5 MTB Gifts for Less Than a C-note

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Nov 29, 2016

It’s The Thought That Counts

I enjoy giving something I know will be used and loved; I love receiving something I will enjoy using. And barring all that, there’s always beer!

I admit that I assign emotional value to things. Where they’re made. How they’re made. Who makes them! Who designs the products. And, for gifts, who gave them to me. Their provenance; the stories behind both of the items and the people. I don’t own a lot of stuff but a great many of the objects in my life have meaning beyond their replacement value. It’s the thought that counts.

Suds aside, here are five MTB (related) gifts I would love to get for Christmas. All under $100 CAD.

Boca Bearing Press

I’ve mentioned the Boca Bike Bearing Installer tool in a few different teardown articles with my friend Jeff. I own a decade old gen-1 Wheels Manufacturing bearing press but if I didn’t the Boca tool would be very high on my Christmas wish list. It is a great gift for the enthusiastic home mechanic building their tool collection.

MTB Gifts Boca Bearing Press

A simple tool and an awesome gift for $40 (USD). A wrench at one end, a hex key at the other, select the correct size of guides, and bearings are pressed into position.

The Boca is not a substitute for shop quality tools like presses from Abbey Tools or Wheels MFG and it’s not meant to be. That said, the high quality plastic drifts hold up very well under regular use at Bikeroom so they should be perfect for the home mechanic looking to service hubs and suspension pivots.

A simple tool and an awesome gift for $40 (USD). The Boca is usable with bearings with a 12mm to 36mm internal diameter. That range covers off most mountain bike applications.

Hydro Flask Lid

MTB Gifts Hydro Flask

I love my Klean Kanteen coffee mugs. The things are legion with thousands upon thousands sold; I have two. The lids represent an abysmal choice of being a PIA to clean or a PIA to drink. Enter the $5 (USD) Hydro Flask ‘Hydro Flip‘ lid which just happens to fit and is wicked awesome. A great gift for any coffee drinkers with Klean Kanteen bottles.

I’m not alone among my coffee savouring friends in loving my reusable Klean Kanteen stainless bottles but despising their lids. If I’m throwing a bottle in my pack I’ll thread in a solid cap. If I’m drinking coffee on the go I want something simple to clean, easy to use one handed, and inexpensive to replace when it gets beyond gungy down the road.

Things don’t get much simpler than the $5 (USD) Hydro Flask ‘Hydro Flip‘ wide mouth lids. They just happen to fit and they come in a variety of colours. I wouldn’t fill my Kanteen with liquid and throw it in my pack without swapping for a solid plug, but I’ve had zero issues with leakage in regular use.

I’ve been sharing one lid between my bottles because it’s such an improvement I can’t bear to use the stock option. I really enjoy my coffee on the go, and have resolved to never use to-go paper cups, so here’s hoping Santa can hook me up with a second. If he happens to be nearby, I’d love some local beans from JJ or Moja as well since I’ve been really good this year.

Park Tool TL-5

MTB Gifts Park TL-5

I wouldn’t recommend using the 8″ long forged steel TL-5 tool as a tire lever with any modern aluminum or carbon rims. The rims will lose. But, it is my favourite tool for removing bearings and various other jobs involving a hammer. This particular lever has been pounded on for countless years. $12.50 (USD) per lever.

Don’t use the 8″ long forged steel TL-5 tool as a tire lever to mount or remove tires on any modern aluminum or carbon rims. The rims will lose.

Where the TL-5 shines is as a great punch for pounding out cartridge bearings in tight spaces like hubs and bottom brackets. It’s long! The hooked end is fantastic for catching the lip of the outer bearing race. It’s way better than a dedicated punch. It is often also perfect for tapping off crown races. Heck, it’s even a handy tool for prying out fork seals and any number of leverage related jobs around the house.

A pair of levers are $25 (USD) but I can’t imagine a time where I’d ever need more than one so I think it’s a great gift for splitting! For $12.50 per person I can hook up two of my riding buddies with a tool they’ll have and use forever.

Fix It Sticks

MTB Gifts Fix It Sticks

$30 (USD) for an awesome gift that is impressively packable, delightful to use on the trail, and should easily last a lifetime. For an extra touch of class go ahead and get ‘To:’ and ‘From:’ engraved on there!

The trailside experiences I’ve had in using the Fix It Sticks Replaceable on test have been delightful. Even adjusting a brake caliper, to try and minimize the impact of a bent rotor at the farthest point from home in the pissing the rain, I truly appreciate this tool.

It’s easily packable, even in a minimalist fanny pack, and the leverage and ergonomics are better than any multi-tool I’ve tried. It will also accept any 1/4″ bit so the degree of customization for personal usage is excellent.

MTB Gifts Fix It Sticks

Since reviewing the Fix It Sticks Replaceable I’ve been recommending it to everyone. If there’s a cyclist on your list the Replaceable is a sure fire winner.

