It's that time of year again. The stores have been pushing Christmas since Remembrance Day but I refuse to acknowledge that the commercialism of Christmas is upon us until the calendar switches over to December. Since I feel I was a good boy this year, I decided I would make a list up for Santa (in the odd chance he reads my blog) and see if I get anything under the tree this year. I'll keep the list realistic and to items I could actually use or will likely purchase myself in the next year or so.
1. SIDI Diablo GTX/Northwave Celsius GPX
Unfortunately I am still using the slip on winter booties over my summer shoes. When I posted about winter cycling shoes last week, I was pumping the Lake MXZ302 shoes. Even though the Lakes have come highly recommended for warmth and traction, I have heard issues of construction and durability. When making purchases I prefer that I am getting a product with a good history of quality workmanship.
SIDI has a really good reputation as a high end shoe, but I have heard that the SIDI Diablo GTXs are not very warm. So why on Earth would I put the SIDIs on my list? Simple - SIDI is the only brand that fit me properly. Having a long, narrow foot makes shoe buying extremely difficult. I found out over the past few years that it makes shopping for cycling shoes even more difficult. SIDIs are the narrowest fitting shoe I could find and it is the only shoe I don't have any foot movement in the shoe once it is fastened. Also, I am not planning to ride when the temperature dips below -15 degrees Celsius so I am sure that the SIDIs would be able to keep me warm enough.
The only other brand that comes close to being narrow enough for my feet is Northwave and they also offer a winter cycling shoe - the Celsius GPX. With a name like that, how could they not be appropriate for a Canadian winter? The Celsius has had some solid reviews online as well as recommendations from the good folks at River Valley Cycle. The Celsius is definitely a beefier looking boot than the SIDI and the cost is much less. If you are looking for something really warm, the Celsius GPX comes in an Arctic version as well.
2. Truvativ Stylo OCT 1.1 Crankset
The final piece I need for my single speed! There are very few good single speed cranksets available with reasonable prices. The Truvativ Stylo OCT 1.1G crankset just might be the best value on the market. They have hollow-forged aluminum crankarms to reduce weight, hardened aluminum chainring, and an anodized aluminum outer guide. It also includes a GXP external bottom bracket which is one of the only zero-preload systems on the market. The complete Truvativ Stylo OCT 1.1G assembly weighs a claimed 820g.
3. GoPro HD Helmet HERO MegaPack
This camera is all kinds of awesome. In addition to being able to film some cool rides and relive vacation moments, having a camera like this would enhance any of the trail reviews and race recaps I am planning to do on this blog. With countless mount options including helmet, handle bar, seat post and chest, there is no limitations to what you can attach this camera to.
The Helmet HERO is world's first wearable sports camera to film in true 1080p HD format at 30 frames per second. The HD HERO captures crystal clear footage for playback that puts you right back in the action, while the wide angle lens, eliminates the chance of cutting off important bits of the scene, so you never miss a lick of the action. Our Exclusive HD Helmet HERO MegaPack includes GoPro's HD Helmet HERO Camera System, plus a 16GB SD Card, an extra Li-Ion Battery, USB AC and Car Charger Adapters, Ride HERO clamp and Tripod Adapter.
If the cost of the 1080p is more than your budget, the 960p HD HERO is a great option. Missing from the HD HERO 960 (besides the obvious 1080p video) are 720p at 60 fps and the HERO BUS expansion port in the rear of the camera that will let you take advantage of GoPro's forthcoming BacPac accessories. Unless you are serious about your videos, the 960p should be more than adequate at a much lower price. This is the model I would most likely buy for myself as I doubt I would be taking advantage of these extra features of the 1080p model.
If you are heavy into videography or you need to have the latest technology, you will be interested to know that, according to the GoPro website, the 3D HERO kit will be available soon. There wasn't a price or expected date for release, but I would be very interested to see how the videos look! Maybe with 3D video we can finally see just how technical trails really are?
4. Park Tools Deluxe Bench Mount Repair Stand
I have a decent set up in my garage for working on most things. I have a great bench, a plethora of tools, but what I lack is a bike repair stand. Although the thought of having a portable stand to take with me in the event I need to work on my bike wherever I travel is great, the reality is I rarely ever work on it anywhere but home. For the few times that I would need something portable, the convenience of having a stand mounted to my bench outweighs the convenience of being able to take my stand with me.
Well, that sums up my needs and wants for items that I would actually put to use on a regular basis. If Santa doesn't deliver this year I will most likely purchase at the shoes before the calendar turns to 2011 and the crankset before the snow melts. I trust that the jolly, fat old man in the red suit will not disappoint me this holiday season and I will find at least one of these items when I look under the tree on Christmas morning.