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10 of the Best Mountain Bike Gifts

How To Shop For A Mountain Biker

Words by Morgan Taylor.
November 27th, 2013

Shopping for a mountain biker is tough. Every bike is just a little bit different, everybody has personal preferences about certain parts, and there are a lot of other things you could besides bike parts. While it’s no secret that most of our readers are avid mountain bikers, here we are writing an article on how to buy gifts for the rider in your life and what some of those gifts might be.

Why? Well, our passion for bikes is complex, and our loved ones definitely understand that – the range of parts for mountain bikes is bewildering even to riders. There’s a good chance you’ve received a gift card from your local bike shop in the past. While we can all agree that’s better than an ugly sweater and a six pack of tube socks, we know it can be better.

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Buying for a mountain biker can be tough. We’re here to help.

So, the purpose of this article is two-fold. First and foremost, it’s a guide for how to buy for a mountain biker, and some suggestions for possible gifts. Second, it’s an opportunity for us as riders to talk about what kinds of gifts we love, and which ones we’d rather not see energy and money wasted on. In no particular order, let’s get to the list:

10 of the Best Mountain Bike Gifts

1. Socks. Mountain bikers LOVE socks – but not your grandpa’s tube socks. High tech compression socks, stink-reducing wool socks, socks from your favourite online magazine, and so on. Even people who get free socks still like getting socks as a gift. You really can’t go wrong, as long as they’re dark in colour and relatively tall.

2. Beer. Beer is another thing universally loved by mountain bikers – especially local craft microbrew, anything with a bike on it. If there’s a local microbrewery in your ‘hood, pick up a growler for extra points.

2.5. Beer extras. Along with beer comes some beer accessories like bike themed pint glasses, and small coolers to keep your brew cold while you’re riding.

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Giant refillable glass bottles of fresh beer are a sure win. Photo Jason Fuller / Beerscout.

3. Movies. While you can buy most movies off iTunes these days, there’s something tangible and special about a good ol’ DVD. Local bike shops usually stock movies, and you might find older releases being sold at a discount. This year’s hot release is ARRIVAL by the Coastal Crew. You can thank us in advance.

4. Prints. We are very lucky to have a lot of talented photographers in the mountain bike world, producing images that go well beyond action sports and into the range of fine art.

5. Tools. Multi-tools are something most riders own, but a new one can sometimes be a treat. There are great options under $10, or really fancy ones for $50 or more.

6. Tubes. This is an easy and affordable stocking stuffer, and safer than tires. While many mountain bikes run without tubes these days, they are still a necessity for emergencies. This is another item that would be smart to take a photo of – both the size listed on the side of the tire, and the valve type.

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Tire sizes vary widely, but tubes are pretty standardized. Look for either 26″, 27.5″, 650B, or 29″.

7. Base layers. It’s pretty well winter, and that means fighting the cold. Quality base layers from either merino or synthetic can be used both on and off the bike, making them a gift that keeps on giving.

8. A camera. What better gift than one that comes home with tales of adventure and hardship in the wilderness? Wearable cameras are the new standard in vacation videos, and the first step to becoming a famous filmographer.

9. Gloves. Does your laundry room smell like a used jock strap? It could be the ratty old gloves. Another item that one can’t really have too many of. Be careful with sizing and colour, but otherwise gloves are sure to please the recipient.

10. Brake pads. A wear item, but very specific to the bike. Take a photo of the brake lever and caliper, bring it in to your local shop, and you’ll be a hero when the gifts are unwrapped.

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Flying in a plane so you can push your bike up really steep hills is on every mountain biker’s bucket list – and more affordable than you might think.

Extras or “You Might Be Dreaming”

11. Bike service. This is a bit of a catch-all, and comes with a caveat. Buying someone service for their bike will most likely end up costing them money – but in the case of the following suggestions, it’s usually money well spent. Suspension service, professional bike fitting and suspension setup, or even a basic tune up make one’s time on the trails more enjoyable. Some riders are home tinkerers, so if you think your rider is one of those, steer clear of this suggestion.

12. A vacation. Mountain bikers are often the type of people who want to do something adventurous and not-traditionally-relaxing on a vacation. Getting dropped off on a remote lake by float plane, or driving to a mountain resort to do lift accessed riding are two popular options here in BC, but the possibilities are limitless – just make sure you rope a riding buddy in on the plan.

13. Tires. Tires are a huge personal preference item, and the crew here at NSMB was unable to come to an agreement as to whether you should even buy them for the rider in your family. With three wheel sizes, even more tire sizes, countless tread patterns, and so on, we agreed on one thing: if you want to buy tires, take a few photos of the tires on the bike right now, and bring them in to the shop.

There are definitely more than 10 (or 13) items you could buy for the mountain biker in your life. However, the complications involved in buying specific parts for bikes make these purchases a challenge. The best case is to consult the rider’s local bike shop, or trusted friends. Getting it right could make this the best holiday season ever…


What do you want from Santa?

  • orangecoat

    Headlamps are always great, and dont forget a copy of Bike in the stocking to enjoy with your rum and eggnog.

  • Tuskaloosa

    a new bike!!

  • cam

    New grips! Take a photo of current grips and take that to the bike shop.

  • Jdot

    Lube!

  • switch900

    Hey Cam. Shouldn’t you be hawking Brocards at this point? Or one of NSMB’s sweet T-shirts. Seriously. I was stoked when I got the “I ride here” T a couple years ago. This year I’m hoping for the Seymour Gnar T in a medium (hint hint).

  • upandown

    I would be careful of gloves. The wrong cut or size for your hand will leave bunched-up glove between your hand and the handle-bars, which is not only uncomfortable, but reduces your grip on the bars.

    Decline/Bike magazine or NSMB t-shirt – definately agree. (also hint hint)

  • boomforeal

    i have had good luck buying bikes and bike-related presents for other people, but have always shied away from asking for them, both because i don’t want to seem bike-obsessed and because i am (we are?) pretty particular about bike gear of any kind: it doesn’t have to be the best, but it does have to be “right”

    • boomforeal

      agree with #2 on morgan’s list though – nigh on impossible to go wrong with booze!

  • PUNKY

    You forgot Flannel shirts, and Chromag anything

  • LostBoyScout

    A new chain could be a good one too, as long as the buyer knows the drivetrain basics about the bike it’s for!

    PS: Yay, one of my photos!

    • LostBoyScout

      One more: That 3M clear protective tape. Too lazy to buy it myself, but would totally stick it on my bike if I had it.

  • jgoodkind

    Beer…checkout http://www.drinktanks.com

  • Buster Bluth

    Special photos of atb’s sludgepot. And more lube.

  • switch900

    Damn my idea backfired. Cam do any of your shirts come in women’s?

  • Kevin26

    agree on movies, when I was 13 and got NWD3 it was the greatest thing ever

  • cam

    We have Fromme shirts (rolling) in women’s but they aren’t on the site yet. Soon!

  • Nukeproof tr

    Got a new nightlight and gloves here..both good ideas