Navas Hawkins Bamboo Hoodies

It’s that time of year when I want to finish every wet, cold, windy, nasty, ride in the warm embrace of some clean dry kit and a rum & eggnog. My favourite post-ride attire is a pair of my Grandma Ruth’s hand knit wool socks, a toque, and a zip-up hoody.

I always buy – and ask St. Nick – for Canadian made product when it makes sense and right now I’m in lust for a Navas Hawkins. It is both designed and manufactured right here in Vancouver, BC.

MTB Gifts Navas Hawkins Hoody

No, I don’t know why the guy in the in the middle looks so emo. The Navas Hawkins hoodies are 60% bamboo and 100% designed & manufactured in Vancouver. $80 (CAD) isn’t chump change but for a high quality Vancouver made garment I think it’s a very good value. Photo: Navas

Navas is branded towards tall, long, and lean folks but I own one of their Ridley soft shell jackets and I think they work great for short dad-bod-dudes with T-Rex arms too. The Hawkins comes in more sizes than the average mountain bike: Small, Medium, Large, XL, and XXL with three additional extra long (arms & torso) models available in the larger sizes.

They ship in purple (and some other colours but let’s be honest purple is the best) for $80 (CAD). It’s not inexpensive but at the same time being designed and manufactured in Vancouver from premium materials… I think it’s arguably a great value for a nice bamboo hug after a cold ride.

MTB Gifts Under $100?

Have some ideas for gifts under $100? Share them up in the comments below.


*cough*PurpleNavasHoodiePleaseSanta*cough*

Trending on NSMB

Comments

gg
0
gg  - Dec. 1, 2016, 10:07 a.m.

Where can these be had for $40 CAD ?
Boca site price same in USD.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Dec. 1, 2016, 10:23 a.m.

My apologies, that should read USD not CAD for the Boca press and I've updated it. Thanks for pointing it out!

Reply

qduffy
0
qduffy  - Nov. 30, 2016, 11:56 p.m.

Stick $99.99 in an envelope for me so I can do some guilt-free shopping for once.

Reply

extraspecialandbitter
0
ExtraSpecialandBitter  - Nov. 30, 2016, 5:22 p.m.

All these bike present ideas are good… but what do I get my family that doesn't like bikes? This is way harder than figuring out what to get for those that like bikes. I guess I could go for the Navas hoodie or the flask lid… but that only goes so far. Would they appreciate a new chain ring? crap, that's bike stuff again. Help!

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 30, 2016, 5:49 p.m.

I like to keep the holidays low stress… so, when in doubt beer.

Nothing beats a nice Stout in the darkest, dankest, shortest, nastiest, grossest, days of winter… try the Twin Sails Brewing Con Leche Horchata Style Milk Stout…

Bows&Arrows Coffee, Cinnamon, Vanilla… 7.5%

Reply

extraspecialandbitter
0
ExtraSpecialandBitter  - Dec. 1, 2016, 12:11 p.m.

So wait, do I drink the beer and then hope ideas will come to me? Or I am supposed to hide the beer from myself so I don't drink it and then gift it to someone else?

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Dec. 1, 2016, 12:44 p.m.

Hmmmm… hadn't thought of that frankly.

My amazing wife puts together a custom Beer Advent Calendar for me each year so I'm always in a good place for sharing the gift of beer.

P.S. Try the Twin Sails Brewing Horchata Milk Stout (featuring Bows&Arrows coffee). It may be the best new beer of 2016?!

Reply

cooper
0
Cooper Quinn  - Nov. 30, 2016, 11 a.m.

Why doesn't Middle Alex think the kitten is cute?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 30, 2016, 12:04 p.m.

Cooper wins today.

Reply

cooper
0
Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 1, 2016, 10:45 a.m.

Wins…. a pair of socks? NSMB mug?

A hug from Cam?

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Dec. 1, 2016, 11:46 a.m.

Your prize: we took a whole day off from making fun of you. Days over.

Quinning

Reply

zigak
0
ZigaK  - Nov. 29, 2016, 11:36 p.m.

Topeak micro airbooster - works perfectly, simple, light CO2 pump

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 29, 2016, 11:58 p.m.

I have a religious aversion to using CO2 injectors, with a dispensation for racers in situations where using one actually makes a difference to their time/placing. I try not to sermonize about it, so suffice it to say one certainly wouldn't appear on my Christmas list.

Reply

zigak
0
ZigaK  - Nov. 30, 2016, 4:24 a.m.

Commuting - I've had 3 punctures this month on my way to work, pitch dark, freezing … 25 mm tires inflated to 6-7 bars, and I can't be 5 minutes late.
Road - have been searching for a portable pump able to inflate tires to 8 bars - there is none. You can inflate it to maybe 5 bars and you're exhausted from that. And then you have to limp home on a soft tire.
Tubeless - you're in the middle of nowhere and your tire burps all of it.
and as you mention - racing
Other than that I'm with you 🙂

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 30, 2016, 6:47 a.m.

