2015 Holiday Gift Guide: For the crazy competitive cross-country racer

When low weight, speed and efficiency are what matters most

Cross Country Holiday Gift Guide

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Would your significant other rather ride the trainer than go powder skiing with his buddies? Maybe you have a son or daughter gunning for a spot at the 2024 Olympics. Or perhaps it is you who is always charging up the climb, knowing that hard work now could pay podium dividends later. If any of this sounds familiar, these 10 gifts for the crazy competitive cross-country racer should be on your holiday shopping list.


SRAM XX1 Drivetrain

For the ultimate in lightweight precision, you can’t go wrong with SRAM’s flagship 1×11 drivetrain system. The single ring set-up provides enough gear range for all but the toughest cross-county courses — and it makes shifting decisions while cross-eyed in the pain cave simpler: click here for harder, click there for easier. Chain security is bolstered by the XX1’s thick-thin X-SYNC chainring, and the clutch rear derailleur keeps mind-numbing chain slap at a minimum. Price: $1,600 including brakes | More info at www.sram.com

Trek Pro Caliber

Trek Pro Caliber 9.9 SL

Don’t be swayed by those silly “December to Remember” Lexus commercials. Put a bow on a bike instead of a luxury sedan. And for hammerhead racers, few (if any) rigs will match the pure speed of Trek’s top-of-the-line Pro Caliber 9.9 29er. Our size medium tester weighed a scant 19.8 pounds out of the box, and before you balk at the lack of rear suspension, remember that this bike utilizes Trek’s innovative Isospeed decoupler, which allows the seat tube to move independently of the connection between the seatstay and the top tube, adding a small but detectable amount of ride smoothing compliance, traction and control without weight penalty or loss of pedaling efficiency. Sounds perfect for chasing the top of the podium. Price: $8000 | More info at www.trekbikes.com

Louis Garneau Gravel Shoe

Louis Garneau Gravel Shoe

No, this isn’t the lightest or stiffest cross-country shoe on the market. But at just $99 it’s a great value for the rider who is just getting into racing and wants to save a few dollars for entry fees and post-race burritos. The Louis Garneau Gravel Shoe’s grippy outsole provides plenty of traction when off the bike and it’s designed to shed mud well if Mother Nature decides to rain on the parade. Closure straps are offset, increasing heel security, and these shoes have cleat position indicators, making set-up easier. Price: $99 | More info at www.louisgarneau.com

Ergon SMR3 Pro Saddle

Ergon SMR3 Pro Saddle

The choice of the Topeak Ergon Racing Team (and recent Leadville 100 record breaker Alban Lakata), the SM3 Pro has increased give for more freedom of movement. Padding is enhanced with AirCell technology that has micro air pockets for better support and damping. TiNox rails and a carbon composite shell help keep weight low, and it comes in three different sizes to assure you get the right fit for your backside. Price: $130 | More info at www.ergon-bike.com


TOGS Thumb Over Grip System

This ingenious little invention from TOGS creates additional hand positions on your handlebars, allowing you to change your grip on longer rides when numbness and hand fatigue might otherwise be an issue. And now it comes in a lightweight 18-gram version that’s 40 percent carbon fiber. Price: $23-$35 | More info at togs.com

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About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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