Before getting started we should quickly mention what not to buy the motorcyclist in your life. Avoid buying them oil, tires, chain lube, helmets, visors, gloves or any riding gear as a general rule. We, motorcyclists, are incredibly fickle about such things so unless you know exactly the size and type of kit they want, don’t do it. Fit is paramount and we often have very specific needs and even stronger opinions. It’s best to just avoid these things as gifts.
So, instead, starting with less expensive items and working our way up to some more extravagant gifts towards the end. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
$10 | Throttle Rocker
Riders who struggle with hand or wrist pain may really love to have a Throttle Rocker. These guys are about $10 for a pack of two. They just slip over the handgrip, and you set them to barely touch the heel of your hand when the throttle is closed. It works to allow the rider to keep the throttle open using all of their arm muscles without having to hold on as tightly to the handgrip with their fingers.
$15 | Silk Glove Liners
Every rider needs to have a pair of silk glove liners. Especially at only about $15. Silk is incredibly warm, but also super thin so they’ll fit under any favorite pair of leather motorcycle gloves and can really make the difference on those cooler riders.
$15 | Grease Ninja
If you or the rider in your life rides a motorcycle with a chain, a Grease Ninja is a must. Yes we know, the name is silly. But, these things are only $15 and make chain maintenance infinitely less messy. Also, because it puts the lube where it matters most, the Grease Ninja helps extend the life of a chain. Chain lube is almost as sensitive a topic as politics and religion, so just buy them this tool and let the rider in your life chose their own chain lube. Read the full review.
$20 | USB Charging Plug
Speaking of devices that may need power, you can pick up one of these slick little USB charging plugs. They attach directly to the battery on any motorcycle and will allow your rider to charge their phone, or whatever else they need charged, while they are riding. These things are super cheap, typically less than $20 and super handy.
$20 | Therapy Balls
Riders who enjoy touring will really appreciate these therapy balls. They are small so they don’t take up much space, but when they stop for the night, they can roll around on them and it works wonders on back and shoulder muscles.
$20 | Black Retro-Reflective Stickers
Do you worry about the rider in your life riding in the dark? Well, buy them this slick set of black retro-reflective 3M stickers. They can stick ‘em just about anywhere, and because it’s black it won’t detract from the beauty of their bike. In the daylight, it just looks black, but when light hits the tape after dark they reflect bright white, making the rider a lot more visible.$20 gets you this pretty large set.
$20 | Nylon Tool Roll
Touring riders, especially/, need to carry a basic assortment tools with them. Most motorcycles come with these janky plastic tool bags. But you can get these much nicer, nylon tool rolls that allow the rider to better customize the tools they’d carry and organize their tools into these pockets so they can find the one they need without having to dump everything out. …and they are only about $20
$25 | Buff
Probably one of my personal favorite items of riding gear, one that I will not leave home without regardless if it is hot or cold, is the humble Buff at about 25 dollars. They come is hundreds of colors and patterns, but the Merino Wool version is far and away our favorite. It’s a tube that goes over the neck while riding, keeping the sun, bugs, wind, and cold from hitting them where they are otherwise pretty exposed, but most importantly, they don’t impact the ability to turn their head and look around. In fact, if you only buy the rider in your life one item off this list/, this item would be our recommendation
$25 | A Years Supply of Earplugs
All the wind noise and highway sound your rider is being exposed to is hard on their hearing. Show them you love them, and that you want to keep being heard, by buying them a box of our favorite earplugs. The yellow and pink Laser Lites from Howard Leight (without cords) are some of the most comfortable and quiet plugs we’ve ever used, and an entire box, which should last them a year or more, is only around 25 dollars. Learn More.
$35 | Stanley Flask
So, this next gift is pretty universal but when it comes to road trips we love having our favorite adult beverage stowed in our luggage and our favorite storage device are these flasks from Stanley for about $35 dollars. They have never leaked a drop, and they seriously take a beating. They seem to be the perfect size to stow nicely away without taking up too much space.
$35 | Pro Taper Tie-Down Straps
If your rider has ever had to transport their bike anywhere, like maybe a track day, then they need these tie-down straps from Pro Taper. These are, without a doubt, the best straps we’ve ever used. They lock into place, they have integrated soft straps, and they have this great velcro bit to keep the excess strap from flapping in the wind. At only $35 they would still be a value at twice the price.
$40 | RAM Mounts
RAM mounts have become the universal method for which/ most riders attach phones, action cameras and GPS devices to their bikes. But they’ve come a long way in the last few decades. They now make a myriad of motorcycle attachments allowing the rider to put a RAM mount virtually anywhere. We are especially fond of the Fork Stem Ball Base and the Handlebar Clamp Base. Add in a double socket arm, and they now have the means to put any electronic device pretty much anywhere in their bikes cockpit.
$50 | Bike Master Heated Grips
Cold hands are miserable/ and this heated grip kit from Bike Master is a great solution. Once you have heated grips, it’s hard to ever go without. I may have even installed these on a race bike at one point in time. However, you may want to check with your rider before you buy because while /most motorcycles do not come with these from the factory/ a few bikes do.
