Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Cyclocross Fanatic

Cross Holiday Gift Guide

Signs that someone you know is a true cyclocross fanatic? They’re convinced Sven Nys is twice the bike racer Eddy Merckx ever was. They’re passionate cowbell collectors. They put mayonnaise on their frites, not ketchup on their fries. When you say Mecca, they ask, where in Flanders? They use the word, veldrijden. And they obsess over a few PSI of tire pressure like it’s a life or death decision. If this sounds familiar, here are some great gift ideas for the coming holiday season.

Challenge Fango Tires

Challenge’s 33mm wide tubular Fango is billed as an intermediate mud tire, but we’ve found from personal experience that it’s quite capable in hardpack conditions as well, making it a great all-arounder for someone who doesn’t have a team truck full of wheels to choose from. The Fango’s 300 TPI (threads per inch) casing is both lightweight and supple, giving it a responsive handling feel, while an internal puncture protection system reduces the chances of an unscheduled run to the pits. The tread is a blend of corn-chip shaped center scoops for increased traction and curved side knobs for better edge hold.

MSRP: $115
More Info: www.challengetech.it

Specialized Air Tool MTB Floor Pump

As the name indicates, this low-pressure, high volume floor pump is specifically designed for airing up mountain bike tires. (It only goes to 70psi and we’ve had good luck using it in place of an air compressor when setting up tubeless tires.) But we also like it for ’cross because it pushes out air at a slower rate, making it easier to precisely nail desired air pressure. Combine that with an oversized, easy-to-read gauge, and it’s become an integral piece of race day gear.

MSRP: $80
More Info: www.specialized.com

Podium Pee-wee Herman Skinsuit

Yes, racing cyclocross is serious business. Why else would you squeeze yourself into an outfit that makes you look and feel like a piece of over-processed breakfast meat. The upside of skinsuits is that you’re not weighed down by that extra jersey pocket material (wink, wink), and there are fewer seams to catch on your saddle when you mess up a remount (actually true). But the most important aspect of ’cross is having fun, so why not dress up as everyone’s favorite bike riding nerd. And hey, with a TMF 3D chamois, flatlock stitching and sturdy YKK zipper, this is actually a nice piece of cycling apparel.

MSRP: $150
More Info: www.podiumcycling.com

Crankbrothers Eggbeater Pedals

Getting into your pedals during a cyclocross race is critical for all kinds of reasons (at the start, during a remount, right after you’ve skidded belly first into a muddy ditch). So why not give yourself the four chances availed by Crankbrothers four-sided Eggbeater pedals. They are also lighter than most of the competitor offerings out there, especially if you go all in and pick up a pair of the 174-gram Eggbeater 11’s (MSRP: $425). Don’t worry if that’s a little more scratch than you wanted to stuff in the proverbial stocking. There are also $60, $90 and $120 Eggbeater options. And despite their spindly appearance, they hold up well. We’ve been running the pair pictured above on-and-off for three seasons without issue.

MSRP: From $60
More Info: www.crankbrothers.com

Louis Garneau T-Flex LS-100 Shoes

Remember that game you played as a kid, Light as a feather, stiff as a board? Well it’s also a great description for what one wants out of a pair of cyclocross shoes. But outside of Lake’s new-this-year model, no one really makes a ’cross specific shoe. We haven’t had a chance to test the Lake model yet, and instead have had great success this season with Louis Garneau’s T-Flex LS-100. They combine a Velcro strap over the toe box with a BOA closure system that both reduces weight (our size 44 test pair tips the scale at 395 grams per shoe), and provides an easy-to-adjust, no pressure-point fit. (And, knock on wood, the BOA system has held up to the rigors of racing thus far.) Flip the T-Flex LS-100 over and it has a removable carbon blade, which increases an already-stiff sole. And when mountain biking in the summer you can remove the blade to increase cooling air flow.

MSRP: $250
More Info: www.louisgarneau.com

Shimano R785 Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Shimano’s new R785 hydraulic disc brakes haven’t actually showed up on North American bike shop shelves yet, but we’re told they should be there by the end of November and will likely retail for about $800 for shift levers, brake hose, calipers and rotors. Combine that system with the recently revamped Ultegra 6870 Di2 electronic shifting groupset, and you have a cutting edge combination of technology that will both increase braking power and assure crisp and precise shifts all the time, every time. And if you don’t believe that disc brakes on cross bikes are inevitable. Just look at the winning bike from the first two rounds of the UCI cyclocross World Cup. Yep, Lars van der Haar was running disc.

MSRP: Pricing TBD
More Info: bike.shimano.com

Rapha Transfer Jacket

You don’t need a jacket like this to race cyclocross (or ride bikes in general). But when was Christmas ever about need. The Rapha Transfer Jacket will keep you warm — and looking cool — before and/or after your race or ride. It utilizes PrimaLoft ONE insulation, a synthetic down material that’s water resistant, soft and compressible. The slim fitting jacket also has snug wrist cuffs, a dropped tail, and a reversible zip pocket across the back that doubles as a storage pouch that you can compress the jacket into when you need to pack it into an over-stuffed suitcase.

MSRP: $220
More Info: www.rapha.cc

2013 RoadBikeReview Holiday Gift Guides:

Cold Weather Warrior »
Cyclocross Fanatic »
Digital Cameras For Cyclists »
For The Cyclist Who Has (Almost) Everything »
Gear For The Endurance Junkie »
Gear For the Gravel Grinder »
Great Gear For Under $50 »
Presents for the Urban Jungle »
Repurposed Gifts for the Green Cyclist »
The Newbie Road Rider »
Type A Crit Racer »
When Money Is No Object »

2013 Mtbr Holiday Gift Guides:

Digital Cameras For Cyclists »
For The Beginner Mountain Biker »
For The Tech Geek Rider »
Gifts for that Special Angry Singlespeeder in Your Life »
Mtbr’s All-Mountain Brown Friday »
POV Video Cameras and Electronics »
Stocking Stuffers for Mountain »

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures in British Columbia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, and Peru among many others. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in January, 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and edited a book on cycling tips. When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Lisa.


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