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BUYER'S GUIDE

Christmas gifts for discerning cyclists — what to buy for the pernickety pedaller in your life

In this pizza cutter and inspirational cycling quote-free zone, the quest to find that most discerning of cycling Christmas gifts ends here

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Trying to find that perfect Christmas gift for the special cyclist in your life sometimes feels like being despatched by the ruler of the land to roam the farthest reaches of their empire, and not return until you’ve found the most beautiful intricate shiny trinket hand hewn and precious jewel inlaid by the most skilled craftsmen in all the realm.


You spend months travelling weary epic miles across greased treacherous bike shop floors, trudge through the sticky magazine mire looking for clues and wander around the endless dank wastelands of the internet, fighting the odd troll along the way, trying to find this exquisite bauble who’s myth only grows with time and tavern tales that it’s been blessed with a unicorn’s kiss, and which would finally render your exhausting quest complete.

Upon return you can only hope that the gift finds favour with the crowned head, otherwise you’re destined for banishment in the deepest darkest dungeon until you’re allowed out to make the tea. Our bravest knight VecchioJo has already scoured the farthest corners of the dominion so you don’t have to, and can proffer a selection of cycling presents that should please even the most fussy monarch, or princess.

This gift guide for the discerning cyclist (not to be confused with the cyclist who just wants expensive things, for that see our money-no-object gifts for cyclists guide) might help any awkward unwrapping incidents. We'd also recommend having a gander at our sub-£50 gift guide for stocking fillers if the cyclist in your life is less picky, and our annual what not to buy for cyclists guide for... well, you get the idea. 

Without further ado... 

The best Christmas gifts for discerning cyclists: our top picks

Farfalli Fibra Carbon Fibre Corkscrew

Farfalli Fibra Carbon Fibre Corkscrew

10
A discerning alternative to the Campag corkscrew
Buy now for £139.95 from Whitby & Co

Step aside Campagnolo corkscrew... there’s a new sommelier in town, and it’s carbon fibre.

Based on the classic waiter’s friend, the body of this bottle opener is made of the magic weave which supports a hardened steel spiral and blade, and stainless steel levers. It also features Farfalli’s patented double lever system to make slipping a cork out a breeze.

It trumps the Campag bottle opener by coming with a foil cutting knife - and by being carbon fibre, of course. It’s also a lot smaller and lighter, so you can pop it into your back pocket or seat pack for mid-ride baguette, cheese and wine breaks come the summer. That's something you’d struggle to do with the bulky beast from Vicenza.

Kuwahara Hirame Pump Head

Kuwahara Hirame Pump Head

10
For the discerning cyclist who demands prime pump action
Buy now for £56.95 from Ebay

You can spend a lot of money on a track pump, and oh can you spend a lot of money on a track pump these days... but its weak point will always be its attachment to the valve, and the proliferation of designs that manufacturers have come with to solve this connection conundrum proves that no one’s quite solved it. Luckily you can spend more money than most track pumps on just a pump head, but I promise it’s the best one you’ll ever use. Hirame pump heads are made in Japan by one man, so they’re going to be a little exclusive and also a bit spendy, and also dripping in that indefinable Thing.

Chop the exiting head off your current track pump and chuck it in the bin, and slip the Hirame in the hose. Cinch it down with the hose clamp if you want to fulfil the highest pressures that are now on offer, lock the head onto your valve with the large metal lever, the clamping force of which can be adjusted by turning the nozzle, and pump away with impunity. If you don’t spend at least three months just fiddling with it and flipping the lever before putting it on pump, then there’s something wrong with you.

If you don't want to take your chances on eBay, you can also buy this trinket via the Kuwahara website

Kwaremont Beer

Kwaremont Beer

10
For the discerning sipper
Buy now for £2.79 from Belgian Beer Factory

Something for both the cyclo-cross and road fans here, as the former will have seen the adverts decorating numerous Belgian ‘cross race courses and roadies will know the Oude Kwaremont as an iconic and frequently race deciding cobbled climb during the Tour of Flanders.

Kwaremont is a full flavoured blonde beer coming in at 6.6%, which isn’t quite as knee-wobbling as the steepest bit of the 2km climb which hits you at a punchy 9% - but if those gradients are a bit much and you’re on a recovery refreshment, there’s always a 0.3% low alcohol version available too.

Veloskin Shave Cream and Post Shave Bundle

Veloskin Shave Cream and Post Shave Bundle

10
A Christmas cliché reimagined for picky cyclists
Buy now for £26.49 from Veloskin

Coming a close second to socks as a Christmas gift cliché is a collection of smellies. Body Shop basket for the ladies, Old Spice gift set for the gentlemen, and less likely to be hastily regifted is this pairing of Veloskin shaving cream and post shave lotion.

