Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s time for the holidays. If you’re like me, you’re scrambling to find some gifts for friends and family up to the last minute. If you’re stuck and need some ideas, read on. I’ve curated a few of my favorite cycling-focused goodies for your gift-giving (and receiving) considerations. Maybe there’s something here for that special someone on your list, or perhaps something here you should probably just go ahead and buy for yourself to celebrate the Yuletide.
Let’s start the list with something I’d personally like to see from Santa this year.
The Esker Hayduke LVS. ( Frame only- $2950 | Complete starting at $4950)
If you score well on Santa’s “nice” list, tell him you need a long bike. One of the coolest bikes that came out this year is the Hayduke LVS from Esker Cycles. (Disclosure: If you’ve followed my escapades here or on socials, you know that I’m a fanboy of Esker Cycles. To be fully transparent, I wear the ambassador’s badge and know their secret handshake.) Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me kick off the holiday hit parade with what I hope Santa brings me this year…an Esker Hayduke LVS
I picked up a steel Hayduke for review when they were first released. Shortly after, a titanium proto-type Hayduke magically appeared in my stable. After a handful of seasons, I’ve grown to love the versatility of Esker’s do-all Hayduke hardtail as my single-speed, my bike packing rig, gravel cruising, and single track. The Hayduke is super versatile. Last fall the team at Esker hinted that a Hayduke remake was underway but kept a lid on it until a few months ago when the Hayduke LVS was released.
You might be asking yourself, “Why in the heck does anyone need a bike with a 600mm long chainstays?” The Hayduke LVS answers that question by offering amazing stability and sofa- style comfort for epic rides. Like to carry stuff? The LVS offers cargo options galore, and according to those lucky enough to get their hands on one for a review, a surprisingly snappy trail ride. While I haven’t had the pleasure of riding the Hayduke LVS, it is first on my Christmas list because it looks like a shit-ton of fun.
All Hayduke LVS frames have external cable routing, threaded bottom brackets, and 44mm head for easy maintenance. The Hayduke LVS also comes with 26 attachment points for adventure accessories and M6 threaded rack mounts built into the frame for the attachment of the Molle Rackwald, their proprietary direct-fit rear rack.
If Santa doesn’t bring one for you, check in with your local Esker dealer, or go direct at the Esker Cycles website.
Old Man Mountain
Next up is a list of amazing accessories from Old Man Mountain. Famous for their universal bike racks, the team at Old Man Mountain has expanded their lineup in 2023 adding some new cool products to improve your loading bearing capacity on the bike. First off, we have the Pizza Rack ($168).
Stuck at your local pizzeria with no way to tie down your pie? Old Man Mountain has you covered. The front- rack-specific setup Pizza Rack is designed for strapping larger, awkward sized items to your bike. I’ve safely transported groceries, 12-packs, and all kinds of work-related gear for my commute. I’ve got one on my Ti-Hayduke, and another on a Surly Krampus. The rack is rated for up to 35 pounds and offers various bike mounting options for bikes with or without fork-rack mounts. What makes these racks so versatile is their ability to fit just about any bike whether using a quick release, or using a through-axle fit kit from their sister company, The Robert Axle Project. If your bike’s fork lacks mounting eyelets, use their proprietary “pucks”. With so many options, the Pizza Rack is extremely versatile allowing you to swap between bikes. When paired with the Basket ($80), you’ve got one of the most versatile front rack set-ups I’ve ever ridden.
Looking to do an overnight bikepacking trip? Try out the Ponderosa Panniers ($200) and Juniper Trunk ($125). The 13L Ponderosa Pannier bags are designed for off road action, feature 100% waterproofing to keep your gear dry, and offer a slim profile due to the internal structural supports. The velcro-cam system makes for easy mounting to Old Man Mountain racks. I was able to stuff my sleep kit (hammock, tarp, down blankets) and three days worth of clothing with room for more. These bags are great for multi-day adventures. Add the Juniper Trunk and you’ve got it dialed.
Like the Ponderosa Pannier, the 7L Juniper Trunk features the same velcro-cam attachment system and heavy duty,100% waterproof TPU fabric to keep your gear dry, rain or shy. Designed for the OMM racks, the Juniper Trunk has a smart roll-top enclosure, padded base, and zippered side pocket to stash your keys or small items.
Tell Santa you want the Sector Merino T for Christmas. If you’re familiar with Mission Workshop, you know they don’t mess around. Their products are extremely well made and will amplify your cool factor by at least four points.
Available in black or brown, the $100 Sector Merino T is spun from 18.9 micron 190g/sm Australian Merino wool. The tight weave is super supple and extremely comfortable right out of the package, unlike other merino shirts that require a few washings to soften up. The Sector Merino T is sized for an athletic fit, so size up if you’ve spent most of the last few months watching more cyclocross on the couch than riding your bike like me.
The Cloudburst Hoodie from Showers Pass is the ideal soft-shell cycling companion for shoulder season riding. This jacket, like many of the products offered by Showers Pass utilizes eco-friendly fabrics, a super supple feel, and is surprisingly lightweight for a hooded jacket.
Additionally, the jacket packs down into the rear pocket, making it a great companion for bikepacking and commuting. Another feature I like about the Cloudburst Hoodie is that it can be worn from pedal to pub. It works great on the bike and you can wear it anywhere off the bike. Pair the Cloudburst Hoodie with a pair of Showers Pass rain pants and you’ve got a bomb-proof setup for thrashing through the shoulder seasons worry-free.
The Eco-Trek Shorts ($89) and Pants ($129) from Livsn Designs are smart, super comfortable, and near bomb proof. There is a wide variety of riding shorts and pants on the market. So what sets these apart? I lean pretty hard into the world of sustainability and look for products that consider their impact on the earth. Livsn Designs is committed to responsible manufacturing.
The Eco-Trek, like most of the Livsn products, has all the cool technical features you’d expect from an adventure oriented brand, but also utilizes Blue Ocean Nylon. Blue Ocean Nylon is made from recycled ocean buoys. I’m all about reducing and reusing trash on this big blue marble. Both shorts and pants feature a drawstring waist and button closure, are finished with DWR to repel water, and feature hidden zippered pockets to tuck away those essentials you don’t want getting away from you. If you’re into responsibly made gear, value quality, and like comfortable gear, take a look at the Eco-Trek line from Livsn Designs.
DynaPlug Racer ($47)
Nobody likes to be stuck with a tubeless failure on the trail. Bacon strip-style plugs can be hit or miss. Check out DynaPlug and the DynaPlug Racer. Unlike other plug setups, DynaPlugs are stab and go. They are so easy to use that I couldn’t believe something so simple would actually work. Trailside disaster? Simply insert the brass tip into the hole in your tire and pull it out. Not only do they work great, the tiny package fits in any tool kit and comes equipped with two ready-to-go plugs. If you’ve been skeptical of the tire-plug universe, I highly recommend any of the DynaPlug products. They offer multiple options of their plug and play products to fit any rider’s needs.
Well, that’s about all I’ve got for you. I wish you all a holiday season full of merriment, joy, and peace. See you on the trails!