Cycling is heavily gear-oriented, and cyclists can be very particular. But don’t worry — we know some gifts to make them happy.
The GearJunkie staff have been deeply rooted in the two-wheel world for decades. Let us help you find the gifts that will be used and appreciated by even the pickiest pedaler in your life.
As you probably know, prices in cycling can be astronomical, but we cover every budget along the financial spectrum in this buying guide.
Happy holidays, and here’s to being the best gift-giver a cyclist could ask for.
Respond to texts, map your route, and more all while hands-free with this smartphone mount ($23+). It was designed primarily for use while cycling, meaning it is designed to be durable and supportive.
The Wraptor’s 360-degree rotation allows you to secure your phone in an upright or landscape position. The brand claims that the phone harness is compatible with both standard and oversized phones, with and without cases, making it an option for just about anyone.
Sports glasses protect the eyes from potential disasters, like branches in the trail or rocks thrown up by the rider ahead, but style does matter. And glasses from well-known brands can cost hundreds of dollars, some of the inherent value no doubt tied to the brand name.
Tifosi Optics ($25+) turns a lot of this on its head. The brand’s sports-worthy glasses start at just $25, and the ones I’ve tested for cycling average $80. I have a drawer full of sports glasses, some costing up to five times as much.
But after trying Tifosi glasses over the last 6 months, I cannot say that the more expensive ones are worth the extra price.
The lenses have all been durable, and I’ve always found a tint perfect for the situation. The adjustable temples and nosepieces on most of my models have made Tifosi glasses the best for my hard-to-fit face (narrow nose bridge, high cheekbones). And there are so many styles and variations — including virtually frameless options another editor loved — that any scrooge can be satisfied.
Give your commutes a boost with an Aventon e-bike ($1,800-2,000). It makes step-through and higher frames with Class II and Class III motors that can top out at 20 mph and 28 mph, respectively.
These are pedal-assist bikes so you’ll still work muscles, but you can also use the boost if you’re not in the mood. The Level models have a range of 40 miles, while the Level 2 models can travel as far as 60 miles. Yeah, you’re not commuting that far, but it means less charging during the week.
Recovery is half of the improvement process in cycling. Professionals enjoy the benefits of almost daily massage, but we “normals” don’t have that luxury. Therabody can help with the RecoveryAir Prime system ($699).
Foot-to-hip “boots” inflate from bottom to top to “milk” metabolic wastes from the legs toward the heart, and then deflate to allow circulation to return in cycles controllable by the user. Pressure, pressure hold and release time, and total duration are all controllable via the Therabody app.
A warmup and recovery routine are built into the app, but unlimited routines can be programmed. Therabody claims a 3-hour battery life in the inflation system, and the boots come in three sizes.
I’ve used a version of this system for years, since before Therabody acquired it, and can attest to both the efficacy and relaxing sensation that the RecoveryAir system provides. It was a key factor in my comeback from 11 knee surgeries.
Every cyclist should carry a multi-tool and know basic bike maintenance to be self-sufficient on the trails or roads. There are so many options out there, but the Park MT-40 ($43) has proven to be a comprehensive and high-quality tool.
The Park MT-40 has all the requisite Torx and hex wrenches required for modern bicycles, a cross/straight-tip screwdriver, and a five- to 12-speed compatible chain tool with a replaceable pin. It also cleverly houses a CO2 cartridge adapter, so you don’t need to carry a separate one.
And this multi-tool is built to last. There is no plastic, as the side plates are anodized aluminum. It may weigh a little more than comparable tools at 8.6 ounces, but it has the high-quality feel that other multi-tools don’t.
We’ve all been there; you’re at the trailhead, ready to ride, and you’re squirming in your seat, hoping nobody walks by, changing into your cycling kit. Then, when you are sweaty and dirty, you reverse the process, hiding between your doors.
I’ve wrapped towels around me, only to have them come undone at the most comical of times. And, during the summers in Texas, I’ve soaked my seats in salty sweat when I didn’t have a towel. Now I leave the Orange Mud Transition Wrap ($45) in my car at all times.
It’s a stupidly simple concept with added flair. The properly sized microfiber towel has a hook-based closure system to keep it tightly wrapped around your waist or upper chest while you change.
Then, when you’re ready to drive home, a zipper converts a short edge into a hood that fits your car seat’s headrest to keep it from falling down as it prevents sweat and dirt from soiling your seat.
Ah, the time of darkness descends before the holiday season. The clock rolls back, and suddenly there isn’t enough time after work or school to ride in daylight.
