By the Dirt Rag staff
This is our first attempt at a holiday gift guide, and, in typical Dirt Rag fashion, we had to do it our way. We’ll share a dirty little secret with you: most magazines’ gift/buyer’s guides are not created based on the recommendations of riders, but by the wants and desires of advertisers.
That’s not how we roll. Instead, we asked each staffer to select two items that they had experience with and would wholeheartedly recommend to fellow a mountain biker. Real riders, honest recommendations, realistic prices—the way it should be.
Each day for the next two weeks we’ll be sharing a different staffer’s choices for their favorite gear of the year. First up: Tech Editor Eric McKeegan.
Kona Honzo frame – $525
Eventually people with a more gravity oriented background were going to try 29er wheels, and fortunately some of the gravity folks at Kona saw past the XC geometry of most 29ers to see the makings of a more shreddable steel hardtail trail bike. I threw down my own money for a Honzo frame, selling off an old frame/friend to make room. Set up with a 120mm fork and one gear, I’ve been stoked to get back to a simple bike after my latest whiz-bang test bike. A slack head angle paired with super short (16.2 inch) chainstays balance stable and flickable handling traits.
Urge Enduromatic – $100
Yes, it is a little different looking than the average bike helmet, but that isn’t a bad thing in my book. Built to be light and protective, the Enduromatic forgoes an adjustable retention system, instead including different pad thicknesses to adjust fit. I’m more than satisfied by the fit and comfort, even after over 6 hours in the saddle. It is also much lighter than it looks, while providing more coverage than an XC lid. You’ll need to get used to answering a lot of questions when wearing this helmet, it attracts a lot of (mostly positive) attention.
Shimano SH-MT22 – $70
The bad thing about these shoes? Shimano recently replaced them with the MT23, which are more sporty-mcsport looking than my favorite MT22s. They look like a cross between bowling shoes and grandpa sneakers, but in a positive way. I wore the MT22s for a lot of different riding over the last year. This included a 70-mile trail ride in Sedona, a 175-mile day on the road in Pennsylvania, and more trail and commuting mikes than I can remember. They still look good, dry very quickly and I expect them to have another few seasons in reserve. Not too shabby for a pair of $70 pair of shoes. If you act quickly you might still find a pair for sale.