It’s Christmas time, once again! Time to hang up your stockings and hope that Santa stuffs them full of biking goodies. For me it’s also a time to keep my fingers crossed that Santa remembers that I like SRAM shifting and Shimano stopping and definitely not the other way round. Or that I like my shorts baggy and below the knee and my tops tighter and above the elbows. So if Santa needs a little bit of help then maybe you could direct him towards my Christmas wish list, you might need to get bigger stockings though.
WISH LIST TOOL:
Winner: DT Swiss Spoke Key. Ideal as a stocking filler, this tool is simple to use, with a great big “+” sign to tell you which way to tighten it. I have used many spoke keys over the last year and this is the only one that I have never rounded a nipple with. This tool stays in my backpack but I recently have bought two more for my van and garage!
Runner Up: Finish Line“Grunge Brush”. This is a great tool. I bought it on impulse but now it lives by my front door and is used most days. The problem with specific chain cleaners is that they break, I have used several and they all snapped within a few months. The Grunge Brush does a great job of cleaning the chain, cassette and chainrings and with no moving parts it’s still alive and well after a year of daily use.
WISH LIST CLOTHING / GEAR
Winner: Shimano AM40 Shoes. Possibly the only mountain bike shoe you should ever use! Grippy, light and durable, what else could you ask for in a mountain bike shoe? You can read my full review here.
Runner Up: POC Helmet. This is a great helmet for those days when you keep the helmet on your pack until you reach the summit and want a bit more protection than a standard XC lid for the way back down. It is ventilated enough for normal XC on all but the hottest days in summer, offers great protection and looks great as well.
WISH LIST COMPONENT
Winner: Charge Spoon Saddle. Another item that you could squeeze into a stocking for someone you love? By coincidence that is how I came to own this saddle, last Christmas. I have sat on this saddle almost daily for the past 12 months, and it has ably supported me up hills and down mountains. Together we have covered over 10,000km off road in relative comfort and neither my nether regions or the fake leather surface of this saddle show much wear.
Runner-Up: Shimano Saint M810 Disc Brakes. I had the pleasure of trying these brakes out a few times and they seem like the ultimate disc brakes to me. They are incredibly powerful, don’t need bled constantly, suffer from no fade and offer plenty of lever feel. I have used many disc brakes from other manufacturers that can’t manage to offer two items from that list!
WISH LIST MOUNTAIN BIKE
Winner: Cove Hustler. I couldn’t really put any other bike on my wish list. I bought this bike when I started my guiding business and over the last two and a bit years we have cycled the equivalent of more than 4 times round the earth with over 100,000m of lovely descending included. The bearings have been replaced once and every other component on the bike has worn out and been replaced but the frame is still going strong. The frame isn’t perfect, it’s weighty and short so climbing is a chore sometimes, but it always makes up for it on the way back down.
Runner Up: Transition Bandit. The details of this have just been released by Transition bikes but, on paper at least, it seems to tick all the boxes for what I would look for in an all mountain type of bike. I will be very interested to throw a leg over it and see if it lives up to its hype out on the trails. You can see the full details here.
WISH LIST ACCESSORY
Winner: Skills Weekend With Great Rock and Nigel Page. OK, so this is a bit left field but bear with me! We all buy gear with the thought that it will somehow make us better or faster. Almost always that is wrong, there are obviously some exceptions but in general we still ride the same trails in the same way, just with shinier kit! Recently I went along to a skills weekend with Great Rock and came away deeply impressed. Other skills courses exist, and I’m sure there are some close to where you stay but maybe this is the present that will result in the biggest improvement in your riding.
Runner Up: HDMaxExtreme Helmet Camera: For a long time I have been debating about a helmet camera but one thing has held me back… the fact that none of the HD cameras have a screen. I like to mix helmet footage with static shots and up until now that would have meant either a lot of guesswork or two separate cameras. That was until the release of this camera which combines the capabilities of the other two main helmet cameras, ContourHD/Go-Pro HD, but with the addition of a screen meaning it can be used for static shots as well.