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THE GOOD STUFF

2022 Gift Guide - Week 1

Words Pete Roggeman
Date Nov 17, 2022
Reading time

The whole world is on sale.

It's a jarring transition every year on November 1st when the whole world of retail switches over from Hallowe'en to Christmas (we see you, too, US Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc). It's easy to avoid malls and Christmas carols played way too early and often (can we all agree on one week, total?), but for all of us living in the digital age, the onslaught of Black Friday madness is crushing. I spend a lot of November playing wack-a-mole with my inbox, mashing that unsubscribe button without mercy.

I betcha Elon Musk wishes he'd waited for a Black Friday sale before running his mouth about buying Twitter. Zero return policy on that one, goofball.

This will be the fourth year for our gift guide. We try pretty hard to balance it out so that it's a useful reference for those of you out there that need a gift for a loved one, a buddy, a boss, or your favourite trail builder. And there are lots of ideas in past editions, so feel free to check those out as well (2019, 2020, 2021).

Knolly Tyaughton Titanium Frame/Bike

The world has caught on to the unique attributes, but mostly the raw sex appeal of Titanium. For a long time there, though, cyclists were ahead of the curve in their admiration of all things Ti. Even though the high end bike world has mostly moved on to carbon, the sight of a Titanium frame still elicits a very visceral response from bike geeks. Knolly's Titanium Tyaughton is no exception, and it gets bonus points for combining Ti with the allure of a hardtail with contemporary geometry. Deniz wrote about his time with a 'Ti Ty' yesterday (don't miss Mark Mayo's entertaining article) and I don't think I'm the only one that spent a little extra time admiring his photos of those polished tubes.

It would be a very lucky recipient indeed who found one of these beauties wrapped up with a 'to: you' card attached to it. But there's nothing that says that card also can't say 'to: me'. Second steed, winter ripper, or show pony - whatever the role, a Knolly Tyaughton (There's also a steel version, which is almost as sexy) would fit right in.

Knolly Tyaughton Titanium: 5,899 - 6,499 CAD // USD (Frame only: 2,999 CAD)
Knolly Tyaughton Steel: 3,099 - 4,499 CAD // USD (Frame only: 999 CAD)

Rapha Off-Road Heroes
Rapha Off-Road Heroes 2

“Emancipated from the cacophony of the streets, the mountain bike drew us into an adventurous, undiscovered realm where Mother Nature ruled supreme, where challenge eclipsed toil, and where camaraderie and ingenuity trumped the mano-y-mano pettiness of riding on the road.” - Richard Cunningham

Rapha Off-Road Heroes

Every year I like to include one book on the Gift Guide list. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of books in the MTB canon, but if you like nice photography matched with digestible anecdotes - I think these criteria make this a coffee table book - then Rapha's Off-Road Heroes is worth a look. This is not the first book Rapha has published, but it is the first about mountain biking, and while it doesn't claim to be a definitive history of the sport, nor a complete accounting of all the most influential people, it is a very enjoyable read for everyone from crusty, die-hard devotees to newcomers to mountain biking. 254 pages of fancy, Swiss-bound photos and stories, including a foreword by Richard Cunningham, and words by RC, Guy Andrews, Guy Kesteven, Tym Manley, Geoff Waugh and Matt Wragg.

This book is an unofficial ode to the history of mountain biking, from the off-road roots of the bicycle all the way through to the future stars of the sport. Mapping its progress from back country roads to globally-watched races, Off-road Heroes remains a reflection of the riding it chronicles; fun, free and a little different.

Rapha Off-Road Heroes is available for 55 CAD // 40 USD.

Smartwool Anchor Line Medium Gray Plaid

The Smartwool Anchor Line Shirt Jacket in Medium Grey Plaid - there's a bit of grey in it but it's mostly blue. It's thick, warm, and comfortable, but it's 80% merino so it also breathes, wicks, and won't smell even after a week of lumberjacking or trailbuilding.

Smartwool Anchor Line Shirt Jacket

Flannel is a word that is misused as much as Enduro. Most of what is marketed as 'flannel' really just means 'plaid' but real flannel is a wool or yarn that can vary in thickness but is intended to handle the elements in places like Wales, where flannel may have originated. I never heard it put better than it was by Coastal Crew lads and true Canadian woodsmen Curtis and Dylan who once told me: "real flannel is too warm to be worn inside". In other words, they're outdoor shirts (or shirt jackets) meant for working outside in weather. Places where beards are face warmers, not fashion accessories.

