The festive season is upon us. Surrounded on all sides by tinsel, mince pies and dubiously bearded Santas, there’s no getting away from the fact that Christmas is fast approaching, and with it, the dreaded Final Post deadlines. Basically, if you don't order your Christmas gifts soon, you’ll be dishing out boxes of chocolates, scented air fresheners and disposable barbecues from your local fuel station.
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It can all get very stressful, so take a moment for yourself. Breathe, relax, and run your eyes through this list of lovingly collected and curated cycling goods. You might even spot some gift inspiration for yourself or others.
New road bikes and gear
Zipp 454 NSW wheels
You can't reinvent the wheel, but you can make it a little more aero, and that's exactly what Zipp aimed to do with its new 454 NSW wheelset. The design is said to harness the power of biomimicry — an emerging science that imitates the models and systems found in nature to help provide solutions to complex engineering problems. For these new hoops, it was a humpback whale's fins that provided the inspiration.
We know it all sounds farfetched, but bear with us. These majestic creatures (the whales) have an incredibly small turning circle, thanks to vortices generated by its fins, and Zipp claims that this same effect is created through raised Hyperfoils™ on the rims of its new wheels. The 454 name is derived from the 5mm height difference between the rim's 58mm highest and 53mm lowest points — hence the name 'Sawtooth'. We've put these in the hands of our tame TTer, and will report back on what he thinks.
- Price: £3,500 / $4,000/ AU$ 6,099
GoPro Remo remote
What's cooler than talking to your action camera ("GoPro, record!")? Talking to it remotely via your WRIST, that's what. We paid a visit to the company's London offices last week and came away with a bunch of test units, including this new Remo remote.
It comes with housings to clip onto clothing, pets or round your wrist, and there's a single button so it can function as a one-button remote. The Remo is rated as waterproof up to 5m/16ft, but we're not jumping into a lake to find out if that's true.
- Price: £60 / $80 / AU$125
Sealskinz Halo overshoes and gloves
Modestly described as "possibly the most significant development in overshoes in a generation", these latest offerings from wet weather wonders Sealskinz have already won design awards for their innovative approach. But there is a reason for these bold claims — they have LEDs built into them that are visible up to a claimed 500m. These little red lights go into a pouch at the rear and should boost your visibility no end.
The overshoes themselves are made from hard-wearing neoprene with Kevlar-reinforced heel and toe areas, and reflective detailing. They should be able to fend off the worst of the British winter too, with storm flaps inside the zip, a silicone leg gripper, and heat welded taped seams.
There's also an accompanying set of all-weather gloves, featuring a powerful triple LED light in the back of the hand which delivers up to 200hrs of run time from a little watch battery. The gloves themselves are made from lightweight, three-layer material that's claimed to be totally waterproof, windproof and breathable. Details like an extended stretch cuff for extra warmth, a nose wiper on the thumb, and smartphone compatible material on the index finger and thumb are also welcome.
- Sealskinz Halo overshoes: £40 / $TBC / AU$ TBC
- Sealskinz Halo gloves: £50 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Q36.5 Termica winter jacket
Don this and you'll feel like a spaceman, venturing boldly forth to galaxies unknown. We did! Undeniably avant-garde in its looks, this winter riding jacket boasts a panoply of clever-sounding technologies. Hermetically sealed internal collar? Check. Hydrophilic membrane? Check. Jazzy silver finish? Oh yes.
Designed for any conditions (with the right layering underneath), the Q36.5 Termica jacket is a lightweight (400g) cold weather jacket designed for high-intensity training. The brand was launched in 2013 by an Italian with 20 years' experience in the cycle clothing industry, and is undeniably high-end. We'll take it out for a few foul-weather rides over Christmas and report back on its efficacy.
- Price: €303 / international pricing TBC
Fabric R200 road pump
This could be a lovely stocking filler for that special someone (or yourself) — a shiny, clever little mini pump. Fabric's R200 road pump features a smart head that can easily switch between Presta and Schrader valves, it comes in a nice brushed metal finish, and is rated up to 120psi. But arguably the best bit is the extensible head:
This lets you pump away merrily without accidentally breaking the connection 'twixt pump and valve. And if you're planning on getting that wheel up to 120psi, you'll have a lot of pumping to do… It also comes with a snap-on frame mount (not pictured).