Definitely been there (flats commuting in the rain / not the ultra-tight schedule).

They're dead to ride but when I commuted long distances in communities that think the bike lane/shoulder is a good place to store broken glass and industrial staples I ran Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires.

Shorter commutes now but getting stuck out changing flats in the rain still sucks so I've been running tubeless with good results. I know a couple hardcore year-rounders running Stan's in their tubes who swear by it.

So yeah, personally I'd be asking Santa for some mean rubber and a frame pump.

It has been pointed out that I did ask for other ideas under $100 though, so I do apologize for my short initial response. I hope Santa brings you a good CO2 inflator and some mean rubber.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 30, 2016, 7:16 a.m.

If you commute by bike and can't be late at all you need to give yourself a few extra minutes to deal with a a mechanical. If you literally don't have the time to use a hand pump to fill a new tube than you have other problems not solved by CO2.

If you ride tubeless in the middle of nowhere you should be carrying a spare tube in case you have a total failure. Even with a CO2 you may not get things seated then what's the plan?

I get CO2 for racing. My road bike only needs 100 psi max which I can put into a tire with a hand pump no problem.

So I don't see much use for CO2 cartridges. I go out of my way to lend people a pump I've carried all ride so they can avoid using their CO2 if that's all they have.

Reply

hbelly13
0
Raymond Epstein  - Nov. 30, 2016, 9:12 a.m.

100% Andrew. I rarely flat, but I do a great deal of preventative effort to avoid this…always check my pressure before rides, top off my sealant every every couple of months, and keep my bike clean to be able to inspect for any iffy wear spots. I do carry a CO2 cartridge inflator for sub 2 hour rides when I am not carrying a full pack, but I cannot remember the last time I used it. Instead my go to has been a Topeak Mountain Morph pump. I bought this thing years ago and it remains in my pack. It works ridiculously well and I have yet to reach for a CO2 cartridge since I bought it. Furthermore, my friends always want to borrow it when they flat. Maybe I'll get the mini one at some point, but the one I have is tough to beat.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 30, 2016, 9:27 a.m.

Topeak! Great reminder, @zigak check out the Topeak Road Morph. Relatively cheap, should last forever, rated way above 100psi (hahaha) & 100psi is definitely possible. And, it's a pretty quick fill.

Reply

zigak
0
ZigaK  - Nov. 30, 2016, 11:25 a.m.

Yes, I agree the only thing that will do 8bars is mini fold-able kinda floor pump. But to be honest the micro is so easy and reliable to use (compared to my previous CO2 pumps) I adopted it for basically all of my rides mentioned above. Except for mtb where I do carry a micro rocket also from topeak. Or shall I say I did, because I lost it. Hint @santa, hint.

Reply

zigak
0
ZigaK  - Nov. 30, 2016, 11:33 a.m.

I do carry a spare tube, plus patches, regular pump and CO2.
Still it can all go to hell (once I got a sidewall cut, then the valve from the spare tube sheared off) - then I stuff grass and pine cones in and very slowly ride home.
From that incident on I carry 2 spares.

Reply

morgan-taylor
0
Morgan Taylor  - Nov. 30, 2016, 7:55 p.m.

Forget all this stuff about how you're inflating them… you need a new tire if you've flatted that many times in that little time!

Reply

zigak
0
ZigaK  - Dec. 1, 2016, 12:05 a.m.

That's not the point I was trying to get across. It was simply: if you flat 3 times in a month, you start appreciating the swiftness and hassle free nature of the CO2 inflator.
Re: new tire. I did change the tire after the first flat even though the wear indicators were still showing enough rubber. The next two were on new tires, one in front, one in the back. It is still to much, but don't focus on how little time, it's how many miles.That month was 20×80 = 1600 km (1k miles) of commuting. All punctures happened in the morning while it was pitch dark and I didn't see the thing that gave me the pinch flat. Either a rock or a sharp edge.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Dec. 1, 2016, 6:29 a.m.

Three flats? Z, new tire time, buddy. In winter, for my commuter, I put on Schwable Marathon Plus'. They weigh a metric ton, each, roll noticeably slower and I have NEVER flatted, not in two years, even after blindly rolling through busted glass, multiple times. I don't even bring a flat kit anymore. And I have now cursed myself. Anyways, it sucks fixing a flat in the pouring rain, getting chilly and then being late for work, so armour up.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Dec. 1, 2016, 6:40 a.m.

Nice fix. Props.

Reply

morgan-taylor
0
Morgan Taylor  - Dec. 1, 2016, 9:26 a.m.

I commend you for your commuting efforts, but I still think you need a different tire. Jan Heine may disagree.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.