We cyclists like to consider ourselves a discerning lot—especially when it comes to the gear we use. To our friends and family who attempt to show their love by bestowing gifts upon us, we probably seem a bit finicky and high-maintenance, when really, we just know what we like. In an attempt to smooth out holiday gatherings and limit the number of returns we deal with, here’s a list of gifts that every mountain biker on your list will love. You’ll be a hero, and you might even receive a better gift next year once you have proven yourself by giving one of the awesome and coveted items below. Happy holidays!
Looking for a special something for the roadie in your life? We have a gift guide just for Team Tarmac right here.
Gifts for Under the Tree
Race Face Next SL Cranks—As the hottest drivetrain component of the winter (read: expensive), the Next SL crank should only be considered for those you truly love or desperately need to impress. Race Face’s hollow carbon crank arms and spiderless chainring interface combine to make the Next SL the lightest production crankset in existence. If you really want to go the distance pick up a Next SL Direct Mount Chainring to complete the project. We guarantee whoever gets this gift will never look at you the same again.
Light & Motion Urban 700 Light—Winter time means night-ride time, and riding at night—safely and enjoyably—requires a high-powered bike light or two. Ideal as a helmet mounted light in a two light set-up; widest and most powerful beam on the handlebars, and the other on the helmet—the Light & Motion Urban 700 is powerful enough to use by itself. Manufactured in California by Light & Motion, the leader in bicycle and underwater lighting technology, the Urban 700 throws out, yep, seven hundred lumens of crisp light in a beam wide and deep enough for trail riding. Small and light enough to pull double-duty as a flashlight, you will be sure to light up somebody’s life with a gift of the Urban 700.
Garmin Edge 200—From the leader in consumer GPS technology, the cycling-specific Garmin Edge 200 has all the features of a basic cycling computer and then some. With a Garmin cycling computer tracking your progress, ride data can be easily uploaded to social fitness/cult website STRAVA for instant peer group validation. There are fancier and more expensive Garmin Edge models with extra features, like the Edge 510, 800, and 810, but the easy-to-use Edge 200 is plenty for most mountain bikers.
Troy Lee Designs A1 Helmet—With a decades-old reputation of quality and innovation built on their helmets, TLD has earned their place at the top of the Most Desirable Gear List. Their latest creation is the Troy Lee Designs A1, an “enduro-style” helmet with extra foam in the shell, extra coverage on the front, rear and sides, and an extra-large amount of style. Offered in a wide range of colors and styles, the TLD A1 is the lid to rock for 2014.
Race Face Ambush Knee Guards— We all know that if you’re not crashing, you’re not trying hard enough. Take a look at your favorite mountain biker’s knees and shins. If they are covered with bandages, scabs, or scars, do them a favor and get them some good knee armor. Most knee guards are a compromise; they either fit great but are a pain to put on, or are easy to put on but are worthless when you really need them. Not so with the Race Face Ambush Knee Guards, which feature a fully-opening back for ease of attire and a three-strap closure for the utmost security. With a protective cap made from the same material found in law-enforcement and military armor, the Ambush provides top-level impact absorption while remaining flexible for comfort.
Continental Trail King Tire—Bike Magazine called the Continental Trail King Tire one of the best MTB tires of all time, and we can only agree. With an extremely forgiving tread pattern that grips and grips and grips and then predictably drifts, the Trail King will have your favorite cyclist railing turns with more confidence than ever. Although cross-country racers will laugh at the Trail King’s weight and aggressive knobs, and downhillers will need something even heavier with beefier sidewalls, this tire is a trail/all-mountain/enduro rider’s dream. Available in 26,” 650b, and 29,” sizes.
Stocking Stuffers (Under $20)
Marsh Guard Fork Fender—Winter time means rain, and if you are a mountain biker, rain means mud, and mud gets in your eyes and covers your glasses and makes it really hard to see and can simply ruin your ride. Don’t let this happen to the cyclist you love. Protect their happiness and stuff a Marsh Guard Fork Fender into their stocking this holiday season. Created by a pro mechanic and used by the top mountain bikers on the planet, the Marsh Guard requires no mechanical aptitude whatsoever to install, is highly effective, and gives any bike a touch of pro style.
New Belgium Brewing 16-oz Globe Glass—If the mountain biker on your list likes to follow up their post-ride protein recovery drink with something a little more fizzy, the New Belgium Brewing Globe Glass is exactly what they need. Everyone knows that pouring bottled beer into a glass enhances the drinking experience. By pouring, the beer’s volatile compounds, which give the beer its flavor, aroma, and color, are oxygenated, and the resulting foamy head keeps those compounds in the liquid. The glass’s globe shape accentuates malted beverage aroma and allows a proper pour—straight into the middle of the glass—while producing a perfect head.
Gu Energy Gel Salted Carmel Flavor—Gu Energy Labs are the originators of energy gel, and Gu brand gels are the first choice for fast energy when the Art’s crew heads out for a lunch ride. While almost all of their gel flavors are great, this year’s special holiday flavor, Salted Carmel Energy Gel, is a hands-down winner. The perfect combination of salty and sweet, with all the nutritional and energy goodness Gu is known for, Salted Carmel 8-Packs will be a welcome addition to any athletes holiday gift haul.
Thinksport Zinc Oxide SPF 50 Sunscreen—On every ride, cyclists are subjected to more sun exposure than is healthy. Longer rides are even more detrimental, so show them that you care and give your cyclist a fresh tube of Thinksport Zinc Oxide SPF 50 Sunscreen, and keep damaging UV exposure to a minimum. Thinksport uses the safest and most effective ingredients to keep skin healthy, and is very water and sweat resistant. Used and recommended by the Art’s Cyclery staff, Thinksport Zinc Oxide is the best sunscreen we have found.