The shorter days, frigid temps and falling snow that often surround the holidays may not provide abundant inspiration to get outside on two wheels, but cycling is a year-round activity, and it can be pursued in pretty extreme conditions (Minneapolis-St. Paul has been rated as America’s #1 city for cycling by Bicycling magazine).
The holidays are also a time to give – and yes receive – some new gear for the upcoming season, and new model year editions and past season closeouts mean that you can often find some good deals on equipment and apparel.
Best Mountain Bike Gifts
The Silca HX – One tool kit makes an excellent holiday gift for cyclists, because it provides organization and integration for essential gear items that may otherwise be scattered across the garage or in the rear tailgate of an ‘84 VW Vanagon. The HX-One offers nearly everything you need for mobile bike repairs – all the commonly used hex key sizes (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm) as well as ten different driver bits (Torx T8, T10, T15, T20, T25 and T30 along with flat and Phillips screwdriver bits in two different sizes each).
The tools are made from solid steel with vinyl coatings for reinforcement and grip. All of those essential elements are smartly and stylishly encased in a beechwood box secured closed with magnets. It’s a pricey and premium package that many cyclists wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves but will greatly appreciate as a gift and use on a daily basis.
The adidas Five Ten Freerider Pro Shoes are top level flat pedal shoes in their own right, but when you purchase the special Breast Cancer Awareness women’s collection from September 30, 2022 to November 30, 2022, your purchase of this product will result in a $15.00 donation to National Breast Cancer Foundation.
By giving these shoes to a female cyclist in your life, your gift will pass along to support the cause of breast cancer awareness through the monetary donation as well as by the special, attention-getting limited edition graphics on the shoes themselves.
Back in the Stone Ages of cycling, before smartphone and action video cameras, we used to invent tall tales of adventure from epic rides whose embellished details were often amplified after the consumption of malted beverages (That bear was looking right at me!).
GoPro has pulled the cape off the mystery of these epics of bravado, but thanks to the Hero 11 Black’s upgraded video-editing capabilities, you can more easily turn hours of footage into compelling clips for the galleries of TikTok or YouTube. And especially for TikTok, the Hero 11 Black’s taller video sensor optimizes capture for vertical video orientation. The larger sensor also enables what GoPro calls HyperView wide angle shots, and it allows the user to extract 24.7-megapixel still photos from your videos – fairly high quality action photos from your handlebar or helmet mount without the need to lug around a fast shutter digital SLR camera.
You can also do photo bursts in RAW format with the Hero 11 Black, previously only available in JPEG with the Hero 10. Finally, with the Hero 11 Black you get GoPro’s long-lasting Enduro battery as a standard option instead of it being an added-cost upgrade.
For those of us who plod through the winter conditions no matter what, the Endura Freezing Pants – or “trousers” as the Brits from Endura’s home country like to say – are the key to staying dry and warm. Made from a tough and durable but soft 75% Polyester, 17% Polyamide, 8% Elastane fabric blend, the Freezing Pants also feature insulated PrimaLoft GOLD panels for extra warmth, and a zip fly with popper closure.
The importance of this latter feature can’t be overestimated, as there is no greater nuisance than having to remove layers of clothing and bib suspenders when the call of nature hits you out on the road or trail.
As the model name indicates, the Endura Spray shorts are designed for trail use in the wet conditions of Endura’s home base in the UK, but for those of us in the drier western U.S., they still have a purpose for use during the shoulder seasons, when alternating warm and cold temperatures and rapid snowmelt fills stream beds with runoff that the atmosphere can’t absorb quickly enough.
These “shorts” are more like knickers as they extend just below the kneecap, and feature Endura’s ExoShell40DR three-layer fabric, water-resistant pockets, belt loops and a zip and popper closure. Customers can also add a matching range of padded liners through the Endura Clickfast system, which allows them to fine-tune their fit.
