Our Staff Holiday Gear Picks (or, the Last-Minute Gift Guide)

Written by Contender Bicycles, on March 03, 2021

We are fortunate to carry a selection of top-notch brands from all over the world at our shop, as it allows our staff to have a good grasp on products they love to use or lust after regularly. Below is a list of just a few shop members' favorite bits of kit for this year. And, if you're still searching for holiday gifts for those you care about, you can consider this a holiday gift guide as well. Without further adieu:

Colin - Rapha Long Sleeve Core Jersey - $115 Rapha Core Long Sleeve Jeresey - Colin- Contender Bicycles

Colin's Take: "I think that Rapha does a good job of melding both form and function, something that a lot of other clothing brands aren't able to do as successfully. It is a value that shows in everything they make, from their top-spec Rapha Pro Team kit, to their socks, to my pick, the Long Sleeve Core Jersey. Like other Rapha stuff, the fit is on the slimmer side which I really enjoy. Tons of colors too; the Plum and Sky Blue are my favorites."

Ernie - Tifosi Swank - $25 Tifosi Swank Sunglasses - Ernie - Contender Bicycles

Ernie's Take (Translated): "If there's anything I've learned, its that I can make anything look good. After all, there's a certain level of confidence you attain when you're older and more experienced like me. The Tifosi Swank sunglasses make it just a little bit more effortless. I put them on and the people flock; who doesn't want to see a dog in sunglasses?"

Nicky - ENVE M730 to Industry Nine Wheelset - $2550 ENVE M7 Wheelset - Nicky - Contender Bicycles

Nicky's Take: "I'm always one step away from going downhill.. or that's what people tell me. My ENVE M730 MTB wheelset is my companion when the going gets steep. My favorite feature is the "Protective Rim Strip" that makes the wheels virtually flat-resistant. The wheels roll smooth riding through chunk but I ride without worry, especially with my tire combo (shoutout Maxxis Minion DHF and Aggressor). They look great on my bike, and they'll look great on my next bike too, regardless of how quickly downhill I'm going."

Nick - Smith Wildcat Sunglasses - $190 Smith Wildcat Sunglasses - Ryan - Contender Bicycles

Nick's Take: "The Smith Wildcat sunglasses have tons of coverage, nice fit, they stay in place really nicely on the mountain bike. Peripheral vision is excellent, and the adjustable nose piece allows it to fit just about anyone. Tons of colors too."

Peter - Blackburn Honest Digital Pressure Gauge - $30 Blackburn Honest Digital Guage - Peter - Contender Bicycles

Peter's Take: "Finding that just-right number tire pressure is more complicated than squeezing the tire and calling it good. It is easy to find a use for them on the fat bike and mountain bike, but dialing in tire pressure on a gravel bike or even a road bike is beneficial. The Blackburn Honest Digital Pressure Gauge does just that; it promises accuracy down to +- 1% and makes sure that you're riding smoothly every time out."

Ryan - Timber Mountain Bike Bell - $25 Timber Bike Bell - Ryan - Contender Bicycles

Ryan's Take: Some bells are loud and obnoxious, all of them require thought to use them. Not this bell. The Timber Mountain Bike Bell rings through its own motion when you need it, so there is no need to move your thumb and compromise your grip on the bars. Don't need to let people know you're on the trail? You can turn it off. Much better than saying on your left every time you see someone.

Sofia - Pearl Izumi Women's Sugar Short - $60 Pearl Izumi Sugar Short - Sophia - <a href=

Sofia's Take: "A good short is something you don't think about, and the Pearl Izumi Women's Escape Sugar Short does just that. Short rides, long rides, uphill or downhill, it makes no difference in comfort. It isn't the most compressive short but I wouldn't expect it to be. It's low-key comfy and a short I reach for often."

Tanner - 2020 SCOTT Spark RC 900 Team - $3,999 2020 Scott Spark RC Team - Tanner - Contender Bicycles

Tanner's Take: Insert all the cliche mountain bike phrases you want here, but there is no denying that 2020 SCOTT Spark RC is fast going both up and down. There's no adjustment period to riding the bike, there's hardly a learning curve, and it offers up nearly the same performance as Nino Schurter's bike at two-thirds the price. The two colors available are killer, though I dig the green scheme with tan wall tires a bit more.

While we've listed just eight of our staff members, everyone at our shops has things that they're excited about. Stop by our shops, give us a call during business hours, or send us an email any time to info@contenderbicycles.com with any questions.

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