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Christmas gifts for cyclists: High-performance pressies

Mat Brett chooses flash kit for riders with a need for speed

In our third list of Christmas gifts for cyclists, our man Mat suggests some highly desirable stuff for riders with a need for speed. So if you've got a performance cyclist in your life, someone who sprints for every sign and treats even a ride to the shops as if they were tackling a Belgian classic we've got some suggestions for you. With a selection of clothing, gadgetry and pre and post-ride preparations and pampering to ensure that when there moment comes they'll be able to give it their all… even if they're just racing down to the shops.

Garmin Edge 800 GPS bike computer From £349.99
The ultimate biker boys’ – and girls’ – toy, this latest addition to the Edge lineup comes with a zillion and one different features including GPS navigation. You can transfer planned rides from your computer to your Edge 800, follow the directions on the on-screen map, and then transfer all your performance data back again when you’re done. You’ll still be finding new functions at Easter.


Castelli Mortirolo Jacket £175
There’s a lot of winter between now and spring and a top quality windproof will help you get through it. The softshell Windstopper Mortirolo is insulated enough for most conditions, stretchy enough for a close, comfy fit, and water resistant enough to handle a bit of drizzle. They do it in your size too. You’ll look beautiful in it. You actually need one.

Sidi Ergo 2 Carbon Lite Vernice shoes £299.99
Everything about Sidi’s top road shoes is cool. Most of all, they’re amazingly comfortable. The broad upper strap spreads the pressure, you can easily fine-tune the tightness on the fly, and an adjustable heel retainer holds the back of your foot securely. The carbon sole is lightweight and flex-free and the uppers wipe clean so you can keep them all shiny. Gorgeous.

Oakley Split Jacket Transitions glasses £210
Yes, these are stupidly expensive but they’re also brilliant. The lenses are photochromic – you know, they lighten and darken according to the conditions – they don’t distort your vision, you get full UV protection… Plus, the contact points are comfy and they stand up to a lot of abuse. We’ve not got a bad word to say about them. Ace specs. We’ll have a pair in every different colour, please.

Selle Italia SLR saddle From £79.99
Saddles are a personal choice and everyone has their own favourite… but if you don’t like the shape of the SLR, you’re wrong. There are actually lots of different saddles in the SLR range with different shells, different levels of padding, different rails, some with cutouts, some without… But we’ve yet to try one that isn’t excellent. Our favourite is the SLR Fibra (£115.99). A modern classic, it’s only fair that Santa should bring you one.

Giro Ionos helmet £169.99
We find the Ionos the most comfortable helmet out there. It’s ultra-secure, you can adjust the fit one-handed from the saddle, the vents are huge… The only thing working against it is the whopping price tag, but if somebody else is buying…

Shutt VR Signature Training Top £89
Everyone needs a bit of merino wool in their life and the Sportwool (merino/polyester) Signature Training Top is a great place to start. It feels all soft and lovely next to your skin, doesn’t start to whiff after 10 minutes in the big ring, and looks pretty to boot – a cut above your standard Christmas knitwear. The elves have just enough time to knock you one up before the big day.

Look Keo Blade pedals From £179.99
The Blade uses a strip of carbon rather than a coil spring to provide the tension, and it works perfectly to give a snappy, clear-cut action and a ton of security. The large platform provides plenty of support and a titanium-axled pair (£274.99) weigh in at a superlight 190g. If your so-called partner/wife/husband/friend (delete as appropriate) can’t run to that, ask for the Blades with a cromo axle instead. They’re just 40g heavier and £95 cheaper.

Santini H20 bib tights £132.49
Right, so here’s the deal: they’re like normal tights… but they’re water resistant. The H20s aren’t waterproof like a pair of overtrousers, say, but they’ll keep out drizzle and road spray and you’ll stay drier for longer in heavy rain. The fleece-backed fabric is warm and breathable and the Gel Intech pad is comfy too. High-quality clobber.

FSA K-Force New Ergo handlebar £199.95
This carbon/Kevlar composite bar is light (204g for our 44cm model) and stiff with a just-right anatomic sweep to the drops. Lovely. It comes in a compact version too if you want a slightly higher ride position. So what if you’re going to cover it in bar tape anyway, it'll still triple your bike’s sex appeal. Guaranteed*.

Zipvit ZV1 Energy Drink Elite £16.99 (1.4kg)
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ like a fast-acting energy drink that’s packed with electrolytes. Okay, that’s not strictly true, but the ZV1 will get you through your Boxing Day ride with the minimum of trouble, delivering the fuel you need and replacing the minerals you lose through sweat. Tastes good too.. Skincare Bundle £35
You get Chamois Cream. You get Winter Embrocation. You get soap. And it all smells of Mount Ventoux. If it’s not in our stocking on Christmas morning, we’ll be heading to the North Pole to find out why the hell not.

De Feet Gift Box £26.99
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without new socks – and unlike a novelty tie or a chunky cardigan from Marks’s, you’ll actually wear these long after the relations have finally cleared off home again. You get three pairs here – two pairs of warm Woolie Boolies and a pair of lighter Wooleators – to take care of all your foot-related needs. Titanium DLC Full Ceramic Bearing Jockey Wheel £109.99
£110 for a jockey wheel? That’s ‘jockey wheel’ singular, by the way, not for the pair. And you’re hardly going to buy just the one. Absolutely mental. Why the hell would you want them? For the titchy-tiny benefit of the ceramic bearings? For the machined titanium wheels? For the fact that they’re designed to be ‘low noise’ (really)? Nope. Just for the pleasure you’ll get as your club mates cough, splutter and wobble into the ditch when you tell them the price.

* Not actually guaranteed.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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