RCUK’s Christmas Gift Guide 2015: ideas for big budgets

If you have the money to buy all this, you should make sure your servants create some space under the tree...

Being a bike journalist means getting paid in repaired inner tubes and broken tyre levers, so I have no idea what it would be like to afford all these lovely things. 

That’s probably the same for you because, if you had enough cash to buy all this stuff, you wouldn’t be reading this but instead waiting for your butler to read it and relay a summary.

Still, though, if you do have cash to spare – and a lot of it – then £300 bike shoes, £6,000 bikes and £100-plus corkscrews probably seem like a bargain.

So here are a few picks for the very well off. Or at least those with rich friends.

Sidi Carbon Air Vernice shoes

Sidi make wonderful bike shoes, and now that they’re back in the UK with a new distributor (Saddleback, since you asked), we should being seeing even more of them in 2016.

The better news is that this re-introduction to the UK market has come with a corresponding price drop. The bad news, however, is that a price drop on something very expensive doesn’t mean they’re not still expensive as the top end Carbon Wire Air Vernice shoes prove. Still, if someone out there loves you very much you could do a lot worse than nudging them in the direction of these…

Price: £300

This particular Scott Foil belongs to Pieter Weening. So you can’t have it, I’m afraid.

Scott Foil

There are loads of bikes for 2016 that could reasonably make this list. But since I’m writing it I’ve chosen the new Scott Foil. Because I can.

But also because I rode the previous model and it was a stunning bike, and I’m very keen to see how the redesigned version matches up – and hopefully exceeds – its predecessor. It also happens to look super cool, which never hurts.

Price: £5,999 (team issue edition)

Park Tool EK-1 tool set

Park Tool have a top reputation and that’s mainly for two reasons. The first is that they make really good tools. The second is that those really good tools also happen to look really cool. And they match, too, and everybody loves a matching set.

Anyway, the EK-1 (they’re not known for catchy names) is a pro level travel tool kit. The good thing about that is that all the tools fit in the one handy case, so you can use it even with limited space.

On the other hand, if you’re feeling really flush Park also do the MK234 ‘Master Mechanic’ set. That’s £5,999.99, but you do get a really cool Park Tool stool included as well as 233 other tools, so it’s practically a bargain.

Price: £549.99

Zipp 303 Firecrest Clinchers

Sure, Zipp’s 303 aren’t new but for my money they’re still the most versatile set of road wheels around. I’ve ridden them in rain, in the sun, in the UK, in Flanders and they’ve been fantastic no matter what.

I once even took a shortcut through some very muddy woods on them just because I couldn’t be bothered to take the (very) long route round. That’s not recommended behaviour, mind you. If you want to go really pro, and you have loads of cash, then you can always opt for the tubular versions as well.

Also, unlike the picture above, you should probably get a pair rather than just one.

Price: £2,300

Rapha Pro Team Softshell jacket

If I’m ever rich or crazy enough to spend £200 on a bike jacket, you should probably stop me. If, however, I persist with such madness, at least make sure I buy this one. It looks good and comes in two outlandish colours – dark grey or black – which are top quality high visibility options.

Seriously though, it’s a wonderfully well made jacket which has just been updated with Polartec’s Power Shield Pro fabric to make it even better at keeping out the elements. Nice.

Price: £200

Castelli Rolling Travel Bag XL

What you and I call a suitcase, Castelli call a ‘Rolling Travel Bag’. And they’re probably right, because they’re Castelli.

Castelli released a whole set of luggage earlier this year, including a backpack, rain bag, duffel bag and two suitcases. Oh, and two saddle packs, but they’re slightly different.

But if you want to go full pro with your travel attire, a Castelli suitcase is a must, isn’t it?

Price: £200

SRM Dura-Ace 9000 power meter

If you’re in the market for a power meter, and have plenty of cash, why not go for THE power meter? SRM started measuring power in the late 80’s and have been the market leaders ever since.

What that means is if you want something with a proven pedigree, you’ll struggle to find a worthier place to spend your money. You’ll just need a lot of money, is all. Although if you’re thinking that it could be a little pricier, you could always drop another £600 on the latest matching PC8 head unit. It’d be rude not to, after all.

Price: €3,213

Campagnolo Big Corkscrew

If you’re going to spend a lot of money on something you don’t really need, Campagnolo’s Big Corkscrew fits the billing perfectly. Even better, you now get a choice between a bronze and satin finish, so if you really need it to match your kitchen you’re in luck.

Basically it’s big, it’s expensive and it’s a corkscrew. One for the Campagnolo-lover who has everything. And ideally likes wine.

Price: €171

Chris King Espresso Tamper

The subject of things you probably don’t need but might like to own brings us to Chris King’s Espresso Tamper. Chris King is a brand better known for their bearingy-stuff like hubs, headsets and bottom brackets, but they’ve collaborated with Rapha on this espresso tamper which is – as I’m sure you know – that thing you use to squash the coffee into the other thing.

The point isn’t what it does, it’s that it’s expensive and pretty. And if you like your coffee to be stylishly tamped (totally a word) then you should get one of these.

Price: £95

Wahoo Kickr

Two years on from its release and the Wahoo Kickr is still the king of the turbos. Strong, heavy with a hefty flywheel, and complete with a range of interactive options including third party app compatibility, it really is a masterpiece.

There’s the Kickr Snap (£499) now, as well, which goes down the wheel-on route and drops the price by £450. It’s quiet enough that you can watch TV while you ride, too, which is always fun.

Price: £949.99


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