SJ Kotze has kindly put together a guide, to
casually leave lying around for
your significant other to read, to what to get a mountain biker for Christmas. In no particular order they are:
- A MTB Skills Course:
In almost every South African Mountain Biking community, there are people who offer MTB skills courses for different levels. From beginner, to intermediate and advanced level, no matter the level of the rider, a skills clinic will be beneficial. You’ll become faster, and, most importantly, less prone to crashing (and injuring yourself). Pricing depends on how long the classes are, but they are usually around R300 to R500 per class. So when you look at all the long term benefits from developing your skills and the relatively low cost of the classes, it becomes clear that the Rand-for-Rand money spent is probably more beneficial against the Strava stopwatch than any part upgrade.
- A Bike Specific Wash and Cleaning Brush Set:
Not everyone washes their own bicycle, but having the right soap and brushes will make the job much more enjoyable. Plus it seems that wives love getting back at their spouses by buying their lessor halves anything to do with cleaning. Bicycle specific washes and degreases are tested and are, therefore, carbon friendly. Most of them are biodegradable and much more effective on your precious bicycle than DIY favourite Kleen Green. The Bravo bike wash and Charlie chain degreaser from local brand Namgear really are superior products and the pricing is incredible. You can buy a 1 litre bottle of Bravo wash and a 500ml bottle of Charlie degreaser for around R150.
- Specialized Body Geometry Fitting:
For between R1000 and R2000 you can buy your special cycling someone a full Body Geometry fitting. It is about a 3 hour body and bike fit and I cannot think of any cycling product or service that has a greater long-term positive effect on your cycling. It focuses on getting you into the most comfortable and efficient position that your body needs, and then adjusts the bicycle to fit your anatomy and riding preferences. It really is that good with performance and comfort gains that are not just for a few hours like a nutrition supplement, but forever through the use of aids to support your unique anatomical needs such as shoe sole inserts, wedges and Body Geometry saddles and grips.
- A Portable Digital Tyre Pressure Gauge:
For all disciplines of mountain biking, running your tyres at the correct pressure is critical to maximising your performance, so receiving a portable Tyre Pressure gauge valued between R250 and R600, is actually one of the most functional presents any rider can receive. Especially as they may not have considered buying one for themselves. Brands such as Pro and Topeak make excellent digital gauges that fit Presta and Schraeder valves and digitally display the pressure in Bars, KPS and PSI. Just note that they do have a limited lifespan (a year or two) as batteries eventually run out or valves get clogged with tubeless sealant.
- A Hydration Bladder Cleaning Kit:
Nobody likes a dirty, mouldy hydration pack bladder, and the easy solution is to just throw it away and buy a new one. If your buddy’s reservoir is really mouldy, then I suggest you do that, but if it is still okay then buy them a hydration bladder cleaning kit. It is much cheaper than buying a new bladder and it can be used over and over with a bit of Milton to keep the existing bladder spring clean and hygienic. Ryder make a fantastic kit for under R200.
- A New Helmet:
If your helmet is older than 3 years, then it is time for a new one. Not only does the padding inside become scratchy and siff, the actual polystyrene carcass of the helmet gets increasingly brittle over time. This means that it loses its impact and energy absorbing capabilities, making it only a fraction as safe as a new modern helmet. Another good reason for a new helmet is that most modern helmets currently available are really good looking, available in great colours and fit your noggin really well. Plus they have passed all the latest safety standards. Check out the 661 Recon Scout helmet for only R1000; it is good looking, multi-sized, affordable, well vented and a fairly low weight.
- Suspension Servicing and Custom Tuning:
Both front and rear suspension needs servicing. A front suspension fork can cost between R500 and R1500 to be serviced depending on the brand and level (50hr or 150hr) of servicing. Tuning up a rear shock is similar money, and we mustn’t forget to include servicing your dropper post which will also require regular TLC. Buying someone a “fork service” may seem like a strange gift but almost all of us need it, and the handling performance improvements and reduced risk of future mechanical hassles makes it one of the best presents any rider could wish to get. It is very important to make sure that after your suspension has been serviced and re-fitted to your bicycle, your LBS helps you set the air pressure, compression and rebound correctly for your weight, bicycle type, riding style, local track conditions and handling preferences.
- Socks, lots of good looking, branded, expensive riding socks:
In the world of cycling there are a lot of things you can spend money on and a lot more things that you can find a well-priced substitute. But one thing that always seems to improve with increased price is good riding socks. It is not something that is usually associated to a great Christmas gift but when it comes to getting ready for a ride, we all have our favourites that we look for and if they are still in the wash we are depressed that we have to use one of our reserve pairs. Bright colours, crazy designs, retro patterns, big branding and mid-calf ankle cuffs seem to be the fashion these days so make sure you get the ones that are the most #enduro. They’ll cost anywhere from R100 to R300 a pair and will turn heads before, during and after a ride.