainless steel build would be a durable alternative. Please bundle this set with a nice Belgian Quad in spirit of the UCI cyclo-cross World Cup on Boxing day.