You know those Lexus "December to Remember" commercials? Well, screw that. If you're in a tax bracket that permits the purchase of luxury automobiles as Christmas gifts, we suggest you skip the gas guzzler and instead shop from this more eco-friendly list.
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Yes, when it comes to electronic shifting there are more expensive options. But for us, nothing matches the precision accuracy, light weight, reliability and comfortable ergonomics of Shimano's top-of-the-line Dura-Ace Di2 9070 groupset. We're especially fans of the single-wire E-Tube system, which allows for easy placement of satellite shifters on the bar tops (for climbing) and the drops (for sprinting). You can even program the system to glide through multiple gears with the push of just one button. The only thing missing is a disc-brake compatible version, but it's a safe bet that will be around in time for next year's holiday shopping season.
More Info: www.shimano.com
Trek Domane Classics Edition
The whole ride-what-the-pros-ride marketing shtick gets tiresome. But in the case of the recently released Trek Domane Classics Edition (also known as, the bike Fabian Cancellara rides) we're fans. Like the rest of the Domane line, the Classics Edition is built around Trek's ground-breaking IsoSpeed frame design, which increases compliance by isolating the seat tube from the rest of the top tube. But unlike its more upright riding cousins, this is a true race bike thanks to a lower head tube and longer wheel base that permit a more aggressive riding position. Spec highlights include a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 drivetrain and Bontrager Aeolus 3 D3 carbon clincher wheels.
More Info: www.trekbikes.com
Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubular Wheelset
Sure, the Bontrager Aeolus 3 D3 carbon clinchers that come stock with the Trek Domane Classics Edition (above) are nice. But if money really is no object, then you have to add a pair of swanky carbon tubular wheels to your shopping list. Zipp's versatile 1,255-gram 303 Firecrest are our choice. These smooth rolling hoops are both aerodynamic and burly. Back in 2010, the 303 became the first carbon wheel to be ridden to a win in a major cobbled classic, rolling to victories in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. Each wheel is hand-built in the USA, rear wheels are available with either Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo freehub bodies, and you can choose black or white labels.
More Info: www.zipp.com
InGamba Portugal Randonnée
Now that you've taken care of bike, drivetrain and wheels, it's time to lock down a place to ride. Of course that means booking a guided trip in Europe, motherland to our beloved two-wheeled pastime. Locale and outfitter choices are nearly limitless, but we've personally vetted offerings from InGamba and S-Cape (detailed below), and can confidently say that both are great at what they do.
If you're looking for a white-glove, put-your-wallet-away experience coupled with spectacular riding and immense insider knowledge, InGamba's all-inclusive Portugal Randonnée fits the bill. Company founder João Correia is native Portuguese, and though he moved to the States years ago, Correia still has deep connections with his homeland that translate into a true insider experience for his clients. (InGamba also offers a number of trips in Tuscany.)
The Portugal adventure starts in Lisbon, Western Europe's oldest city. From there you'll head north, passing through scenic, quiet countryside toward Porto, then on to the Douro Valley (wine tasting, anyone), and finally skyward into the mountains (there's one climb that's 15 miles long with 3,200 feet of elevation gain). On the road, the veteran InGamba team provides expert guiding, and logistical and mechanical support worthy of a WorldTour team. (They even have a team bus.) Off the bike, expect 4-5-star lodging, daily massage, extravagant meals, and did we mention wine, lots and lots of wine.
More Info: ingamba.pro
S-Cape Travel Tuscany
Okay, so maybe money is a little bit of an object and you can't bankroll a $6,750 vacation - plus airfare. Then check out the numerous cycling trips offered by Dutch-based S-Cape Travel, which are more of the ala carte variety. Go all in with a fully-guided Tuscany tour. Or opt for a more trimmed down excursion where you guide yourself via detailed turn-by-turn maps provided by S-Cape. Either way, their knowledgeable staff will book all your lodging and transfer luggage from town to town. You're on your own for meals, drinks, etc. S-Cape also has top quality rental road bikes available if you prefer to avoid the hassle of hauling your bike across the Atlantic. And in case you haven't heard, riding in Tuscany is a truly singular cycling experiences. Whether rolling the famed gravel Strade Bianche (pictured above) or spinning along the smooth, rolling pavement near Pisa, Lucca and Florence, this region of Italy is a true bucket list cycling destination.
MSRP: $1,100 with other options available
More Info: www.s-cape.eu
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 »