What do you get the mountain biker in your life if money is no object? Here’s a few things we’re hoping our rich eccentric uncle will put in our stockings this Christmas.One (chain)ring to rule them all: SRAM’s single-ring-minded XX1 chainset.
SRAM XX1 group
SRAM’s Olympic gold medal winning 11-speed, single chainring transmission is the most single-minded go-faster gearing system ever created for mountain biking. By losing the complication of a front derailleur and double or triple rings, SRAM reduces the number of things that can go wrong, while a wide-range set of 11 sprockets out back provides race-ready gearing.
You don’t get super-low gears but you aren’t going to win any races by winching up hills in 22/34 anyway.
Exposure Reflex front light
At £450 it’s not quite the most expensive light around, but with self-regulating electronics that dim its three LEDs when you slow down it’s definitely the cleverest.
That functionality means that you’ll usually get three hours of full power out of a charge instead of just two, and the ten other modes on offer give you up to 36 hours of run time. Best of all, the LED display on the back tells you exactly how much light you have left, so you know when it’s time to head home.
Shimano XTR Trail pedals
Sure, you could ask for the Deore XT equivalent, which are only a tad heavier and less nicely-finished, but their hollow axles, top-quality bearings and non-stick finish make the Shimano XTR trail pedals the Bugatti of clipless pedals. Shop around a bit for a deal, and they’re even an affordable luxury.
Enve AM carbon fibre rims
If you genuinely want to save weight, your wheels are the best place to start, even though the old claim that weight on the wheels counts double isn’t quite true. As well as saving static and rotating mass, lighter wheels also reduce your bike’s unsprung mass, which can make your suspension work better. Triple win!
But very light aluminium rims are flexible and fragile. Enter carbon fibre – is there anything it can’t do? Carbon rims are stiffer and stronger than equivalent aluminium rims, the best of them even shrugging off the near-abuse that is downhill racing. Enve made the first rims to win a downhill World Cup, and the AM rims are the all-round incarnation of that technology.
GoPro Hero 3
It’s surely no coincidence that GoPro has launched a new version of its incredibly popular helmet cam just before Christmas for the last couple of years. The latest GoPro Hero 3 Black edition features wifi connectivity, 4k video shooting, 12 megapixel stills, 120fps shooting at 720p, all in a smaller, lighter body than the Hero 2.
Pedro’s Master tool kit
With 64 essential, top-quality tools in a waterproof, pressure-resistant case, this is the tool kit you pass on to your grandchildren. There are a few unique items in here, like Pedro’s ingenious Vise Grip sprocket tool, and plenty of space to add extras like a torque wrench.
Best of all, you just open the box and fold out the wings and it’s all laid out and ready to use – it’s like having a toolboard in a box.
Lezyne CNC Dirt Floor Drive ABS Track Pump
Brilliantly practical as well as great-looking, the Lezyne CNC Dirt Floor Drive pushes a large volume of air per stroke, so it’s quick to get a mountain bike tyre up to pressure. The guage is at the bottom so it won’t smash when you knock the pump over and the hose is long enough to reach a bike on a stand easily.
Lezyne’s threaded chuck is unusual, but really practical as it holds and seals well, without requiring you to fight with a quick-release lever. If you’re in a hurry, a slip-on Presta chuck is included.
Asgard Mb5 Large cycle shed
Every mountain biking bloke and blokess needs a shed. Asgard’s Large cycle shed is exactly what it says on the tin, a three-metre long steel box to protect your rides from the elements and deter the light-fingered from nicking them. There’s room here for several bikes, or, if you can resist the constant siren song of N+1, a couple and room to work on them.
It weighs a third of a tonne and needs a flat concrete base, so this is a serious invstment in storage, but surely your ikes are worth it? We’d be tempted to combine it with a Pragmasis metal shed shackle or ground anchor for ultimate security.
Fi’zi:k Gobi 00
At just 149g, the Gobi 00 is one of the lightest cross-country saddles you can buy. It’s swoopy shape provides support for big efforts, while its carbon Wing Flex shell moves with you to make it one of the comfiest seats for day-long efforts.
Most of the weight saving comes from replacing metal rails with braided carbon fibre and how can you resist a saddle with “glossy thigh slides”. Ooooh, missus!
Saris Bones RS bike carrier
Hanging bikes off the back of your car keeps fuel costs under control and it’s easier than hefting them up on the roof. But many boot-mounted bike racks are faff of straps and hooks to fit.
The Saris Bones RS holds three bikes and is held in place with ratcheting steel straps that can be locked into place. Once it’s set up, it’s a doddle to pop off and on.
Danbury Caravans VW Camper
For the very deep of pocket and self-indulgent, here’s some retro transport that combines a way of getting to the trails with somewhere to stay once you’re there. Prices start from about £25,000.