2019 Gift Guide: Week 3

Words Pete Roggeman
Date Nov 28, 2019
Presented By

Every Thursday through December 19th, we're presenting a new list of ideas for gifts for the mountain biker in your life. If the mountain biker in your life is you, then think of it as suggestions for gear we stand behind as ideas to upgrade your ride, or deals on some sweet stuff.

In case you missed the first two weeks of the NSMB Gift Guide, you can find week one here and week 2 is here.

CushCore PRO Set

Find out for yourself why World Champ Loic Bruni and EWS stars like Richie Rude & Martin Maes ride CushCore! Go bigger, corner harder, ride faster with total confidence!

Price: $149 USD or $223 CAD / Set (USD)
Buy: here if you're in the US, or in Canada, find a dealer here.

It's unlikely you aren't familiar with CushCore - in an increasingly crowded category of tire inserts, it's emerged as one of the standards the others are judged against. And after a few years of silently being used by World Cup DH and EWS racers, they came out in 2019 and officially sponsored some of the world's fastest riders. We've posted several reviews of CushCore which you can read here and here. Other than rim protection and flat prevention, CushCore also works in conjunction with the air in your tire to complement your suspension system. In short, its benefits are many, and its minuses are two: added weight, and - until you practice - it's a bit tricky to install. For most riders the weight is well worth the benefits. As a gift for the rider in your life? A very good choice, indeed. Especially if you include an install at a local shop ;)

Includes: Two inserts and two air valves (available in 26”, 27.5”, or 29”).

Black Diamond Storm headlamp

You may be thinking a headlamp is a strictly NBR (Not Biking Related) gift idea, but it's night riding season, and if you're not carrying backup light, you're asking for it. But a good headlamp is far more than a security blanket for night riders - it's also an indispensable safety tool for your car or truck, to take on every trip, in case the power goes out in your house and, obviously, for camping, backcountry skiing, and other trips where you'll need light at night while keeping your hands free. I carry a headlamp almost everywhere I go, including the patio when I'm barbecuing after dark.



Price: 22.97 USD / $44 CAD
Buy: Amazon

There are plenty of options for good headlamps, but the Black Diamond Spot is a particularly good package. Powered by 4 AAA batteries, it kicks out 350 lumens on high, which is bright enough to ride slowly if your primary light fails. I like the Spot because it also has a red LED option (great for use without affecting pupil dilation and ruining your night vision) as well as blue and green, and adjustable white options for dim light, reading, etc. And yes, it's water resistant, can take a licking, and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. At full price it's considered a bargain, but at $22, you should be stuffing everyone's stocking with one.

BTW, if you don't have Amazon Prime, now is a good time to sign up for a 30-day free trial. Free 2-day shipping this time of year is a beauty, and it also comes with other good benefits, like access to Prime Video. If you don't want to spring for it for the rest of the year, just cancel before your trial period is over. Future last-minute-shopper-you is already nodding its head in approval.

Showers Pass Cross Point Waterproof Socks

When you were a kid, getting socks as a gift was a bit like a kiss from your sibling. As adults, we see it differently, especially if the socks we get allow us to play outside in terrible weather. Because the forecast doesn't care if it's your weekend or not - it'll rain when it damn well pleases, so you'd best be prepared.



Price: $45 USD / $59 CAD (Showers Pass has all kinds of crazy BOGO and other deals going on until Dec 2)
Buy: Showers Pass

If you ride clipped in, there are plenty of winter/waterproof shoes to choose from. If you ride flats, the options are sparse (but we're all really looking forward to this beauty from adidas/Five Ten). In either case, on rainy days, water is still coming in the top of your shoes, unless you wear pants. And once the water is in your shoe, it's not coming out. The best solution is still waterproof socks, and we swear by them. Showers Pass makes several great options, including the Crosspoint WP Mountain Sock, shown above.

Stanley GO Bottle with Ceramivac

Insulated travel mugs have become ubiquitous. Whether you're trying to cut down on your use of single use cups, want your drink to stay warmer (or colder) for longer, or prefer a more rugged container to drink from, they have a lot of uses. A lot of them, however, are not the greatest to drink out from. If you're like me, you don't dig drinking your warm brew out of plastic or metal, and that's why I'm psyched about the new Cermivac GO bottles from Stanley; they have a ceramic inner surface so that your drink won't have a metallic taste or smell. Perfect for the coffee (or tea, or cocktail - we won't tell) purist. Not everyone notices the difference but those that do, do.




Price: $30 USD (16 oz version) - right now Stanley has 30% off vacuum bottles and mugs + free shipping
Buy: Stanley-PMI

Also available in 24 and 36 oz versions if you're into bigger is better where your hot or cold drinks are concerned. Oh, and there's also a Ceramivac growler, so you beer purists can get in on the insulated, untainted benefit of a non-metallic drinking vessel.

