It’s an annual event or dilemma, depending on your point of view—selecting the right holiday gift to get that motorcycling special someone, be it a spouse, significant other, life-long riding buddy, best wrench-spinning friend, or whatever.
Santa photo credit: Andrew Lozovyi, Deposit Photos
With budgetary constraints in mind, we’ll not consider extravagant gifts, such as a new motorcycle. A bike might fit the bill for any rider you can think of, though you might be hard-pressed to select the right one for someone else.
Instead, I’ll focus on gift ideas that can be had with a level of expenditure that leaves room for food and clothing for the gift-buyer. I’ll also focus on gift ideas based on products we’ve had the opportunity to gain insight into by virtue reviews here at UltimateMotorcycling.com.
Think of these as general ideas. You may prefer brands other than those we’ve looked at, but find the kind of product to be a great idea. Also, the availability of specific models or styles of items may change as newer models are released. For technology-based, software-dependent gifts, there may also be subscription or update fees or conditions that apply, which affect costs and use.
I made no attempt to rank the ideas in terms of cost or desirability. The use of the “top five” is entirely subjective on my part. In other words, I’m simply throwing some ideas out there to help you out with gift-giving, and I’m sending these ideas along with my best wishes for safe and happy Holidays!
- Klim Ai-1 Airbag Vest. Safety first, right? By virtue of that adage, we’ve placed one of the more recent types of powersports safety innovations at the top of the list. Only a few years ago, the idea of a wearable airbag emerged on the racing scene. Reviewed in June by Editor at Large Neil Wyenn, the Klim Ai-1 Airbag Vest is a potentially life-saving addition to any rider’s personal protective gear. However, it is a safety device that requires more owner-awareness and related equipment than the basic motorcycle jacket, which Neil describes well in his review. That said, the benefits of this kind of cutting-edge protective gear may far outweigh the cost or any perceived disadvantages that go with it.
- Fanttik X8 Apex Tire Inflator. And, safety second. Along with your personal protective gear, the machine your trust your life with is an important part of enjoying a safe ride. Way up on the list of things that must be right on every ride is your tires. They are the only connection you have to the road, so inflation must be per manufacturer’s specifications to deliver optimal performance. While checking and maintaining tire air pressure can be something of a hassle, the bother factor can be reduced. Ultimate Motorcycling Editor Don Williams recently reviewed the Fanttik X8 Apex Tire Inflator, which goes a long way toward making the chore quick, easy, precise, and, best of all—portable!
- Badass Moto Gear Ultimate All Season Waterproof Motorcycle Cover. Let’s face it, even sitting in your garage or shed, that motorcycle you spend time cleaning and polishing can get grody and dust. If you need to store it outdoors, that machine inarguably needs economical all-weather protection. Associate Editor Teejay Adams tested the Badass Moto Gear Ultimate All Weather Waterproof Motorcycle Cover and discovered it checked all the boxes for water and wind-proof protection. It also has handy features, including front-end marking, reflective outer striping, windshield abrasion prevention, heat-shielding material in muffler areas, concealed pockets for lock and alarm placement, plus bottom-edge security to keep the wind from turning it into a sail.
- Tactica M.250 Hex Tool Kit and M.100X Bundle: Motorcyclists love space-saving, multi-functional gadgets—because we need them. I reviewed such a bit of gear called the Tactica M.250 Hex Tool Kit and M.100X Bundle and found those items handy, compact, and versatile. What’s more, they are TSA-compliant, so carrying them in your carry-on luggage for air travel is no problem!
- Muc-Off Motorcycle Waterless Wash & Protectant Kit: At the end of the day, there are the tasks at the end of the day—one of which is often cleaning up your ride. But a full bucket-and-hose wash-job may not be in the schedule. Maybe just a quick spot-clean is all that’s necessary to get off some bug-splatter and road grime. Neil had a go at that problem with the Muc-Off Motorcycle Waterless Wash & Protectant Kit and found the waterless approach worked out well, eliminating the need to unroll the hose and fill a bucket for a quick clean-up.
These are but five of the many cutting-edge bits of gear we’ve tested recently. For many more inspiring ideas, be sure to check out the Gear/Parts section of this website.
Special Bonus Gift Ideas
I also took a look at the finest in new and classic motorcycle literature in our Rider’s Library section. As with my gift ideas above, any Top Five selections are wholly subjective and vary widely from one gift recipient to another. That said, here are my top books in five arbitrarily dreamed-up categories of motorcycle literature, based on those books we have reviewed in the past.
- Motorcycle company history: Indian Motorcycle: 120 Years of America’s First Motorcycle Company. Easily the most authoritative and complete history of Indian Motorcycle I’ve seen, Darwin Holmstrom covers the company’s epic story with objective coverage of its many successes and unflinching coverage of its failures. Indian Motorcycle: 120 Years of America’s First Motorcycle Company is not only an excellent book for owners of an Indian motorcycle, but it is a great resource and a revealing read about one of America’s historic companies.
- Motorcycle racing history: The Daytona 200. Nobody can write about top-tier motorcycle racing more authoritatively than someone who actually competed in it. The Daytona 200 author Don Emde is not only a competitor in that storied event—he is the 1972 Daytona 200 winner. That made him part of the only father/son duo to win the Daytona 200—his father, Floyd Emde, won aboard an Indian in 1948. Along with our review of that book, look for bonus coverage of Emde’s award-winning book, The Speed Kings-The Rise and Fall of Motordrome Racing and Finding Cannon Ball’s Trail.
- Adventure touring: Ubuntu: One Woman’s Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa. Australian Heather Ellis has an epic story to tell. It is a staggering solo motorcycle adventure touring story, and a trial of personal strength, resilience, and courage. Ubuntu: One Woman’s Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa is the first of a two-book set telling of Ellis’s incredible journey from Australia to South Africa, her transit of the African continent north to Western Sahara. At the conclusion of that first part of her odyssey, it seems that the trip across Africa had been accomplished safely despite the many dangers she faced. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until much later in London that she discovered such was not the case.
Timeless on the Silk Road: An Odyssey from London to Hanoi: Timeless on the Silk Road: An Odyssey from London to Hanoi is the sequel. It tells the wrenching story of how she completed her return to Australia from England following the ancient Silk Road across Asia while battling a potentially fatal disease.
- Motorcycle memoir: Head Check – What it Feels Like to Ride Motorcycles. Jack Lewis hits you with his journalistic style that is at once honest and yet emotional. He tells a story with the gut-punch clarity and wordcraft that would make Hunter S. Thompson smile. His anthology of stories is about much more than riding motorcycles; Head Check – What it Feels Like to Ride Motorcycles is a lens focused on a life fully lived, but not always easy. Through it all, Lewis retains a great sense of humor with some irony stirred in.
Humor/anthology: The Best of Peter Egan. “Readable, relatable, real. Those bedrock qualities have made Peter Egan one of the most widely-read writers of our time.” That’s how I characterized Egan’s work in my review of his latest book, The Best of Peter Egan, and it’s true. His world view is calming, reassuring, and funny. He admits to his mistakes with self-effacing humor and a literary wink-and-a-nod that reveals he knows we have all made the same kind of mistakes, so it’s ok—we’re all in the same leaky boat. Moreover, he takes us along on motorcycle adventures most of us will never have but can enjoy vicariously from the safety of our own home through his lucid story-telling.
Happy Holidays from everyone at Ultimate Motorcycling.