Luckily, we have the technology. But most bike lights cannot boast the engineering chops of Outbound Lighting. The team has automotive lighting and LED industry stalwarts putting their expertise and experience into bike lights, so we can stay sane during the Time of Darkness.
This Detour handlebar light ($179) cuts through the black on road and gravel bikes. It has a horizontally oriented beam pattern, which makes sense for cycling. The higher intensity center blends into usable lower intensity towards the edges.
But what sets the Detour apart is the discrete horizontal cutoff. It prevents blinding oncoming drivers so they don’t do the same to you. The cutoff is much better than anything else I’ve tried on a bicycle.
Another unique feature is an “adaptive mode.” It keeps the brightness high for about 5 minutes, and then gradually reduces it to the medium setting over 30 minutes while the eyes adjust. It’s a brain “trick” that allows longer run time, which Outbound Lighting claims is 2.6 hours in this adaptive mode.
Post-bike beers are a tradition for many cyclists. But I’ve always found it ironic that much effort gets spent on improving health, only to become at least partially negated by the alcohol in the tasty suds.
Nonalcoholic beers have been around, but I’ve never liked any of them — until recently. The new crop of “near beers” opened my mind and taste buds to parking lot or trailhead happy hours. Athletic Brewing Co. ($14+) is one of the brands that made drinking with the crew enjoyable without any drawbacks.
I’m partial to heavy, dark concoctions in the colder months, and the “All Out” stout tasted rich, went down smooth, and filled me with satisfaction that I drank a “real beer.” When the Texas summer hit, I often chose the “Run Wild” IPA and found the flavors from the five Northwest hops to be refreshing.
Athletic Brewing Co. offers 100% vegan and low-gluten brews as well.
Do you have a road or gravel cyclist family member, or friend that always sports the coolest gear? That rider undoubtedly uses modern tubeless wheels and thus needs a tubeless repair kit. And if you’re unsure, just ask them if they run tubeless.
It doesn’t get any slicker than this kit ($125) that hides inside each end of a drop handlebar. Yep, Dynaplug cleverly designed and patented this James Bond-ish and, dare I say, tactical solution to carrying the required tool and plugs to repair punctures.
I felt so cool when I unthreaded it from my gravel bike handlebar for the first time.
The Covert Drop Bar uses the same trustworthy plugs as all the other Dynaplug cycling tubeless repair kits, and each bar end tool houses two of them, so you get four shots at that sucker.
And the end cap is stylishly anodized and laser engraved with a topographic map design to be up to snuff on even the swankiest whip.
Modern bikes, especially ones with carbon frames and components, don’t hold up well to ham-fisted home mechanics. Many bolts have super-low torque values, and over-tightening can cause irreversible damage.
There are plenty of torque wrenches out there, but some will not register low enough torques, or they are inaccurate at these sometimes minuscule values. And many are too long or big to provide the feel necessary for small bicycle bits.
The Topeak Torq Stick 2-10 Nm ($120) addresses all these issues in a convenient kit. Topeak claims a ±4% accuracy within its torque range, and the reversible wrench is an appropriate 5.8 inches long. The tool comes with a case and 3/4/5mm Allen bits and T20/T25 Torx bits.
This kit has not left the top of my toolbox since its arrival. Topeak also has a 4-20 Nm version.
Bicycle water bottles are just water bottles. But this beauty is not.
The Velo Canteen ($45) is a stainless steel double-wall vacuum-insulated vessel that fits standard water bottle cages. Read, hot coffee on those brisk pre-dawn rides! Or, maybe better yet, whiskey on the rocks the second you step off.
Either way, the Velo Canteen makes rides on either end of the thermal spectrum a little bit more pleasant. The Velo Canteen comes with a screw-top stopper and a flip-top nozzle for drinking on the go.
Everyone that has seen it has commented on the classic aesthetic. This thing screams to be on a handbuilt, lugged, steel gravel bike.
And I recommend a composite bottle cage to prevent rattling.
Water bottle cages can get overlooked. They have a simple function, but I’ve jettisoned plenty of bottles, some over bridges, never to be seen again. I’ve also seen incredibly fine full-carbon wonder bikes outfitted with cheap plastic cages, which seems wrong.
I’ve tried so many bottle cages. Some super-expensive carbon versions unleashed my bottle on the first rough gravel road. The Elite Vico Carbon Water Bottle Cage ($45) has gripped my bottles with tenacity, weighs only 25 g each, and is as svelte as the Ciussi “button” cage that put Elite on the map.
Elite has been a cycling staple since 1979.