With only a couple of weeks to go, here is my Christmas list.
Showers Pass Bamboo-Merino LS Henley Shirt: $95
Before I got this shirt, I already had a lot of long-sleeved base layers, and none of them would I wear for comfort around the house. That all changed when I got this Showers Pass shirt. Knitted of bamboo and merino wool, it is super soft on the inside thanks to the bamboo, yet it has the insulation, moisture-wicking, and warm-when-wet benefits of wool. It is so soft and luxurious, I like to wear it anytime. Best of all, it is super warm when riding and skiing in cold weather.
I don’t feel like wearing my other base layers, whether they’re synthetic or wool, for everyday wear because they are not soft. I wouldn’t call them scratchy, but I certainly would not call them luxurious, as I do this bamboo/merino Henley shirt. Additionally, I can’t wait to get the synthetic undershirts off after riding or skiing because they stink.
Relative to those stinky synthetic shirts, this Showers Pass shirt is literally a breath of fresh air. And its casual styling, with buttons at the neck, flat seams, and raglan sleeves, makes it quite acceptable to wear anywhere.
The sleeves of my XL model are plenty long enough for my super-long arms. And I love the thumb hooks for driving in the cold or keeping my wrists warm when riding with gloves on.
DeMarchi Faema Limited Edition Jersey: $271
In 1969 and 1970, DeMarchi made the clothing for Eddy Merckx and his Faema team, sponsored by the maker of premium Italian coffee machines. For Faema’s 70th anniversary as well as “The Cannibal’s” 70th birthday, DeMarchi is making 70 numbered replica wool Faema jerseys. They were presented, with Merckx in attendance, at Faema’s 70th anniversary celebration October 23 in Milan. Remarkably, it is almost the 70th birthday of DeMarchi as well; that company was founded in 1946, the year after Merckx and Faema were born.
Merckx won his first three Tours de France and his first Giro d’Italia while riding for Faema.
Lazer Z-1 helmet : $270, $310 (with MIPS), taillight $20, heart monitor $120, Aeroshell $20
The Z-1 has the features one expects in a high-end road helmet, like huge vents and nice occipital-bone adjustability (via Lazer’s RollSys monofilament-pulling roller on top). However, it is the options that are truly unique with this helmet (as well as a number of other Lazer models).
The Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) is a layer that prevents rapid rotation of the head on impact; it breaks free of its attachment points built into the in-mold helmet. MIPS is available down to $75 Lazer models.
The LifeBeam upgrade kit for the Z-1 is an installable version of the Lazer/LifeBeam built-in heart-monitor sensor; it adds a mere 15 grams to the helmet. It is rechargeable via a mini USB and has an optical sensor that contacts the forehead. It communicates with any ANT+ computer head unit, such as a Garmin. I live by this system built into my Lazer Genesis helmets.
The Z-1’s taillight option is a much bigger and more visible taillight than Lazer’s previous versions, which were integrated into the RollSys adjustment roller. During Cross Vegas, many Belgian pros sponsored by this Belgian company could be seen at great distance while speeding around the dark course, thanks to their Z-1 helmet taillights flashing.
The Aeroshell comes in myriad colors and clips on over the shell, covering all of the vents.
For the dirt-oriented gravity crowd, Lazer’s new $165 Revolution helmet ($195 with MIPS) is a customizable Enduro, DH, jump, etc. helmet with an integrated accessory (i.e., video camera) mount on top. It passes the CPSC safety certification with a Go Pro mounted on top of it! It has a fully adjustable visor, removable ear covers, and threaded mounts for a chin guard. With the chin guard screwed on, it passes the ASTM downhill certification for full-face DH helmets.
Bollé The One Helmet: $130 (standard), $170 (Premium)
The One comes with a built-in flashing LED in back and both a summer and winter liner. Most importantly, it fits the same with the insulated winter liner as with the summer liner.
Also unique on The One is the “sunglass garage” that allows almost any glasses to slot in and be held securely. The One also comes with a visor; you pull out the logo plaques to install it.
The Premium version comes with a removable aero (or rain) shell and a higher-end finish; all other features are unchanged.
Caffelatex 60ml Pouch of Sealant: $8
A stocking-stuffer for your tubeless-ready friends or for your buddy who gets too many flats, Caffelatex sealant now comes in an energy-drink squeeze pack. It comes with a clear tube that fits in the top and seals over a Presta valve (with the valve core still in it, if you so choose).
PRO Tharsis Trail Di2 carbon MTB handlebar: $180
PRO’s Tharsis Trail Di2 carbon riser bar has internal Di2 routing. The XTR Di2 clip-on shifter allows the wire to double back in the groove. The wire goes out the back of the bar clamp, through the stem, and can then go to a battery hidden inside of the fork steering tube. The Di2 junction box can fit inside the shaft of a Tharsis Trail 35-65mm-long stem. The Tharsis Trail bar is 800mm long.
Shimano XM (Cross Mountain) shoe: $250 (XM9), $200 (XM7)
For the versatile and service-oriented mountain biker wanting to use only one pair of shoes on a trail building/bike camping/bike packing trip, the XM is a great choice. Despite its tall upper, the XM9’s lacing system pulls the heel into the secure heel cup. The flexible midsole, GoreTex liner, Nubuk upper, robust Vibram sole with SPD mounts, and EVA walking pads make the XM a comfortable shoe to build trails or climb mountains and ford streams in while still being fun to ride in.
With winter upon us, Shimano’s MW7 winter mountain-bike boot promises warmth on cold days. It has a fleece footbed, a GoreTex liner, a leather upper, a rubber outsole, and quick laces and strap, all for $230.