Replacement cables as a holiday gift? This might sound unlikely, but again like tools and tires, cables are essential for cyclists and they need to be periodically replaced. Gifting cables to an active rider is actually very thoughtful, because replacing cables will vastly improve a bike’s performance and in turn make rides more enjoyable.
PNW’s Jagwire Lex-SL cables aren’t your run-of-the-mill twisted wires either. It’s a premium cable set with Jagwire’s renowned Lex-SL housing that is both durable and flexible, and surface-machined slick-wire cables to glide smoothly inside the housing. It also comes with sealed alloy cable ends to prevent exposure to the elements.
Downhill MTB cycling is all about gravity, right? It’s not like you have to worry about weight and ventilation. Well, not so fast, both weight and ventilation – as well as safety – comprise the trifecta of main criteria for top-notch cycling helmets for any discipline. Add in a dash of style, and you have the Giro Insurgent at the top of its class for DH use.
With an adjustable breakaway visor, 20 total vents for optimal ventilation, and a D-ring buckle, the Giro Insurgent offers more for less: A 50% improvement in airflow and a 200g weight savings over the brand’s Disciple helmet. With a weight of 1,040g, the Insurgent comes in four color choices and three fully adjustable sizes..
Best Road Biker Gifts
Getting new tires for your bike is like getting new shoes for your feet: When you put them on there’s a feeling of renewal and rebirth, and quality rubber “sings” as it hits the road. Italian company Vittoria’s old school offering is the Corsa, the standard bearer for road racing cyclists in the 1980s and 1990s as a 23mm wide tubular tire. While the Corsa tire is still offered as tubular, the Corsa model range now includes the 700c clincher Corsa Control G2.0, which comes in three widths of 25, 28 and 30c and with standard black or classy-looking gum rubber colored sidewalls.
The tires also feature 320 TPI Corespun-K reinforced casings, and a 4C with Graphene 2.0 compound tread, which makes them an excellent choice for rough or sloppy conditions. Add in the linear tread ridges and you have a versatile, extremely durable set of tires that can take you out on the road on New Year’s Day and still be going strong by December 31st.
Up until about 2005, professional road racing cyclists were allowed to wear plastic fairings (euphemisitcally called “aero helmets”) in individual time trial events that provided some aerodynamic assistance and were lightweight, but offered zero ventilation, or importantly, crash protection. The changing of the helmet safety standards for international road racing and the growth of participation in triathlon events at the grassroots level provided the crucible of conditions for helmet manufacturers to develop aerodynamic helmets that cheated the wind while also providing ventilation and crash impact protection.
Enter the Giro Aerohead Mips, which is the ultimate answer to these aero helmet demands from sanctioning bodies, insurers, and the cycling and triathlon public. With two intake and two exhaust vents, the heat of summer won’t slow you down, nor will its reasonable weight of 450g. MIPS stands for Multi-Impact Protection System, which allows the helmet to rotate if the head hits the ground, reducing the chances of serious or debilitating injury. It’s an important safety development brought to many helmets for road and MTB uses, and now thanks to Giro, it has come to the triathlon scene as well.
Italy is a land of olives, grapes, pasta, and, it would seem, skinny feet. High performance cycling shoes made in Italy come in any width you want – as long as it’s ultra narrow. American company Specialized doesn’t have the pedigree of the Italian brands, but in their shorter history they’ve tallied an impressive number of wins attached to the pedals of Tour de France winners and Olympic and World Champions in many different cycling disciplines.
The Specialized SW Torch Road Shoe fits a wide variety of feet, thanks to a broader toe box and a highly adjustable BOA closure system. As an example of the company’s meticulous R&D process, Specialized used the data from over 100,000 in-store foot scans from their proprietary fit system to engineer a carbon footplate that was 4mm wider than its predecessor. That may not sound like a lot, but details matter when the customer is spending over $300 for a pair of top-shelf shoes. White is the new black for road cycling shoes (it’s a great thing for visibility on the road), but road grime wipes easily off the SW Torch’s comfortable and strategically reinforced uppers with a damp cloth.