Holiday Gift Guide – What to get your favorite Gravel Cyclist!
Gravel, “grav grav”, groads…whatever it is your favorite cyclist calls it (and can’t stop talking about) because they love it and it’s the best thing to happen to road bikes in forever…you can still make it better for them. And since our obsession here at Bikerumor is the gear and components, here are our top gift ideas for improving every ride for the gravel-loving (or just gravel-curious) rider in your life…
Best Gravel Tools & Accessories Gifts
We all like a streamlined bike, and the Granite Stash RCX ($60, on Performance Bike) hides an 8-piece multitool inside your steerer tube, and it works on both carbon and alloy steerers, making it perfect for modern gravel race bikes and those building out a monster bike with a suspension fork. It’s light, convenient, and easy to use…and it comes in black, too.
About the only other thing you’ll need on the bike is a pump and CO2 solution, and for that the Blackburn Core CO2’Fer ($45, at Competitive Cyclist)mini pump doubles as a CO2 chuck, with an under-bottle-cage mount to hold it all on the bike. An extendable hose protects your valve stems, and the integrated valve core removal tool helps you top off sealant more easily.
Also from Blackburn, the Wayside Side-Entry Bottle Cage ($25, at Competitive Cyclist and Amazon) makes it easy to get water bottles in and out underneath a frame bag (see below), and what separates this one from the rest is a two-piece design that lets you decide which side you want access to be on. Or change it as needed. Just note that you might need longer bolts than what comes on your bike, so ask your local bike shop for spares…
…and while you’re there, grab a gift certificate for your favorite Local Bike Shop. They’re the ones that’ll help you get those weird noises to go away, fix the stuff you can’t, and help out with last minute parts and repairs before your next big race. Support them so they’re there when you need them!
Best Frame Bags & Storage Gifts
The 1.4L Road Runner Burrito Bag ($45, from Road Runner Bags) is the original compact handlebar bag, and a favorite almost everywhere. It’s simple looking, but the well-executed details like waterproof zipper, secure Velcro fasteners, and easy-to-grab-while-riding zipper pull tab (not to mention 8 different colors) have made it one of the most popular bar bags around.
If you’re looking for just a bit more storage, the 2.4L Snēk Cycling Stache Plus ($70, from Snēk Cycling) not only adds room, but has a fully padded shell adds structure and prevents sagging when loaded. This extra protection makes it great for shoving a smartphone or GoPro in, particularly on rougher roads (or mountain bike trails). There’s even an internal pocket to keep your phone readily accessible when you open it, plus a small external pocket for snacks.
For longer rides, or when you want to maximize aerodynamics over a bar bag, a slim frame bag that runs underneath the top tube is perfect for carrying extra food, tools, jacket, and more. We like the Revelate Designs Tangle Bike Frame Bag ($105, at REI) because it comes in four sizes to fit almost any frame and has an easy-to-grab full length zipper.
If you only need a tiny bit more storage, the Revelate Mag-Tank Bag ($59 for bolt-on, $69 for strapped version, both at REI) sits on top of the top tube just behind the stem. We keep our GoPro and a couple bars in there, giving us quick access to film thanks to the secure yet incredibly fast to open magnetic clip. The zipper-less flap means it’s not fully waterproof, but it’s the fastest opening bento bag we’ve ever used, and you just flip the lid over and it self-closes securely so you can get your hands back on the bar quickly.
Best Gravel Electronics & Mounts
The Bryton Rider 750 GPS Cycling Computer ($270, on ProbikeKit) is a full featured, full color, voice-activated cycling computer that’s a bargain compared to the competition. But what makes it stand out for gravel riding is its massive 20 hour battery life and use of FIVE different satellite systems to ensure you stay on track no matter what. Add in huge 3rd party device compatibility and we think any rider would love the Rider 750.
We’re big fans of keeping things compact and contained, and the K-Edge Max Combo Mount ($65, available with Garmin and Wahoo style mounts) is oversized to handle the weight of both the largest cycling computers and a light or action camera, no matter how rough the road or trail gets. Just make sure to add K-Edge’s NiteRider Adapter ($20) so you can use…
The streamlined yet super-bright headlight like the Niterider Lumina 1200 Boost ($120, but on sale at Backcountry) has 7 modes, including flashing for daytime visibility from drivers. It tops out at 1200 lumens to help you navigate those back roads when you’re inevitably caught out after dark.
