Shew. That was one hell of a year. I personally test rode at least 45 different bikes of three different wheel sizes in six South African provinces as well as in the Swiss Alps and the Rockies in the USA. I also tested at least 80 different items of gear during the year, ranging from helmets, to shoes, to tyres, to pumps to eyewear, to nutrition supplements and plenty more…
We always get caught up in the big things that are visibly impactful. Like the lead singer of a big rock band, they just stand out more. But what about the rest of the band members – those just outside the spotlight that are essential to making great music? What about the less impactful items that make our riding experience a sweeter, less-stressful one?
Well, here are three items of gear that aren’t necessarily big and sparkly and glamorous, but they improved my riding experience this year and I reckon they’re great gifts if you’re looking for ideas for a mountain biker dear to you this festive season. – Sean Badenhorst
G-Form Extreme iPhone case
As it is with many, my iPhone has become an extension of who I am. It’s the modern way I suppose and it’s allowed me to spend more time riding bikes and still staying in touch with the rest of my life…. A Smartphone is an expensive item to carry around and I have been paranoid about dropping and damaging my iPhone. That was until I got sent a G-Form Extreme iPhone case to test. To complete the protection, I added an Xtreme Shield screen protector. I have inadvertently dropped my iPhone out of my jersey pocket a few times; I have crashed with it in my pocket a couple of times; I have dropped it while walking and simply being a bit careless; and I have given it to my seven-year-old son to play games on without flinching… Each time, it has been well protected by the G-Form case and Xtreme Shield screen protector. I no longer harbour the paranoia I used to have with regards to my phone.
Unfortunately it’s only iPhone 4, 4s and 5-specific, but the Extreme screen shield is also available for Samsung Galaxy S3.
You can find out more about G-Form’s Reactive Protection Technology as well as see the colour and style options here: http://www.g-form.co.za/
Price: R479-20 (Extreme iPhone case); R319-20 (Extreme screen shield)
Coolwear G4 Under-helmet Cap
I’ve never been a big sweater, but in the South African summer, everyone sweats substantially on every ride! All fine until you get a bead of sweat running down your forehead and into an eye. I often find myself negotiating some tricky obstacles and fast, twisty singletrack with that one eye closed to reduce the stinging. It’s not pleasant and can be dangerous. Fortunately, it’s now preventable! I’m fortunate to have a lot of hair still and have never really been a skull-cover wearer. But when Johan Vorster, the guy that’s build Hakahana Trails, sent us one to test, I’ve been converted! There’s a forehead patch that absorbs perspiration and keeps your forehead cool when it’s damp. And there’s a similar patch on the inside of the neck flap that protects your neck from the sun (leathery necks have never been attractive) and keeps you cool when it’s wet. So on hot rides, I sprinkle some water on the forehead patch and the neck flap to stay cool and I have not had another drop of sweat affect my vision when tackling challenging obstacles or fast, twisty singletrack.
You can find out more about the Coolwear’s technology, colours and other products here: http://www.coolwear.co.za/
pOcpac Weatherproof pouches
Sweat, rain, puddle splashes and stream crossings conspire to render our Smartphones useless, while noisy clinking of CO2 bombs, tyre levers and a multi-tool in your pocket or hydration pack can drive you (and your buddies) dilly. pOcpac’s sealable, transparent weatherproof pouches have solved these problems for me in the past few weeks. Because of the G-Form protection case making my iPhone a bit more bulky, I use the pOcpac MTB pouch, which is slightly bigger than the Mobi pouch, for my phone and a second pOcpac MTB pouch for my spares (I can fit 1 x multi-tool, 2 x CO2 bombs, 1 x CO2 bomb connector, 1 x chain Quick-link and 2 x tyre levers, some cash and a credit card into it). The Mobi pouches come in three sizes to accommodate iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Note 2 Smartphones and you can use the touchscreen and camera without having to remove it from the pouch.
You can find out more about pOcpac’s technology and products here: http://www.thepocpac.co.za/product-range/
Price: From R85–R110
Need more gift ideas?
TREAD magazine subscription
How about a TREAD magazine subscription? Six issues (one year) costs just R195. To secure a gift subscription voucher, click here and complete the form: http://www.treadmtb.co.za/magazine-subscriptions/
TREAD Intermediate 1 Skills Clinic voucher
And what about giving your mountain biking spouse/friend/family member/colleague the gift of confidence and increased speed? Yep, a TREAD Intermediate 1 Skills Clinic, driven by Peugeot costs just R400 and can add significant depth to anyone’s mountain biking experiences…
To find out more about TREAD Skills Clinics, click here: http://www.treadskills.co.za/
To secure a TREAD Intermediate 1 Skills Clinic voucher, email firstname.lastname@example.org asap.
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