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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED GIFTS or GETS

NSMB Gift Guide: Dec 10th

Words Pete Roggeman
Date Dec 10, 2021
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There are good gift guides, and bad ones. Helpful ones, and those that seem only motivated by the desire to sell you more stuff. We can all agree that the best gifts are thoughtful at the very least, but also that some people are tricky to buy for, that's when we all need a little help. We've tried to avoid bombarding you with endless gift guides and buying pressure, but we also have ideas that may help you find the right gift for the mountain biker in your life (or you can casually send a link to someone who needs ideas for you).

Andrew has some unique gift ideas for those with a sense of humour.
Deniz has some active couples-inspired ideas here.
There are some great stocking stuffer and small gift ideas in our Dec 2nd Gift Guide.

Today's gift ideas are ones I highly recommend - all based on personal experience. If I didn't already own them, they'd be at or near the top of my list. I'm a huge fan of quality stuff that works for other activities as well as riding, making the investment that much easier to justify.

NSMB is supported by our readers. We sometimes earn commissions when you click through the affiliate links on our website. This doesn't cost you extra, it simply helps us out a bit.

Abit Gear MTN Shorts

Abit Gear is a Seattle-based company founded by Justin Vander Pol, a long-time advocacy and trail building leader. His frustration with shorts that didn’t fit his ample backside (his words!) inspired the creation of shorts that are designed for athletes with multiple body types. Frankly we're surprised no one thought of this before Justin did, but he's a clever guy and this is an interesting idea (our multiple rider review on these is pending but here's the one-liner: they're great shorts). Men's and women's cuts don't do nearly enough to address differences in body shapes - there are thin people and thicker ones, tall or less tall...and unisex might be even worse since one-size-fits-all certainly does not apply to inseams, hips, bums, and waists.

Give yourself or your riding partner the gift of comfortable, durable shorts that actually fit. Designed around the fact that mountain bikers aren’t all built the same, they come in Athletic Fit to fix the big butt and legs + smaller waist problem, or Slim Fit if you’re leaner through the seat and/or like a more fitted short.

The MTN Shorts feature 4-way stretch nylon, DWR treatment, 4 generous pockets with burly YKK zippers, and cam-lock waist adjusters with an integrated belt.

Available in two fits, two lengths (!), sizes 28 – 40, and one glorious shade of black.

Abit Gear MTN Shorts: $109.95 USD, available directly from Abit Gear.

Jaybird Vista 2 True Wireless ear buds

I've written about Jaybird Vista and Vista 2 ear buds before, and that's because I really love them, especially when riding alone and on longer rides. The Vista 2 added a bunch of improvements to the original, but for riding use, either is great, because they're waterproof, durable, can be used one at a time, and deliver great sound whether it's a podcast or whatever music I'm currently using to help soften the blow of long climbs on solo rides. The Vista 2 adds Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) which allows both ear buds to be used together while riding with relative safety. I still prefer one at a time for riding, but the ANC and two buds work great together for other tasks where noise cancellation is useful, like mowing the lawn, working on bikes, or choring around the house.

At 269 CAD (199 USD), these are premium ear buds, to say the least. However, as is often the case, they're currently on sale for 189 CAD / 149 USD and that makes them more palatable. I also loved the original Vista ear buds, and can still recommend them although their MSRP is the same as the Vista 2's sale price, so for now I'd go with the Vista 2. One thing to note: while they fit well, you can't 100% guarantee they won't come out if you come off the bike. For that reason, I recommend the light grey colour as it'll stand out against most riding environments better than black or dark blue. The Jaybird app does have a 'find my earbud' feature that works pretty well, but at that price I'd rather not chance it.

Pick up the Vista 2 directly from Jaybird for 189 CAD or 149 USD.

Outbound Lighting EVO Downhill Package

If you haven't heard of Outbound Lighting yet, you may want to wander over to Deniz's Outbound Lighting review from last year. They're a small team of US-based engineers that have taken a different approach to light design. Stay tuned for a couple of 2-minute expert articles in the new year that will cover how they approach bike light design, but for now suffice it to say that we're very impressed with their lights and that while you may be able to pick up two lights for less, it's doubtful they'll work as well for high-performance riding at night in dank conditions.

