The Motorcyclists Christmas List: Adventure Riders
Here Are Some Gift Ideas For Motorcycle Riders!
Updated August 16, 2018
It’s that time of year when everyone is going crazy working out what to buy each other for Christmas. You’d think that buying presents for motorcyclists would be easy – but it isn’t. Unless you want to get stuck with a load of crap you don’t want, like an encyclopedia of motorcycles over the last 100 years, or a selection of poor quality tools, you might want to subtly share a few of the lists that we’ll be compiling over the next couple of days… Naturally, no two riders are alike, but we’re going to write a few short lists featuring a few cool items to suit any type of rider, and any type of price range. We’re going to start the ball rolling with some interesting gift ideas for motorcycle riders of the adventure persuasion!
Firstly – and this is more for the benefit of the non-riding present buyer – it’s worth identifying if your gift receiver is an adventure rider: Do they like long tours that take them both on and off road? Do they enjoy getting off the beaten track in search of freedom? Are they fans of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s epic global adventures? If so, then these gift ideas might give you some much needed inspiration…
1) A Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset
If you’re buying for an adventure rider, the chances are that they’ll get a kick out of a Bluetooth intercom system. Good ones tend to be on the pricey side but when it comes to bike to bike communication, it’s worth spending the money. Cheap systems have terrible battery life and limited range – and that’s before we even talk about the audio quality.
We recommend the Sena 20S-01D Motorcycle Bluetooth 4.1 Communication System. It’s expensive, but it’s appropriately priced. But there’s a downside – you’ll need to buy the more expensive dual package for proper two-way conversations…you need two sets to make that happen, of course! Prices for an individual set starts at $269. A combination package with two sets will set you back around $494. Expensive, true. But worth it for long hours in the saddle.
2) A Comprehensive GPS System
Next up, you can’t go wrong with a good GPS and SatNav system. This is another expensive gift idea, for sure – but adventure riding isn’t cheap. We’ll move on to the cheaper options after this, we promise! With motorcycle orientated GPS, there’s always going to be a debate between what’s better: the TomTom RIDER 400, or the Garmin Zumo 595LM. Both are fantastic, but the TomTom offers better value for money. With a starting price of $378, it’s comes with a wide range of cool features.
Since most motorcycle-orientated GPS and SatNav systems come with glove friendly touch screens, it’s not really worth mentioning…but the screen on the TomTom is a little smaller and doesn’t clutter your dash as much as the Garmin unit does. On top of that, it comes with a free “Lifetime Map Update” which effectively means that it’s going to serve you well for the foreseeable future, and it works in all weathers. Definitely a good choice for the adventure rider.
3) A Tank Bag
No self-respecting adventure rider could hit the trails without a tank bag (I personally used one for years whilst touring, and they’re a very handy item to have). You can pick up tank bags in a variety of styles and for a wide range of prices, from dirt cheap to sky high. There are a number of things to look for when selecting one: the quality of the stitching, the type of materials that it’s made from, the functionality, how it attaches to the tank, and the price. Depending on what sort of adventuring you’re doing, your needs will be different. For this reason, we’re going to recommend one that sort of ticks all the boxes and comes with an appropriate price.
The Givi XS312 is a very versatile little number. It boasts a 15 liter storage space, a clear map pocket, a tough nylon construction, four magnet mounts, and a handy shoulder strap so you can carry it like a regular bag when you’re not riding. The price is around $150, and completely worth it for long day trippers, weekend adventurers and even for more hardcore enthusiasts.
4) A Good Old Fashioned Tool Roll
For a relatively cheap price, you can grab an absolute adventure-bike essential: the humble tool roll. There are plenty to choose from, and definitely shop around before settling on the first one you see. The important thing to look for is the build quality. Motorcyclists are very particular about their tools, and don’t want to wrap them up in any old sh*t, so make you read the reviews before committing.
If you need steering in the right direction though, we recommend the Kriega Tool Roll. It can be bought for as little as $40, and plenty of riders will attest to its hardiness and simple practicality. Now whatever you do, don’t waste any money filling it with cheapo tools to bolster up the present. No tools are often better than bad tools. Leave it empty, so the rider can fill it up at their leisure!
5) Dry Bags
Dry bags? Like the ones that kayakers, divers and other water-loving people use? Yeah, those. As you might have noticed looking at the Givi Tank Bags, motorcycle luggage is completely overpriced. Back in the day, an adventure enthusiastic friend of ours recommend using these bags on long tours, and we’ve never looked back. They’re much cheaper than proper motorcycle-branded luggage and just as good. Put your clothes in, squeeze out the air, and secure them in place with bungee cord. Simple, cheap, effective. You can pick them up online for as little as $15 a go, and they come in a wide range of sized and colors.
We’ve even seen proper “motorcycle” adapted versions, but they’re basically the same thing with a couple of extra straps sewn on, and a far more intimidating price tag. Any adventure rider, or any rider at all who wishes to go out on a multi-day journey will be thankful they’ve packed their goods in these.
Extra “Old Faithful” Gift Ideas…
You can never go wrong with a good book or DVD, and if the adventure rider you have in mind doesn’t have Ewan and Charley’s Long Way Round/Down series, or Ted Simon’s iconic books Jupiter’s Travels and Dreaming Of Jupiter, then add them to your shopping list for a guaranteed win.