Hydro Flask 12 oz Coffee Mug

Continuing with the beverage theme, but with an unexpectedly awesome twist...unexpected because it didn't seem likely that an insulated mug with a handle would be that big a deal. Maybe even superfluous. But after trying one, I found myself using it at home. A lot. And all of a sudden it made me wonder about modifying a cup holder in my truck so I could make this mug with a handle fit when I'm on the go. Cup holder mod not yet complete, but for camping - or, apparently, at home - these insulated mugs from Hydro Flask are as nice to drink from as they are to hold.






Price: $29 USD / $36 - Hydro Flask's site currently has at least 25% off on almost everything.
Buy: HydroFlask.com / MEC

RRP ProGuard Bolt On Front Fender

Canadians often joke about how much we talk about the weather. And then we'll launch into talking about the weather. Mountain bikers? Maybe as bad as Canadian farmers. And in the wet season it's doubly bad. RRP's ProGuard Bolt On Front Fender won't quell the weather talk but it might cut down on the bitching. It will keep your bike and body cleaner and drier - and look slick doing it because you don't need zip ties (zap straps to you, Yankee) or velcro for fitment. Instead, and you probably saw this coming based on the name...they bolt on to your fork arch. Very nice. They've also put tabs on the sides to help protect your fork's seals - with rubber pads to protect your fork's paint. It's carefully designed to fit well on most forks that have threads for bolts (recent Fox and Marzocchi, Öhlins, and wheel sizes, and it's got features for days - like a rearward flick designed to protect you even when the wheel is turned. Available in a Standard and Mini option.

Price: $44.99 CAD
Buy: Here (North America) or Here (everywhere else)

$5 from every RRP ProGuard sold in North America will go to benefit Cycling BC.

Spurcycle Ti Tool

Spurcycle's entire lineup is a menu full of stocking stuffers and cool gifts for cyclists. From the most excellent and melodious bell to a fun trio of bottles that belong on your BBQ picnic table, to my favourite of all - the Ti tool - it all reeks of boutique. The tool is Titanium and that's just an automatic thumb up. The second thumb up is awarded for the sliding T-handle. The bits are supposedly chromed S2 but mine have spots of rust. Do I care? Not a bit. To be fair, that tool had lived in my bag and is routinely put away wet - those conditions would put rust on rubber. Put this To tool in wrapping paper and consider yourself an ace gift-giver.


Price: $69 USD
Buy: Competitive Cyclist

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+2 Pete Roggeman AJ Barlas
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 28, 2019, 4:05 a.m.

I'm over the holiday gift giving thing even with my family/GF, but if I had to buy a MTB rider friend/relative/SO a gift my first choice would be some fenders [unless they had them already]. We have Mudhugger front and rear fenders as well as RRP front fenders in our garage. Both companies make excellent products.

Not only do you buy folks something they can enjoy pretty much every winter ride in Coastal BC, but they are durable so they'll enjoy the gift for many years to come.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - Nov. 28, 2019, 7:01 a.m.

Agreed. I've got the "strap-on" version of the full size RRP, and it's  great. Down-side is that there isn't enough clearance to run it on my Mattoc fork.


awesterner  - Dec. 2, 2019, 12:39 a.m.

Another great option is the Zefal enduro guard.  A wee bit less coverage on the sides than the mudhugger, but only 26 bucks at Lynn Valley Bikes for a very decent option made in France (if that means anything to you folks:-)


+1 Pete Roggeman
Kelownakona  - Nov. 28, 2019, 6:07 a.m.

Aside from it being Ti, is there any reason why that tool is better than a good multi tool? Looks bigger and more hassle with the removable bits and more pieces to carry. 

A Silca Italian Army Knife , which is pretty nice and has quality tooling for the keys is a third of the price.


+1 Kelownakona
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 28, 2019, 9:02 a.m.

Yes, it's Ti and that's a trump card! But that's a fair question. Frankly, it's a bit more effort to deploy the Spurcycle tool - select the bit and fit it in vs just fold out the tool you need - but once you've done that, the ability to use it as a T- or L-handle is very nice in a lot of situations, whether for leverage or comfort in a tight spot, like saddle tilt adjustments which can be awkward with a conventional multi-tool. Personal preference.

Weirdly I already had the Silca site open in a tab when I read your comment. Love the Silca Italian Army Knife. The Nove is currently sold out on their site but I did find it for $23 on Amazon which is an awesome deal.


Kelownakona  - Nov. 28, 2019, 1:22 p.m.

Thanks for reply Pete. Yeah that makes sense. I guess if your using it not just as an 'only on a ride' carry then it's a bit more capable. 

I got a Nove a few months ago and love it. Regularly in the pocket even not on rides! Really light but super solid.


Mike McArthur  - Dec. 2, 2019, 7:17 a.m.

The comparison I'm thinking of is this one vs one that has a ratchet. Yes, the ratchet is one more think to break but some say it is invaluable in this type of tool. Tell us why Ti is worth it over ratchet Pete.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Kevin26  - Nov. 28, 2019, 8:03 a.m.

USB rechargeable head lamps can be had for similar or less than that one, much more convenient if you use it a lot


+1 James Vasilyev
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 28, 2019, 9:06 a.m.

Show me a $22 USB rechargeable light that comes close in terms of features, power, and durability. Show me one at $35. I'll wait...

