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Holiday Gift Guide – Going Big

Electronic shifting has improved thanks to Shimano's new Ultegra Di2 gruppo.

Ultegra Di2 – Upgrade $1,850, complete group (no wheels, hubs or pedals) $2,595

Anyone who has tried Dura Ace Di2 has loved it, but most of us balk at the price. Now electronic shifting has become a tiny bit more attainable thanks to Shimano’s release of the new Ultegra Di2 gruppo. Like it’s more expensive big brother, the Ultegra Di2 offers precise, super-easy shifting with the touch of a button. Add to that the insanely long battery life, easy adjustment and installation and the automatic trimming front derailleur and you have a pretty awesome holiday gift. Unless, of course, you’re trying to get your triathlete to spend less time on their bike.

Firecrest 303 – $2,900 set

Using Zipp’s innovative Firecrest technology, these rims offer the aerodynamics of much deeper wheel with the performance and feel of a shallow road rim. What’s even more exciting is the impressive feel of the clincher version of these wheels, which perform like high-end tubulars but let you replace a tube without having to use a tire iron. While the Firecrest 404s are an amazing race option, the 303s could be the ultimate training/ racing wheel combination.

Stealth EVO Handlebar – $685 Carbon, $750 White

So many triathletes seem to have a road bike in addition to their triathlon ride, so why not give them something to enhance their other ride? This super-light monocoque carbon handlebar offers an optimal stiffness to weight ratio and uses an ergonomic and compact bend design to enhance comfort on even the longest training rides. It’s available in both black and white, too, for that extra bit of customization.

29er Tubular – $3,700 set
DT Swiss

Weighing just a scant 1,200 g, these oversized mountain bike wheels offer high profile carbon rims and carbon-alloy hubs that combine for an incredibly light but very stiff wheel. That makes for fast accelerations and rock-solid, quick descents – a nice combination when you hit the trails on your 29er mountain bike.

Vector Pro X2 Wetsuit – $600 Full suit, $400 Sleeveless

Available as either a full suit or sleeveless, the Vector Pro X2 uses a combination of 5 and 3 mm thick Super Composite Skin coated neoprene for increased buoyancy and reduced drag. In the full suit the anatomically correct arms use six individually cut 1.5 mm thick panels to ensure lots of flexibility and freedom of movement.

WiFLi Derailleurs- $80 USD Rear only

Does your triathlete like to take on the toughest climbs? Are they constantly complaining that they just didn’t have the gears to take on their latest challenge? Then they’ll appreciate some of SRAM’s WiFLi derailleurs, which Alberto Contador used on the steepest climbs of the Girod’Italia earlier this year. WiFLi stands for Wider, Faster, Lighter. WiFLi provides a wider range of gears for every climb and descent in a package that is much lighter and faster than triple chain ring set-ups.

Jet Wheelset $750 USD Front Jet 6, $900 USD Rear Jet 9

Whether you opt for clinchers or tubulars, you will be a hero at home if a pair of these were to arrive this holiday. We’re partial to the Jet 6, which pairs a HED C2 rim bonded to a light, 60 mm deep unidirectional aero section for the ultimate in performance and aerodynamics. Thanks to the innovative SCT shape the wheel handles like a much shallower wheel in windy conditions.

Shiv S-Works Di2 – $12,799

The new triathlon-specific 2012 Shiv was launched at the Ironman World Championship in Kona this year. With an internal hydration system that’s easy to fill on the fly, triathlon-oriented geometry and a super-aerodynamic front end, the new Shiv helped Craig Alexander knock 13 minutes off his bike time in Kona thisĀ  year. This top-of-the-line model integrates DuraAce Di2 into the frame.