The holidays are a time we gather to celebrate a lot of things. Gathering with friends, family, and an abundance of holiday food & “cheer” are always in order. Another joyous tradition is for kids to let their dreams run wild asking for fun as well as the unrealistic things, (I’m still waiting on my Supergoose III) that are just fun to think about having. Well for us, and the abundance of our fans, not much has changed and we still like ogling over “toys”…. the attainable and unrealistic alike.
Being the kid at the Rumor, (age doesn’t count, right?), I was stoked when it was time for us to do our holiday wish lists. The folks here at BikeRumor are like family…. more specifically older siblings. Zach’s list appeared first with
MY the Evil Insurgent, and shortly after Tyler casually made an informal announcement to us to make sure nobody took his SRAM Red eTap from under the tree…. now I know what my little brothers felt like *full circle*.
Regardless, I’m pining over some rad items that even these guys might beat me up over…
Despite getting to ride some of my old favorites like Pisgah’s Grandfather district with trails like Black Mountain, Kitsuma and Heartbreak Ridge, as well as some new places in Tahoe and the Bay area, not one single ride has excited me more than hitting my local trails with my now 7 & 8 year old groms. We’ve been riding the easy trails for a few years now and we’re finally ready to explore the intermediate sections. Their progression has been as exciting as it has been hilarious. No ride has been without the occasional fall, “bar to tree”, and even a pretty legit face-plant. Even with blood spilled, the suggestion of stopping and going home is never an option with them. The best lines I’ve ever heard on the bike: “Just let me finish crying then we can ride some more”, and “Why are you so slow Dad?”
Nowadays, I see my road and gravel rides as enjoyable escapes that allow you to relax the mind and enjoy the environment around you rather than seeing how fast you can fly through it. That is until there is one or more people on the ride that decide to “flex” their abilities. My long-time go to bike is a steel 2007 Salsa LaCruz cross bike with disc brakes and 42c tires so the gravel bike scene and the selection of tires has been a welcome addition. One bike that stood out and made me drool was the Moots Routt “dirt-road” bike that is based on the longer chainstay Routt 45. The Routt is more suited for the road with shorter stays for quicker acceleration & handling, and can pull double duty with either road tires or up to 35mm knobbies.
Other honorable mentions include something more on the side of 2 very different road bikes with the Bianchi L’Eroica classic road bike and Fuji’s Transonic 2.1. My love for chrome lugs and Italian trash made me giddy when I saw Bianchi was making a true classic with maintainable parts. I reviewed Fuji’s Transonic earlier this year and despite being one of the best-bangs for-bucks on the road, the bike was fast and provided that much needed edge of its “aeroness” when chasing/running from my opponents…. on our coffee ride.
I started off riding a full rigid mountain bike, (because I had no choice back then), and having ridden BMX as a kid, I’ve always felt at home on a hardtail. However with the ability of today’s euduro’esq bikes giving you the gift of climbing just to bomb all but the gnarliest of downhill courses, my love for travel became my bicycle mistress. Then Canfield Brothers came out with the Yelli Screamy meshing together the 2 loves of my bicycle life with a short chainstay’ed hardtail with a slack 140mm of travel up front. I didn’t hesitate to be the one to cover the new Carbon EPO when it was announced in October and in turn I just got one in the mail to review (temporary gifts are okay too).
Since Zach snagged the Evil Insurgent first, (who wouldn’t), the other bikes I’d hang in my garage are Jones’ stretched out 29+ Spaceframe for escaping for as long as I could pedal, and Advocate’s steel 27.5+/29er frame with the adjustable single speed dropouts. The Jones Spaceframe has to be what I assume is one of the smoothest riding bikes in existence without any sort of actual telescopic suspension. This bike begs to be packed down forcing you to ride at a more relaxed pace so to enjoy your surroundings more. Advocate Cycles’ steel, (Ti is an option), bike with a 27.5+ setup would take me back to enjoying a simple gratifying steel single speed with the gob eating plus sized tires. To top it off Advocacy Cycles donates 100% of their non-taxable profits, to bicycle advocacy groups. The giving spirit of the bicycle industry is amazing, and Tim Kruger and his wife & partner Odia exemplify that with Advocate Cycles.
Although we don’t cover much along the lines of BMX bikes, one of the bikes I became infatuated with from this year’s Interbike was SE Racing’s Fat Ripper. Taking my childhood and putting 26 x 3.5 inch tires on it had me smiling and shaking my head at the same time. Former SE Racing pro and long time Brand Manager Todd Lyons (video of him “riding” his creation), asked if I would review it (to which I had to muffle my tween like scream). Even only having gotten a couple of bus-stop and urban rides in until things dry out around here, there may be a huge delay in returning this one.
