Great Gifts for Gravel Cyclists – $60 and Under – by MG
The holidays are upon us, and with them comes the challenge of choosing the right gifts for friends and family. Not many folks have unlimited budgets, so selecting a great gift that’s also affordable is the goal.
With that in mind, here are some gifts we’d be stoked to find under the tree this year, and all come in at $60 or less.
Follow Hollow Socks
Constructed from premium alpaca fibers from Peru, Follow Hollow socks are the best socks I’ve worn, hands down. I’ve used their Performance Alpaca socks on multi-day bikepacking trips without stink or discomfort, and after a year of hard wear, they’re still going strong. They’re so good that I recently purchased two more pairs of their thickest Performance Alpaca Boot socks, which are perfect for chilly winter rides.
Follow Hollow socks aren’t inexpensive, at $25-35 a pair, depending on style. As a result, some cyclists might dismiss them on price alone. That’d be a shame however, as their fit, moisture management and comfort are quite simply amazing.
Available in three styles – Ankle, Crew and Boot – the Follow Hollow socks make great stocking stuffers for the cyclists on your list.
Visit the Follow Hollow website to learn more and place an order. Heck, you might even want pick up a pair or two for yourself while you’re at it. You won’t be sorry.
Chrome Doubletrack Handlebar Sling
Handlebar bags are hot right now, and for good reason. More so than perhaps any other bag type, handlebar bags make it easy to access the clothing, tools, food, or whatever else you have stashed inside.
The best handlebar bags are simple to open and close with one hand, yet secure enough to keep gear safe over the roughest roads or trails. They should also be easy to install and remove, so you can take the bag with you when the bike is locked or unattended.
One new handlebar bag that ticks all the boxes is Chrome’s new Doubletrack Handlebar Sling. The magnetic closure makes one-handed access easy, and while the fold-over top isn’t fully waterproof, the bag kept my gear dry through the light rain showers I’ve encountered on recent rides and commutes.
At 5 liters of capacity, the size is a good middle ground – ideal for daily carry. It can easily hold three tallboys side by side, with extra room on top and in the internal elastic mesh pockets on the back panel. Two additional external mesh pockets provide storage for a phone, keys or other items you need quick access to.
The Doubletrack Handlebar Sling installs quickly on the bike using two hook and loop handlebar straps and an adjustable strap around the head tube. Removal is even faster. An integrated shoulder/waist strap tucks discreetly into the back of the bag when it’s on the bike, but deploys quickly to ease off the bike carry. Very cool.
All in all, Chrome nailed it with the Doubletrack Handlebar Sling. It’s durable, versatile, easy to use and looks good on the bike. The MSRP of $60 is very reasonable as well, making it a great gift for virtually any gravel cyclist.
Learn more and order one up on the Chrome Industries website.
One of the best things about tubeless tires is their ability to seal small punctures with the liquid sealant inside the tires. But what do you do when a puncture is too large for the sealant to handle? If you’re carrying a Dynaplug Racer, you simply stick a plug in it, pump the tire back up to pressure and ride on.
It’s faster, easier and less messy than putting in a tube, which is why more and more riders are carrying plugs instead of tubes. I’ve used Dynaplug’s excellent products for years and the Racer is the company’s most compact, easy to carry plug installation tool.
The machined and anodized 6061 alloy body carries two plugs – one standard plug and one Megaplug, which is 3x the thickness of the standard plug. The plugs are stored in the tool, ready to deploy, under machined alloy caps. Best of all, the compact size takes up virtually no space in a bag or pack and weighs just 24 grams (with two plugs installed). A variety of anodized colors are available.
For the seriously weight obsessed, Dynaplug recently released the Carbon Racer, which shares the same design as the original Racer, but with a carbon fiber body and caps, the weight drops to just 14 grams all in.
MSRP of the Racer and Carbon Racer are the same, at $47. In addition to the Racer, Dynaplug offers a wide range of tire repair tools for bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, and even cars and trucks.
Check out the entire Dynaplug line at Dynaplug.com.
Fix It Sticks T-Ratchet
Designed as a better alternative to the classic “Y” style hex wrench, the Ratcheting T-Way Wrench from Fix It Sticks is a fantastic gift for any home mechanic.
