The Best Gifts for Gravel Cyclists

    Gravel, “grav grav”, groads…whatever it is your favorite cyclist calls it (and can’t stop talking about), gravel is here to stay. 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…

    The Muc Off 17-in-1 Multitool ($25 from Muc-Off) comes equipped for nearly any problem you might encounter on the road or gravel—lightweight aluminum sidebars house CRV (Chromium-Vanadium) steel tool bits. The 17-in-1 tool covers you from hex wrenches to screwdrivers, spoke wrenches to Torx, and a chain tool. Don’t forget to add it to your bag when packing!

    Just 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 ($48, at Amazon) 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.

    The Maxxis Reaver ($70 at Jenson USA) should be on your list if you need gravel speed. The Reaver is a fast-rolling yet highly versatile grave tire home on various dry and mixed terrains. The profile resembles a file tread cyclocross tire with all the high-end Maxxis race product technology. Plus, the tan sidewalls up the presentation of any gravel bike.  

    …and while you’re there, grab a gift certificate for your favorite Local Bike Shop. They’re the ones who’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

    best frame bags and on bike storage gift ideas for gravel bikes and gravel cyclists

    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 a 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 Top Tube Bag ($59 at REI) sits on top of the top tube just behind the stem. We keep our GoPro and a couple of 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

    Safety is always on the menu, and cyclists need more. The Bryton Gardia R300L ($130 at Amazon) is right on the money for a wise investment that keeps the bike’s functionality manageable. The radar sits on the seat post and alerts the riders (via head unit) of overtaking vehicles. The Giardia works well but shines with the Bryton 750 SE head unit.

    We’re big fans of keeping things compact and contained, and the K-Edge Max XL Combo Mount ($70, 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 at Performance Bike) so you can use…

    The streamlined yet super-bright headlight like the Niterider Lumina 1200 Boost ($69 on sale at Amazon) 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 ($40 at Amazon). It comes with a floating orange surround 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 the camera attached, inside that Revelate top-tube bag!

    Best Cycling Component Gifts for Gravel Cyclists

    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. For a thinner, tackier tape, check out the WTC Supple Lite Bar Tape ($29.95, from Wolf Tooth) which is Zach’s favorite (and finds its way on all of his drop bar bikes).

    If you’re looking for the max in comfort and bling, the Cadex Amp ($350 at Cadex Cycling) saddle is pretty much it. The feel is a mix of popular powerful saddles with a twist on the shape that elevates nerve pressure without looking at that locked-in feel. The Amp is a premium race-driven piece of gear, so the price reflects that, but the performance is top-shelf. We highly recommend the Cadex Amp for any rider suffering from lower back and posterior pain on long gravel riders and gravitate to a short-nosed saddle. Cadex offers a 60-day fit guarantee, so if you don’t like it, you can send it back for a refund. 

    If the AMP is too narrow for you, and you’re looking for the most bang for the buck. The Fizik Terra Argo X3 ($130, at Amazon) is a great option. The Argo X3 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 of short rides on it ourselves, we’re very impressed, but it is wider than normal so smaller riders may want something narrower.

    If your gravel rider is a new-wheel-curious, the Forge+Bond 25 GR ($2,199 at Forge+Bond) is a great gravel wheelset with a cool backstory. Forge+Bond manufactures all their wheels in the USA using FusionFiber technology (you can learn more here). The unique and epoxy-less rim creation makes for an excellent gravel wheelset. The rim eats up road chatter and provides a 50% or greater in damping while maintaining lateral stability. Plus, the subdued Forge+Bond graphics ensure you can match this wheelset to any gravel machine.

    Best Gravel Cycling Kits & Clothes

    The proper clothing can make all the difference on a ride, especially on a long gravel journey. We’ve become huge fans of the pocketed cycling short, and some execute it better than others. The Velocio Thermal Utility Bib Tights ($279 at Velocio) with a pocket are hard to beat for cold weather. The chamois is perfect for long, dry, or wet rides, and the fleece front will keep you warm in the coldest headwind. If you’re riding in warmer temps and the cold isn’t an issue, the Pearl Izumi Expedition PRO Bib Shorts ($198.75 on sale at Pearl Izumi) are the next best option. The pockets are ample and are some of the largest we’ve encountered, and they securely hold your goods on bumpy terrain.

    The UDOG Distanza shoes ($166 at BikeInn) are gravel and off-road for riders with a casual look but with high performance. The shoes look more like joggers than cycling shoes, but that’s because of their unique Italian design. The sole is carbon, stiff enough for performance but flexible enough to explore. The lace-up design allows users to dial their comfort level without worrying about BOA failure or hotspots. The laces tuck neatly into the tongue, giving the shoes a classic and high-fashion look without the price.

    If your gravel rider prefers a shoe that follows a mountain bike linage, the Lake MX242 ($400 at Competitive Cyclist) shoes are sure to please. The toe box is ample and accommodates those prone to hot spots in traditional cycling footwear. The MX242 is especially good for riders with foot issues, such as bunions or an extremely narrow foot. The unique design allows for pressure relief in certain areas while keeping a still pedaling platform. Don’t let the aim at comfort fool you; the MX242 is a shoe for going fast and cranking out power. The Carbitex Omni Flex Carbon Stabiliser will keep your foot lined up perfectly with Lake’s supportive instep. The MX242 is highly recommended for riders with finicky feet who have trouble finding comfortable performance off-road shoes.

    Pair either of those with Defeet’s Cush Wool Blend 7″ Socks ($22, from Competitive Cyclist) 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!

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