Veloskin say their shaving cream is specially formulated to provide the best shaving experience for your pins, which lathers up with a refreshing scent of orange blossom and bergamot.

The luxurious post-shave lotion is formulated to soothe irritation and will leave your skin hydrated, super supple and protected making it gentle enough to use on your face, if you wanted. What do you mean you don’t have separate shaving cream for your legs?

Woodys bike stand

An elegant wooden bike stand

10
Store your bike(s) in style
Buy now for £100 from Etsy

Finding an elegant home bike storage system can be hard. Some bent metal hooks from B&Q just don’t cut the style mustard, and even if you go for some fancier wooden ones they’re often just bits of plywood slotted together.

These wooden bike stands from Woodys Fenders are an elegant way of keeping your bike upright, and are beautifully crafted in a choice of handsome woods available to suit any tyre width from road to mountain. They don’t look ugly or obtrusive and put your bike right where it belongs - in the front room.

Feedback Sports Bottom Bracket and Lockring Tool

Feedback Sports Bottom Bracket and Lockring Tool

10
A lusty lockring and BB tool that will last you a lifetime
Buy now for £40 from Tredz

There are tools that you unwrap for Christmas that aren’t welcome, like the Black & Decker drill so you finally get round to fixing that shelf in the spare room, or the bit of pressed metal 'Bike Tool' that has nothing that fits your bike... then, there are tools that are actually welcome, and just a tiny bit lustworthy.

The Feedback Sports Bottom Bracket and Lockring Tool is a beautifully cast and hardened bit of kit, that combines a long-levered bottom bracket tool at one end with a precision cassette lockring tool at the other. One end will fit Shimano and SRAM bottom brackets (the 16 notch 44mm ones) and 15mm Shimano disc brake lockrings, whilst the other end slots into Shimano and SRAM pattern cassette lockrings and centrelock disc brake lockrings. It’s long enough to give it a good tighty/loosey heft and sturdy enough to last a lifetime, or until bottom bracket and lockring standards change again anyway. 

Studio 51 Pendant Cleat

Studio 51 Pendant Cleat

10
A bit of bike jewellery that’s actually nice
Buy now for £64 from Studio 51

It can be hard to find a piece of bike-related jewellery that doesn’t contain a bit of upcycled rusty chain link somewhere, and maybe an offcut of inner tube. Studio 51 are thankfully changing that by combining their backgrounds of jewellery making, fashion and design with their love for all things cycling.

They still use recycled and responsibly sourced materials, but it doesn’t look like they have. The number 51 has gained mythical status since it has brought many riders good luck, with Eddy Merckx, Luis Ocaña, Bernard Thévenet, Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond all winning the Tour with the number on their back. Studio 51 offer a few designs with that number on (so you can enlighten anyone that may ask), but this cleat pendant has a more decorative and enigmatic charm about it.

Wolf Tooth Anodised Thru Axle

Wolf Tooth Anodised Thru Axle

10
A more discerning way to add something anodised to your bike
Buy now for £52 from Saddleback

Anodised bike parts have been quite the plague over the years, especially in the mountain bike world where bikes would be rendered unusable due the abundance of purple coloured parts. It’s easy to get carried away and throw bling at a bike so it ends up looking like a TikToker's toilet - but those that know, know it’s best to arrive subtle and accessorise well.

An anodised thru axle is small, unobtrusive and the perfect accent to a matching swatch of colour elsewhere, and as a little extra this Wolf Tooth one uses a captive steel washer under the head to reduce friction on the fork leg, transferring more of the tightening torque to clamping load.

Castelli Slicker Pro Jacket

Castelli Slicker Pro Jacket

10
For the discerning cyclist who knows where it's worth spending the big bucks
Buy now for £337.5 from Wiggle

The discerning rider knows where it’s worth spending money, and where it’s totally fine to go for the cheaper option with no discernible drop in quality or usefulness. The cost of everything and also its value, if you will.

A good waterproof is where it’s definitely worth spending all of your money and then a bit more, as any pounds you may have saved will make themselves known at some point, and when you’re soaked that point will be a miserable one. A jacket that keeps the outdoors from seeping in and allows your sweat to sneak out is a truly wonderful thing, and makes riding in the rain almost a pleasure because you realise you’ll always be dry and not just waiting to get damp and grumpy at some point.