- Price: £29 / international pricing TBC
No Quarter Cycle Detailing Kit
When it comes to making sure your bike looks beautiful, polished and buffed to perfection, No Quarter has produced a cycle detailing kit containing shampoo, wax, microfibre cloths and cleaning tools, such as a wax applicator sponge, cleaning sponge and a soft brush for reaching those awkward spaces in the frame and drivetrain.
- £34.99 / international pricing TBC
New mountain bikes and gear
Crankbrothers Candy 7 pedals
Combining a four-sided entry system and a supportive platform for additional traction and power transfer, the Candy 7 pedals from Crankbrothers are designed to be light enough to be used in competitive situations, strong enough to deal with hard riding, and dependable enough for long-duration endurance rides.
An aluminium body with steel spring, the wide spacing means the mechanism is less likely to get chocka with mud, which will be of particular interest to anyone who rides in mucky conditions, and they also have a five year warranty. Ours weighed in at 321g for the pair, just 1g over the advertised weight.
Might we also add that while looks aren’t everything, these are some damn fine looking pedals. Magenta and black might not be to everyone’s tastes, but we think it conjures up hints of a punk aesthetic.
- £130 / $165 / AUS$270
Crankalicious Christmas Gift Box — Special Stages
When cleaning your bike is more involved than simply a quick squirt of cleaning fluid and a spray with a hosepipe, a selection of handmade detailing products are the only way to go.
Enter Crankalicious, the British brand boasting ‘handmade cycle care’. While this may be the second set of cleaning products in our list today, let's face it, a clean bike is a happy bike.
Crankalicious has gone for amusing monikers in its products; the ‘Like Pneu’ tyre cleaner, for example, or the ‘Science Friction’ ceramic chain lube.
Presented in a set that looks more like a gift box of posh toiletries than a selection of bike cleaning products, this set is part of its Christmas gift range and would certainly make an impressive-looking gift for the cyclist who likes to spend time lovingly waxing their bike.
- £35 / Not available in the US or Australia
Charge Cooker 20 kids' bike
Since it was founded ten years ago in Somerset, UK, Charge Bikes has steadily built a reputation for no-nonsense bikes that are great fun to ride. Now with Christmas round the corner, we've been sent its new Cooker 20 kids' model, for riders aged 5+. Because nothing beats a bike for Christmas.
It comes in "tough pink" or "monster green", and is built on a rigid alloy frame for low weight, with wide 2-inch Kenda tyres.
Shimano 7-speed Tourney gears are coupled with a Shimano Revoshift grip shift and provide a good range of gears for smaller legs. Mechanical disc brakes promise impressive skids in any weather and overall weight is a respectable 10.5kg. Buy this and you'll make one young rider very happy.
- Price: £329 / $299 / AU$TBC
Fabric tool keg
Sometimes you just want to ride your bike free of encumbrances like rucksacks and enduro packs, but if the traditional method of taping spare tubes to your frame doesn’t appeal and you don’t want bags strapped to your bike, the Fabric Tool Keg could be the way to go.
Using Fabric’s innovative attachment system that does away with the need for a bottle cage at all, you can pop spares, tools, cake money, jelly babies, or whatever else you fancy in a BPA-free and watertight bottle, slip it on your frame and away you go. Available in black or white.
- £13.99 / $19.95 / AU$29.95 (black only)
Specialized Women’s Camber Comp Carbon 650b
New for 2017 comes the women’s range of Camber full-sus mountain bikes from Specialized. Specialized has a particular approach to women’s bikes; it uses data from thousands of body geometry bike fits its collated to determine firstly whether a specific frame is required and secondly what shape and geometry that should take.
In the case of the Camber, Specialized has concluded that for the purposes of trail-based mountain biking where the rider is in a more dynamic, less fixed position than road cycling, a well designed frame will suit riders of either gender. So the new Camber Comp Women’s shares a frame with the men’s or unisex Camber, but with women’s specific finishing kit such as the Myth Sport saddle.
The Women's Camber Comp Carbon features, as the name suggests, a carbon frame — but oh my days what looks! A subtle glitter finish in the satin-finish navy/purple paint plus orange highlights are a striking combination. Add to that RockShox Revelation RL forks with 130mm of travel and a Fox Float Performance 130mm shock with a women's specific tune, with a SRAM 1x11 drivetrain and Shimano M506 hydraulic disc brakes, and you're ready to go.
We're looking forward to taking this out for a spin. Look out for a first ride soon!
- £2,900 / $3,800 / AUS$5,500