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6 things we actually want for Christmas

From a loam refresher (?) to a flat bar fixie, this is what the BikeRadar team actually wants for Christmas this year.

We’re lucky to have the chance to ride a huge variety of bikes of all price points and disciplines here at BikeRadar

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However, that doesn’t mean we can’t also fantasise about what we’d like to see under the Christmas tree. From Shimano’s new gravel groupset to a trail repair machine that… well, doesn’t exist, the tastes of the BikeRadar team are as varied as ever. 

Matthew Loveridge – Shimano GRX

GRX chainset on gravel bike
Matthew can’t wait to try out Shimano GRX in 2020.
Kevin Fickling / Shimano

I was delighted by the news, earlier this year, that Shimano had finally launched 1× components for drop-bar bikes and added some gravel-friendly gearing options.

More choice is never a bad thing, and the new products fill a conspicuous gap in Shimano’s range.

As a fan of riding curly-bar bicycles over small stones, I’m pleased that you can now get a useful range of gears and a clutch equipped rear derailleur in a fully compatible package, with no aftermarket parts or weird crossing-of-the-streams. 

With loads of affordable gravel and adventure bikes hitting the market, the 105-level RX600 components are likely to be the hot ticket, assuming they’re as dependable as their pure-road counterparts. (They probably will be.) 

I don’t think there will be a GRX groupset under my Christmas tree this year, but I’ve got a number of test bikes in the pipeline specced with it and I can’t wait to give it a proper try. 

Alex Evans – Something that doesn’t even exist

Rider shreds the gnar on loam
Loam, as described by mountain bikers, can mean quite a few things, not always true to the technical definition. Whatever your idea of loam, the love of soft dirt is universally shared.
Jacob Gibbins

My perfect present is a bit of a weird one and requires the invention of some kind of new tool, machine or device. It certainly wouldn’t fit underneath a Christmas tree but the pine needles from your living room’s centrepiece could be used to help deliver my perfect gift. 

Loam. Ever heard of the stuff? It’s a sandy, silt-based soil that absorbs water like a sponge, is as soft as a freshly moisturised newborn’s skin, can be sculpted to form perfect berms and jumps and, when it’s covered with needles from a shedding larch or pine tree, delivers predictable levels of grip. 

What would I like for Christmas then? A machine that re-loams old trails, filling in ruts, holes and rough sections with fresh, juicy, soft and grippy dirt, finally covering it all with an icing sugar-like topping of fresh pine or larch needles. 

The machine would automatically deploy to the trail the day before I was about to ride it, getting it just right for my arrival.

I’d be able to ride all-time-great conditions all the time. Now that would be a Christmas to remember.

Mildred Locke – Trek Checkpoint SL 7 

Trek Checkpoint SL7
How could you not love that red paint job?
Trek

I love a bike that’s versatile, and I’ve been coveting the Trek Checkpoint since it was first released in 2018. 

I love the idea of lengthening the wheelbase via the adjustable dropouts and loading it up for a long journey, then shortening it for a quick whip around the woods. 

Naturally, if I’m asking Santa to foot the bill, then I want the absolute best. 

The SL 7 is equipped with SRAM Force/XX1 eTap AXS, tubeless-ready carbon wheels, and the Bontrager Pro IsoCore carbon cockpit. 

Plus ,it’s hard to ignore that gorgeous metallic go-faster red.

Simon Bromley – Canyon Grail AL 7.0

Canyon Grail AL 7.0
The Canyon Grail AL 7.0 is one of our favourite gravel bikes.
Canyon

I would like a Canyon Grail AL 7.0, please.

Though they might be very puncture-proof, the 25mm Continental Gatorskin tyres on my beloved 2010 Felt F75 winter bike aren’t much fun on grimy winter rides. 

I’d love to have a do-it-all winter bike that could take on healthy rides with my pals, on any kind of terrain and in any kind of weather.

I’d like the aluminium model because I think it looks fantastic (the Hover handlebar on the carbon model less so) and it’s also workman-like enough that I wouldn’t feel the need to cosset it too much (though I would, of course, keep it spotlessly clean).

I’d like it in green, in a size medium, with a white Specialized Power Saddle (with matching tape!), a longer stem and narrower, classic bend handlebars. 40cm 3T Rotundo Pros would be perfect.

Jack Luke – Another Surly Steamroller

Surly Steamroller review
Jack absolutely loved his Steamroller.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

I tested a Surly Steamroller back in 2017 and, to this day, it remains one of my all-time favourite bikes.

The pee-yellow winter wagon went back to Ison – Surly’s UK distributor – in early 2018 but I still get pangs of angst when I think about how much I miss that bike. 

So, for this Christmas, I would like Papa Nicholas to bring me a Surly Steamroller frameset that I could turn into the ultimate flat-bar track-lo-shred-lo-cross skid wagon. It would look something like this build from Blue Lug and I promise I will love it forever and ever. 

Rob Spedding… you don’t want to know

Wahoo Kickr Bike
Rob Spedding wants to try out a dedicated indoor bike in 2020.
Wahoo

It pains me ever so slightly to say this but I’d like Saint Nick to leave me a bike I can’t ride outside on Christmas Day. 

I’m sure many of you have a bit of sick in your mouth reading this but I’m keen to try out something like a Stages Bike or Wahoo Kickr Bike in the safety of my garage and Watopia

Don’t get me wrong, I still love riding outside and will hopefully be doing that a lot more in 2020 than I did in a frankly woeful 2019. And that’s partly why the idea of one of these indoor machines, linked to a virtual training world, appeals. 

On the days that my apathy gets the better of me, and the idea of the inevitable pre-winter-cycling faff starts telling the non-cyclist on my shoulder to put the kettle on and my feet up, being able to pop into the garage, possibly in just my pants, and getting some quality virtual miles in really appeals.

But, just in case Father C also hates indoor riding, he’s also free to wrap up a Trek Domane 9.9 SLR if he likes… 

Warren Rossiter – Specialized S-Works Tarmac frameset

2019 S-Works Tarmac rim brake frameset
What a paintjob, what a bike.
Specialized

What I’d really like to find under my Christmas tree this year is actually something I’ve been living with for all of 2019. 

I’ve been running a hot pink and green Specialized S-Works Tarmac and have absolutely loved my time with it. 

However, I know that all good things come to an end and soon the bike will have to go back. 

At the end of 2018, the same situation occurred with my Giant TCR Advanced SL frameset. When faced with having to give that one up, I treated myself to a Christmas present.

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I may just end up doing that again, especially now the mad-pink S-Works isn’t available in the 2020 line-up.