Best Holiday Gift Ideas to Win your Favourite Mountain Biker's Heart
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If you have been following my story you know that my husband LOVES mountain biking. He’s not obsessed, and would be offended if I claimed he was, but he definitely spends his free time mountain biking and thinking about mountain biking. I should be clear. It’s not just that he loves to be out on his bike, which he does. He also spends his free time cleaning his mountain bike, servicing his mountain bike, looking at his mountain bike, watching mountain bike related videos, perusing MTB reddit, watching custom bike build videos, gathering with friends to watch independent mountain biking films, and checking out the latest trail reports on Trailforks.
I can’t be the only one who has a mountain bike-loving partner, and I have put some honest time into thinking about thoughtful and useful holiday gift ideas to win your favourite mountain biker’s heart. I have tried my best to remember gifts I have gotten him in years past too, but only mention them here if they have stood the test of time.
Go-To Places to Shop for Mountain Biking Gifts
If you want to do some browsing for MTB gifts, we love the following shops:
Bike Tools & Maintenance
- Park Tool Magnetic Parts Bowl: This will be handy for anyone who services their bike. Keep this magnetic bowl handy to avoid losing tiny metal parts.
- Bike tubes: any brand works, just make sure it’s the right size. Patch kits never hurt either. You will want to know the width and diameter of the wheels when picking out tube. Note that if your partner runs tubeless, they will use tubeless sealant but a tube can always get them out of a sticky situation if they have trouble on the go. And for any riders who run tubes, they will appreciate a handy patch kit or two.
- New Tires: If you notice the tread wearing down on your favourite mountain biker’s tires, you may want to treat them to some new ones. Again, you need to know their tire size. Here is my partners’ favourite 27.5 inch tires (you can mix and match front and back), but he likes the following combo:
- Front wheel: Maxxis “DHF” 2.5 width (varies by preference of rider and their wheel width, but this is about as wide as my husband’s wheel will allow.
- Back Wheel: Maxxis “High Roller II” (2.5 width again).
- Multi-tool with Chain Breaker: If you’re on the go and notice something is a little loose, tighten that sucker up with your multi-tool; a small tool that fits in your pack. My husband likes that it has a chain breaker because if for some reason his chain breaks on the trail mid-ride, he can pop the whole link out and put the rest of the chain back together. He might be down a gear or two but at least he can finish his day on the trails or at the bike park.
- Bike Pump (hand pump or floor pump): Chances are your partner has a bike pump already, but my hubby has two different kind that he loves and recommends. He always packs his hand pump in his bike bag in case he gets low pressure while he’s out on the trails. It’s exactly as you would imagine, a teeny tiny bike pump that you pump with your hands. Compact and convenient for just-in case moments on the trail. At home he uses his floor pump with gauge. He mentioned the gauge is important because he likes the pressure in his tires to be precise. With the gauge, its reliable and there’s no need for guess work. There are two types of valves: presta and shraeder, but most pumps these days offer both; just be sure to check the product description.
- Shop Towel: This is a cheap and easy one, but my guy loves it. Mostly because he doesn’t go buy it for himself, and otherwise he uses all my kitchen paper towel. It’s simple, cheap, and useful. It also keeps the front of his jeans cleaner since he won’t wipe his greasy hands on them when there’s shop towel nearby.
- Muc-Off Bike Cleaner: This one may be seen as unnecessary, but we’re talking gift ideas here. Sure, a good hose down and wipe will work to get your bike clean. But in our family, a good gift idea is something that your recipient would love, but might not splurge on for themself. Every time my husband uses Muc-Off bike cleaner he comments how shiny his bike it afterward. It’s like auto-detailing, but for your bike. He loves his bike, so he wants it sparkly clean.
- Frame Tape: All Mountain Style (AMS) brand or Ride Wraps frame tape are some common brands. My husband has been using a generic clear protective tape on his frame, which works. But over time the edges of the tape get a tad dirty, which doesn’t look great. We are looking into getting Ride Wraps tape as they cut it custom from their “bike database“. It’ll likely be a tight fit once it’s on, and attention to detail will have to go into the installation, but it will keep his bike in good-looking condition for a long time. Pinkbike has done a review of 7 different protective frame tapes if you’re wanting to learn more about what’s available on the market.
Consumables are a great gift idea for those who you think has everything they could possibly want. For those who are physically active, consumables range from treats, to fuel they can use during their ride.Here are a few items I sneak into my husband’s stocking each year:
- Stinger Energy Chews: to keep energy in your back pocket for endurance riding. These are good for on the go, long rides, hard rides and they are super tasty. We love cherry blossom, fruit punch, and grapefruit.
- Nuun tablets: while they may not want to put a Nuun tablet in their hydration pack, these are great for before and after their ride. Like Gatorade but without all the added sugar. You can also get ones with caffeine, which works great for them to drink while getting ready for their morning ride. If your guy uses an actual water bottle, he’ll probably use them on the go as well.
