It’s the time for gifts and with gifts come wishes. We all have hopes beyond world peace and a faster you. Okay, well, most of us. Here are a few of ours.
Standards: I think it was Rodney King who said, “Can’t we all just get along?” In the spirit of Christmas we should, especially when it comes to bottom brackets. Go ahead, try and name them all. There’s BB30, PF30, BB 90/95, PF 86/92 BBright, BB386 EVO, Cupsets, Cartridge and now Chris King has the T47. Dear Santa: For Christmas we would like consensus where are cranks attach to our framesets. And if it’s not too early to start making your list for next year, could you put us down for the same thing only for axles? We think we’re headed for the same mess with wheel attachments. Thanks.
Moisture: I have become a better eater on the bike. Packing jersey pockets with food is easy thanks to the hundreds of companies making bars in dozens of flavors. But chewing and swallowing some of these energy sticks is the real challenge. You’re breathing hard, your mouth is dry and into it you pop a baked brick of oats and peanut butter. Inevitably a chunk gets hung up half way down and at lactate threshold, you are suddenly calling for the Heimlich maneuver. Seems some added moisture would do the trick. Put those energy bar companies down for some humidity.
For my Love: Last year I asked for a suitcase of courage for my wife. This year it would be renewed confidence. The courage thing worked out. She jumped in group rides and did her best to hang on. Then, just a few weeks before Christmas 2015, she took a spill. Physically she is fine but mentally there is some breakage. She is back on the bike now (a fine looking crash replacement) but caution is her leading thought. So for my wife, a partial memory erase, at least the image of her body and bike meeting pavement.
And now some real stuff…
HED Wheels: I am going back to the well with this one. Last year my wish list included the Ardennes Plus SL. HED has raised the bar on their line of aluminum clinchers. It now has the stealthy looking Ardennes Black. Rims, hubs, spokes, and even braking surface, all black. The braking surface is treated with Turbine Braking Technology and the company says the coating does not wear off, as long as new pads are used. Tubeless compatible too.
Shift Magic: XTR Di2 is one pricey upgrade, especially if brakes are included. Over 3 grand. Yikes. But Shimano’s electronic mountain grupo is smoking good. Synchro shifting is gear changing nirvana, at least in the dirt. The system decides when it’s time to change the front ring. Access every gear on a 2X11 using just one shifter, yes please. Frees up the left hand to operate that dropper. And to really trick out that mountain rig, Di2 can also switch suspension positions on compatible, electric forks and shocks.
The Big Present: In my house growing up, the big gift was always the last one opened. If I have been a good boy this year, then the big box under the tree will contain my dream, do-all bike: a Parlee Z-Zero XD. Secretly my specs will have been sent to the masters of custom carbon, north of Boston. It’s geo set to favor stability because this $10K+ baby is headed for some rough times: gravel events, long rides, neglected roads and the occasional Santa ‘Cross (what the hell, it’s not my money). Shimano Dura-Race/Hydro and while we’re at it, make it Di2.