The Diadora X Trivex Plus Women’s shoes (1, $149, cdn.diadoracyclingamerica.com), with their fibreglass-reinforced nylon soles, provide excellent power transfer as you rip down the trail. On each shoe, one adjustable buckle and two hookand- loop straps lock the foot into place. Well-positioned lugs offer good off-bike traction. If enduro rides are your thing, Shimano’s new M200 shoes (2, $140, bike.shimano.com) are the best way to connect your feet to your pedals. The Torbal midsole gives you rigidity where you need it for power transfer and give you flex for comfort. The asymmetrical collar will protect ankles without adding too much extra material. No matter the light conditions, Caliber sunglasses by Ryders (3, $70, ryderseyewear.com) with interchangeable lens will protect your eyes. Use the brown polycarbonate lenses for bright light, the orange ones for low to medium light and the clear ones for low-light and night riding.
The future is now for the mountain bike gruppo. Shimano’s XTR system has the Di2 treatment ($275/shifter; $475, front derailleur, $700, rear derailleur, $160, junction box; bike.shimano.com); The M9050 electronic-shift series has something the road series doesn’t have: synchronized shift. If you keep searching for a lower gear with your right-hand shifter and you reach your largest cog, the system automatically shifts into a smaller chainring and appropriate cog at the back. If you are giving this gruppo as a present, it will have to be an IOU as the new XTR will be available in spring, just in time to hit the trails.
RockShox RS-1 ($2,100, sram.com) takes its design cues from motos and burlier bike forks: the upside-down chassis with stanchions by the dropouts. But the RS-1 is light enough for XC racing at 3.67 lb. It excels at managing the small bumps, while remaining stiff for solid pedalling efficiency.
For more ideas, see our ever expanding 2014 holiday gift guide.