234 5-star reviews can't be wrong. The EVO Downhill Package consists of two lights: the TraiL EVO for your bars and the Hangover for your helmet. Both are self-contained, so no need to worry about fussing with wires or external battery units. Simple, clean, bright, well-designed. Good lights aren't cheap, but if they let you ride more and last a long time with dependable performance, they're worth every penny.

The Outbound Lighting EVO Downhill Package can be ordered from Outbound Lighting for 471 CAD // 365 USD.

Chromag Habit Gloves

There are a lot of great lightweight and thin glove options right now, but my current favourites are the Chromag Habit. I know, it's cold weather glove season, but it won't be long before these are back in full time use and trust me, the recipient of these won't mind waiting a bit to use them. Having a fresh set of gloves waiting for Spring is just something else to look forward to.

Anything from Chromag makes a good gift for a rider, but I think the Habit glove is a best-in-class option for thin gloves. Bonus points for great looks.

The Chromag Habit Glove is available in three colours (black, acid wash, and charcoal) and six sizes from XS to XXL for $42 CAD.

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Comments

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
8 months, 1 week ago
+4 Mammal Pete Roggeman Niels van Kampenhout Cr4w

I like long shorts I cannot lie! Bring on the 14"+ inseams. :-)

Reply

craw
Cr4w
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Wrong. Everyone must enjoy the same solution. This is mountain biking after all.

Reply

babyzhendo
babyzhendo
8 months, 1 week ago
+4 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major Troy JVP

Justin is one of the OGs of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance in the Seattle area, I was teaching for them for a few years and snagged a pair of his shorts when he first announced them. Now have 2 pairs because I was just wearing the original set dirty all the time, both still in awesome shape despite a TON of miles and honestly the best fitting shorts I've owned (slim version).

Reply

Ripbro
Ripbro
8 months, 1 week ago
+3 Pete Roggeman ManInSteel Alex Durant

Very tempted to get an outbound trail EVO light. It’s been in my cart for a couple weeks. Having a tough time swallowing the price…. convince me to pull the trigger

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
8 months, 1 week ago
+2 ManInSteel Troy

Do you night ride already? If you haven't done a lot of it, it's good to borrow some to try it out a few times and decide if it's for you. For those that know where they stand, investing in good lights is less a matter of if and more a matter of when.

Jerry's right that there are plenty of good options, some of which we've reviewed, and you can certainly get some lights for less money that will get you rolling at night. BUT just like good parts draped on a bad frame aren't the same as good parts on a good frame, you get what you pay for and it's not always obvious what the differences are until you start to dig deeper: reflector design, warranty, battery longevity - and remember that 'lumens aren't everything', there's a lot more to how well a light works than the manufacturer's claimed brightness values.

If you are a keen and frequent night rider and know you'll use them for years, the investment in Outbound will be well worth it. If you are at the uncertain/dabble stage, you may want to make sure first.

Did that help?

Reply

DanL
DanL
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

I finally took the plunge earlier this year after magicshines and geminis - which are also excellent brands. Why? I liked the company ethos, their customer service and communication is second to none (the owner was going to drop off some spares when he came through Vancouver from Washington) and their lights package was very competitively priced.

These gift guides are a goldmine, btw -  I am still loving the Wells Lamonts I bought after your recommendation, Pete.

Reply

Ripbro
Ripbro
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Thanks for your feedback everyone. I ride with group that goes in the winter on fatbikes, and does fall rides when it gets dark soon. I went on a couple with just a cateye 800, and it was terrifying (my fault). Tunnel vision, didn't feel confident about what was coming up ahead, and I didn't enjoy it. It kind of turned me off night riding, but I think it was just because I didn't have the light/ the right equipment.

I will check out the other options lists. I found one local retailer that still has outbounds evo in stock. On outbounds website and other retailers say they are really behind on orders.

Reply

Mishtar
Mishtar
7 months, 4 weeks ago
0

They are taking a little less then 4 weeks. I ordered mine on 22 Nov and I got them on the 17 Dec. The price also includes duty, DHL charged me $67 and I contacted Outbound and they refunded that as it was supposed to be included in the price. The customer service has been great even before I received the lights!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
8 months, 1 week ago
0

Glad they're appreciated, Dan - thanks. I love putting them together because I'm such a gear nerd, and it's fun to stray outside of the strictly MTB sphere.