Brands marketing plaid shirts to lumberjack wannabes and pavement-princess driving bros have since hijacked the word and the garment, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of legitimate variations on the original theme. The Anchor Line Shirt Jacket from Smartwool just showed up a few days ago, and I haven't taken it off. Yes, I have been wearing it inside, but it's slightly over the edge of comfy inside - it's warmer than any other 'shirt' I own by a long shot and to be fair, my office is pretty cold, so by Curtis and Dylan's standard it easily qualifies as a true flannel. I'll be riding in it (tonight, I think) in cold and dry weather, as well as wearing it when I'm out hiking, foraging, and clearing the incredible amounts of deadfall that are all over our trails right now.

The Anchor Line Shirt Jacket is made from a blend of 80% merino wool with 20% nylon for structure. This blend ratio is not too unusual for a flannel, but Smartwool has wisely stayed within their lane here by using merino and ended up with something unique. It's a light duty jacket or a fairly heavy duty mid layer and excels in either function as long as you're realistic that it's not water- or windproof (wool does have some mild water resistant properties but not to the extent we need it in a coastal climate) but it is warm as hell and breathable. I'll report back after I've had a chance to use it some more but so far, this is my new favourite shirt(jacket) along with the nearly untouchable Kitsbow Icon, but the Anchor Line is less expensive and currently on sale - see below for the best pricing I found.

  • 80% wool, 20% nylon
  • Button-snap front closures and chest pockets
  • Back vent at hem
  • Relaxed fit

160.99 CAD at Altitude Sports (reg 230) CAD // 126 USD at evo (reg 180)

Silky Big Boy 2000 XL

The Silky Big Boy 2000 in all its glory.

Silky Big Boy medium cut

This may give a decent impression of it size. A log of that size, to my eye, would take about 20 seconds to cut with the ol' Big Boy 2000.

Silky Professional BIGBOY 2000 Folding Saw XL Teeth

When I mentioned taking care of your favourite trail builder in the intro, this Silky Big Boy was the kind of thing I had in mind. A few years ago I recommended the Bahco Laplander, and I still stand behind it as a capable and lightweight folding saw that can take out smaller logs and trail obstacles with its 7 1/2" blade. I still have it, and it still works well and fits into most hip packs and every riding pack I own, however one of my favourite trail builders, Jerry Willows, was quick to point out that if you are a student of the school of 'buy once, cry once' then you gotta go with a Silky. Last Christmas, I was the recipient of this made in Japan saw, and I took it out on day one to my favourite local loop and spent 3 hours cutting out about 50 trees that had fallen over in the snow and wind of last December's winter-pocalypse. It has since ridden shotgun on a bunch of trail-clearing outings and I have to admit that as much as I thought the Bahco was a good saw, the Silky Big Boy is in another dimension. It's also much larger (the blade is 14.2" long) and costs about 3 times as much, however I've used it to quickly clear logs of a much larger size than the Bahco can handle, and the blade remains razor sharp.

Whether you're buying for yourself or your trail builder buddy, the Silky Big Boy 2000 screams 'no messing around'. The rubber handle and two-position locking blade fit very easily in the hand, and it is quite large when you deploy it for the first time, but relatively light for its size at one pound. It works on the pull stroke only, but trust me, that's all you need - this sucker cuts like it's the only thing that matters.

98.95 CAD (everyday at MEC) // 76.99 USD (every day at REI)

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Comments

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
1 week, 3 days ago
+7 4Runner1 Kos analog7 Pete Roggeman ElBrendo badgerracer bushtrucker

I'm putting a Silky Professional BIGBOY 2000 on my wishlist just to see my wife's reaction. And because I want one.

Reply

kos
Kos
1 week, 3 days ago
0

Just did the same. Member deal through November 21 for 20% off one item at REI.

Edit: AND we had dividend leftover. Double bonus!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 3 days ago
+1 Sandy James Oates

That is a killer deal at REI - I think it also applies to one outlet item.

Reply

vantanclub
vantanclub
1 week, 2 days ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Jerry Willows

If you're in Vancouver, they stock a lot of Silky Saws at Ultimate Tools (Boundary and 1st). It's also just an impressive tool store as well.

Reply

rockford
rockford
5 days, 23 hours ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

In the Fraser Valley, the BigBoy XL are in stock at Independent Cycles in Mission.

Along with Pocketboy, Ultra Accel and the Gomtaro root saw.  All good at specific sawing tasks and many with the ability to replace the blade when worn (also in stock!)

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
1 week, 3 days ago
+2 Pete Roggeman badgerracer

Ya I'll take one of those Silkys. Thanks.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
1 week, 3 days ago
+1 bushtrucker

Silky's are special for sure.  The really big ones cut trees like butter.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
1 week, 3 days ago
0

I need a Silky for spring when I hike and cut out winter deadfall’s.

Reply

rockford
rockford
5 days, 23 hours ago
0

These guys will have them in stock in the spring: www.ctbsupply.com

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 3 days ago
+1 Jerry Willows

Jerry, have you ever tried one of the Katanaboys? They look amazing. The biggest one I saw recently sells for $1000!

