Mountain bikers are hard on their stuff. They spend all weekend beating it up on the trail and Mondays scrubbing the dirt out of everything they own. So chances are the trail rider in your life could use an upgrade or replacement from time to time.
At Bicycling, we review all kinds of products riders need so they can have longer, funner, and safer rides, and we know what gifts will get them excited this holiday season. We polled our staff and test editors for their top picks, checked out hundreds of new products, and asked a few experts what’s at the top of their lists. Here are 19 gifts for mountain bikers that they'll definitely appreciate this year.
The DART is the fastest and easiest tubeless plug we’ve used, and also the most effective. The chemically treated “feathers” interact with the latex in your tubeless sealant to essentially regenerate the rubber in the tire’s casing. We’re still riding tires with DART plugs months after installing them.
These shorts excel at every measure we looked at: They’re light (178 grams), comfortable, have excellent water repellency, boast smartly placed pockets, are breathable, and have a simple but secure buckle system that allows you to fine-tune the fit. The only drawback is that the lightweight fabric could tear more easily, but it held up admirably on our rides, surviving a few hip-to-dirt crashes during testing. Despite the minimal feel, Bontrager packed the shorts with pockets. There are two in the front for basic stuff, a deeper one below your hip, and a small zippered one for keys or cash. The 14-inch inseam should fall just below the knees on most riders—long enough for pads.
This pump won our testing. It’s noticeably larger than the rest of the minis on this list, but it really works. Despite being best-suited for high-volume tires, it also does a solid job getting road tires back to serviceable riding pressure.
And since it’s a dual-stroke type, it inflates tires extremely fast. Also, it has a built-in gauge so we were never left wondering just how much (or how little) air we had managed to cram back into our tire.
For both flat repair and “Oh damn, I left my floor pump at home” moments, the Mountain DA G is a lifesaver.
This mid-weight glove, with synthetic-leather panels on the palm and fingertips, is made for those who work on the trails they also ride on. The padding is durable enough to not tear when you heave deadfall off the trail, but also minimal enough to not feel bulky on the bar. Stretchy nylon mesh on the back of the glove keeps it flexible the way a riding glove should be. Wanna take a quick pic of your handiwork? The thumb and index fingers are touchscreen-compatible.
For the cyclist who takes a lot of solo rides in the woods, headphones can be welcome partners. And don’t worry, these true wireless earbuds offer an “ambient mode,” which lets in some sound—like that from traffic and other trail users—over the music.
The Galaxy Buds last up to six hours and store in their own wireless charging case, which holds up to seven more hours of battery life. Plus, they’re sweat- and splash-resistant.
This women’s jersey does double duty, looking good and performing well, both on the trails and off. The polyester-spandex blend fabric has an antimicrobial treatment to keep it from holding on to stink, is rated UPF 50 for sun protection, and wicks moisture to keep the rider drier.
The drop tail offers a bit of extra coverage when they’re hunched over the bar, and longer sleeves lend some protection from brush on overgrown trails. Plus, the three color options mean there’s bound to be one that matches their favorite shorts.
This ultralight and super-comfortable sock dispels the idea that wool should be worn only in cool temps. The Pursuit’s thin but supportive merino weave (it’s blended with nylon, spandex, and olefin) means you get the benefits of soft, breathable wool, without feeling like your toes are in a furnace. A test editor wore these on a ride where the temps flirted with 100 degrees and a passing thunderstorm dropped half an inch of rain. His feet remained comfortable the whole time and dried quickly afterward. But they also work great in cooler temps, making them a great three season sock (or four, for riders who live in warmer climes).
This high-volume pump is, as the name suggests, made specifically for filling mountain bike tires. The three-inch gauge goes up to only 40 psi, with big, easy-to-read markings in one-pound increments. Its gauge is easiest to use for setting a precise tire pressure. The stable metal base is the same as the Air Tool and Air Tool Comp V2.
Like those pumps, the Air Tool MTB also has a metal barrel, although it’s much larger in diameter to move a higher volume of air with each stroke. And move a lot of air it does—it took us only 20 strokes to fill a 29 x 2.6-inch tire to 20 psi.
The plastic handle and loose-fitting plunger give the feel of a discount product. But testing confirmed that this pump’s gauge is accurate at all points, and we consistently reach for the Air Tool when filling mountain bike tires.
These rad gloves are also pretty affordable, meaning it’s not much of a shame when they inevitably get muddy. Each is made of four-way-stretch mesh and has a big terry cloth nose wipe on the thumb. But our favorite part is the fun word or phrase on the palms, plus the eye-catching print on the back of the hands.
This watch combines your GPS computer, fitness tracker, and phone into one device (as long as their actual phone, which the Versa connects to via Bluetooth, is still on them or in their pack). Your giftee can record workouts, track sleep, receive text and call notifications, check weather, and more with this handy little wrist unit.
Give your beloved mountain biker a fresh helmet to protect their noggin while they’re sessioning that rock section. This lid comes in an array of fun colors and is lined with a MIPS system for added insurance against rotational impacts.
Be the hero of the post-ride garage party with simple, sturdy magnetic bottle opener. Magnets keep you caps from falling to the floor and rolling under tool boxes. It comes with mounting hardware and a lifetime warranty to keep the party going for years to come.
This comfy flannel looks great on or off the bike and performs surprisingly well through chilly rides. The polyester is treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating that sheds moisture—say, if it brushes up against a dewy bush—and Polygiene odor control that’ll keep a smelly cyclist from stinking up the brewery after the ride. Rubber buttons complete the subtly technical top.
If the trails are rained out, they can still work on their balance indoors using this 30-by-18-inch, non-slip wooden deck. It rests on top of the roller, so that the user has to find their equilibrium and work to stay upright—a skill mountain bike world champion Kate Courtney endorses.
A new jersey is always an exciting gift. This one in particular comes in a bevy of awesome colors and has two rear zip pockets. It fits loosely for maximum breathability on warm days, with room for a base layer or protective padding underneath during cooler rides.
A fanny pack keeps the weight off of shoulders but still affords some cargo space. This small pack will hold most everything for shorter rides where you can carry your water in a bottle cage; the one-liter compartment has room for a flat kit, a phone, a wallet, and a packable rain jacket.
The Hip Pouch also has two outer pockets for lighter items like a granola bar, and two zip pockets on the hip fit keys and lip balm.
Take the edge off chilly rides with this light and seamless fabric tube. Made of recycled plastic water bottles, the Buff keeps the wearer’s neck, face, ears, forehead, or whatever they wrap it around warm and shielded from the sun. The polyester is soft, with four-way stretch, and comes in tons of awesome colors and prints.
If you know a rider who loses sunglasses every other month, you know it’s best not to spend a ton of money on them. These sunnies are durable and protective but still affordable, so they won’t break your heart when your giftee inevitably misplaces or runs over them. They’re on the wider side, so best for riders with medium or large faces.
A handy little multitool makes a great gift, and one that your mountain biker will be very grateful for: They can stash it in a pocket or hip pack on every ride, so it’s there whenever they need to make a quick adjustment.
This one has 2-, 2.5-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, and 8mm hex wrenches, Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a chainbreaker, two open wrenches, a Torx, and four sizes of spoke wrenches.