Welcome to the RoadBikeReview Holiday Gift Guide: 2012 edition. Picking the perfect gift for the road cyclist in your life is never an easy task. With so many options in the bike space, it can be quite the frustrating experience. We're here to help with this holiday gift guide!
This year, we're going to highlight some excellent gift ideas for the road cyclists ranging from utility items like locks and lights to the finer things a cyclists might find themselves needing, such as a bronze Campagnolo bottle opener. We've cultivated a list of items that are not only thoughtful, but also affordable (with the exception of said Campagnolo bottle opener... and maybe some of the new action cams). Above all else, these gifts will surely delight the road cyclist on your list.
Anyone who works on a bike should have a torque wrench to ensure proper installation and tightening of crucial bits to their bike. This is a Ritchey's Torque Key, a convenient tool that is calibrated to 5Nm, and is now available with interchangeable bits (5mm, 4mm and 3mm hex keys and T-20 Torx). Never over-tighten a bolt again, as this key has an indiction you both feel and hear.
K-Edge Garmin Mount
Garmins are becoming more and more of a standard on rides, with popular sites like Strava and the such to keep track of your training and rides. More and more cyclists are looking to the GPS enabled Edge series of computers from Garmin as their goto cyclometer. This nifty mount from the folks from K-Edge, removes the need to place your Garmin on your handlebar or steam and instead places it in front of your stem where it's not only easier to read, but out of the way.
Made in the USA, the Garmin mount is CNC machined from a single piece of aluminum, and carries a life time guarantee. Available in black, gun metal, or red.
Essential items to any road cyclists kit are these skin care products. Chamois creme designed to protect your skin and sensitive areas against the elements and wear of riding your bike. Start your cold weather ride off right with the burn of embrocation, which pre-warms your skin before heading out on a particularly chilly ride. Also included, the staple of the road cyclists skincare kit, the shaving gel. These small items, are not only affordable, but will be gladly used all winter long.
Rapha Winter Embrocation - MSRP $27 - www.rapha.cc
dz nuts bliss - MSRP $24 - www.dz-nuts.com
Assos Chamois Creme - MSRP $22 - www.assos.com
Leg Lube - MSRP $9 - www.leglube.com
Knog Milkman Lock
The Milkman lock from Knog is a relatively lightweight, small, and quick way to lock up your bike when you need to take a break from your ride for a quick refuel stop or pop into a restroom . The Milkman fits perfectly into a jersey pocket, so it's likely you'll carry it with you on most rides. Polycarbonate housing hides a three-foot long retractable, braided steel cable. While we don't recommend this being a cyclists only lock, we believe it's the perfect solution for the quick pit stops where sometimes we leave our bikes exposed to possible opportunistic bike thieves.
Kryptonite Mini 5 40th Anniversary
If more security is what you're looking for, we'd recommend the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 Mini-5 40th Anniversary Lock. It's a limited edition version of their most popular lock, the Mini-5. Full black chrome finish and clear dust cover, as well as a special 40th anniversary logo set this apart from those with the "normal" Mini-5.
Onguard Mastiff Chain Bike Lock
Another alternative, albeit a little pricier, is the the Onguard Mastiff Chain Bike Lock. Ten millimeter hex link chains and square section bar links make it harder for saws and cutters to break this chain. Dual lock mechanisms and laser cut TorchKeys will also make it hard to pick this lock. The large steel shackles just scream don't even try. Though this is the one of the most deterrent locks on the market, it's also one of the heaviest.
Light & Motion Urban 200
Light & Motion's Urban 200 is a compact all in one unit that mounts to your bike easily and weighs just slightly over 100 grams. Built in the USA on historic Cannery Row in Monterey, California, the sleek powerful light puts out plenty of lumens to light up the street on the bike commute home. With yellow indicators on the sides, the Urban 200 will alert drivers to your presence not only head on, but also to your left and right. USB rechargeable, the Urban 200 will last for two and a half hours on high.
Blackburn Flea Combo
The Blackburn Flea lights continue to be a favorite for us at roadbikereview, and returns for a third consecutive Holiday Gift Guide. The compact size, ease of use, and recharge-ability by USB or solar keeps these lights as some of the most used year round. Plenty bright to be seen, these lights mount to anything, handlebars, helmets, and bags.
MSRP: $55 (Front and Rear Package)
BikeGlow is a clever use of electroluminescent technology. Available in several bright colors, the 10 ft. flexible light tube strand can be wrapped around your bike in whichever creative way you want. Attached to a weatherproof battery, the lights run on 2AA batteries. BikeGlow has 3 modes - steady, slow flashing, and fast flashing modes. Be seen!
Endurance Conspiracy T-Shirts
These t-shirts from apparel company Endurance Conspiracy are dear to our hearts. They not only promote the healthy cycling lifestyle, but they combine our love of cycling with our love of the galactic space drama. Clothing that tells others we're cyclists when we're off the bike are few and far between, many non-scifi shirts are also available. Check out the entire lineup at Endurance Conspiracy.
