If you’re looking to give the cyclist in your life the gift of gadgetry this Christmas you're in luck because there are plenty of cycling gadgets available to meet many different cycling needs, from GPS computers to action cameras. Here’s a selection of the best cycling gadgets to stick in their Christmas stocking… maybe not all of them at, well unless they've been very good this year indeed.
Wahoo is nipping at Garmin’s heels and this new Elemnt Bolt is a worthy rival. It’s compact, clever and easy-to-use, and the battery lasts for ages. And thanks to a new clamp, it’s more aero (if you believe the company’s claims) than any other out-front computer. Compatibility is a big appeal of the Elemnt Bolt, it’ll sync with any Bluetooth or ANT+ device and you can partner it to your smartphone to receive phone call, email and message alerts. Handy if you need to keep in contact with people while out on a ride.
Smart trainers have helped to revolutionise indoor training, and they are now all the rage. Why head out in the rain when you can spin the pedals in the comfort of your own home? They are expensive investments, however, but the Direto from Elite is one of the more affordable direct-drive trainers (which requires removal of the rear wheel) and best of all, offers much of the performance of the most expensive trainers in this fast-growing product category. It’s easy-to-use, pedalling is smooth, it’s reasonably quiet and it’s compatible with most apps and devices.
If you, or your partner, are going to get into indoor training this winter, then a set of wireless headphones isn’t a bad idea. They let you listen to music without disturbing the rest of the house, and also drown out the noise of the trainer and fan so you can concentrate on smashing those intervals. There are loads to choose from, these Beats by Dr. Dre. come in a fetching yellow, the battery lasts 12 hours and you can even take calls hands-free while wearing them.
For recording bicycle rides and sharing the action, a dedicated compact camera is easier than trying to hold your smartphone while riding along the road. GoPro is the most well-known brand and its Hero 6 is the company’s new flagship camera. It’s pricey, but it now shoots in ultra high-quality 4K 60 fps video and image stabilisation has been improved, so your edits will be smoother and crisper than ever before.
Power meters are very popular at the moment. They are great for making your training more consistent and productive, and one of the best options that we’ve tested this year is the new FSA Powerbox Alloy power meter. It’s based on solidly reliable and race-proven technology wrapped up in an aluminium chainset that, while not the lightest, does offer a really price competitive option.
Smartwatches have become popular over the past few years, and here’s the latest top-end offering from a company that has carved itself a good reputation as makers of well-designed smartwatches. The new Ionic does just about everything, and we’re talking music playback, personal coaching, ride and activity tracking with built-in GPS and heart rate sensor. You can even make payments, handy for the mid-ride coffee stop.
Crowdfunded and award-winning, the Lumos is a helmet like no other. It features LED lights integrated into the helmet liner at the front and back, plus a set of indicators to alert other road users of your intention to turn at a junction. The battery is rechargeable and there’s a wireless remote for activating the lights, or you can control it from your smartphone.
Safety is a growing concern for a lot of cyclists, and the Garmin Varia Radar uses radar technology to detect vehicles approaching from behind and will flash brighter to warn them of your presence. You can also pair with a compatible Garmin Edge computer so you can get warnings of approaching vehicles on your handlebar. It normally costs £170 but it’s heavily discounted if you shop around.
What better way to alert other road users, be they pedestrians or other cyclists, of your presence, than the cute Nello magnetic bicycle bell? It’s small enough to hardly take up any space on your handlebars yet is able to emit a 90 decibel sound, equivalent to a Boeing 737 taking off. Loud! It comes in three different colours and fits easily to any handlebar.
The clever Blaze doesn't just light your path, it projects an image of a bike on the road ahead of you to alert other road users of your arrival. It has a 13-hour battery life and pumps out up to 300 lumens, easily enough to see by, with a flashing mode ideal for city cycling.
Smart trainers that connect to a computer or smartphone have exploded in popularity in recent years, and one of the originals is the Wahoo Kickr. The latest version 3 trainer is quieter and more responsive, compatible with disc brake road bikes and adaptable to different wheel sizes. It's also ready for when the Climb add-on accessory launches soon. Still expensive, but still one of the best smart trainers available right now.
The Fly6 is a unique gadget in that it combines a rear light with an integrated video camera, so you can film while you're riding. Why might you want to film what's behind you? The inventors came at the idea from a safety angle and reckon other road users behave differently if they know they're being filmed. It films at 1280x720 resolution, the light outputs 30 Lumens with three modes and four dimming options and lasts for up to 6 hours.
The Edge 1030 is the daddy of the GPS cycle computer market. It packs a massive touchscreen through which you can access a myriad of features and connect to a whole host of sensors like your Di2 gears or power meter. It’ll even let you reply to phone calls and text messages, and you can send messages to another Edge 1030. There’s Strava integration, navigation has been beefed up with a new Trendline feature that recommends best routes based on the most popular roads uploaded to Garmin Connect. Not cheap but it packs a lot of functionality into a compact unit.
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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.