Bicycle Holiday Wish List, by Thom P.
For some reason, while piecing this list together, I seemed just as focused on things that I used to have and don’t have anymore, as the things I’d like to have. There are certain items that I have loved and lost along the way that I kind of wish I could have back . There are also items that make no sense at all; things like the tool pictured above.
WISHLIST TOOL: Snap-On Wire Twister/Cutter
It’s reversible and it has a “Cushion Throat” (whatever that means…sounds comfortable though). My desire to possess this item makes no sense. The only bicycle-related application, that I know of, for a $138 wire twister/cutter is wiring grips on to your mountain bike’s handlebars. I now run Ergons (which are bolt-on) or I glue-on Bontrager Race XXX Lites, but there was a time when I ran Oury grips. Oury grips are stylish, and very pleasant on the hands, however, they are notorious for slipping off, even when glued on with rubber cement. The only way to really keep them on is to wire them on like a motocross racer, and that’s where a $138 wire twister/cutter comes in handy. I was shown this trick by a mechanic who is ten times the mechanic I am, and he used a wire/twister cutter to do it, and it was SLICK. Yes, you can accomplish the wiring of grips without a wire twister/cutter, but it is nowhere near as graceful and mesmerizing.
The graceful, mesmerizing, slickness is apparent only in action though. Video of the ACTION and the rest of my not-weird list after the break…
Ooh, look at the…what was it…graceful, mesmerizing, slickness
The grips in question. So worth it right?
WISHLIST CLOTHING/GEAR: Deuter Race EXP Air
This is an item on my “miss list.” For years I rocked a Deuter Super Bike S pack (I guess they don’t make that model anymore), all over the place. I would do long-ass road rides, technical mountain bike rides, short rides to the park with snacks and drinks…whatever. If you could think of feature that a bag should have, it had it. It was always on me, wherever I went, we were such a cute couple. I think about it often, and it brings a little tear to my eye. I miss you Deuter Super Bike S baby, you little Deutsch vixen you. But now, if I had the money and motivation, I could purchase a Deuter Race EXP Air, which is basically the same, exact thing, for something like $128.95.
WISHLIST CLOTHING/GEAR: Gore Alp-X Jacket
The next item on the “miss list” is the Gore Alp-X jacket. This is a jacket that I Scandinavian-Death-Metaled (hey, I already said “rocked,” gotta mix it up) for a couple years, it served me well, then blew all to hell just when I needed it most. I was pretty enamored with the thing and its GORE-TEX® Paclite® Shell. I stopped carrying a windbreaker or one of those plastic rain capes (that causes you to sweat so profusely that you might as well have braved the rain). The Alp-X is light enough and packable enough to carry with you any time the weather looks dicey. It was the only outer layer that I wore all last winter, riding five or six days a week, and that’s New England winter we’re talking about. The only time it got at all uncomfortable was in rainy conditions where the temperature was over say, 50°. At that point condensation began to occur inside the jacket, although the vents did a good job of dealing with some of that.
Just last week, I went to throw my beloved Alp-X on for a rainy ride and BLAMMY! — the zipper blew. This is the only problem I’ve had with the jacket, it’s worth every penny of its $269.99 price tag. Of course it also comes in gray/black and red/black, I just like the ugly green one myself. You hear that Santa?
WISHLIST COMPONENT: Shimano Di2 Gruppo
Wow, this is a controversial choice. Nobody wants a Shimano Di2 gruppo. Nobody. This is a particularly ridiculous choice for me, seeing as I don’t even own a road bike right now. Ya, I have three 29ers, two of them single speeds, but nothing I’d call a road bike. I’ll say what I think any shop employee or anyone who has been exposed to the awesomeness of Di2 would say: “We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious.” I have set up and test-ridden Di2 systems myself, I have felt the power of the front derailleur, experienced the accuracy of the rear derailleur, and marveled at the general ease of adjustment. (Not that it goes out of adjustment, sometimes you might have to trim the rear derailleur when making wheel swaps, if the cassettes are slightly off.) The fact that riders like Mark Cavendish and Cyclocross World Champ, Niels Albert are using Di2 pretty much proves that the stuff can handle any sort of abuse.
The only thing standing between me and a Di2 gruppo is about $5000 and my lack of a bike to put it on.
WISHLIST ROAD BIKE: Independent Fabrication Factory Lightweight
If I had to wish for a bike to put my imaginary Di2 gruppo on, it would be the Independent Fabrication Factory Lightweight, hands down. I don’t think I really need to explain this one. Look at the thing, it’s like alien-super-geniuses from the future came back in time and showed humans how to make a bike.
WISHLIST CYCLOCROSS BIKE: Moots Syc X single speed
Having just met this bike in “person,” I can’t help but choose it for my Cyclocross wish-bike: the Moots Syc X single speed. Permanence, simplicity, and flawless execution.
WISHLIST MOUNTAIN BIKE: Retrotec Half 29er
So this is a wise choice. My current stable includes three 29ers, two of them single speeds, and a single speed city cruiser. But if I could wish for one bike, period, this would be it — the Retrotec Half 29er, only in a single-speed-specific incarnation. (This one is single-speeded but probably with a “magic chain.” If you don’t know, don’t ask…) This is another bike I have met in “person,” at SSWCs 2008 in Napa, and I have coveted it ever since. This particular bike is the personal vehicle of the frame builder himself: Curtis Inlgis. It is much bigger than it looks, Curtis is HUGE. And hey, it has Oury grips on it! If I get those $138 Wire Twister/Cutters, I’ll have a use for them. What a perfect world.
I wouldn’t get S & S couplers though. I would never fly with this bike. If I had this bike I would make destinations come to me.
Going by Curtis’ current price list, this frame would probably run me about $1550. I might as well wish for a racing unicorn with a Leprechaun for a jockey.