Dear Santa - Pete's List 2017

Dear Santa: Pete's Wish List

Words Pete Roggeman
Date Dec 6, 2017

Dear Santa,

I'm desperately in love with mountain biking, but people don't often buy me biking-related gifts. That is fine, but it got me thinking: there are pitfalls to shopping for the mountain biker in your life. First, if you're not a rider, finding out the true cost of things that look like semi-useful bits of metal (or worse, plastic!) can be shocking. $100 for that thing that holds that other thing onto your bike? Tires cost how much? For the sake of your happiness, ignorance may very well be bliss. Furthermore, getting it right can be tricky, although there is always Boxing Day (that's Canadian for "is there a gift receipt?").

So then, Mr Kringle, I'm going to partially let you off the hook and lay out a few gift ideas that work for riders, but don't necessarily come from the bike shop. Plus one or two that do.

Spurcycle Ti Tool

You don't have to be a rider to appreciate titanium, but it's unlikely anyone values it as much as the two-wheeled set - except perhaps their orthopedic surgeons. And while this is clearly a bike tool, there's no reason why it couldn't also be used around the house. By the way, Ti might be a good choice for your next set of sled rails. The lighter weight will increase your cruising speed, getting you back to Mrs. Claus that much faster (or giving you more time to linger over rum & eggnog at the Johnsons' place).

Machined from Grade 5 titanium at Paragon Machine Works in California, Spurcycle’s Tool consists of a compact body with a sliding handle that allows for quick T-form or L-form leverage depending on adjustment. Chrome-coated S2 steel bits are quick to swap and allow easy replacement if damaged. Included bits: 2mm hex, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, T10 Torx, T25, and Phillips #2.
Comes in a fabric case with room for a few bills, and it can win the stocking wars for $69. The Spurcycle Tool is brand new, but you can pre-order in time for holiday delivery - their workshop elves are pinned.

Growlerwerks uKeg 128 OZ. Stainless Steel Growler

All right, confession time: I put an insulated growler on my list a few years ago. And it worked! There it was sitting under the tree on Dec. 25th - it was the best gift I received last year. I've been using this unit all year long, and I have no complaints - nothing could make it any better. Except for two things: size and CO2. 

For personal use (or for two people), 64 oz - actually even 32 oz - is perfect. But if it's time to share, sometimes one growler isn't enough. If it's after a ride and your buddies are thirsty, the CO2 part isn't a factor if you filled it up within the last day or two. But what if plans change, or you don't make it down to your local growler filler as often as you'd like? That, my friend, is the brilliance of the Growlerwerks uKeg 128 oz. growler - with carbonation. Now your beer stays fresh for weeks (you still have to keep it in the fridge or out in the shed if it's cold enough). Imagine how good your workshop would look with one of these in the corner. 

Available from Growlerwerks for USD 149.

UKeg 128 OZ. Stainless Steel Growler

Keep your own mini keg at home, filled with your favourite local's suds. Stays fresh - and carbonated - for weeks. And looks great. There's a copper version, too, but the stainless unit is the least expensive, and looks the best in my opinion.

Sauna Stoke

I guess it's all about the Après this year. Sauna Stoke belongs to Mika Sihvo (he's from Finland, Santa - practically your neighbour!). Mika makes saunas by hand that are fit into trailers that can be towed by any pickup (but there's only one real choice because #itsthelaw). I'm a hot tub fan, too, but as anyone knows who has been lucky enough to spend time in a backcountry hut with a wood-fired sauna, they're not only great to get you warmed up (literally and socially), they also can take the place of a shower if you have some snow or a bit of water nearby. Salty from a day of riding or skiing? Hit the sauna, jump in a snowbank or pour a little water over yourself (preferably cold) get back in the sauna, and repeat.

This one may be as much of a lifestyle wish as anything - as in sometimes I wished I lived on the road, cruising from place to place, riding and skiing, and could tow a sauna with me everywhere I went. Then all the local rads I just finished riding with could come back to my van and enjoy the sauna, while relaxing with something out of the uKeg. It all fits together nicely, doesn't it?

Sauna Stoke 1

Is that sauna in your trailer? That's impressive commitment to the Scandinavian lifestyle.

Sauna Stoke 2

Handmade, from cedar. Perfection.

Gravel Cycling: The Complete Guide to Gravel Racing and Adventure Bikepacking

Big guy, as you know, in my family books are a favourite Christmas gift, and since there aren't a lot of books dedicated to the MTB/cycling genre, I think it's worthwhile to shine a light on them when they are published.

Nick Legan has worked as a journalist, Pro Tour team mechanic (he has amazing stories about wrenching in Europe during the 00's), PR guy, and can now add the title of author to his resume. His book, Gravel Cycling, is based on his experiences as a multi-day gravel rider and bikepacker. It was published in September, and I've had a chance to flip through and it's gotten me excited about doing more of the kind of riding I used to do at lunch hour in a past life, as well as taking on something longer and self-supported. 

