Having blown right past Thanksgiving and into the pre holiday season, it’s time to start dreaming of Christmas gifts for you and yours. It’s never easy, but hopefully this Holiday Gift Guide gives you (and my boyfriend) a little inspiration.
To give you fair warning, my tastes lean towards the more gravity oriented mountain side of things. But no matter what I’m riding, you’ll be sure to catch me airing out curb cuts, scoping bonus lines, and trying to find out where that random goat path actually goes.
My bike has taken me a number of incredible places, but there are still a number of locations and experiences on my mountain biking bucket list. Among the highest priority items are doing a heli-drop (um, anywhere), racing the Trans Provence, heckling at a World Cup DH Race, and making it out to Moab.
I’m hoping to make it out to the red desert sometime in the next year with some good friends in tow. Peak riding season is said to be March-May. If you have any riding/crawling/moto/beer/ or camping suggestions, please leave them in the comments for me.
ROAD / GRAVEL / CROSS BIKE
While I think we can all agree that the term “gravel grinder” is ridiculous, the concept isn’t half bad. Particularly for mountain bikers such as myself, who’d love a second (or third, or fourth) bike that could pull double duty on the dirt and pavement. Throw in some fender racks for light touring duty as well, and you can see why models like the Niner RLT 9 and Specialized Diverge are so appealing.
I rode so many great bikes this year, it’s hard to pick just one I’d like to see under the Christmas Tree. The two in particular that gave me be the biggest grins were the Pivot Mach 4 and the Santa Cruz Nomad. They’re both completely different but I consider each a genre defining model.
My personal favorite would have to be the Nomad, although it’s a bike I would be afraid to actually own. Think of it as the Nissan GTR of enduro bikes. It allows its driver to effortlessly take it to the limit, but that kind of speed is both addicting, and terrifying.
Whether the lowers were grey, brown, or black, the Fox 36 has always been the fork I’ve lusted after. In recent years though, the fork had fallen out of favor due to just how capable the lighter 34 series was, and because it wasn’t available in a 27.5″ configuration.
All that changed this year when Fox introduced a completely redesigned 36 model, which features an all new air spring, a lower axle-to-crown, big weight losses, and a number of other improvements. All of which make it the best fork Fox has ever produced, and a worthwhile competitor to the much heralded Pike.
It’s hard to appreciate how wonderful bright lights are until you have them. Whether you commute, ride the backroads, or occasionally hit the trails, having powerful lights will make you more visible and your ride more enjoyable. Amongst my favorite manufacturers of mid to high end lights is NiteRider. Their Lumina series is self contained, relatively light, and has served me well for a number of years.
For those with a dedicated commuter or town bike, Sparse’s beautifully designed lights are also well worth a look.
Just as comfortable on asphalt as it is on the trail, Giro’s New Road Kit has become my go-to for all types of riding. A few years ago this type of gear would have been targeted toward the commuter set, but with its classic aesthetics, quality construction, and great fit, it’s perfect for adventuring outdoors.
The new women’s line is particularly awesome because the shorts have real pockets. Like deep ones, that will actually fit a cellphone!
Announced earlier this year, the new Specialized 2FO line of shoes are the best thing to happen to the flat pedal market since, um, I’m not sure. But the shoes are fantastic. Think FiveTen levels of traction while being nearly as comfortable as the discontinued Teva Link models.
They also incorporate nice technical features like a well reinforced toe box (something I’ve accidentally but thoroughly tested), cushioned midsole, and mesh upper for breathability. The shoes are also available in a clipless version if that’s more your thing.
…And THREE SMALL THINGS
Cyclists are notoriously difficult to shop for, but one thing we all love is a little bling, particularly anything machined. So you can’t go wrong with an anodized seat post collar from Hope.
If there’s one thing cyclists love more than fancy bits of aluminum though, it’s beer. The YAWYD drink top cap from Niner Bikes is a great way of adding a little personality to a bike, and showcasing your favorite cold one.
My last pick for a small stocking stuffer is the new decal kits from Fox. Available in a number of different colors, each kit comes with several sheets of stickers, and are a great way of adding a little custom flair.