Riding Gravel’s Gift Guide – by Guitar Ted
Hello there gravel riding folks and anyone else out there that loves a bit of off-pavement adventure. The time of year when gift giving is on our minds is right around the corner. We have a list here of items which might make you happy to unwrap, or you know……..to give to someone else who rides gravel like you. To those ends, here our some good ideas for gifts that might make the gravel traveler happy.
These are listed in ascending order according to price and were selected, this year, by Guitar Ted. Items which were reviewed here will have links back to those reviews in case you care to check those out. Okay, enough with the gab! Here’s the list!
Up To $100.00
Feetures Socks: We just posted the “Quick Review” on these socks which were impressive in their level of comfort and feel for cycling. While not a cycling specific sock, they do work really well in that role. Bonus points for any on your gift giving list that are runners as well as cyclists, because Feetures is the #1 sock in the running world, (or so they say).
They come in various heights and ‘comfort levels”, so you can be assured of finding just the right thing. I liked the “Mini-Crew” length in their Merino10 line. Most of Feetures socks are in the 16-25 dollar range, plus they have a lifetime guarantee. Nice! https://feetures.com/
Muc-Off Shop Supplies: The rider who has everything is hard to buy for, but that rider needs to take care of their bicycles, and Muc-Off has some excellent products to do just that.
We just finished up a “Quick Review” of some of their offerings and were very impressed with the results from using the items we were sent. They all have a pleasant scent, easy to use spray triggers, and Muc-Off products are environmentally sensitive, which is nice. I ended up enjoying the Silicone Shine and how it helped make my bicycles easier to clean. Remember- “A clean bike is a happy bike“! I also was impressed with the Bio-Chain Degreaser product which really was easy to use but very effective on gunky, messy drive train bits. Bonus tip: Muc-Off makes a really good sealant too, so if your rider uses tubeless tires, their No Hassle Puncture Protection Sealant is highly recommended. Muc-Off Bicycle Products
Osmo Nutrition Products: Last Summer, our own MG wrote up a “Quick Review” on a few Osmo Nutrition products and was thoroughly impressed with how they improved his hot weather performance. Following are some of MG’s thoughts on these products:
“Osmo Nutrition products simply work for me. They don’t upset my stomach and I find that my body looks forward to drinking them. As mentioned earlier, the Preload Hydration and Active Hydration products work well together, giving you a 1-2 punch against the heat and resulting dehydration during hard rides or races. After the ride, taking down a bottle of Acute Recovery within 30 minutes is a great way to replenish and repair muscles. ”
Most Osmo Nutrition products are in the $30.00-$40.00 range for a tub that should last a good while for most active riders. Osmo also just introduced a new flavor in their Rapid Recovery range which is chocolate. (See image) I mean, having a recovery drink that tastes like a chocolate milkshake after a ride sounds pretty good to me. But then again- I am a choco-holic!
You can find out more about Osmo Nutrition’s line by clicking over to their website: Osmonutrition.com.
KOM Cycling Sealant Injector & Tire Levers: here is a “two-in-one” gift idea that we looked at over the Summer here. First off is the sealant injector tool.
If you have a cyclist on your gift giving list that uses tubeless tires, or is even thinking about it, this tool is a must-have. I’ve been doing tubeless set ups on bicycles for well over a decade now and the KOM Cycling Sealant Injector is the best tool for the job of injecting sealant in precise quantities that I have ever used, and I’ve tried several injectors. It’s ease of use and mess-free operation makes it one of those tools you look forward to using. Plus, the tool is under fifteen bucks. Crazy good value.
Then they also offer tire levers, but that’s not all. These levers are a really great design, easy to use, and nest together for ease of portability and space saving. Plus, you get a professional grade Presta and Schrader valve compatible tool which snaps into the levers, so you never have to guess where it is. Brilliant! And again, at under ten bucks, you can’t go wrong here. https://komcycling.com/
$100.00 – $200.00 Range:
Silca Maratona Minimo Gear Bag: Last year on this very Gift Guide I placed the Silca Maratona Gear Bag on the list, sight unseen, as its features just made a ton of sense to me. Well, low and behold Silca comes out with a slightly smaller, slightly less featured bag, dubbed the Maratona Minimo, and sends one out to me to review.