Reply

jasbushey
Jason Bushey
1 week, 3 days ago
+2 Jerry Willows Pete Roggeman

I have one experience with a Katanaboy that I borrowed from our local trail org to clear a trail that was around 18" in diameter that I figured the Katana would be perfect for.  About a 1/4 way through the tree we switched to the Big Boy which actually was more efficient and we cleared it in about 15 minutes with 4 people taking turns. The blade on the Katana was thicker but still flexed more making it bound up easier than the big boy.  It also was a bit harder to move around the tree.  Also the Katana was hard to carry on a bike or in pack.  From there I decided that I don't need a Katana.  I feel they are best for people in wilderness areas that cannot use chainsaws.  But for me if the tree is that big, a chainsaw is preferred anyways.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 2 days ago
0

That's what I was curious to hear. Thanks, Jason.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
1 week, 2 days ago
+1 GB

my esaw is the cats ass.  Quiet, no gas leaking everywhere and fairly light.  Not cheap anymore to buy.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 2 days ago
0

Got one queued up for next week. I have a small one that I love for all the reasons you mention (other than price).

Reply

rockford
rockford
5 days, 23 hours ago
0

I had a Katana boy once - the thing gave me the willies closing it up as it felt like a crocodile trying to remove my arm.

They are a specific saw for a specific task, but I agree with below - BigBoy is the biggest handsaw I like to use.  Anything bigger is chainsaw country.

Reply

TristanC
TristanC
1 week, 3 days ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Jerry Willows

I'm trying to talk myself out of it. My little 9" Fiskars works on 90% of the downed trees I come across... do I really need a bigger heavier saw for the other 10%, or can I just tell the trail boss about them?

Oh, who am I kidding. I need a bigger heavier saw.

Reply

kos
Kos
1 week, 3 days ago
0

Nothing wrong with a quiver of saws!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 3 days ago
+2 TristanC Kos

We never use the words 'quiver killer' when it comes to tools, amirite?

That's a trick question - we don't use it for bikes either, on pain of public ridicule.

Reply

tmoore
tmoore
1 week, 2 days ago
+3 Sandy James Oates Pete Roggeman imnotdanny

Use these recklessly near the ground and you'll end up with a quiver.  New blades are almost as expensive as a new saw, so when you've hit too many rocks you might as well get a new saw. Then you can rotate them thru for use above ground, at ground, and, at the end of life, below ground.

Good to keep in mind that these will cut the back of your hand easier than thru butter

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
1 week, 2 days ago
+2 Andrew Major Kos

I started to use just loppers for roots and not saws as it gets expensive.  A hatchet for the big ones.  The cheap lopper from CT is pretty much indestructible and easy to sharpen

tmoore
tmoore
1 week, 2 days ago
0

Went the other way with my latest lopper purchase, picked up some pricey Corona Classics from Northwest Landscaping in Burnaby.  Nice product. Assembled in Mexico with parts from USA, Mexico, Vietnam, and Taiwan.  Too expensive to leave stached in the bush though

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 2 days ago
+1 Kos

I have some amazing Fiskars loppers from Canadian Tire - at $55 or so, probably not the cheap ones you mean but they have taken out some pretty big branches and roots.

jasbushey
Jason Bushey
1 week, 2 days ago
+3 Pete Roggeman TristanC Kos

Yes, you do.  I have the Silky Gomboy (9") as well.  While it is a good saw, we typically get trees that fall that are 6-12" in diameter.  The Big boy is so much more efficient and fast in these situations.  I have no issues with a 12" tree falling cutting it out in 5 minutes or so with 2 people.  It takes care of 90% of the trees I come across throughout the year and the rest we leave for the chainsaws.  The gomboy is OK but I find its only efficient on anything 6" or less (saplings, limbing, small trees across trail).   I use the Big boy likely 90% of the time. 

If you only ride with a hip pack, maybe you only want a 9" but if you ride with a backpack carrying a 1lb mini chainsaw is so much more worth it.

Reply

TristanC
TristanC
1 week, 2 days ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

I have to tap out at 6" deadfall right now too, and that's usually attacking it from both sides. Bigger it is.

Reminds me of once when I was cutting out a section of log that was at perfect head-smacking height, not quite blocking the trail, and a guy came along... I thought he was going to stop and help, but instead he shoves his bike under the log - crawls after it - and asks me if I knocked the tree down?!? Maybe a bigger saw would also intimidate people into helping me.

