Ho ho ho! It’s time for Christmas shopping and you’ve missed Black Friday, you missed Cyber Monday, and you need to fill a motorcyclist’s stocking in a hurry. What to do?
Once upon a time, if you wanted motorcycle-friendly gifts, you had to order from your local dealer, or maybe the back of a print magazine. Now, thanks to the wonders of the Interwebz, you can get anything you want online.
Here’s the CMG list of stores that we’ve worked with in the past and would heartily recommend buying from (and no, they’re not all advertisers!). Note that many of these outfits are US-based, which means you might run into some unexpected cross-border taxes and other charges from couriers like UPS if you decide to ship over the border. If, like most Canadians, you live fairly close to the border, it’s often easier to pick up your swag from a US postal box instead.
Based in Duluth Minnesota, Aerostich makes high-quality street riding gear, like the Roadcrafter suit. Most of that textile gear is likely outside the budget of your average buyer, but a quick look through their site also shows a lot of other stuff that is not only more affordable, but just as useful.
Aerostich’s catalogue is mainly aimed at the commuter and touring markets – people who need to be comfortable in the saddle through all weather, and need versatile equipment. There’s an emphasis on practicality; along with camping stoves, there’s a book on one-burner cooking. Their all-weather suits might be expensive, but they also sell an affordable squeegee that takes on the mundane, but necessary, task of visor cleaning.
But for now, most riders won’t need that stuff for months, thanks to the weather. You can work around that problem with one last item from their catalogue. Buy that special someone on your list a set of motorcycle tire studs for the winter and they’ll thank you every time they go zipping around mid-January.
Find Aerostich’s Facebook page here for news on deals. They have a great online price matching policy and do ship to Canada.
Whitehorse is best-known for their extensive line of motorcycle books, but they also have a decent selection of lower-priced riding gear. They’re based in North Conway, New Hampshire, so their retail location is pretty close for folks from eastern Canada who want to do a little last-minute cross-border shopping.
Whitehorse has books for everyone. If you want to piece together a vintage British bike, they can help. Want to plan a tour through the Alps? Here you go. Want riding instruction from a racing champion? Done. Do you feel like learning first-aid skills that can keep you or your friends alive in a roadside emergency? They can help.
They also have an extensive collection of motorcycle movies, tools, luggage and useful riding gadgets. They update their Facebook page with sales, and you can find their website here. Right now, they have a deal on for free shipping inside the US.
If you’re looking for a bit of Can-Con, Whitehorse has some good books about touring in Canada, as well as several titles by Canadian authors like Mark Richardson or Neil Peart – you might have heard of him before.
Octane Press is another moto-book publisher; they carry Lois Pryce’s highly amusing adventure travelogues (here and here, see our review here), as well as a couple motorcycle calendars that don’t involve scantily-clad chicks draped over choppers (a beautiful Bike Exif calendar here, a scenic adventure riding calendar here).
Rocky Mountain ATV/Jake Wilson
For some time now, Rocky Mountain ATV has proved to be one of the easiest US-based websites to deal with. They generally have solid prices on tires, oil and other consumables, and some of the items from their Tusk line are almost unbeatable in the bang-for-buck department. They also sell MX-branded t-shirts and the like, if you’re into that sort of thing.
While Rocky Mountain ATV is really about dual sports, dirt bikes and quads, they have a partner site that’s aimed at the street bike market, JakeWilson.com.
If you want to outfit your adventure bike or touring machine for serious work, Twisted Throttle probably has what you need. They’ve got a Canadian site now (they bought A Vicious Cycle last year), with prices in CAD, so there are no surprises on the conversion rate or shipping/duty.
Their site has dozens of bikes listed for machine-specific parts; if you want a windshield for a Suzuki V-Strom or a luggage rack for a BMW R1200 GS, you’re in luck. But they also have a handy holiday buying guide, located here. Check ‘em out.
You can check out A Vicious Cycle’s Facebook page here – they’re Twisted Throttle’s Canadian partner. The Twisted Throttle Canadian site is here. Check those locations for up-to-date information on sales.
AltRider Canada East
AltRider focuses specifically on adventure bikes. Along with heavy-duty guards and accessories for bikes like the Super Ten, the GS lineup, V-Stroms and much more, they also carry a lineup of adventure riding DVDs, tools, tires and more.
If you don’t want to deal with cross-border hassles, and particularly if you’re located near Montreal, they’re worth a visit, either to their website and Facebook page, or their location at 6695 Saint-Jacques Ouest in Montreal.
The thing about motorcycle racing is, it’s hard to find on TV. But, thanks to Dorna’s Internet broadcasts, you can watch MotoGP and World Superbike all season long, as long as you pay up. This is actually a pretty fantastic gift idea for a sportbike fan, as it even offers access to past races, if you feel like watching classic track duels from history. You can find the MotoGP video pass here; the World Superbike video pass is here.
Did we miss anyone out? Of course we did, there’s lots of places to spend your hard earned dosh, but if you have a particular favourite shop that you think deserves a mention, please add it to the comments below. We may even do a part two next week …