One of our favorite action cam mounts is the GoPro Bite Mount + Floaty ($39.99 on Amazon). The floating orange surround isn’t shown here, but comes with the kit and is great for keeping your HERO from sinking. But it’s the Bite Mount that’s in constant use here…it works with any action cam that uses the 2-prong mounting tabs, and doubles as a perfect little handle that fits, with camera attached, inside that Revelate top-tube bag!
Best Gravel Cycling Component Gifts
A lot of handlebars have flare now, but few if any can compare to the engineered flex of the Lauf Smoothie ($220, direct from Lauf). From the 90º corner bend and slightly ovalized tops, to the shallow, well shaped drop and 16º flare, it’s an ergonomic dream. But what really sets it apart is the use of S2 Glass Fibers to create just enough vertical flex to smooth all the little bumps and vibrations.
Wrap that (or any bar) with Wolf Tooth Components Supple Bar Tape ($39.95, from Wolf Tooth) and those fatiguing vibrations are nearly eliminated. It’s 5mm thick, offering a ton of cushion, and the 100% silicone material keeps it grippy even when it gets wet or muddy (or your palms get sweaty). Fresh bar tape is always appreciated, and with 5 colors to choose from, this will definitely be a gravel-appreciated gift.
If your gravel cyclist has just been riding their cyclocross bike, still riding that cheap stock saddle, or cobbled something together from the parts bin, these two will change their minds on how comfortable a saddle can be. The Fizik Terra Argo X3 ($130, at Pro’s Closet) was designed specifically for gravel, with a shape, padding, and central cutout aimed at keeping the rider in a comfortable but powerful position over long miles. Even after just a couple short rides on it ourselves, we’re very impressed, but it is wider than normal so smaller riders may want something narrower.
The Specialized S-Works Power Mirror ($450, from Specialized) might break the holiday budget, but dang if this isn’t the most comfortable saddle we’ve ridden. Several of us swear by it, as does just about everyone we’ve talked that’s ever ridden it. It’s also lightweight thanks to full carbon rails, just make sure your seatpost can accommodate 7×9 oblong rails.
Best Gravel Cycling Kits & Clothes
Depending on how you ride or race gravel will determine the type of shoes you’ll want. The Bontrager Foray Mountain Bike Shoes ($165, from Trek Bikes) were our choice for six days of riding across southern Portugal, where we knew we’d be doing plenty of off-the-bike exploring, taking photos, and stopping at cafes. Their nylon outsole is plenty stiff enough for pedaling, but also easy to walk in. Ample tread makes them grippy for hike-a-bikes, and their GnarGuard surround helps deflect errant rocks and branches, too.
If you’re doing more racing, the Rapha Explore Powerweave ($355, from Rapha) all-terrain shoes have all the style (even the BOA cables match!) and comfort you’d expect from the brand, but also deliver on the performance. Their TPU-reinforced upper is 3D woven into shape, including a sculpted heel cup that keeps your foot locked into place during spirited riding. Micro-adjustable BOA Li2 dials and adjustable arch support really add up to an incredible shoe that’s still somehow less expensive than some competitors.
Pair either of those with Defeet’s Cush Wool Blend 7″ Socks ($21, from Defeet) for the ultimate in all day foot comfort. They’re 25% Merino Wool, and the rest is performance material (including recycled polyester), so they’re both soft and form fitting, with stretch that’ll hold up over years of riding. The extra padding under the forefoot softens rough terrain, and makes these great socks for all-season riding and hiking, too!
Pactimo’s Summit Stratos Range Bibs ($257, but on sale now for $141 to $154 in men’s and women’s versions) come in six sizes and uses a Cerami-K fabric that not only gives it a very cool texture, but actually helps dissipate heat and adds abrasion resistance. Side pockets on the legs are great for holding gel packs or other slim items (maybe even your phone). The women’s version uses their “Clip&Pit” design to make bathroom breaks easier, too!