Whether you spend most of your waking hours in spandex or just enjoy cruising around town on two wheels, the holidays are the perfect time for gear upgrades. So if you're looking for a few stocking stuffers or that one gift to rule them all, we've compiled the best cyclist inspired offerings for the year.
Castelli makes some of the best cycling gear available. Period. So it makes sense that their Idro 2 Jacket is one of our favorites. Incredibly lightweight and completely pocketable, the Idro 2 is Castelli’s lightest Gore-Tex jacket ever. With a slim fit that doesn’t flap in the wind, high collar, and two-layer construction that will let the sweat out, but won’t let the weather in, the Idro 2 performs remarkably well when put to the test.
Whether you’re making bomber runs down the mountain or cruising on your local trails for a spirited afternoon ride, protecting your knees with Dainese’s Trail Skins 2 Knee Guards is always a good idea. The Trail Skins 2 are low-profile, lightweight, and stay in place all day thanks to silicone grippers.
Biking to work (or anywhere else) is a miserable experience. Thankfully, the folks at Showers Pass have come up with a way to keep your extremities warm, dry and comfortable. With a heavy knit outer layer for durability, Artex middle layer for waterproofing, and soft merino wool inner layer for comfort, your phalanges will be forever grateful.
Shimano’s entire S-Phyre line is noted for its high level of performance, but what exactly does that mean? In the case of their long-sleeve jersey it means a layer that fits like glove, keeping you streamlined, but also stretching to keep you covered and warm when the temps start to drop.
The Z-20 is Bell’s flagship road helmet. The aerodynamics, light weight, and ventilation make this lid as at home in an Iron Man as it is on a weekend run at your local loop. Keeping you safe is the MIPS system, but keeping you comfortable is the Float Fit, Sweat Guide padding and of course the all-important sunglass guides to keep your shades in place.
Coming in at $70, the Bell Spark is one of the most affordable ways to get a MIPS helmet. With all the ventilation you’ll need for the trail and an attention to design and safety that would have anyone doubting the price point, the Spark checks all the right boxes for a helmet that’s meant to take a beating.
If sticking with the next generation of Oakleys is your thing, more power to you. If you want something a little different, check out the Rudy Defenders—a pro-level set of cycling specs that are more akin to goggles than glasses. Adjustable at the temples and nose, you’ll be hard-pressed to find cycling glasses that are more comfortable.
Abus has a long-standing history of making some of the best bike locks available. With their Bordo range, Abus has bridged the gap between heavy chains and rigid U-locks with a security solution that combines the best of both worlds with foldable linked locks. The Bordo Lite takes this proven concept one step further by trimming weight and fitting perfectly in a jersey pocket.
While getting out and “away from it all” is a nice notion, a lot of us need to have a phone available for directions. Unfortunately, most phone mounts are big, ugly, and don’t last. SP Connect solves all these issues with a minimalist design that looks factory. We’ve been using the bike bundle on a daily basis, and it has us completely converted to SP Connect fanboys and girls.
If you’re not interested in keeping your phone front and center, a dedicated bike GPS like Garmin’s Edge 520 Plus will keep you on track and on time. By integrating with the app you can upload local routes, update your Strava times and explore what riders in your community are up to.
The Edge 520 Plus also allows you to check on your health stats through additional bluetooth devices like fitness trackers and power meters, and their Varia smart lights help keep you safe and in the know.
With a racing pedigree, the Smith Overtake not only looks different—it is different. With its Koroyd construction keeping you safe with the latest in sci-fi-esque impact protection, and a shell that cuts through the wind like a hot knife in butter, the overtake will make you the envy of your local peloton.
With more functionality than you can shake a stick at, the M19 by Crankbrothers is a lifesaver on the trails or cross country. A chain tool for when that breaks, a spoke wrench for when you taco a wheel, and all the screwdrivers and hex wrenches you could ever need make this little wunderkind a must-have. All wrapped up in a smooth aluminum case to keep it from scratching your other valuables, the M19 is one of the most thoughtful gifts on our list.
With Mission Workshop’s characteristic combination of ultimate function and minimalist aesthetics, the PNG set is like nothing you’ve seen before. With pockets galore and a 4-way stretch fabric that feels like a second skin, you’ll be rethinking what an expensive cycling kit should be.
While using the word “smart” to say something has more than just a power button seems a little 2012, we can’t find a better way to describe the Garmin Varia series. With a tail light that alerts riders to traffic coming up from behind and a headlight that automatically adjusts for ambient light, there isn’t a more intelligent way to see and be seen while pedaling down the road.
Lightweight, rechargeable, reliable, and bright. The NiteRider Swift 500 and Sabre 80 combo may not have all the bells and whistles of the Garmin Varia series, but they’ve got it where it counts. Simple to put on and easy to take off, these lights are the perfect solution for those looking to light up the night without breaking the bank.
Flat or leaky tires eventually strike every cyclist, but being prepared can mean the difference between a short timeout and a very long walk home. Pro Bikegear makes some of the best accessories you can buy for all types of cycling, and the Team Minipump Carbon is no different. With a magnet that attaches the pump to your Presta valve and a carbon barrel, this is basically the James Bond of bike pumps.
Busting a knuckle while cleaning a bike sucks. Thankfully, there’s a way around that bloody mess with Muc-Off’s 8-1 Cleaning Kit. Spray a little of their Nano Tech Bike Cleaner and watch the majority of mud and muck fall away without so much as a single scrub. For the more reluctant trail and road refuse, a host of assorted brushes make easy work of what’s left. Once hosed down, a bit of post-wash Bike Spray will help protect those vital components to round out your two-wheeled cleaning adventure.
Having your time in the saddle cut short due to cold weather and rain is frustrating, to say the least. Full-length bibs not only help keep the cold and wet out, but also make you look legit AF—enter Castelli’s Nano Flex Pro 2 bibtights. These tights aren’t just a pretty face, though. With a water-resistant, fully reflective fabric construction, the Nano Flex Pro 2 bib will keep you warm, dry and looking like a pro cyclist.
The RC9s are a statement. The unified sole and upper of the RC9 allows for a rigid shoe that’s still comfortable enough for long-distance rides. With a racing pedigree, these ultra lightweight shoes will help propel you to the front of the pack with style and substance.
The Albas are listed as an entry-level cycling shoe, but put them on and you’ll feel anything but. With a carbon composite sole and a replaceable heel pad, the Albas are equal parts form and function. Granted, they aren’t going to make the difference in any races, but the Albas are everything we’ve come to expect from Sidi—quality build, quality fit, and durable.
If you feel the need to have that special someone indebted to you for years to come—the Shuttle by Pivot is a solid choice. On its own, the all-carbon frame and glorious Fox 36 suspension would make this an impressive bike. Add in the Shimano running gear, disc brakes and Di2 electronic shifting, and you’ve got a fairly high-level bike.
Taking this trail running monster even further is an electric heart, with Shimano’s new Steps E8000 pedal-assist motor. This is the only E-MTB from Pivot, and it’s sitting comfortably at the top of the e-bike game, ready to make all other trail riders envious. If you can handle the price tag, that is.