- Craft beer single: (I just assume all mountain bikers like craft beer). Some of our favourite beers come from the Pacific Northwest, but anything with a cool label is worth trying. Also, many labels come with pictures of bikes on them so….bonus points!
Mountain Biking Apparel
- Biking bag: While hip packs are all the rage right now, my husband and I love our Osprey biking bags with bladder. My husband has this 5L viper bag and I have the slightly larger 9L Verve bag. They have newer editions that all look like really great bags in my opinion. I don’t recommend going any larger than 9-10 litres. My husband likes a low-profile and lightweight bag with only the essentials whereas I’m more about comfort and packing my layers just in case.
- Riding socks: There are a few brands, but our personal favourite are by Endur because of their funky, personal, and limited edition styles and performance. Be sure to use our link to receive 20% off your order.
- Riding gloves: To keep their hands protected, but also potentially warm on the season. Some people look for padding on the palm, some go for finger-less gloves, but an all-around safe bet is to get a lightweight but well-made full-fingered set of gloves. We have been very happy with FOX brand.
- Riding Jersey: Long-sleeve or short-sleeve styles for wicking moisture away. Go for similar colours they normally wear – fairly neutral versus flamboyant. If they like to match their existing gear, or they like specific colours or brands, go for those!
- Riding Goggles: 100 Percent brand Goggles are great due to their ventilation and interchangeable clear and mirrored lenses.
- BUFF: this is the most versatile layer to pack for chilly rides. My husband likes to wear his around his neck, whereas I prefer to wear it like a headband to cover my ears and keep my head warmer. It seems everyone wears it a different way.
- Casual T-Shirt: T-Shirts that show their love for biking! Jenson USA has t-shirts to represent all types of cycling styles. My personal favourites are the MTB, MTB Stormtrooper, and Higher Education shirts.
- Park Tool Bottle Opener: This would be the best stocking stuffer! If you think they would use a bottle opener, why not get one from Park Tool! This one goes out to those who are into DIY repairs and maintenance!
- Keychain version of the Park Tool Bottle Opener: I personally like this tiny version that fits on your keychain!
- Check out Etsy: Etsy is a website filled with independent artists and you can find gift ideas in nearly any niche. We searched MTB and came up with a bunch of unique gift ideas!
Shop their Favourite Brand Names: If they have a favourite brand of bike or bike gear, this is a great place to start looking! The above bottle opener is only cool because its Park Tool. The brand and identity of biking is what makes it cool. So if they like Fox, Surly, Troy Lee Designs or Santa Cruz Bikes, check out what the brands sell in the way of accessories or apparel on their websites.
Toys to Enhance the Ride
- Camera: Last year I got my husband a GoPro HERO 5 as an upgrade from his old third generation camera. Despite not opting for the top of the line model available at the time, he loved the ability to have stable, high quality videos of his rides that we could easily watch on the TV at home. Technology had come a long way in a few years and this has made his bigger biking adventures even more fun and memorable.
Finally the best gift of all...a new Mountain Bike
I recognize you may want to buy your husband a mountain bike or an upgrade, but there are a few things you definitely want to consider before taking the leap.
If there’s one thing I have learned about those who are passionate about their bikes is that they know a LOT about them. They know what they like.
When in doubt, definitely seek help from your local bike shop, or find some way to convey you’ll contribute to their bike purchase without actually buying the bike.
Budget and Other Considerations
In case you didn’t know, high-end mountain bikes can go north of $10,000 so I recommend considering your budget. My bike (2019 Marin Hawk Hill 1), which I bought as an entry level rider was just over $2,000 after upgrading pedals, grips and dropper post. My husbands second bike (2018 YT Capra Al Comp), was just under $5,000 after upgrading pedals, grips, and saddle, to give you an idea.
He also spent weeks picking the perfect bike for him based on quality of components and value. A lot goes into choosing a bike. Is there a model or brand that they have mentioned or been eyeing up lately? What type of riding will they do? You may be able to guess based on the terrain where you live – cross country vs enduro vs downhill. There is a decent range in terms of preference of riding style as well. Sizing is another consideration. How a bike feels may not line up with a brands sizing guide. Also, the amount of suspension required will vary by weight, skill level, and preference.
Wheel sizes are always changing: are they interested in the standard 27.5 inch wheels (which has only been the standard for a few years) or does he want more rolling power with a 29er? If you really want to bring a bike home for your partner, ensure you at least purchase the bike somewhere with a good exchange policy, so there are no issues getting it “just right”.
Sometimes, now matter how hard we try we just can’t get it perfect. As much research as we can do, a bike is a big gift. Unless you know exactly what they want including frame size, wheel size and other options, I recommend contributing toward a bike purchase rather than physically bringing the bike home for your favourite mountain biker.
I hope you enjoyed our gift guide. Your favourite mountain biker will be stoked and itching to hit the trails after receiving these MTB-related gifts. Who said socks weren’t something to look forward to? And we know they’ll get a kick out of some of the MTBnovelty items. These are our best gift ideas to win your favourite mountain biker’s heart. Happy Holidays!