The holidays are upon us once again. It flies in the face of science, but they seem to come more quickly each passing year. I sometimes long to be a kid again, when the time for opening presents felt like an eternity away. Christmas Eve would arrive at long last, and the wait would end. What a glorious time. As an adult, it all ends too quickly, but seeing it through the eyes of young children keeps it magical.
This time of year is also when everyone starts releasing their gift buying lists. I take a slightly different approach, and present some of the things I am currently thinking about or obsessing over and that I feel are worth noting. They could make great presents for those cyclists on your list.. So, in no particular order, here they are:
The Xpresso 15 pedals from Time have become my favorite pedal. Incredibly lightweight, easy to get in and out of, and low stack make this a go to choice. Not pictured, but another favorite, is the ATAC XC12 mountain and cyclocross pedal. Same characteristics as the road pedal – light, easy to use, and rock solid performance. Time Pedals are at the top of the pedal world.
Gore Bike Wear
Gore Bike Wear makes excellent clothing for all cycling conditions, but a standout this year is the One 1985 Gore Tex Jacket. This jacket is perfect for cooler conditions that might turn warm as the day goes on. Once you reach that tipping point, the jacket is easily stuffed in a jersey pocket. The jacket is breathable, super lightweight, waterproof and windproof, and has a two-way front zipper. This is easily one of the best jackets I’ve used in my many years of cycling.
I recently received a pre-production unit of the Omata One, and I must say I am sold. This cycle computer is one of the most beautiful pieces of kit I’ve come across. Notice I say computer, but all that is read on the face of the unit is analog. For me, this is a perfect combination. The inner works record all the data, but on the face of it, you only see the most relevant stats in an analog display: speed, distance, time, and feet climbed. The inner workings record all the other data a cyclist might need or want. The unit is beautifully made and has the feel of an expensive Swiss watch. Corners have not been cut on the Omata, and the units should become available early next year.
It’s no secret I am a fan of Open Cycle. The company has a philosophy I can solidly get behind – a simple product line-up that only refreshes when there is a new development worth a change. In these days of constantly updated product lines, it is wonderful to see a company making such a solid product, selling it without any advertising, and best of all, responding individually and directly to every question and concern. The Open U.P.P.E.R. is what I currently ride, and it is quite possibly the best bike to own if you are looking for a single bike that does it all.
The Tissot Chrono XL is the perfect gift for someone who appreciates clean design in a Swiss Made watch. The Chrono XL is quite beautiful and affordable, a perfect combination. Tissot, part of the Swatch Group, has been manufacturing watches since 1853. They are the official sponsor of the UCI cycling events, including the Tour de France. Their cycling tradition is strong, and the product line deep with many choices.
I’ve long searched for a light and well constructed saddle to accommodate my wide sit bones, and after many years, that search has come to an end. The Berk Composites Lupina saddle is the unicorn I’ve been looking for. It is a handmade affair with two width options. For me, the choice was clear: 150mm. The saddle is perfect for me, and in addition to being supremely comfortable, it weighs a scant 95 grams. The construction is solid, with a rating for both road and mountain bike applications. The same saddle is offered in different configurations, from the padded one seen above, to a bare bones carbon weave saddle that tips the scales at 80 grams. Each saddle is made by hand in their facility in Slovenia. Berk Composites might be unknown to many in the States, but they should not be overlooked.
When selecting the parts for the Open U.P.P.E.R., strength and weight were my primary concerns. I wanted very light parts that would hold up to the rigors of serious gravel riding. Mcfk came to my attention, and I ordered both the seat post and the stem and have not been disappointed. Both parts are incredibly light, 126 grams for the seat post, and 89 grams for the stem in a 110 mm length. The parts are easy to install, with specified torque for all bolts clearly listed on their website. The adjustability of the seat post is one of its best attributes. Saddle tilt adjustment is as easy as loosening one bolt and tightening the other. The parts are solid and have held up well in the rough terrain I’ve encountered. For a light but strong build, I would not hesitate to recommend Mcfk.
Tune is another German company manufacturing high end components for cycling. One small, but important part of any build is the water bottle cage, and I chose Tune for these duties on several of my bicycles. The Wasserträger 2.0 is one of several offered on their site, and to my eye, it is the most beautiful. The cage weighs a mere 9 grams, and more importantly, it holds the bottles in place no matter the road conditions. I’ve never lost a bottle using these cages. They do their job while adding an insignificant amount of weight to the bicycle. The Wasserträger is my first choice for keeping my bottles along for the ride.