My WL gloves are still going strong although I'm going to add a second set. The originals are shrinking a bit (is this possible?) and I think I can justify one set for really mucky jobs like winter yard work or trail clearing, and another for ones where I just need a bit of hand protection or warmth.

Reply

DanL
DanL
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

At that price and how damn good they are, I have a set that always sits in the car along with a tool/emergency kit, another around the house and I may just get a set for a spare. I was a bit worried about the yellow dye on my hands after the first month but I absolutely love them. I'm looking at their snowsports gloves right now. I wish they made an apron though

Reply

FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
8 months, 1 week ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Troy

I've got the Trail/Hangover combo, and it's really good. The light pattern is great and I find that it just causes a lot less strain on my eyes and feel that I can ride a lot faster than I could running some of the cheaper "high lumen" chinese lights that seem to proliferate. I'm very happy with the setup overall.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 DanL

take a look at O-Lights and Magicshines as well.  Lots of good options out there.

Reply

troy
Troy
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

I have the Hangover and the older Trail Edition that the Evo replaced and they're fantastic lights. I've used Nightrider and Magicshine which are good, but are heavier for helmet mount and don't have as good of a beam. Even the newer Nightrider double wide isn't as good.

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Just invested in Gemini lights to compliment my Bontrager handlebar light. I’ve wanted a quality set for years. What a treat great lights are! Go for it!

Reply

craw
Cr4w
8 months, 1 week ago
+2 Pete Roggeman JVP

Finally someone makes some shorts with some thoughtful options and they decide to go with 12" and 13" inseams.

Reply

troy
Troy
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 JVP

I have three pair and they're far and away my favorite riding shorts.

Reply

roil
roil
8 months, 1 week ago
0

I just got a pair of shorts from Ketl. They have 9" and 10" inseam options which means I can wear mine off the bike as well.

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
8 months, 1 week ago
+2 Pete Roggeman JVP

Came to comment on the shorts looking good too ... I think I will order a pair.

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
8 months, 1 week ago
+6 DanL Pete Roggeman Andrew Major cheapondirt kcy4130 Zowsch

Think I'm going to need the Sir Mixalot model, butt I'm not sure. Can anyone offer some advice or info to crack this mystery? I'd rather not be behind with my order.

Reply

DanL
DanL
8 months, 1 week ago
+3 mrbrett Andrew Major Zowsch

cheeky

Reply

the-couch
the-couch
8 months ago
0

Bought a pair of these earlier this year. Very happy. Little details are nailed down and they fit very well. Wash well, have taken some tumbles, overall great! I got the skinny + "long" version. The long is really not that long.

I did get smoked by an unexpected import duty but I think they have different shipping options to Canada now.

In terms of comparison I have some POC resistance shorts that are comparable but I prefer having leg pockets on both sides.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
8 months, 1 week ago
+2 Pete Roggeman JVP

Could these be the shorts that lure me away from Dickies?!

Reply

mammal
Mammal
8 months, 1 week ago
+7 Pete Roggeman IslandLife JVP Andrew Major cheapondirt ManInSteel kcy4130

My god man, get yourself something with a bit of stretch in'em. Your everything will thank you, I promise.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
8 months, 1 week ago
+2 Mammal kcy4130

This model works much better than the stiff & baggy shorts you probably have in mind:

www.dickies.ca/en/shorts/flex-11-regular-fit-work-short/WR850.html

Yes I want dedicated riding shorts with zipper pockets and DWR, but no I'm not suffering! 🙂

Reply

mammal
Mammal
8 months, 1 week ago
+1 cheapondirt

Gotcha, yeah those would be much better than the standard kind. I only buy the traditional style Dickies shorts, rode in them once because I forgot my riding shorts. NEVER happened again.

Reply

danimaniac
danimaniac
8 months, 1 week ago
0

I'm intrigued by the lights AND your way to do nightrides..

I like to have MORE LIGHT from the helmet but I don't like the weight.. But it seems most folks have the more powerful light mounted to the handlebar...

I've a HB500 Lezyne on the handlebars combined with a Magicshine Monteer 6500 on the helmet (which is quite heavy and the battery is external, so cables...)

The Magicshine gives PLENTY of light. I really don't need the highest setting but it is nice to see everyhting. To you folks comparing the Hangover/TrailEvo Combo to Magicshine: What have you used before? I'd love a wireless setup but really don't want to sit in the dark like the poor chap riding with cateye 800 ;-)

Reply

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