Best Christmas gifts for cyclists in 2021

Shopping for a cyclist in your life? These are the best festive presents for bike riders

best christmas gifts for cyclists
(Image credit: Chrome Industries)

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, will you buy a cyclist a fleece lined hat? We have a large number of guides to the best Christmas gifts, and this one is aimed squarely at cyclists. It's likely that you are one of those people who know at least one cyclist and if that's the case, we have the best Christmas gifts for cyclist in 2020 listed right here, for inspiration.

Growth in cycling has boomed massively in recent years, and most particularly this year as people seek different ways to commute. And if there's one thing cyclists love, it's stuff for cycling. So if you're seeking inspiration, this is our guide to the best Christmas gifts for cyclists. For obvious reasons, it's winter focussed. Brrr.

How to buy essential winter cycling kit

First of all, it's worth taking note of the type of cycling you are thinking of undertaking this winter. If lots of muddy, off-road antics are on the cards, stick to the gear that's designed for mountain bikers, as it will likely be more resistant to tears or snags and will likely pack a bit of additional protection from falls and heavy downpours.

On the other hand, road cyclists will probably want to find something with an extra snug fit, for the ultimate in aero gains, while a good chamois (the padding for your butt) will also mean the difference between a chafed undercarriage and a happy rider.

Commuters might want to turn towards slightly more fashionable cycling brands if they wish to wear the same clothing into the office or place of work. Alternatively, suck it up and get changed out of the sweaty stuff mentioned below before the working day begins. 

Above all else, warmth is going to be key here, so look for materials with thermal properties that also wick away sweat and moisture to keep the skin dry and comfortable throughout the ride.

Cycling bib shorts are probably out of the question, so look out for full length winter training bibs, which also handily come with waterproof coatings, while long sleeve cycling jerseys with thermal insulation are also a solid investment.

The best Christmas presents for cyclists

Chrome Industries Storm Salute Commute Jacket

(Image credit: Chrome Industries)

Chrome Industries Storm Salute Commute Jacket

Commute in style

Best for: Wet winter commutes
Material: Stretch 2.5 layer fully taped rain shell
Reasons to buy
+Can be worn on and off the bike+Lots of cargo pockets+Reflective details
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest present (will be great for your SO, though)

• Buy the Chrome Industries Storm Salute Commute Jacket for $185 / £170 directly from Chrome

Especially in the UK, winter is tend to be more wet than cold and the Chrome Industries Storm Salute Commute Jacket is perfect for those wet winter mornings. The stretch, '2.5 layer' fully taped rain shell provides all the rain protection you'll ever need and more. the jacket has a 10K/10K water rating.

You should be having a cycling backpack on you but in case you want to travel light, the Storm Salute's got your back. There is a zippered hand, internal chest and back storage pockets to store all your valuables and snacks.

To keep things cool inside, there is yoke vent at the upper back and the Storm Salute is also made of a stretch material so it's comfortable to wear on or off the bike too.

best winter cycling gear: Specialized Deflect Gloves

Specialized Deflect Gloves

Superb chill protection for keen road cyclists

Best for: Winter road rides
Material: Wind-resistant softshell
Reasons to buy
+Snug fit+Comfortable+Reflective details
Reasons to avoid
-Limited colour range-Zero crash protection 

Anyone who has faced a cold, windy day on the bike will attest to the pain experienced in the digits, as hands freeze solid, making gear changes and braking tough and agonising.

A decent pair of winter gloves doesn't necessarily mean gigantic blobs of fabric covering your hands, either, because these skinny numbers allow for some great feel through the bars and supreme protection from freezing winds.

The wind-resistant soft shell upper keeps out the cold bit, while a hydrophobic (water resistant) suede palm equates to excellent grip on the bars even when it starts to drizzle.

There are also plenty of clever little touches that elevate this over your standard glove, such as the Wiretap touchscreen compatible pad on the fingers for easy use of bike computers and smartphones, while the padded palm reduces numbness during long rides and the fabric cuff stops the chill heading up your sleeves.

best winter cycling gear: Castelli Arrivo 3 Thermo Head Thingy

Castelli Arrivo 3 Thermo Head Thingy

Keep the face, head or neck warm with this versatile thingy

Best for: One-stop warmth
Material: Thermoflex fleece
Reasons to buy
+Multiple uses+Breathable+Warm
Reasons to avoid
-Looks a bit daft

No, we're not mucking you about – this really is called a 'head thingy'. This handy piece of kit is a must-have for anyone venturing out into the cold, no matter the cycling discipline, thanks to its versatility and ability to keep multiple body parts warm without allowing moisture to build up.

Its innovative Thermoflex fleece construction ensures a comfortable fit against the skin and it can be worn as a standard neck warmer, pulled over the mouth to prevent freezing air entering the lungs or fashioned into a bandana or cap and worn under the helmet.

Roadies, mountain bikers and urban commuters alike can benefit from this simple and inexpensive piece of kit that's constructed with Castelli's renowned eye to detail.

best winter cycling gear: Rapha Pro Team Winter Tights

Rapha Pro Team Winter Tights

Quite simply the finest winter tights known to man

Best for: The competitive road cyclist
Material: Windlock fabric
Reasons to buy
+Great protection from the elements+Superb fit+Amazing chamois pad
Reasons to avoid
-Cripplingly expensive

Some cycling gear manufacturers throw the word 'pro' into their product descriptions willy-nilly, but these winter tights from Rapha feature the same extremely comfortable Pad II that the real professional athletes use.