For some, a rechargeable headlamp does make sense. For camping, or emergency use, it doesn't. In that case, you need quality batteries loaded in that'll hold a charge for a year or more, because when you need it, you won't be able to fumble around in the dark for a charger. It all depends on why you need it. For what I need and how I use it, I'll take the AAA version. I have another USB headlamp that is super handy for use around the house.


Timer  - Nov. 28, 2019, 9:15 a.m.

I'm with you on that one, cheap li-ion batteries in consumer devices tend to be bad for emergency use.

However, my experience with alkaline batteries for emergency lights hasn't been great either. Even quality ones like Duracell might eventually leak. Leaking batteries have destroyed more than one of my emergency flashlights. Nowadays i use Eneloops or lithium cells for such applications. Eneloops will drain eventually but at least they won't damage the device.


Kevin26  - Nov. 28, 2019, 10:04 a.m.

I was using one daily at work, similar black diamond model, and just found it a pain dealing with batteries over time and switched last winter and will never go back. Frequent use, USB is the way to go for me!


Samuel McMain  - Nov. 28, 2019, 8:19 p.m.

Well, it's not $35, but it's not much more https://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/headlamps-and-lanterns/revolt-BD620631_19_cfg.html#cgid=lighting&start=15

Runs on AAA that are rechargeable (via USB). been using it for a year and also have the Storm. Well worth just getting the revolt. Save the money in the first month not buying batteries (if you use it a lot).


Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 28, 2019, 9:10 p.m.

It's a cool product and the versatility is nice. But it's almost twice the price. And you could always just run rechargeable AAAs in the Storm. Slightly less convenient than plugging into USB, but not by much. And I was pretty clear about why the Storm is a fantastic value at $22, especially for certain applications, which didn't include daily use in a home/work environment which doesn't include a reliable power source. Daily use is a much different thing than backup/emergency use. For a work tool, a $100 headlamp is easy to justify - or using the hell out of a 35 dollar one and simply replacing it every time it dies.

You can always contradict a recommendation based on certain criteria but the question remains: what is the best value and use for a given set of criteria? As a backup or emergency light - or anything - if you're relying on a rechargeable battery, you ARE sacrificing reliability and/or performance, and in an emergency, those are the two criteria that matter.

Look, there's lots of reasons why a rechargeable headlamp makes sense. My job with this gift guide is to recommend products that are notable for their features, value, durability, or uniqueness - or a combination of all of those.


+3 Kelownakona Pete Roggeman AJ Barlas
Jerry Willows  - Nov. 28, 2019, 9:17 a.m.

How about a shovel for a gift? Great for clearing drains and diverting running water when it's monsoon season.


+1 Jerry Willows Pete Roggeman Kelownakona
James Vasilyev  - Nov. 28, 2019, 10:13 a.m.

or a titanium mattock?


+4 Jerry Willows Andrew Major Niels Pete Roggeman AJ Barlas Kelownakona
Perry Schebel  - Nov. 28, 2019, 1:03 p.m.

i prefer a hand selected artisanal stick for drain clearing, but (quick google later) damn if there aren't some trick titanium folding shovels out there.


AJ Barlas  - Nov. 29, 2019, 7:04 a.m.

Often my go to as well.


+1 Jerry Willows
Kelownakona  - Nov. 28, 2019, 1:23 p.m.

You can get good foldable shovel options which are great for riding to a dig or building the odd jump!

I'd be happy with that as a present ! :)


DanL  - Nov. 28, 2019, 2:42 p.m.

Army surplus stores have great folding shovels, always useful - makes it easy to dig for the best sandcastles ever.


+2 Andrew Major Jerry Willows
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 28, 2019, 5:05 p.m.

I would just put you in someone's stocking, Jerry.

Tool reco upcoming next week ;) (at least one)


Jerry Willows  - Nov. 28, 2019, 9:18 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Jerry Willows  - Nov. 28, 2019, 9:18 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
Kevin26  - Nov. 28, 2019, 3:33 p.m.

Honestly the showers pass waterproof socks would make a good gift. I put off getting waterproof socks forever thinking spending that much on socks is silly but they're the only 'wet feet' solution I've used that works, and will probably last longer than my shoes.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Byron  - Nov. 29, 2019, 8 a.m.

For those who ride year 'round in the PNW, or coastal BC, a whiskey flask is a great gift.  #flaskfriday


+1 Byron
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 30, 2019, 8:03 a.m.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Although whisky also tastes great while riding in the interior, California, Scotland, Idaho, Georgia, Colorado, Alberta, Utah...


+1 Pete Roggeman
Byron  - Nov. 30, 2019, 9:40 a.m.

You're absolutely correct, Pete.  

I'll edit that comment:  For the rider in your life......a whiskey flask is a great gift.


Vincent66  - Nov. 30, 2019, 5:53 p.m.

Hi all,

Would you say I could replace a Super-Gravity MagicMary (without CC) by a MagicMary SnakeSkin + cushcore and get the benefits of CC without to much weight increase ?

Or am I still believing in Santa ?


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