If you're curious about exploring the world's gravel roads on two wheels, Nick's book is a fantastic way to learn about some classic races and rides, and start turning dreams into plans. Seems like a perfect way to spend a few chilly nights this holiday season. Recommended for the exploring rider in your life. Available here for USD 25.

Gravel Cycling book Legan

Chromag Surface Ti 29" /27.5"

We already established that this is a wish list, right? Because, if you were following*, I have a f#cking awesome hardtail . From Chromag. With very similar numbers to this one. It's a beautiful robin's egg blue. It's welded by local legend Mike Truelove, and painted by other local legend, Chris Dekerf. Maybe you've heard of him. If not, it's kind of like being in art school and not knowing about ol' Vinnie Van Gogh (btw ask any Dutch-person to pronounce that for you - it's comical). It's basically an oil painting except I get to ride it and it puts a smile on my face and someone offered to buy it recently and I laughed. It would be like selling my dog. I don't have a dog but I've had dogs, and you don't sell your dog, just like I wouldn't sell my Primer.

*if you weren't following - here's the review of the Chromag Primer

But. CheeseandFackingRice. Ti? TI! Damn you, Chromag, that is one sexy thing. I am obviously a single head blow away from selling my dog and trading up to a I included a single photo because I can't go down that rabbit hole tonight. Can't have someone seeing my browser history. Just can't spend an hour looking over my shoulder wondering if I'm being watched. We'll probably try to steal one of these things and shoot all kinds of metal-rotica esque photos of it in some place where they mix water, yeast, barley, and hops, with heat and stuff and turn it into something good to drink that makes me think crazy things and do crazy things like sell my dog but at least I brought another dog home, honey, so that's ok, right?

Fuck me I want that Ti Surface.

Chromag Ti Surface 29 / 27.5

Trending on NSMB


Steve Main  - Dec. 6, 2017, 1:11 a.m.

Pete - out of curiosity have you settled on the 29er wheels with the primer over the longer term or the plus size?


+2 Merwinn James Vasilyev
fartymarty  - Dec. 6, 2017, 4:36 a.m.

A follow up "review" would be good on the Primer.

Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 6, 2017, 7:32 a.m.

I do have some more wheels destined for that bike, and I won't be able to write about any wheels on it without writing about the bike so, yeah, you can expect that at some point.

It'll be tough not sticking with 2.8 Minions or something similar through the winter if the snow flies like last year. There were some days when a regular 2.4-2.5 was fine, but others when the extra surface area was a huge advantage. Fun times when changing snow conditions affect tire choice.

Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 6, 2017, 7:31 a.m.

I intended to switch to 29" wheels this spring, but the plus tires have stayed on. In part, I didn't make the switch because I rode that bike so much all of last winter and other bikes were calling.


Steve Main  - Dec. 8, 2017, 1:06 a.m.

Ok, thanks. Enjoying plus tyres on a current bike, mainly thanks to Maxxis and the Minion but always a concern spending so much on a frame with what still appears to be a fringe tyre size, despite there being, in my opinion, a number of benefits for the vast majority of riders.

Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 8, 2017, 8:23 a.m.

Plus is far from fringe, Steve. Lots of companies are continuing to see growth in that category. You'll have options for years to come.


+5 Mammal Merwinn Cam McRae Kos Pete Roggeman
fartymarty  - Dec. 6, 2017, 4:35 a.m.

FOR SALE - 1 Kidney, well cared for but no longer needed...  will swap for Ti Surface.


Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 6, 2017, 8:55 a.m.

"your next set of sled rails."

It took me a good 30 seconds to figure out what you were talking about, Pete. 

Santa drives a sleigh. Not a sled.

+1 Cooper Quinn
Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 7, 2017, 9:38 a.m.

Be quiet, pedantic yankee invader.


Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 7, 2017, 10:50 a.m.



+1 Pete Roggeman
Peter Leeds  - Dec. 6, 2017, 4:46 p.m.

That Surface Ti will be no wish for me, although it has been one for most of my riding life. Can't wait to get it built.   Thank God "Midlife Crisis".  Whatever works.


+2 Pete Roggeman James Vasilyev
fartymarty  - Dec. 7, 2017, 4:21 a.m.

Please post some pictures for us to drool over.

+1 James Vasilyev
Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 7, 2017, 9:39 a.m.

Seconded - we definitely want to see that sucker once you build it up. Maybe before you build it up, too.


Peter Leeds  - Dec. 8, 2017, 5:16 p.m.

Frame arrival is about February.  Since the build is going to be over the top, it might take a month or two, or three.  Slowly buying parts now.  Think all Hope, XTR, Chromag, Hadley, Thomson, Fox is going to be a once in a lifetime bike for me.  I have no intention of ever selling it and I am building it as such.  The hard part is going to be once the frame is here; the pressure to get it up and running is going to be strong but the financing has to be stretched out.  Or maybe not.  Definitely a leather Chromag seat (I already have one on my Knolly Podium and love it).  Can't wait.


James Vasilyev  - Dec. 9, 2017, 10:24 a.m.

other than the Ti Surface, that growler has gone right to the top of my want list.

and they have a Canadian site with domestic pricing!!


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