While it's a huge spend, the Slicker from Castelli is at the cutting edge of waterproofing, and is now coated with an environmentally friendly PFC-free membrane to make you feel better about buying it compared to that Shakedry stuff

Magistrale Cycling Coffee

Magistrale Cycling Coffee

10
Retro and delicious
Buy now for £18 from Magistrale

Score a double-pronged hit straight into a cyclist’s veins with this retro team themed coffee. The Cafe de Colombia cycling team was big in the late ’80s, and the iconic jersey was a predictable sight at the head of the peloton as soon as the road started to point upwards, with their star Luis Herrera claiming mountain stages, a brace of mountain jerseys and winning overall in the Vuelta.

To honour the Cafe de Colombia team and their coffee roots, Magistrale Cycling Coffee source these beans from 100km north of the birthplace of Herrera. It's a medium espresso roast, bringing with it the sweet flavours of Spanish orange and hints of fruit honey next to a caramel fudgy body. To be honest that Cafe de Colombia themed label is all we needed to know.

August Bicycles Coffee Tamper

August Bicycles Coffee Tamper

10
A more discerning way to upcycle
Buy now for £95 from August Bicycles

While we’re on coffee and bikes, here’s the perfect marriage of the two in a coffee tamper made from an old bike hub. A step up(cycle) from your usual rusty bike bits tat, this tamper from August Bicycles takes an old hub shell and expertly mates it to a catering grade stainless steel base that can be sized to fit any portafilter. And... if you have an old hub that you’re still emotionally attached to and can’t throw away, August Bicycles can turn that into a tamper for you too.

Hulsroy Bottle Cage

Hulsroy Bottle Cage

10
A more elegant bottle cage (that actually holds your bidon securely)
Buy now for £42 from Stayer Cycles

The discerning cyclist knows that you can keep all your fancy carbon angel rib-shaped bottle cages, that get most of their weight saving from frequently losing the bottle they’re meant to be looking after. If you want a cage that actually works and doesn’t fling your bidon into the gutter at regular intervals, then you want a metal one.

These bottle cages comes from Danish frame builder Hulsroy, and are elegantly constructed from silver brazed stainless steel with three variations of the design in standard and left and right sideloaders.

Spatz Capsule Winter Fuelling Flask

Spatz Capsule Winter Fuelling Flask

10
A Thermos, but for the discerning cyclist
Buy now for £34.99 from Spatzwear

It’s not a Thermos, it’s a Winter Fuelling Flask ok? Spatzwear have become famous for developing clothes that allow you to ride in the absolute worst that winter can throw at you, and now they’ve come up with some hardware to warm you from the inside.

The Capsule is a flask that crucially fits inside a bottle cage, enabling you take 510ml of hot drink with you on your ride. It comes with an OTE energy product inside to provide both a sip of energy and a gulp of comfort in what Spatz call a hot fuelling system, although I’m sure that could be replaced with overly sweet tea if that’s more your thing.

The Capsule is made from a brushed non-lacquered stainless steel so it won’t scratch and look tatty, and its double vacuum design will keep drinks warm for hours. The locking lid is designed to be used with one hand whilst cycling too. You can also use it off the bike: in the office, when out walking, at the gym or when camping, like a Thermos.

PEdALED Japanese Bandana Cap

PEdALED Japanese Bandana Cap

10
An uber cool cycling cap
Buy now for £25 from PEdALED

You can’t go wrong with a cycling cap. In the summer it keeps the sun out of your eyes and stops sweat dribbling into them, and it stops the rain from stinging your eyes in winter, where it also adds a little bit of warmth.

You can go wrong, however, in gifting the wrong cap to a Discerning Cyclist. If you get them a team one is it the right team? You know the rules about not wearing team kit, and it’s a massive faux-pas if you’re not actually in the team. But old teams seem to be okay because it’s retro cool, so where’s the line there and who decides? And what if you get the same one that Steve wears on the Sunday ride? That would never do. The Japanese Bandana Cap from PEdALED is a 100% cotton cap (we won’t be doing with any synthetic casquettes, thank you) and comes in a choice of ten patterns each based on a Japanese tenugui, or bandana. If you get the colour that best matches your socks then you can’t go wrong.

PNW Pebble Tool

PNW Pebble Tool

10
A discerning multi-tool to lend your less discerning mate mid-ride
Buy now for £35 from PNW

The Discerning Cyclist keeps their bikes in peak operational condition at all times, so on the road mechanicals are rare. They’re far more likely to have to lend their tools and their working pump to riding companions. In that respect there’s no need to carry a multi-tool the size of Bear Grylls’ fist with all the tools to fix any bike, half a Land Rover and the widget to gut a fish. The Pebble Tool has just enough to get you out of most common mechanical mishaps in a package that’s half the size of a back pocket just-in-case snack bar, with 3mm, 4mm, 5mm and 6mm Allen keys, a T25 Torx and an integrated Dynaplug tyre repair dart should the Tubeless Puncture Pixie come to say hi. It comes in four snazzy colours too.