My love for tools is no secret nor is my infatuation for Industry Nine’s quick engaging, laterally stiff, lightweight beautiful wheels. When I dropped by to say hi at Interbike, I was immediately handed this odd thru-axle thing. Scratching my head while I drooled, I started realizing how this (very) functional tool would compliment my personal beef with having to attach a bunch of items in various places on my body or bike every time I ride. The Matchstix has exactly what you need for most trail-side repairs, it STAYS with the bike, and is likely lighter than most multi-tools and thru-axles weighed together.
A couple of components I’d love to find under my tree are Absolute Black’s oval rigs and Sussmybike’s suspension measuring and tuning device. Oval rings have become less mysterious and more accepted, and especially in situations where climbing in a grunt like fashion to just to enjoy a fraction of that amount of time descending. Although still in development, I really dig Sussmybike’s tuning device assuming it performs as expected. Having had a background with the motored variety of 2-wheelers, nothing transforms a bike’s ride and predictability than a properly tuned suspension and it’s the first and sometimes only mod I’ve made to my supermoto and street bikes. I’m looking forward to see how well the Sussmybike device performs.
What would at first seem like an unlikely cycling product, I have been putting Garmin’s new Adventure driven Fenix 3 Sapphire through the paces over the past couple of weeks. Though this thing has been great as a regular watch, it virtually performs all of the functions that a 920XT does including swimming and all cycling functions. It also does activity tracking for those interested. But what makes it unique is that it does it with a nice sense of style. Want a nice looking watch and a highly functional cycling computer? Why not have both? *and yes, I dusted off a dress shirt for that shot*. I do like the included rubber strap better than the really nice, thick and much swankier leather strap as it it a little more comfortable and matches my t-shirt and Vans work uniform better.
Tools are always a pretty safe gift idea for me and what is more exciting than things that produce air? A matching set of Silca’s Impero-Ultimate frame pump along with their Superpista floor pump would be the bee’s knees in my book. I used an old Silca frame pump with a campy head for years in my earlier days and STILL use a 26 year old Silca Super Pista floor pump as my back up. Because Silca puts the quality and craftsmanship ahead of price, I immediately thought, that’s not bad if I got 25+ years out of them.
Most of the time I’ll take casual tech-clothing, baggies, and things that help me blend in with the rest of society over spandex, but I like the “way outside of the box” style of Attaquer’s wild line of cycling kits. I want to be seen on the road, but looking like safety-steve isn’t all that exciting. Looking like a summer bowl of cut watermelons seems a lot more appealing and it will surely make all the cool passer-bys grin.
I’ve collected a small fortune in FiveTen shoes over the years and developed some well-earned loyality towards them. When seeing the shoes Northwave developed with Cédric Gracia. The little details like just the right amount of ankle coverage, an easy to adjust dial, Michelin sole, protective toe-box, and a strap up high to cinch down just when you need it, appealed to what I want in a shoe that is likely to take a beating while keeping me very secured to the pedals.
…and three small things
Okay, sure, having your own personal Calvin to solve your technical needs would be great, but even with more than a few years of technical experience, a good solid reference book is more valuable than a torque wrench. Park’s Big Blue Book would be a great gift in any rider’s stocking.
One thing that is always welcome under the tree is good beer, and what beer would be better than the ones that actually have their toe in the dirt? Terrapin and Oskar Blues have more than recognized the cycling culture by not only marketing to us, but getting directly involved! Terrapin and their “can do attitude” have partnered with cycling related companies, events, and teams to play a part in supporting cycling and when you run into one of their owners participating in a local enduro event, you know they’re good people. Oskar Blues has gone as far as creating a frame company with Reeb cycles, (beer spelled backwards) and opened Reeb Ranch in North Carolina’s Pisgah’s National Forest as a luxurious getaway for mountain bikers and even hosted the Redbull Dreamline jump contest last year.
Despite knowing I will get forever harassed by this, we all get that kinda silly gift that we end up actually using. When seeing the Upstand carbon kickstand, I couldn’t get it out of my head. More often than not, I can not find a stable place to lean my road bike, then I thought, how cool of a “drop mic” moment would it be to have your less than impressive road bike standing on its own while eating a jelly doughnut before the group ride? In all seriousness, I thought this was a kind of cool solution to something that most wouldn’t admit to needing…. but would use.
All in all, the holidays are a time of year that I appreciate my friends and family more than anything. The part cycling has played in the majority of my life is most appreciated, and I would like to extend my well wishes and holiday cheer to all of our Bike Rumor friends.