It’s already December, and you should have your Christmas shopping started already. But in case you’re still looking to pick up something for the motorcyclist, here are some suggestions from CMG.
As in years past, we’ve tried to list stuff available from Canadian retailers, but a few items from US retailers also made the list. And, if you find something you want in Canada, but it’s too expensive, you may be able to get a good deal with some savvy cross-border shopping.
We told you already this year: every motorcyclist should have a toolkit. And as far as we’re concerned, Motion Pro makes some of the handiest tools for riders.
FortNine has Motion Pro tire levers on sale for $32 right now, very handy for someone who rides a motorcycle off-road, in the (likely) event of a flat tire.
If you want to spend more, check out the legendary Motion Pro Multi Tool, recommended by round-the-world rider Austin Vince himself. It’s dear, at $92.39, but it’s a very cool James Bondian piece of kit (although 007’s version would come with poison pills and a hand grenade).
If you like the idea of an all-in-one tool, but not at that price, check out this BikeMaster multi-tool, at a reasonable $15.22.
Some other ideas: the BeadPro FS tire irons at Royal Distributing ($80) are more expensive than the Motion Pro levers, but very well-liked by serious off-roaders. At the other end of the pricing spectrum, Royal Distributing has T-handle socket sets on sale for a very reasonable $7.88. A Battery Tender could also be a great idea for the winter months ahead, available for $37 at Royal Distributing, making for a happy motorcyclist when their bike actually starts in the spring, instead of hours of tinkering and searching for a charger.
Last, but not least: The made-in-Canada PackJack is useful to any motorcyclist with a chain drive, allowing riders to easily hoist the rear wheel into the air for servicing. At $32.95 US plus shipping, it’s not that expensive, and it’s a pretty handy addition to most bikers’ toolboxes.
Most of Canada is closed down for riding, but spring will be here eventually. A heated vest makes those first and last weeks of the season much more comfortable. FortNine has Firstgear heated vests on sale right now, for $187ish. They still aren’t cheap, but one of these could help a rider get back on the road earlier in a few months.
Most dealerships can order similar kit in, and Harley-Davidson even has its own line carrying the bar-and-shield logo, but this stuff has all gone up in price over the years. It’s worth making the effort to find a sale.
Here’s a universal part that almost every rider would benefit from: the Screaming Banshee Shockwave horn. The stock horn on most bikes is shockingly anemic; this unit gives you the blasting power of a big rig, with 123+ decibels on tap. Installation is said to take 10-20 minutes. It’s priced at $139, but that will pay off the first time it’s used to avoid a crash.
Aside from that, we’re guessing most motorcyclists would be happier with a gift certificate than with parts that don’t fit their bike, so we’d recommend looking into that from one of these Canadian retailers: AltRider Canada East, British Cycle Supply, FortNine, GearsCanada, Gnarly Parts, Pete’s Superbike, and Twisted Throttle Canada. Chances are, your local motorcycle dealers also have gift certificates available as well.
Most motorcyclists aren’t likely begging for a new set of long johns for Christmas, but the heavier wool will help them handle the cold weather when they start riding again in the spring, as well as keep them warm all winter. The lighter stuff can serve as a base layer under motorcycle gear year-round. And, it doesn’t get much more Canadian than made-in-Nova-Scotia Stanfields.
While most people know the company’s generic socks and underwear, Stanfields makes some very good cold-weather gear, including this old-school long underwear. Might as well pick up a lighter base layer (here or here) while you’re shopping, to keep that scratchy wool off your skin.
Sure, you can always buy the generic HondaYamaSuzuKawi logo T-shirts, or maybe the classic eagle/stars-and-stripes/skull cruiser shirts. But wouldn’t you rather spend your money on something different?
Right now, FTWCO is selling the raddest T-shirts we’ve seen for a long time — not cheap, but not super-expensive either. Designs range from gnarly Bob Hannah tributes to lame loud pipes boosters, but there’s something here for everyone. Check ’em out here.
We also recommended Vancouver-based Bret Taylor’s Redbubble T-shirts last year, and he’s still got several cool designs for sale. See his range available here.
We had an ugly Christmas sweater in last year’s Christmas guide; here’s the best one we’ve seen this year. Not only is the sweater ugly, the bike’s kinda nasty looking too, at least if you plan on encountering any potholes (and you can’t ride anywhere in Canada without that happening). This one here isn’t technically a sweater, but it might appeal more to someone who rides offroad.
If you’re buying for someone with a sense of humour, or maybe a child who’s interested in bikes, this Playmobil motorcycle shop ($30) is a fun idea. This Lego Technic model ($40) will keep a mechanically-minded builder busy for a few hours, and be a pretty cool desk display when done.
This year, Canadian ex-pat Mark Gardiner has the Bathroom Book of Motorcycle Trivia II out, reasonably priced here. Despite his numerous bathroom puns, we’re sure this is a book fit for a king on his throne.
British street circuit racer Guy Martin has another read out, titled Worms to Catch. Martin has had a busy year, what with a mountain bike race through the Rockies, a speed record on a Wall of Death, an attempt on the land speed record at Bonneville, and other typically mad high-velocity activities, most of which we’re sure will make it to his book.
The Backroad Mapbooks series makes it to the CMG Christmas gift guide again this year. With books for every province except Quebec, the Backroad Mapbooks are an excellent resource for riders who stick to the pavement or the more adventurous off-road types. Find a list of the current editions here.