$50 | Intercomp Tire Pressure Gauge
Going back to motorcycle tires Motorcycles are incredibly sensitive to tire pressure. Even the difference in pressure as little as five-percent can cause the bike to handle dangerously and wear out expensive tires even faster. Every motorcyclist needs to have a high-quality tire pressure gauge that they can rely upon to be sure their pressure is set perfectly before every ride. One of our favorites is this one from Intercomp. It’s one of the best values in tire gauges. It’s about $50, but it performs on par with gauges two and three times more expensive. And yes, you can buy $200 tire pressure gauges.
$60 | Pancake Compressor
You can really take the tire thing to the next level with a small pancake compressor. Small enough to fit in a closet and coming in at only about $60-$70, these little guys will make your riders life so much easier, allowing them to air up their tires from their driveway or their garage, and saving them from the huge hassle of having to find a gas station with a working coin operated tire pressure station.
$60 | Quad Lock System
More and more riders are keeping their phones attached to their handlebars, largely to use as a GPS, but the struggle comes from finding a mount that prevents that 1000-dollar device from bouncing down the road. Our current favorite attachment system is the Quad Lock. The device will snap into place just by rotating it, and, it’s really nifty how you can get a phone case specific to the device that isn’t big and cumbersome, either on the bike or the device, making this system our current favorite.
$60 | Plexus & Microfiber
Plexus is the best cleaner we’ve found for cleaning visors/and windscreens. It was developed by the Air Force for cleaning fighter jet canopies. It’s the only stuff we’ve used that doesn’t scratch or make the plastic on helmets and windshields become hazy. It’s a little bit on the pricey side for what it is, a two-pack is around 45 dollars. But a couple of cans of this and a pack of microfiber cleaning rags will for sure make the rider in your life smile.
$100+ | Nelson Rigg Tail Bag
For a tail bag, the Nelson Rigg CL-1060 is super affordable at around 100 – 125 dollars depending on which size you opt for. It comes in at least four sizes. It attaches to the back seat of most any motorcycle, it’s sleek, expandable, attaches and detaches quickly, and keeps stuff out of the way without looking too frumpy. And won’t scratch the paint. It’s a great way to carry those extra necessities in a way that you can get at them without a lot of hassle. For day rides or week-long trips, the rider in your life will enjoy having a little extra storage. Read the full review.
$130 | Exotogg Insulated Vest
This next one is kinda weird, but/ also kinda awesome. The Exotogg Vest at $130. It’s this super slim, super light underlayer that packs just about anywhere because it folds up to about the size of a large envelope, but can be quickly deployed if things get really cold. Basically, put it on, blow in a little bit of air, and then the riding jacket goes on top. The rider in your life will have an extremely warm, windproof layer of insulation, no matter what kind of riding jacket they use. Its a relatively new product that was voted as the Best New Gear of 2019 in the UK, and despite how weird it is, it’s one of my favorite bits of kit, largely because of how small (packable) it is, and it’s uncanny how well it works. Plus it can be used for other things, like a pillow. I even put it on my dog once when he fell into a creek in the middle of winter.
$140 | Kaoko Throttle Lock
The Kaoko Throttle lock is another great way to minimize hand, arm and shoulder fatigue on long rides. It basically uses friction to hold the throttle open, but, what we like about the Kaoko, are the big lugs on the side make it super easy to turn on, off, or adjust while riding with motorcycle gloves. They work on almost every motorcycle. For around $140, or so, this is the best throttle lock we’ve come across.
$250 – $450 | Helmet Comm’s
Helmet communication systems are another product that has come a long way over the last few years. Even riders who ride alone most of the time love these things because they’ll link up with their phone or GPS device and allow them to receive turn-by-turn voice prompts, or they can listen to a favorite podcast or even just music while riding. They can be purchased as a solo or double set so the price ranges from $250 to $450. We currently prefer the Cardo Packtalk Slim or Bold, but the Sena systems are also really good.
$400 | GoPro Hero 8
Action Cameras are nothing new. GoPro is practically a household name,/ but the new GoPro Hero 8 is a pretty major advancement in action cameras, largely because of what they are calling “hypersmooth.” It basically makes everything you shoot look like it was done with a steady cam or a drone. A lot of riders use these, not only to record their favorite roads, or their track day glories, but they are super popular with riders who use these like a dashcam during their daily commutes should anything go awry. The new 8 also has attachments for lights or microphones, making it really suitable for doing a motorcycle VLog. At $400 they aren’t exactly a whimsical purchase, but this really is the best and most practical camera, we think GoPro has ever made.
$350 – $450 | Satellite Communicator
This one may actually be more for you than them. A satellite communicator. These devices will send out a live track of where your rider is, and should they run into trouble, they can send an SOS and call for help. Or more likely, just keep you informed that everything is going smoothly. The new ones even have two-way satellite texting capabilities. So, no matter where they are in the world or how far out into the boonies they may be, they are not out of touch. We really like the Garmin inReach systems, our favorite is the inReach Mini starting at around $300 or so, but SPOT is another brand that a lot of people use and love.
$2,200 | Yamaha Champions Riding School
And finally, what may be an ultimate gift… Enrollment in the Yamaha Champions Riding School. Yes, it is not cheap. ChampStreet courses do start as low as $150 to $500 dollars, but the ultra-mega two-day ChampSchool hovers at around $2,200. While they are based out of New Jersey, they also operate out of a few other locations. There is no better gift than the gift of riding more proficiently.