Rather than pump out some generic Top 10 list, we decided to put a personal touch on it and each curate our own wish lists of things we’d love to get this holiday season. Each of us has our own riding style, and our lists are made up of things we’ve seen or ridden so far this year that have really impressed us. We think you’ll like them, too.
I’m Nick. I have been contributing to Bikerumor for four years now. My riding style is to commute by bike. I also have the pleasure of spending a good bit of time on long, peaceful road rides in the Oregon countryside west of Portland. I took up mountain biking this summer, and I did my first cross race this season. While I have a lot of bikes in the garage, I am most fond of my cross bike. It’s the one bike I wouldn’t want to be without. Now, here is what’s at the top of my list this year for road, mountain, CX, clothing, etc.
The one road bike that I lust after above all comes to us from Ben Farver and his recently launched Argonaut Cycles. I had the opportunity to see how the bikes were made in person. And Tyler spent some intimate time riding the custom beauty. Argonaut turns out a bike built to suit your person wants and needs. Nothing less. And they do a stellar job at it. The frameset retails for $6000 for stock sizing. Custom sizing runs $6500.
Acceptable alternatives: Carbon isn’t for everyone. And to be honest, I do love the ride of both steel and titanium. If you are looking for a road racer that ready to win races and look good doing it, look now further than the Vanilla Bicycles offshoot Speedvagen. If you want one you better get your order in early, as they only make a limited number of road racers each season.
Sticking with the handmade theme, but switching up the material, my second alternative comes in titanium, thanks to Moots. The Vamoots RSL is very deserving of the lust it garners from it’s admirers. From the flawless Moots welds, to the well designed frame, this bike will never disappoint the roadie in you.
While riding the trails on my XC bike is a great way to spend the day, my newly found passion for pedaling in the dirt lies elsewhere. I have always had a grandiose idea of bikepacking with a capable adventure off-road machine. I would love a Salsa Fargo Ti to accompany me on that journey into the wilderness.
Acceptable alternatives: Should conditions for a trip be severe (snow, sand, and/or crazy mud) the Surly ECR is where my money would go. It is a dedicated 29+ camp bike with mounts for just about anything you could ever want.
COMMUTER, CX, OR OTHER BIKE
This category is really where my heart is. Long rides, on any road, anywhere you want to go. That is what makes me happy. A cross bike, gravel grinder, or just a commuter with fat tires takes you there, and will keep you smiling all day long. For me, that bike is my All-City Mr. Pink. But I already own that. So if it were to gain a companion in the stable it would have to be the Klatch from Co-Motion. Their gravel bike was introduced at Interbike this year, and it won me over instantly with its Enve carbon disc fork, tapered head tube, and Reynolds 853 oversized steel frame. After visiting their factory earlier this year, and seeing the quality handmade products they turn out, I have lusted after a Co-Motion. The Klatch is the one for me. Pricing starts at $2195 for a frameset, and a complete starts at $4460.
Acceptable alternatives: If the Klatch weren’t an option, The Kona Rove Ti would have a welcome home in my garage any day. Handmade by Lynskey right here in the USA, pricing runs $1999 for the frame only. As for the CX racer hiding in me, the Cannondale Super X Hi-Mod has me in a tizzy. Carbon disc CX sex appeal for days!
When I think of that one lust worthy bike component that I would want more than pretty much anything else, the eecycleworks eebrakes are at the top of that list. While not completely new, they did see a small refresh a while back. Now shut up and take my money.
Acceptable alternatives: The Garmin 810. I love gadgets. A lot. In fact, my first writing job was as a technology editor for a small magazine. Cycling computers have really come a long way, and Garmin’s 810 is at the forefront. Costing $499 for the base unit, it isn’t cheap. But for stats junkies that have a tendency to get lost, or travel a lot, this is your unit.
CLOTHING OR GEAR
In the style of Zach, I am spoiling my own review here. Being a commuter, I have a great appreciation for clothing that works well both on and off the bike. Levi’s nailed it with their 2014 commuter line. They were kind enough to set me up with the trucker jacket ($128), work shirt ($88), and jeans ($88). While all of it is great, the work shirt is the real stand out of the lot. Fit, style, and comfort for the lot is spot on. Stay tuned for a full review soon.
Acceptable alternatives: When it comes to performance clothing, there are a lot of options on the market. They seem to come in what feels like a million different types of technical fabrics with a lot of marketing terms behind them. One company stands out in my mind however, as being simple, and true to their design nature. Eleven Velo makes well designed, simple, merino wool clothing. And to keep up with the trend of review previews, I have been riding in their premium bibs (3/4 length $151), Merino Team Jersey ($109), and arm warmers ($45). Cutting straight to the chase, you would be hard pressed to find anything to complain about. It’s like riding in comfy, form fitting, pajamas.
Chrome has nailed the lifestyles category. Fitting in perfectly with the on/off bike theme is their Merino Wool Hoodie. Pick one up for $160.
TOOL, OR MISC.
The Nutter multitool caught my eye when it launched on Kickstarter. The more I see it, the more I want one. £39.99 (about $65 USD) here.
Acceptable alternatives: Beer! Or Whiskey. Seriously, when has that ever been a bad gift? And it can go in a mud flask from King Cage ($35).
EXPERIENCE OR TRIP
Being of Dutch heritage, I am genetically predisposed to liking windmills, wooden shoes and tulips. Thus, a Dutch cycling tour would be fantastic. They offer many different trip options ranging from the routes taken, the scenery viewed, and the days ridden. Put them all up on a board, throw a dart, and send me on my way.
FIVE MORE LITTLE THINGS
- Praxis Works Chainrings. If your rings are worn out, or you are tired of poor front shifting, look no further than the quality rings from Praxis Works. I have three sets and I can’t recommend them enough.
- Rear safety lights. You can’t have too many. Cateye’s new Rapid X tail light is at the top of my list right now, but pretty much anything in the .5w range that charges via USB will do.
- You never know what the heck is going to happen when commuting. Therefore, I keep a lot of tools in my bag. I really need a tool roll to organize them better. Blaq Design’s tool roll is customizable to match your bag, and at $38 its very affordable.
- Hats and Socks. Walz wool caps are the best this time of year. As for socks, Chrome socks are my personal favorite. And right now they are buy two pair get one free. Make it so number one.
- Coffee, beer, whiskey, and baked goods. Now take one (or all) of these things into your local shop and show them you care for them like they care for your bike.