December already! Yup, so you know what that means: “Thank fuck for Christmas” said the big bike company product managers as they sat at lunch, scheming up the next new ‘standard’ for the next 6 months to finger bang us all and make your current rig not only obsolete, but robbed of a few thousand dollars in resale value.
Conspiracy theories and rantings aside, Christmas provides the chance for us as cyclists to go out and justify buying shit that we wanted to get anyway, but under the air cover of a whole flight of heavily armed Russian (or perhaps Turkish?) reindeer.
But let’s face it – Unless you’re married to a PRO women rider, or vice versa girls if you’re reading this and were about to once again call me a sexist bag of pigshit, the chances of a family member being able to purchase you the correct equipment is about as good as me being able to play Twister this coming Christmas day, #Bracexmas.
But never fear! I’m back again with a post that you can refer your non-cycling loved ones to, so that they can get about doing shopping correctly this year. That’s right, hopefully no more Lifu folding tools or Raleigh gloves that are 2 sizes too small, all they need to do is read the below and then unleash their credit cards appropriately.
Last year I spread this over two posts, one for Roadies and one for Dirt Merchants, but as 2015 has had the mantra of “Buy less and ride more” (something I massively failed at), I’m trying to dial down the capitalism (wait for a moment as I check my iPhone 15 times a minute) and invoke the stoke a bit more.
So, quicker than you can nark on mommy for blowing Santa Claus, here are the Dirty Christmas tips for 2015. Gather round non-cycling friends, Hi ho, hi ho, its off to the Bike Shop we go. Hopefully these little numbers can help you as uneducated family members from ruining Christmas… Again…
Part 1 – Dirt Merchants
A coil shock – Thanks to the EWS and bored Cycling product managers needing a new hit, the dawn of the Coil shock second cuming is upon us! Thank fuck as well, time to ditch those nasty air shocks ASAP. Air shocks are like Diet Coke, they say its as good as the sweet red can, but every time you try it, you know its just not the same. Everyone is getting back into the coil game, Ohlins, Rock Shox, PUSH etc etc, but my brand loyal eyes only have love for this beast here – The Fox DHX2 coil… Oh yeah:
Yes, slight technical issue of determining shock length and spring rate, so family member, when in doubt – Voucher that shit out.
Possible downsides – The receiver will turn into a rad/der cunt and everyone will want to steal their bike, but thats a small price to pay for a significant increase in standard of first world living.
Anything from the POC clothing range – I’m a Fox and TLD man myself, but recognise that POC (Swedish for Rad) is basically the Tom Ford of MTB kit now, with prices to match. As such, when you see someone dripping in POC kit, they’re either A) sponsored B) An investment banker C) Very discerning D) have a sugar daddy/mommy. You can help bring your Dirt family members Swedish dream alive this Christmas by getting them POC anything. If you like shopping you’ll find the packaging alone intoxicating. If you’re a cheap cunt like me, just get them the gloves. The Trail T Shirt also a good option:
Possible downsides – Swedish models will possibly fall in love with the now well dressed present recipient and try to get some trail side action going. You may also raise expectations about future cycling apparel gifts. Also, sadly not as nice as a Dirty Nomad ENDURO as fuck jersey.
A Santa Cruz 5010 – Or for those of that hate IP Lawyers, the ‘Solo’. Either way, this is perhaps one of the raddest presents you can rip out for your Dirty Loved one, assuming you have the metaphorical balls to transact on one:
The beauty of this beauty is that it fits perfectly into any stable, no matter where you live. Newly redesigned, lower, longer, funner etc etc, aside from looking on point in that almost DN blue, all you really need to know is Herr Doktor has one and little bits of white spittle start to evacuate his mouth when he talks about it, to the point of looking like he’s in the middle of a nerve gas attack. That means his love for it is backed by science, which as we know, is never wrong.
Possible downsides – Depending on your budget, there may not be any money left for presents for anyone else… In the whole family. You then may also not see the present recipient for the rest of the holidays. Or year.
An EWS Race Entry – Ok, so this one just got a little harder given the ENDURO World Series has now gone to a lottery system for entry (more on that soon), but there’s nothing to stop you from encouraging them or paving the way for their participation with one of those cheesy as fuck vouchers. You know, the one you got once that said you were entitled to a free hug/oral sex to be redeemed when needed?
Yes, just write it up that way, or if you’re really awesome, book some flights! Assuming your Christmas target is rabid about ENDURO, in my view this is the best gift you could possibly give them. Real talk.
