13 Gifts to Get the Cyclist in Your Life
Make sure the bike lovers in your family get exactly what they want this winter with these essentials, from $8 to $2,900
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The great thing about Christmas shopping for cyclists? We always need something. Tires wear out, tights go threadbare, lithium-ion batteries stop holding a charge, tools go missing—and those are all opportunities for family and friends in need of gift inspiration. You don’t have to spend a lot to inspire the cyclists in your life and keep them charging through the winter, though we’re sure nobody out there would complain about finding a new bicycle beneath the tree.
Untapped Syrup and Waffles (From $8)
Fueling on the bike is a necessity, and this athletic snack company, founded with the help of pro cyclist Ted King, makes it possible to power up without all the preservatives and chemicals found in other energy options. The packets are full of 100-percent organic Vermont maple syrup, while the waffles blend syrup and maple sugar to make a classic Belgian stroopwafel. These are the ultimate stocking stuffers. If you want to give a little more, add Sugoi’s matching Lumberjack jersey ($75), with the tasty treats stuffed in the pockets.
Doma La Bicicletta Coffee ($18.90 per Pound)
Sweet letterpress artwork on every bag, inexpensive shipping, and one of the smoothest bean blends (Sumatran, Ethiopian, Peruvian) you’ll ever taste make this the ultimate brew to start every ride.
Spurcycle Bell ($50)
There are lots of bike bells on the market, but none as stunning as the Spurcycle. Built in the U.S. from brass and stainless steel, it attaches in seconds, thanks to an ingeniously simple and foolproof metal clamp system. More important, its sound—long, rich, and resonant—is calming and powerful.
Fabric Chamber ($60)
Even cyclists who already have a multitool (or three) will appreciate the design of this palm-size tool. Steel bits with 13 functions hide inside the brushed aluminum and steel canister, while a ratcheting driver at the top makes it possible to reach tight spots while providing ample leverage.
Q36.5 Smart Protector ($63)
Trusting a $500 phone to a plastic Zip-loc is like setting up your home-stereo system on the Styrofoam blocks it arrived in: don't do it. This handy little pouch, constructed of waterproof fabric with a seamless, scratch-proof interior, is the smart call for stowing electronics in a sweaty rear pocket. It comes in black, but we like the fluorescent orange and green for ensuring that you’ll always find the phone quickly.
Assos armWarmer_evo7 and kneeWarmer_evo7 ($69 to $79)
Warmers are like those socks your mom used to get you when you were a kid: indispensable and you can never have enough because they’re so damn easy to lose. Not all warmers are created equal, however, and Assos’ new models are our hands-down favorites because of their highly tailored fit (they're long and asymmetrical so they never sag or ride up) and just-right compression. The fleecy-on-the-inside proprietary RX light fabric cuts the chill surprisingly well without causing you to overheat.
45Nrth Sturmfist 5Gloves ($100)
These will be the last winter cycling gloves you buy. The Polartec NeoShell outer keeps the elements at bay, while the Pittards goat-leather palm means dexterity and grip are good. But what really sets these apart is what’s inside: Aerogel pads in the palm and a thick layer of Polartec Alpha on the back of the hand resist the cold, while a merino wool liner stays warm even when wet. The 15-degree rating is accurate: 45Nrth makes an even warmer model for very cold climes.
Sportful Hot Pack Ultralight Jacket ($130)
Every cyclist should own a lightweight emergency jacket, and this one—cut from windproof, DWR-treated, water-resistant Superleggera fabric—is the finest we’ve seen. It has laser-cut vents at the pits and nape of the neck, an elastic waist and wrists to seal out the wet, a rear pocket for wallet and electronics, and reflective hits for visibility. Even better, it weighs less than two ounces and folds up nearly as small as a box of matches, so you’re never riding without some extra protection.
World Bicycle Relief Gift Donation ($147)
By providing durable, utility-oriented Buffalo Bicycles to those in need around the planet, World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is helping create economic change and social justice two wheels at a time. In places where distances are vast and vehicles hard to come by, a bike can mean schooling, jobs, and self-sufficiency. WBR has placed nearly 300,000 bikes in the field in eastern and southern Africa. Donations can be made at any level, but you can fund two entire bikes for just $147, which is probably less than the cost of a derailleur on your high-performance rig.
NiteRider Lumina OLED 800 ($160)
We can’t heap enough accolades on this innovative bike headlight, which is the first we know of to not only provide a powerful beam for riding but also an accurate way to monitor battery life. The digital display atop the unit delivers to-the-minute estimates of how much time you have left in any of three power modes. The USB charge is quick (just three hours), the 800-lumen beam is strong enough even for trail riding, and, unlike every other light out there, you’ll never be stranded in the dark.
Rapha Sunglasses ($295)
Yep, these fashion-forward shades are verging on the ridiculous, but what else would you expect from the most stylish company in the peloton? Made in the Dolomites from Italian acetate and equipped with Carl Zeiss lenses, these are high-performance shields that perform on the bike and look good off of it. They come in black and tortoiseshell options, but true Rapha aficionados know the world can only be seen properly through gray frames with rose-colored lenses.
Kitsbow Alpha Snap Jacket ($389)
Packing the good looks of a button-up oxford into the protection of an insulated puffy, this stylish piece is arguably one of the most versatile cycling jackets you can buy. The Polartec Alpha insulation, heavier in front and lighter on the back, is surprisingly warm for its weight. The Power Stretch panels on the side provide mobility and venting. Schoeller elbow and arm strips add durability. It’s the ultimate commuter jacket, as well as a great layering piece for winter mountain biking out west.
OPEN Unbeaten Path (U.P.) ($2,900 for Frame and Fork)
This is hands-down the sexiest, most fun bicycle we’ve ridden this year. Open Cycles, started by Cervélo co-founder Gerard Vroomen after he left that company, crafts some of the most refined, high-performance, and expensive bikes we’ve tried (including the outrageous race hardtail that launched the company), and its new cyclocross, gravel, and adventure road bike lives up to the heritage. The carbon fiber frame can accommodate 700c wheels with up to 40-millimeter tires or, if you're getting really rowdy, 650b wheels with 2.1-inch mountain rubber. It has disc brakes, thru axles, internal cable routings, and pretty much anything else you need for shredding everything from pavement to singletrack. Of course, Santa will have to be feeling flush.