As a serious cyclist, it seems like there’s always an ongoing shopping list of biking-related stuff in the back of your mind. Fortunately, there’s always a ton of cool new things to wish for in the cycling world from clothing to safety gear to components and complete bikes. The holidays are fast approaching, so it’s time for the Bikerumor crew to make our lists for 2016.
I rode some cool bikes, tested some components and gear, and wrote about a ton more cool products throughout the year. From bottle opening top caps to belt-driven commuters, here’s my list of personal wishes, recommendations and impressions. Let’s go ho ho…
Despite my undying love for both drinking beer and riding bikes, I am yet to embark on a proper bicycle brewery tour! Fortunately, this attainable wish is already on my real life to-do list, and the brew haven of Vancouver, B.C. is only two hours away. Call me a simple man, but to spend a day riding and sampling beers is almost all I could ask for- and the best part is there are tons of cities with healthy craft brewing scenes, so many of us have an opportunity to do this (ride responsibly!).
I’ve always been impressed with Priority Bicycles‘ practical, affordable lineup of commuter bikes. I’d love to put some miles on the Eight, which offers ample gearing for spirited rides and follows Priority’s ‘everything you need, nothing you don’t’ philosophy. Fenders, nutted wheels, low-maintenance belt drive, and hydraulic disc brakes all come on a rust-free aluminum bike that weighs in at 26lbs. And for $799 USD, this bike is a long way from the usual ‘I wish’ price range.
As a top-spec model it would be hard to find too much fault in the latest Trek Remedy 9.9 RSL, so not surprisingly my brief experience aboard one this summer left me wanting more. I only had a few laps on the Remedy 9.9 in the Whistler Bike Park, but was impressed how well it handled the full-on DH terrain. What I really would have liked is to pedal this beast. Despite going downhill only, I could still tell the rear suspension was doing a fine job of countering pedal bob and pushing me forward when I pumped into a berm or backside. I’d love to see what this stiff, well-sprung weapon could do on the trails.
Seriously, Fasterthnu’s Knucklehead chain guard looks so awesome I’d put it on my commuter bike for show purposes only. It seems I’m not the only one who thinks these things look sweet- our coverage of these brass knuckle replica chain guards got quite a bit of attention this fall. Fitting both 1x and 2x drivetrains, it’s nice for the not-so-hardcores that you don’t have to be cutting edge to sport this cool accessory, and while I’d definitely call this a piece of bike jewellery it’s not priced as such.
Although it’s not compatible with my last component choice, KA Engineering’s titanium chainrings stuck out in my mind as something I’d like to see on my bike next year. If the light weight and nicely machined designs aren’t enough reason to splurge on KA’s pricey front rings, their durability might convince you. The company showed off a ring that had been raced for over 3300 km’s, and their Sharktooth narrow-wide teeth looked pretty unscathed.
I had a chance to test Bluegrass’ Wapiti D30 knee and elbow pads this summer, and the knees earned themselves a solid, no complaints review. A good set of pads should stay put, remain comfortable through the day, move freely, not weigh you down and not make you sweat like a sauna. The Wapitis did all of this and protected me impressively well when I hit the rocks and dirt, so my legs have never been happier.
Pro-Viz has been making reflective jackets for a while but when they introduced different colored fabrics that still reflect light, I was sold. Their newest REFLECT360 CRS jackets shine bright when light hits them but look like a normal Blue, Green, Red, Yellow or Black jacket in the daytime. They’re also waterproof to 5000m, well vented, and just explaining the glass-bead coated fabric to your buddies will secure your bike-nerd status like nothing else.
Three Small Things:
Last year on my wish list I featured the Swat chain tool top cap from Specialized, but there’s a crucial thing that tool doesn’t do- open a beer! Fear not fellow beer-swilling bikers, for there is a top cap on the market with a built in opener. Thanks to Stem Captain’s Bottle Opener, you can crack a frosty brew right off your bike after a good ride. The aluminum (or special edition ti) caps come in four colors to match your steed, and greatly aid in post-ride recovery….mentally, anyways.
Keeping with the beer theme, one small part I have immensely enjoyed having on my commuter is my Bike Strap universal bottle cage. Since installation this handy strap-anything-to-the-bike bottle holder has reliably carried many craft beer bombers, tall boy cans, my stainless steel water bottle, and more. The only perceivable downside of this design is that the strap has to wrap around your down or seat tube when not in use. This might annoy some people, but I wouldn’t give up the convenience it offers over the minor visual interruption it creates.
And as a little something for my bikes, I’d wish for a tube of Fork Boost from Whistler Performance Lubricants. I’ve been using Fork Boost since mid-summer on my DH and trail bike’s front ends (I even put a bit on my commuter’s fork) and it has done a great job of keeping my seals clean and my forks feeling buttery smooth.