On top of this, they boast a wind-blocking DWR (durable water repellent) fabric on all of the front-facing panels, meaning your thighs and shins don't turn into icy slabs as soon as the winter drizzle sets in.

Hand on heart, the snug fit and brushed back fleece fabric inside the tights make these one of the most comfortable winter cycling garments you can buy. And that's a good job too, because they are hella pricey.

Chrome Industries Kadet Sling Bag

(Image credit: Chrome Industries)

Chrome Industries Kadet Sling Bag

Cheap and cheerful carry companion

Best for: Short trips around the city
Material: Abrasion resistant 1050d nylon
Reasons to buy
+Value for money+Iconic Chrome buckle+Perfect size for short trips

• Buy the Chrome Industries Kadet Sling bag for $80 / £65 directly from Chrome

The Kadet sling bag might be small but it is tough as hell: it's been constructed with military grade material (Abrasion resistant 1050d nylon). The lightweight aluminum buckle is not only stylish but also highly functional and makes taking off the bag as easy as pressing the button on the strap.

But there is more! The buckle also functions as a bottle opener, in case you forgot to pack one and in desperate need to open a cold one. There is also a stowable stabilising sternum strap to make sure the Kadet sits well no matter what position you're riding in.

Despite the small form factor, the Kadet is rather spacious. The quick access front pocket will swallow keys and smaller valuables and there is even interior org pocket in the larger compartment. On the outside, you'll find daisy-chain mounting loops plus a padded rear U-lock holster.

best winter cycling gear: dhb Aeron Lab All Winter Polartec Jacket

dhb Aeron Lab All Winter Polartec Jacket

Keeps out the harshest elements for deep winter riding

Best for: Arctic conditions
Material: Three-Polartec fabric combination
Reasons to buy
+Extreme protection from the cold+Snug fit
Reasons to avoid

There was a time when own-brand dhb sat at the very affordable end of the price spectrum, but the one-stop fitness web shop has become very well-respected by enthusiasts in recent years and as a result, the products have taken a  more technical turn.

Part of the advanced LAB range, this All Winter jacket is the first to combine three advanced fabric technologies from Polartec - NeoShell, Alpha Direct and Power Shield Pro, which not only keep the core suitably warm but also block out wind and rain.

Primarily designed for road used in mind, this versatile jacket can also be worn by hardy commuters and mountain bikers alike. However, the tight, aero fit might not be for everyone.

best winter cycling gear: Showers Pass Transit Waterproof Backpack

Showers Pass Transit Waterproof Backpack

Watertight luggage for the soggy weekday warrior

Best for: Winter downpours
Material: 100% Ballistic Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Bombproof+Highly visible+Multiple compartments 
Reasons to avoid

Ignore the boxy silhouette, as these ingenious bags place function over form by utilising fully welded seams with a single-side TPU coating and a 840-denier 100% Ballistic Nylon material to create one watertight mother.

Designed with cyclists from all walks of life in mind, the 42-litre monster will happily transport laptops that measure up to 17-inches and the clever ensures expensive items don't touch the ground when the backpack is dropped.

There is also a fleece-lined pocket for up to 10-inch tablets, four nylon compartments with elastic openings for bottles and a separate fleece-lined pocket for phones and keys etc.

On top of this, it boasts neat reflective elements and four built in red LEDs with variable flash modes for the ultimate in visibility.

The price may sting a bit but honestly, we have lived with a Showers Pass backpack for a number of years now and it has never failed us. They are arguably among the most durable, water resistant load-luggers out there.

best winter cycling gear: Northwave Flash TH Winter Shoes

Northwave Flash TH Winter Shoes

Thinsulate-lined shoes for toasty toes

Best for: Everyday use
Material: Synthetic
Reasons to buy
+So warm+So comfortable+So durable
Reasons to avoid

A numb foot is reason enough to cut a ride short and seek shelter, but these Thinsulate-lined beauties help keep feet toasty without compromising performance.

Granted, they aren't quite as hardcore as the ankle-length all-weather boots offered by Northwave, nor are they as performance-focussed as their lightweight summer counterparts, but anyone riding in chilly conditions will appreciate the clever, fleece-lined Arctic GTX footbed.

best winter cycling gear: BUFF Dryflx Hat

BUFF Dryflx Hat

An trusty head-warming helmet liner

Best for: Anti-brain freeze
Material: Recycled polyester
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
-Makes heads look like colourful eggs

BUFF has seemingly been around since the beginning of time and it is the brand that arguably invented the multi-use neck-warmer, but its latest ultra-light and seamless hat range has been designed with extreme activities in mind.

Reflective, stretchy and excellent at wicking away brow moisture, the Dryflx Hat makes a great companion to an evening run but also doubles-up as a brilliant helmet liner for keeping skulls and ears toasty warm.

best winter cycling gear: Icebreaker 260 Zone Merino LS Half Zip Hood

Icebreaker 260 Zone Merino LS Half Zip Hood

Premium merino wool top for the discerning rider

Best for: Discreet warmth
Material: Merino wool
Reasons to buy
+Tight fit+Additional hood
Reasons to avoid
-Silly expensive

Merino wool might not be cheap but it is almost unbeatable when it comes to keeping vital organs warm. This tight-fitting base layer is excellent at trapping heat, while simultaneously wicking moisture and sweat away from the skin.

The built-in hood is perfect for slipping underneath a helmet on those really chilly days and its discreet nature means that it can happily be worn underneath slightly more stylish garments.  

Leon Poultney
Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. If he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing.