Christmas gift ideas for road cyclists

Looking for the perfect gift to give the roadie in your life? Here are 12 ideas to get you started…

Like a strong tailwind, rich coffee and a smooth road without cars, here are 12 gifts guaranteed to make any roadie smile.

Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Road

Oakley's Jawbreaker Prizm Road features optics that are tuned for road riding
Oakley's Jawbreaker Prizm Road features optics that are tuned for road riding

Oakley makes excellent lenses, and the Prizm lens in particular is tuned for road cycling. Plus, the tall upper portion is great for visibility for when road riders are in the drops.

But a simple design element goes a long way — the big frame means dropping the glasses on the road seldom results in a scratched lens. 

  • List price: £175 / $210 / AU$279

Castelli Perfetto Long Sleeve

The Castelli Perfetto Long Sleeve is an excellent cool-weather jersey
The Castelli Perfetto Long Sleeve is an excellent cool-weather jersey

Some tops are aero. Some are water resistant. Some are breathable. The Perfetto is all three.

Castelli uses Gore Windstopper X-Lite Plus along with its own Nano Flex under the arms for added stretch and breathability.

The Perfetto is a little thinner than the classic Gabba jersey. It’s comfortable on chilly days when it’s dry, and near-perfect when the skies turn wet.

It comes in a variety of colors and is also available in a women’s cut.

  • Price: £175 / $199 / AU$285

Cycling socks

You can't go wrong giving a roadie new socks
You can't go wrong giving a roadie new socks

Buying a tie for someone: not very likely to please. Buying new socks for a roadie: nearly guaranteed to please.

For fun, loud styles, you have all manner of options, from Tenspeed Hero and Panache to The Athletic and Sako7.

For warmer winter wear, you can still get some style from the likes of Castelli and Swiftwick to Giro and DeFeet.

  • Price from: £12 / $15 / AU$19

Ass Saver

Ass Saver does what it says it does
Ass Saver does what it says it does

Whether you call them fenders or mudguards, keeping your back end dry is A Good Thing.

While many road cyclists don’t really love or maybe even need full fenders, this inexpensive piece of kit can really come in handy for all riders.

It can be popped on and off as needed without tools, and tucked into a toolbox or travel bag when not in use.

  • Price: €8 / £7 / $9/ AU$7

Best mudguards: a buyer's guide

dznuts Chamois Cream

dznuts chamois cream is pricey but effective
dznuts chamois cream is pricey but effective

Speaking of saving your ass… chamois cream can be a real lifesaver for long days. For short rides, your giftee shouldn’t need it if they have good bib shorts, but for longer days in the saddle, it’s usually a good idea.

Dznuts continues the fine tradition of sophomoric humor, which began with Chamois Butt’r. But dumb jokes aside, we like this chamois cream because it has natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ingredients for taking care of your skin.

In addition to reducing chafing, this cream can help treat irritated skin. Sometimes we will use it after long rides to rejuvenate skin.

  • Price: £15 / $24 / AU$29

Assos LL.Mille S7 bib tights

The Assos LL.Mille S7 bib tights are best in class
The Assos LL.Mille S7 bib tights are best in class

If the measure of good clothing is never thinking about it once on, then the LL.Mille S7 succeeds completely. Whether riding hard for one hour or cruising easily along for four, the Mille bib tights have the details dialed.

The foam padding under the S7 chamois sits exactly where you need it, with the uniform thickness top pad providing a friction-free environment.

Cubed backing on the fleece material provides loft (read: warmth) without bulk and double-material on the knees, thighs and hips keeps you warm on descents and sub-freezing mornings without compromising flexibility or breathability. There is a windproof panel over the crotch, which works well and is quite welcome on the coldest of days, especially when descending.

A water-resistant treatment allows the tights to deflect spray or light rain.