Also of note are shirts from cyclelogical and twin six.
Capo Piemonte Wind Bootie
With winter weather here, it's not a bad idea to give someone a pair of these Capo Piemonte Wind Booties for the cold weather bike commute or training ride. The Piemonte Wind Bootie is an excellent all-around bootie that is made from Windtex® Elastic wind proof membrane and is lined with a cozy, lightweight micro fleece. Recommended temperature rating is a chilly 40-50° F
Castelli Unico Gloves
When it's not too cold outside for your full on insulated cycling gloves, but too cold for your standard gloves, the Unico glove from Castelli is the goto glove. An ideal combination of warmth, breathability, and grip due to the silicon dot patterned palm, these one-size-fits all knit gloves are a great gift idea.
The Feed Zone
The Feed Zone is a cook book filled with 160 athlete friendly recipes. Co-Authors Biju Thomas and Allen Lim share 160 delicious recipes that even the most time crunched of athletes can prepare in less time than it takes to warm up for a workout. Illustrated with full color photographs, the book has simple recipies that require just a handful of ingredients. Included also are Gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives to favorite dishes, as well as shortcuts, substitutions and techniques to save time in the kitchen. If you have a cyclist on your holiday list, chances are they'll love this book.
MSRP: $25 (but we've seen it as cheap as $14 on Amazon.)
Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair 2nd Ed.
The must have book for any cyclist, this is a great reference book for anyone interested in working on their own bicycle. Written by famed Park Tool Director of Education, Calvin Jones, the book is a great companion to the Park Tool lineup of tools. Easy to follow steps, and plenty of helpful pictures, this really is the encyclopedia of bike repair.
The Secret Race
Who among us isn't curious about what really happened behind closed doors during those US Postal days? Believe him or not, believe the hype or not, the reviews of this book all point to the same conclusion.
Go Pro Hero3
GoPro has become ubiquitous when it comes to action cameras. The company's lineup of Hero and Hero2 cameras have been used for everything from professional adventure video shoots to amateur youtube projects. GoPro has been the action camera to get, whether you want to share that gnarly climb and descent you do on the weekends or if you just want to keep record of your commute home should any unforeseen accidents occur. With serious competition on the horizon, GoPro recently released the Hero3. With three flavors to choose from - starting with the top of the range Black ($399) which is able to shoot 4k video (limited to 15fps) and 1080 at up to 60fps to the Silver ($299) and White ($199) which shoot 1080p at 30fps. Silver shoots slightly higher resolution stills than the white, but all three models include built-in wifi to connect to an app on your smartphone or an available remote.
The GoPro gets our nod as the goto action cam gift not only for it's specs, but for the abundance of mounts available for the lineup. There's a ton of mounts for any conceivable situation you'd ever want to shoot GoPro video with.
Like we mentioned, there's stiff competition in this space. Recently Contour announced their latest camera the Countour+2. The Countrour+2 retails for $399 and can shoot 1080p video at 30fps. For super slow-mo fans the camera can do 120fps in 480p as well. Built in GPS and bluetooth make it easy to connect to your smartphone or tablet to view video live and map your video.
Sony Action Cam
Also available is the Sony Action Cam, priced at just $199 for the base model and $279 for a wifi enabled model. The Action Cam is able to shoot 1080p video in 30fps or 720p in 120fps. Like the Countour and the GoPro you do have a choice of Field of Vision as well. The Sony comes with a ruggedized waterproof housing as well as two adhesive mounts.
The Ultimate Gifts...
CycleOps Titanium Skewers
"Sometimes it's the small things. And in cycling, sometimes it's the light things." CycleOp's has paired titanium shafts to alloy levers and created these max strength, performance, and minimal weight skewers. These extremely light and incredible strong skwers weigh in at just 48 grams for the pair. The cyclist your buying these for, won't even notice them on their bike.
The Saris Freedom rack is a a great 2-bike rack for just about anyone in the market for a hitch rack. It carries a variety of bike sizes from kids bikes, cruisers, and mountain bikes to full Tri and Road Bike rigs. It's made right here in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. At only $230 it's a great gift idea that's also easy on the pocketbook.
For the ultimate connoisseur of bicycling, we present the Campagnolo Corkscrew. Invented by Tullio Campagnolo, this fine piece of engineering was first presented back in 1966. The patented self-centring telescopic bell and hardened steel wide sharp screw consistently ensure a perfect grip on the cork and its removal without raising sediments and without shaking the bottle. A fine piece of hardware from the man who also invented the bicycle quick release and cable operated parallelogram derailleur. If well taken care of, this Corkscrew has been known to last over 30 years. It's on the pricey side, but for the cyclist who has everything, this is the crème de la crème of gifts.
Hopefully our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide helped you pick out the perfect gift for the road cyclist in your life. We know we didn't cover everything, so if you have an excellent gift suggestion we didn't cover, please share with us in the comments below. We here at RoadBikeReview thank you for stopping by, and wish you a Happy Holidays!