Fretting over what to buy the mountain biker in your life this holiday season? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here’s a wide array of components, gear, and accessories for different types of riding. No matter if you’ve got a fat stack of Benjamins or just a few bucks, there’s something for every budget.
Cross country is all about shaving weight (and legs). Here are some gift ideas for the rider who charts their resting heart rate, opts for a recovery drink that isn’t beer, and wouldn’t be caught dead in a mismatched kit.
Fork: Lauf Trail Racer – $990
The Lauf Trail Racer might not be the best-looking thing to bolt to the front of your bike, but at 990g (2.2lbs) including the axle, it’s certainly one of the lightest. Its unique design employs carbon leaf springs instead of an air spring for its 60mm of progressive travel. Rider weight limit is a reasonable 110kg (243lbs) and Lauf offers a 5-year warranty.
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR Di2 – $3,300-$3,500 (w/ brakes)
Shimano was slow with their response to SRAM’s numerous 1x drivetrains, but they upped the ante with their flagship XTR Di2 group. Not only did they bump things up to 11-speed, they also offered riders the option for an electronically-controlled system. If you’ve got deep pockets, this group is sure to put a smile on any racer’s face.
Wheels: Stan’s Valor Pro – $1,900
We can all thank Stan for dragging us into the tubeless age. Before his conversion kits, our options were limited to heavier UST tires and wheels. Stan’s has long been producing affordable aluminum rims and wheels, but has recently gotten into carbon. Their top-flight Valor Pro wheelset weighs a mere 1,342g (2.9lbs) for the 29″ diameter.
Handlebar: ENVE Sweep Bar – $160
Race bikes by their very nature tend to be swanky. After all, the lighter the parts, the more they cost. And it doesn’t get much swankier than Utah-based carbon experts ENVE. Their Sweep Bar is wide enough for trail duty at 760mm, but can be trimmed all the way down to 680mm for the old-school racer types. With no rise, it’s the perfect fit to keep a low, aggressive position on a 29er. Weight is a feathery 189g (.4lbs).
Stocking Stuffer: nuun Tablets – $7
I’ve tried numerous energy drinks, mixes, and powders, but I always come back to nuun’s tablets. They’re packed with electrolytes, but not calories, and are just a little fizzy. Nuun offers 11 flavors to match any palette–citrus fruit is a personal favorite.