The Minimo is “just enough” for those day trips or weekend event trips where you want to pack in your riding kit and have it be organized. With plenty of spots for nutrition, small tools, and eyewear/electronics storage, you have a perfect little package to make sure that you don’t forget anything when you leave to go to an event.
I used this bag to great effect when I went to a few events and rides during the latter half of 2019. It worked so well that now I cannot imagine not having this bag. With its classy good looks and high functioning feature set, it would make a very impressive gift for someone who could use a bit of organization in their cycling life. At $175.00, it isn’t cheap, but it does everything really well, plus it has style. Gotta look good, ya know?
Find out more about this and other Silca products here; https://silca.cc/
WTB Byway 700c Tires: When we reviewed the WTB Byway 650B X 47mm tires there was a wish that WTB would have done that tread pattern in 700c, because the 650B version was a blast to ride. Apparently, we weren’t the only folks wishing for that. WTB recently announced a few 700c sizes of the Byway, and if you didn’t like the 650B tire’s skin wall look, well WTB has you covered there as well. Black wall versions are also available.
At $59.99 across the board, I realize that the single tire price falls below the $100.00 threshold for this category, but you really need to think of this in pairs. So, by that measure, it works here. Find out more about the Byway and other WTB products here; https://www.wtb.com
$200.00 – $500.00 Range:
Shimano RX8 Gravel Shoes: This review should be getting wrapped up soon, and we may be giving away the final verdict by placing this on this list, but for anyone looking for a nicer pair of gravel riding shoes, the Shimano RX8’s are really good.
Both MG and I are using these shoes and we both have chatted privately with each other about them. I can tell you that nary a negative word has been shared amongst us about these shoes. While shoes are a personal choice, and are very important to a rider, of course, I cannot imagine a lot of folks wouldn’t like these. They fit my skinny feet well, and wide sizes are also available. Plus, Shimano has great distribution across the USA, so trying before you buy is a bit easier to do than maybe it would be with a very limited production, high end shoe.
And make no mistake, the RX8 is a serious shoe for the rider that wants to have efficient pedaling, but it also is walkable, comfy, and would be a great shoe for bikepacking, touring, or for the back road adventurer.
You can learn more about the Shimano RX8 Gravel Shoes here: https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/information/news/shimano-rx8-gravel-shoe.html
$500.00 and up Range:
Noble Bikes GX5: And now for this year’s ultra-gift suggestion. Get this one for yourself, or if you are really a giving sort, give this to that deserving rider who is looking to get a top shelf gravel bike.
The Noble Bikes GX5 is a bicycle I reviewed earlier in the year that I did not expect to really come to terms with. It has a 1X drive train, which I wasn’t a big fan of, and not only that, this version of the GX5 is 1X only if you use a mechanical drive train. (It can do a SRAM AXS electronic 2X). The GX5 doesn’t have a bunch of accessory mounting points, which I tend to gravitate to. The GX5 also was somewhat limited on tire clearances (650B X 47mm barely fit), so swapping out wheel sizes and to big rubber may not be best here. That all said, I ended up really liking this bike. I liked it so much that Noble Bikes has allowed me to continue using it for a longer term. But that’s not why I put this bike on this list.
It’s on this list because it really is a unique bike which is very good. The GX5 is uncannily smooth, stable, and yet it squirts forward with authority when you mash a pedal. It has that characteristic of being good at more than you might think it should be good at. Rough roads and smooth alike, the GX5 is awesome on it all, plus, you won’t see a bunch of these at most bike gatherings. The GX5 has a bit of exclusivity that some bike nerds crave, and it has a great pedigree in that the designer of this bike also worked on the Raleigh Tamland, a seminal gravel bike classic which helped define a genre’. Highly recommended. https://www.noble-bikes.com/gx5
Okay, that’s a wrap on our Gift Guide for this year. I hope you enjoyed it, and, on behalf of us all at Riding Gravel, we wish you all the very best during the Holiday Season and for 2020.
Note: Riding Gravel was not paid, nor bribed to put any of the above products on our Gift Guide. The decisions made to include these items was solely Guitar Ted’s and he strives to give his honest thoughts and opinions throughout.