All three ends of the Ratcheting T-Way Wrench feature magnetic bit holders, which accept any 1/4-inch standard bit. The reversible ratcheting extension makes it easy to tighten or loosen virtually any bolt on the bike. The fixed bit holders in the ‘T’ handle are useful for getting into tight or angled spaces that the ratcheting extension may not be able to reach.
The Ratcheting T-Way Wrench is a high quality piece, suitable for both home and bike shop use. The tool itself costs $40, but that doesn’t include the 1/4-inch bits. The bits can be found at a reasonable price at any local hardware store.
Visit FixItSticks.com to learn more about the Ratcheting T-Way Wrench, and Fix It Sticks’ entire line of bicycle tools.
Affinity Cycles Premium Carbon Fiber Tire Levers
Tire levers are a tool you rarely want to use, but when you need them, they’d better be good. I’ve lost count of the number of sub-par tire levers I’ve tossed into the recycling bin over the years, but the good ones have earned their spot, either on my workbench, or in my on the bike flat kit.
Designed to offer the ultimate in strength, durability, ergonomics and compatibility with both carbon and alloy rims, Affinity Cycles has truly raised the bar with its new US-made Premium Carbon Fiber Lever Set.
Claimed to be tougher and more durable than existing tire levers, the Affinity Cycles tire levers are constructed of a combination of unidirectional and 3K woven carbon fiber. The 3-dimensional lever shape is said to enhance strength and stiffness, which you can feel in use. All edges and corners are rounded and smooth, which works well and feels comfortable in the hand.
I received an early production set a couple months ago, just before I went on a tire swapping bender on several of my bikes. In every instance, I used just one lever to remove the tires, which ranged from 40c gravel tires to 4.5-inch fatbike meats.
My thumbs aren’t as strong as they were in my days as a bicycle mechanic, and modern tubeless tires often fit pretty tight. As a result, I often need a tire lever for installation as well. With the Affinity Cycles levers, I was able to install even tight fitting tires without drama. The strength and lack of lever flex was especially apparent during installations, where lesser levers often fail.
I keep one of the Affinity Cycles levers on my workbench, while the other resides in my on the bike flat kit. I’ve never needed both levers at the same time, so it’s a setup that works for me. They’ve quickly become my go to tire levers, and that’s saying a lot.
At $25 for two levers, the Affinity Cycles Premium Carbon Fiber lever set is about twice the cost of other quality plastic tire levers, however the feel and function easily justify the cost. Everything about the levers oozes quality and style.
Visit AffinityCycles.com to learn more and order a set for each of the cyclists in your life.
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Riding Gravel… Cheers!
Please note: Products mentioned in this story were provided at no cost to Riding Gravel. We are not being paid nor bribed for our coverage, and we will give our honest opinions throughout. Thanks for reading!
3 thoughts on “Great Gifts for Gravel Cyclists – $60 and Under”
I’m all aboard the handlebar bag train, except for one thing – they all seem to assume there are no cables in the way and you don’t actually wrap your hands around the top of the bar. I’m sure I could rig up some kind of offset to keep the bag out from the bar, but none of them seem to have that solution integrated into them. It’s a little confusing to me.
Thanks for your thoughts, @Chilly Willy. The concerns you voice are valid and are often true of modern handlebar bags. I’ve had a better experience with the Chrome bag, particularly after I learned the nuances of mounting it. Unlike a lot of other bags, the bar straps are actually sewn into the Doubletrack bag, so you have a little more control over its positioning (rotationally) on the bars. I found that with the straps oriented so the bag hangs down and forward, it gives me a little more finger wigglin’ room. It also depends on the bar and bar width, to a certain extent. I have a bit more finger room on the PRO Discover Big Sweep bar on my Ti Fargo than I do on some other bars. That said, any bar with the tops canted back will also give you more finger/hand room on the tops, regardless of the bag.
Certain, it makes sense that gravel bikes are not cheap. After all, you’re not just going to ride them on smooth roadways. They’re developed to endure all type of penalty. This includes dust as well as technical roads, single tracks, winter months, as well as extra.