Reply

jslaidlaw
jslaidlaw
1 week, 2 days ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Thanks so much for including the silky on your list. I've always wanted someone to do a review of folding saws. More of us need to be carrying them. Where I live, in Idaho, we rely heavily on the motorized community to clear all of our trails. Ironically, a lot of mountain bikers look down upon the mottos and can give them a bit of flack out on the trail. Drives me nuts. More of us need to do our share to keep these valuable resources open and usable. I've had the big boy for years and it is an absolute weapon. I still ride with a hip pack quite a bit. I strap the big boy to my top tube using old school Velcro Alpine ski straps. You can put the foam part between the saw and your frame to protect your frame and it holds it nice and securely. I've ridden a lot of rowdy trails and have never had it come off. The big boy is an absolute must in the tunnel bag of the sled, as well. When you end up wrapping your snowmobile around a small tree, unfortunately, sometimes the only way out is to take the tree down.

Reply

Kelownakona
Kelownakona
1 week, 2 days ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Silky PocketBoy punches abovenits weight too.

Really compact and dead easy to carry but as good as other Silkys

Reply

banj
banj
1 week, 1 day ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Hmmm, I seem to remember you pushing back on me when I suggested the Bigboy was a better option than the Bahco when you had it on your list.  Good to see that you've changed your tune since you've started using the Bigboy!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 1 day ago
0

Hiya banj,

I meant to go back and comment on that exchange - or send you a DM because I wasn't sure if you'd see it. Let it be seen and heard: you were right. That Bahco still has a place, but it no longer rides in my pack when there's real work to be done.

Reply

dolface
dolface
1 week, 3 days ago
0

I have a Silky Gomboy 240 which fits in my hip-pack, how does one carry the Big Boy, backpack?

For bigger stuff I use a Nordic Pocket Saw (not affiliated) which works incredibly well and packs up quite small.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 3 days ago
+2 Sandy James Oates Charlie P-t

The Gomboy is awesome and the fact that it fits in a hip pack makes it super useful, like that Bahco Laplander - the Silky is no doubt more effective, and slightly heavier, I'd guess? That Nordic pocket saw is interesting - I've never used one but would like to try one to see how it compares.

Anyway, yes, the BigBoy requires a backpack, and of my hydration packs, only the larger/longer ones can accommodate it. But sometimes I leave for a ride with a big pack on my back with work gloves and a few tools and it's more about the start-stop style riding you need to do when you're clearing drains and deadfall, so I don't mind.

Reply

jasbushey
Jason Bushey
1 week, 2 days ago
+2 Pete Roggeman @canopyclosure

Some hip packs allow a jacket storage on the top that can secure the big boy externally.  I use voile straps when I know I need the big boy and want a hip pack (evoc 3L).  I've also strapped the big boy to my top tube with voile straps but its a bit clunky.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 week, 2 days ago
0

I just ordered a cheapish sheath for it b/c it won't stay closed and have been using elastic bands but also want full coverage when I throw it in a pack with other things. Hadn't thought about strapping it to the top of a hip pack but see how that could work.

Reply

@canopyclosure
@canopyclosure
1 week, 1 day ago
0

Yes, Silky Big Boy fits great on the exterior of hip packs with jacket straps. I situate it so the rubber handle is towards my body and folded blade faces away.  Been doing this for 3 winters with zero issues.  Don't even know it's there and can ride normal.

Reply

jslaidlaw
jslaidlaw
1 week, 2 days ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Depending on your frame configuration, you can strap it to your top tube using old school Alpine Velcro ski straps. Place the foam that is normally used to separate the ski bases between the saw and the frame. This protects the frame and it holds the saw very securely. I have never lost my saw or had it come loose and it allows me to bring it on any ride no matter if I'm bringing a backpack, hip pack, or nothing at all.

Reply

papa44
papa44
1 week, 1 day ago
0

I remember when ti frames were the absolute pinnacle of mountain biking so it’s fun to see them being surpassed by silky saws. I personally prefer the silky Zubat having tried most of them however I’m looking forward to Andrew’s deep dive into teeth count and optimum curve circumference

Reply

kos
Kos
2 days ago
0

Trial Day yesterday for the Silky Big Boy. Astounding! Thanks for that recommendation.

In a perfect world, I'd own what I'll describe as a padded, semi-rugged holster or scabbard with a velcro top flap to carry it. It would have some method for affixing it to the fork of my fat bike, which is equipped with all kinds of water bottle-sized screws that I'm sure some bike packer understands. Or zip ties.

Thanks for any ideas!

Reply

FlipSide
FlipSide
23 hours, 41 minutes ago
0

I ordered the SmartWool flannel jacket after reading this article and I just received it. It is indeed super nice and is exactly what I was looking for. My wife is jealous, so that's a win in my book! :)

Did you wash yours yet, how did you wash it and did it shrink? 

I see it says on the label: "Do not wash. Dry Clean Only". That doesn't seem very compatible with a riding (or outdoor work) jacket. I suspect Smartwool may be overly precautious and hand washing it, or using the machine at the wool setting should be fine. Do you concur? I'd rather avoid my new favorite size Large jacket becoming a size Small after the first wash.

Thanks!

Reply

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