Jobst Brandt Ride Bike!

Jobst Brandt Ride Bike!

10
Some discerning reading material
Buy now for £27 from Isola Press

Jobst Brandt was a California cyclist and engineer who, while he wasn’t working for Porsche, inventing the cycle computer, developing touring shoes, the high performance road tyre and writing the definitive work on wheel building, was riding his road bike where most people wouldn’t dare in America and the Alps. While he was at it, he also had a hand in developing the modern mountain bike.

It’s a fun and informative read and a real insight into this man, littered with photos showing him and his bike in inappropriate places. Read this and you can silence your mate who always goes on about his grandad Jack who invented gravel bikes when he rode the local quarry on his Raleigh 3 speed with upturned bars.

You can also read our rare 10/10 review from Richard Peploe before purchasing if you don't believe us. 

King Cage Titanium Dustpan

King Cage Titanium Dustpan

10
Clean up in style
Buy now for £120 from King Cage

Does your special little cyclist spend hours ensuring that their bicycle is always spotless and running immaculately, is stored in a climate-controlled shed with a meticulously organised collection of tools whilst somehow not really being bothered that the actual house itself is a bit of a mess? Maybe this will help them tidy up a little, especially those little snots of oily gunk that flop off a jockey wheel post ride.

King Cage have been making titanium and stainless steel bottle cages out of Durango, Colorado for over a quarter of a century. Founder Ron Andrews worked at Fat City Cycles, Ibis Cycles, Merlin Metalworks, Jo Breeze Cycles, Ted Wojac cycles and Yeti Cycles before concentrating on making bottle cages in his basement, where he still works. The King Cage Titanium Dustpan is hand made by the man himself and comes with an option of brushes and a branded (literally) stand.

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

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8 comments

Avatar
Freddy56 | 5 months ago
1 like

Every time I see the term "discerning cyclists," it makes me envision the worst prick in our club, in every club. The arrogant snob who would sneer at the Sora riding new guy, who would buy all that elitest rubbish pictured above and would make some mental excuse for getting dropped regarding the wrong choice of wheels or chamois.

'Discerning' tries to separate those who know and those who don't and drive a hirarchical wedge of supposed knowledge in the peloton. You cannot buy true joy in cycling, no matter how much we all pretend.

I ask VecchioJo is he discerning?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Freddy56 | 5 months ago
0 likes

Freddy56 wrote:

Every time I see the term "discerning cyclists," it makes me envision the worst prick in our club, in every club. The arrogant snob who would sneer at the Sora riding new guy, who would buy all that elitest rubbish pictured above and would make some mental excuse for getting dropped regarding the wrong choice of wheels or chamois.

'Discerning' tries to separate those who know and those who don't and drive a hirarchical wedge of supposed knowledge in the peloton. You cannot buy true joy in cycling, no matter how much we all pretend.

I ask VecchioJo is he discerning?

You've tied up some baggage there.

To my mind, a "discerning" cyclist is one who recognises the difference between Sora and Ultegra (easy one, the Ultegra crank will be in several pieces), but there doesn't need to be snobbery involved. Maybe "enthusiast" is a better term as that doesn't imply elitism.

Avatar
wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 5 months ago
1 like

a "discerning" cyclist is one who recognises the difference between Sora and Ultegra (easy one, the Ultegra crank will be in several pieces)

All Hail! to someone else who never gives up harping on. I am an obligatory but genuine Sora enthusiast, having stayed with 9-speed since it was Ultegra. It's very reliable and coped well with Mudageddon on the Pennine Bridleway. It came with FSA cranks, though

Avatar
VecchioJo replied to Freddy56 | 5 months ago
5 likes

If discerning means having a titanium chip fork with which to pick them off people's shoulders then yes

Avatar
ktache | 5 months ago
2 likes

The Woody's bike stand is a work of lovelyness.

At some point I will get some custom fenders from them, double compound curve for my 3 inch tyres, but large enough to cater for 29 inch wheels if ever I convert, wood grain but with the matt black lacquer.

Got me an MTB Hopper smile bike stand, slotted ply, but can take various thicknesses of tyre. Little more spendy than I had wanted, got hit with courier fees and import duties. Those sunlight uplands just keep giving...

Avatar
bigwheeler88 | 5 months ago
1 like

You could swap the majority of the contents on this article with the list of tat not to get and nobody would be able to tell the difference. Some truly ugly, useless, and overpriced gifts on display here.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to bigwheeler88 | 5 months ago
1 like

They already did - the dustpan and brush is on both lists - or was it another website?

Avatar
Flintshire Boy replied to bigwheeler88 | 5 months ago
2 likes

.

Fair comment, Rendy.

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