Possible downsides – The target of your present love may become addicted to EWS and spend the rest of the year and most of your bank account chasing the circus to come just outside the top 200. Or so a friend told me…
Uplift anywhere – This one depends on where you live of course, but someone, somewhere is doing uplift – Find them, as when you do, chances are they will also sell passes, usual in the 10 or 20 trip variety. Take 440 MTB Park outside of Auckland NZ, or Southstar Shuttles in Rotorua NZ… The list goes on, but they all sell uplift passes.
A targeted google search of nearby options will reveal the best option, a season pass at Whistler, Queenstown bike park or any other such rad facility better than fresh reindeer burgers on boxing day.
Possible downsides – Uplift Lyfe is addictive, so be clear on the risk that this may turn the gift recipient into a park rat, or you may just see a whole less of them. Great for minors, shuttle bus drivers also double as cheap babysitters.
Skills coaching – As Mountain Bikers, we all have our bad habits… No, I’m not talking about shredding known walking trails running over dog walkers, even if that is as fun as fuck, instead this is about those things holding us back from going Neck Level with our riding. Bad body positioning, poor braking technique, looking down, can’t jump (I’m not projecting here), doesn’t really matter what it is, as you may not even know what you’re doing wrong until someone spends time analysing your technique. Therefore, want to make the mountain biker in your life happier on Christmas day? Skills coaching lessons is a winner.
Note I’m talking skills here, as unless its an XC Bandit in your family (presumably they aren’t invited to Christmas day), mountain bikers general give little to no fucks about actual fitness training. Instead, ask around/google for a rad coach and pay for a few sessions for them to indulge in pre-season… Sorting out cunted technique will generate more speed than wider rim jobs or colour coordinated grips. Experts are out there, waiting to help those in need:
Possible downsides – Er… None really, who doesn’t love self improvement?
Part 2 – Roadies
Mechanic love – If the roadie in your life likes to pound out a few miles, chances are a bike service is either in order or overdue, especially if their bike has a pressfit BB. Roadies can be notorious for thinking that cleaning their bike to a PRO level sparkly finish is ‘servicing’, but alas bearings would disagree.
So, subtly find out who their favourite shop or mechanic is and procure that servicing voucher… Make sure its specifically for a service, otherwise you can bet it will be spent on Nuuns tablets and GU Gels.
Possible downsides – During said service, the mechanic finds an untold number of ‘issues’, all of which can only be dealt with by an apparent upgrade to Dura Ace parts… Allegedly… Watch as a $150 gift goes to a $1500 outlay in under an hour. Welcome to cycling.
Santa Cruz Stigmata – For some reason its mega fashionable at the moment for Roadies to get a Cyclocross bike and then run around muddy paddocks with it. Whilst they secretly hate it on the inside, fashion demands that they tell everyone on unsocial media that its super cool. CX was invented by Euro’s as a relatively legitimate way of training in winter and because mountain bikes weren’t around.
And now, its just the best excuse going to fuck up a perfectly good, innocent off-camber grass bank on a Sunday. We also know that all Roadies have a Dirty mountain biker lurking somewhere in their soul, so this allows them to appease that inner demon whilst still legitimising their Roadness. Just like your CEO will tell you that sleeping with his secretary isn’t paying for sex.
Any way… Not that we endorse this sort of thing, but the obvious Christmas present for your Roadie loved one? The Santa Cruz Stigmata of course:
It also doubles as a… God… I hate this… ‘Gravel Grinder’, so its sort of three bikes in one. As much as I hate to admit it, I secret want one of these things for some odd reason, even though the genre makes me want to vomit up my Christmas candy cane which I’ve wrapped in marshmallows. So, given that irrationality, imagine getting it for someone, who, gasps, enjoys this shit? Christmas Legend status awaits…
Possible downsides – The person you buy this for enjoys CX. Cunted.
Training camp pass – What’s number 2 on the list of Roadie love behind sitting around drinking coffee post ride? Yup, sitting around drinking coffee at a boutique location with team mates under the guise of a training camp!
Obviously its quite hard to arrange one of these with all their riding buddies, so perhaps consider booking accommodation somewhere in their favourite location away from home (a voucher also useful) and/or write them one of those cheesy certificates (again) whereby you outline that you will give them a long weekend off from nagging them to do shit they don’t want to do so that they can go and pretend they are PRO with their team mates.
After all, pretending to be PRO is what we love most in the world, so its a gift that keeps on giving.