  • Price: £175 / $270 / AU$N/A

Best winter bib tights for cycling

Garmin Edge 520

The Garmin Edge 520 plays nicely with a smartphone for real-time connectivity
The Garmin Edge 520 plays nicely with a smartphone for real-time connectivity

This is the best GPS cycling computer on the market. The Edge 520 displays a wealth of metrics in user-configurable screens. It quickly finds a GPS and/or GLONASS signal. It easily pairs with heart rate monitors, power meters and smartphones. It uploads rides automatically when paired to a phone. And, if the rider is so inclined, they can track their Strava efforts in real time.

  • Price: £180 / $299 / AU$449

Strava Premium

Strava Premium adds features to a rider's online and outdoor experience
Strava Premium adds features to a rider's online and outdoor experience

Strava is free, and most roadies are on the social fitness site, whether with the desktop software or the mobile app.

Strava Premium is a subscription service that offers a few features we regularly use. One such feature is Route Builder, which uses Strava’s enormous database to suggest routes based on what’s popular with cyclists.

For example, a rider can just click on the map from here to there, and Strava will fill in the route based on what cyclists ride. It’s handy for riding in new areas. It’s not always perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than just eyeballing a route.

Another fun feature is Strava Live Segments, which works with smartphones and newer Garmin Edge computers. With this, a rider stars a segment they're interested in, and whenever they're out on a ride, they will be alerted when a segment is coming up, when it starts, and how they're doing pace-wise compared to their PR, their buddy’s PR or the KOM/QOM time as they ride. Nerdy? Yes. Fun? Very much so.

  • Price: £40 / $59 / AU$59

Strava tips: 10 of the best

Power meter

The 4iiii is just one of many power meter choices
The 4iiii is just one of many power meter choices

Quantifying power is the easiest and best way to both train and to know whether or not the training is working.

Today there are scores of power meters on the market, with the likes of Stages, 4iiii and Pioneer offering relatively inexpensive access to watt measurement. Installation on many meters is fairly straightforward, but make sure you get one that is compatible with the target bike.

Check out our guide to the best power meters here.

Coach or TrainingPeaks / Today’s Plan subscription

Today's Plan is an Australian training software company
Today's Plan is an Australian training software company

Okay, great, a rider now has a power meter or a heart rate monitor to train with — now what? A cycling coach may seem like a luxury, but if getting better or faster is a goal for the cyclist in your life, it’s arguably the best investment that can be made.

A great compromise between someone making it up by themselves and having a pro coach by their side is a subscription to TrainingPeaks or Today’s Plan, two training software programs that are surprisingly effective for keeping a rider on track with a training plan.

Tool set

Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit works well at home or at an event with its handy case
Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit works well at home or at an event with its handy case

You can’t go wrong investing in good tools. While there are many quality toolsets out there, we like this new set from Feedback Sports because of how the tools feel in hand, and the handy travel case that sets up nicely on a workstand.

There are 19 pieces in this Team Edition kit, but a few do double duty for 25 total tools, including:

  • 3-Way TORX T25/27/30
  • 3-Way Hex 2/2.5/3mm
  • 3-Way Hex 4/5/6mm
  • L-Hex 8mm
  • L-Hex 10mm
  • #0 Phillips
  • #2 Phillips
  • 6mm flathead 
  • Schrader core tool
  • Presta core tool
  • Valve extender wrench
  • Spoke wrench
  • Chain pin press
  • Rotor truing tool
  • Crank arm cap tool
  • Steel core tire levers
  • Brake pad spreader
  • 15mm pedal wrench
  • 15mm axle nut wrench
  • Bottom bracket wrench
  • Cassette lockring wrench
  • Cassette pliers
  • Cable cutter
  • Cable crimper
  • Dual-sided pick

GoPro Hero 5 Session

The GoPro Hero 5 Session turns on and starts recording with a single button press
The GoPro Hero 5 Session turns on and starts recording with a single button press

Let’s face it, most rides are not worth capturing in every detail. However, sometimes riders do find themselves somewhere beautiful, and wouldn’t it be great if they could get some footage without a lot of fumbling around with buttons and menus?

Enter the Hero 5 Session. A single button press turns it on and starts recording. Press it again and it’s off.

4K video, voice control and a little blinking light to let users know it's rolling.

  • Price: £249 / $299 / AU$459

GoPro Hero 5 Black vs. Session action cameras

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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