Great Gifts, Tested By Real Mountain Bikers
Buying Gifts Can Be Hard
Buying gifts can be hard, I know, I have to buy them sometimes and sometimes I have to give an idea of what to give to me. It's always easy for me to say "something for the bike" or "bike related" and that's often what I get. Something that is bike related. Too bad that leaves a lot to be desired. Not to say that other types of gifts aren't good too but is a set of beer mugs or a key chain made from a bike a chain really a mountain bike themed gift? There are two things that I want you to remember when perusing my line up. First, I am a mountain biker myself and these gifts are inspired by experience. Second, a lot of these gifts are under $25 and most are under $50 so you can buy one for a simple present or a few to stuff a stocking or make a basket without breaking the bank.
Many of these gifts are inspired by the rugged nature of the sport. Mountain bikes take a lot of abuse and require a lot of maintenance. Many of the expenses are small, under $50, but add up over the course of a season. It is possible for the average rider to go through at least one, if not several, of many of these gift items listed below. As a rider I look at the list and smile thinking about the guy or girl who is about to get the gift basket of a lifetime.
Replaceable Chain Guide
I first saw this on one of my buddies bikes. When I did I couldn't believe how simple a solution it was to an ever present problem; chain slap and chain slip. If you are not a biker, a mountain biker, let me tell you that without a chain guide you are certain to have your chain fall off at least once on every ride, more if you ride in rugged terrain. There are lots of ways to fix this problem and most involve bulky, heavy, systems of rollers attached to the frame of the bike. This replaces all that with a simple to attach, easy to remove piece that includes a replaceable break away section in case it is damaged, or just wears out. This usually goes for about $20.
- An added bonus is that you may have to explain what it is. This gem is still underutilized in the industry, your rider may not know what it is.
Bike Gloves, Or Mountain Bike Gloves
Gloves are another great gift for under $50. Of course you can spend a lot more than $50 too. The warning I will give is to be sure and buy mountain biking gloves for your mountain biker. There are lots of styles of gloves out there, primarily road biking and mountain biking, with significant differences between the two. The beauty of gloves as a present is that even if your rider has just bought new gloves, he/she will most definitely need another pair soon. Gloves wear out fast, really fast. A pair will last an average rider maybe two seasons, maybe. Another bonus is that having a pair of back up gloves is really nice.Sometimes the old gloves are being washed and you need a spare pair, and sometimes you may find yourself in a position where a dry pair is a real bonus.
- Imagine climbing up a long mountain trail, in the rain, for an hour or two, warm from your exercise but wet to the bone and easily chilled. When you stop, take a break and eat your snack you then pull out your spare pair of nice dry gloves and put them on for the downhill portion of the ride. It's a small comfort but one that can go a long long way, no pun intended.
Lights Are Great Year Round
Lights are a great gift and are useful year round to serious riders. Lights let you ride at night, which is not only fun but sometimes the only time you have to ride. I know that me and my buddies do a lot of night riding. We meet every Wednesday at 6PM, year round. In the summer it is no problem, the sun is out till 9. In the winter it is usually dark before we get the trails so there would be no riding without lights. Technology has also come a long way, the brightness of the light and the life of the batteries have been improved exponentially so upgrades are always available. And the price has come way down. What once would have cost several hundred dollars can now be had for around $25, depending on where you get it shipped from. I myself use the Cree 5000 Lumen light and have enjoyed it tremendously.
- When it comes to lights more is always better. If your rider already has a light, another would be awesome... one for the handlebars and for one on top of the helmet. It makes the ride a lot better. If not then you can get two, usually for under $50.
Oury Bolt On Grips
Get A Grip On This Present
Grips are yet another quality present that any mountain biker will appreciate. Lock on grips even more so. These grips have bolts that tighten to the handle bars making them much safer to use. Any biker, not only a mountain biker, could benefit from this. As a present this will run in the range of $12 - $45 depending on the brand. I myself like the Oury brand but that is personal preference as I like the squishy rubber on the grip, not all do. For the biker you should understand that grips wear out too, and are often the last thing to be replaced behind the litany of other small expenses that can pop up along the way.
- A pair of grips may last for a couple of seasons but again, depends on the rider. It's easy to check, just take a glance at the bike, if you can see a clear pattern on the grip it is probably OK but if not may need replacing. Not to mention the chance to help someone upgrade who does not yet have bolt ons.
The Single Best Ride Saver
This may sound weird but an inner tube can be the single best ride saver any biker has in their pack. Even if your rider is using tubeless tires they will from time to time find themselves with a flat they can't fix... without an inner tube. Imagine your rider, 5 or 10 or 15 miles away from their car with a flat tire they fix with your inner tube gift. A gift that, without which, they may have had to walk many miles, pushing or carrying a bicycle. Most riders will have tubes in their pack but like everything else on a mountain bike, they tend to go fast. Even with a patch kit it is easy to go through quite a few tubes in a season, maybe a half dozen or more in a year, so at $7 makes a nice stocking stuffer.
Give The Gift Of Performance
Derailleur cables are the means and the method in which the bicycle changes gears. Changing gears is very important for any biker but more so for a mountain biker who is riding over constantly changing terrain. The smoothness of a cables operation wears out naturally over time but is hastened by things like grit, sand, dirt and mud that can get into the system.... which makes them a target for constant repair. Cables are like gloves, your rider may not need them right not, but they will ... and probably soon. This isn't a flashy gift but it is one that will be appreciated and makes a good stocking stuffer with a price around $10.
- Cables, for many riders, are a double gift. It can cost $50 or more to have a shop put cables on a bike, not to mention the fact you have to go to the shop. Having a set of cables saves the time of a trip, plus I have the ongoing savings of doing my own work. If your rider needs shop assistance maybe a book on mechanics or a class at the local bike shop is in order.
Patch Kits Save Rides...And Fit In A Stocking
Another Ride Saved!
Patch kits are another great ride saver. These little beauties only cost about $10, usually much less, and come with enough materials to patch a half dozen or more holes. The kits are small, easy to use, fit snuggly into any size riding pack and are among the many items a serious rider can blow through in a season. This year alone I have been through my half dozen tires, and two patch kits, because for some reason I picked up a thorn or cut a tire or blew a tube in one way or another on every ride for over a month.
What Did You Find Here?
Books Are Always My Favorite Gift
I've always loved reading and books so they always make great gifts to me. They are the gift that keeps on giving on into the future. A book on bike repair is one that gives back in spades because it will save thousands of dollars for your rider over the course of their riding lifetime. This may not be the best gift more advanced mountain bikers, who already do their own work, but it most certainly will be of value to almost anyone else interested in doing their own work. Plus, it makes a great accompaniment to many of the other gifts I have listed above.
Riding Bikes Is Fun, A Quality Gift Will Only Increase Enjoyment
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 09, 2015:
A challenging activity.