Possible downsides – Someone in the group thinks they’re Lance Armstrong and it ends up in a massive EPO and hooker fuelled weekend of sweaty skinsuit wearing debauchery, while plans to cover up systemic doping to win amateur races are hatched. Possibly low probability, but just putting it out there…
A power meter – Ok, so usually I don’t endorse, but as they’ve now become ubiquitous they may as well make it on to the list. But, with a evil underlying plan involved. There are now so many options and configurations on the market, that this is a surefire way to ruin Christmas should a non-cyclist attempt to procure a power meter for their loved on for Christmas day.
You have about a 95% chance of getting it wrong, so should you wish to run the gauntlet, best to speak to their local shop… Busting out a 172.5mm Stages crank when they’re running 175mm’s could leave eggnog on everyones face. If your Chrissy mark doesn’t have a power meter it means they are probably either still a decent human or have been ostracised by their group and now have to sit at coffee silently, like a gimp, while everyone flops their power cock out on the table for comparison, mind the muffins thanks.
Possible downsides – They turn into a cyborg with this gift, only quoting numbers that make no sense to you when they get home from a ride and you ask “How was the ride?“. They may also trade in their riding buddies for like minded cyborg drones who like to look at graphs, while they’re nude… Unsavoury.
Coaching coaching – There’s no point is having a power meter without, you guessed it, the coaching plan to go with it. Getting coached is all the rage right now in the road world, as it allows you to say things like “Let me check my plan before I let you know about tomorrow’s ride” or “My coach is really ramping up my TSS over the next few weeks“. Its also as PRO as fuck to have a coach, so this present is excellent for the amateur ego as well.
If they have a big event coming up, this one is hard to beat in Roadie land, as its pretty much guaranteed to improve performance. Er, unless of course the coaching staff think they’re PRO and load them up with so much volume that your loved one goes to pieces with crippling fatigue come their big race day. Its always a fine line out there on the bleeding edge of performance…
Possible downsides – Anyone not on YOUR coaching plan is a cunt and can fuck off… So be careful about the social impacts and unintended consequences to the wider ecosystem. That’s a flash way of saying in can make you into a fuckwit if you take it too seriously. Also, you may now not see them for 20 hours a week, as opposed to the 8 hours a week you’re used to.
Latex tubes and Conti 25mm GP4000 II Tires – Setting aside the Charlie Sheen gags here, or the fact the tubes may look alarmingly like a dog’s penis, this is a relatively easy gift to acquire and not totally fuck up in the process. And what a combo they make together:
For real, its significantly more comfortable riding on this set up and yes, I can actually tell the difference of the tubes (even I thought it was epic bull shit to start with). 25mm tires are also mega fashionable right now, apparently you can use them to ride your hot carbon road bike on gravel to fuck the frame. Good times. Possibly the easiest present to acquire out of this bizarre list.
Possible downsides – I’ve only ridden these tubes in a country where you get one puncture per annum, and that’s if you’re unlucky, so have no idea how these hold up in the real world outside the cHub. Slight issue of also having to pump them up every day, may possibly drive you insane, especially when you forget to do it and head out for a 120km ride. And… $25 for an inner tube? What the utter fuck?
Got a cyclist on your christmas list who, shock horror, do both disciplines?! Then here are a quick couple of unbiased ideas for your all rounder:
- Massage vouchers – Best to check the establishment first and confirm that they don’t provide the ‘slippery hand accidentally down the thigh’ services. You’re preferably looking for a place that has some concept of how to do a sports massage. Get them a 10 visit pass, getting massaged is as PRO as fuck.
- Park tools PRO tool box – Sure, its almost a grand on CRC, but this thing is fucking awesome! Granted, most people will only use 5 tools out of the 100 in here, but they will feel significantly more awesome than they actually are by having it. They may even start to work on their own bikes, saving you untold sums of cash in the future…
- Oakley Jawbreaker glasses – Ok, so here is the BEST present you can buy a cyclist in 2015, no BS, these things are epic, best of all, they can be customised to come matching your Dirty Nomad kit:
The Trail and Road Prizm lens have to be seen to be believed and there has been nothing more satisfying than letting people who referred to these as ‘cum goggles’ borrow them, only to find they refused to give them back. Yes, they are THAT good… Good enough you’ll want to wear them in a full face helmet, which is basically a crime against humanity normally.
And… my Santa sacs are empty. Yes, I have basically just told you to get vouchers and used the C Word a lot in relation to Christmas… Good luck with your Christmas shopping, whatever you do stay the utter fuck away from cycling sock purchases, its more of a nightmare than attempting to buy a house in Auckland, NZ.