The best gifts for cyclists in 2023

Other than a bike, helmet and a few emergency maintenance essentials, there aren’t many things a person needs to enjoy a bike ride outside. But having the right accessories can go a long way towards making the experience more fun, more safe and, ultimately, more rewarding. The list of recommendations below cover the gamut of things you can give to the cyclist in your life, from must-have safety accessories like bike lights, to more techie gadgets like bike computers. However, each represents an item the staff here at Engadget have personally tested or swear by, and would make for a great holiday gift.

Crankbrothers M19 Multi-Tool

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It’s an inevitable fact of cycling: at some point, something will go wrong or a part will need adjustment during a ride at the worst possible moment. For those occasions, a compact multi-tool is a lifesaver. Of all the models I’ve tested, I like the Crankbrothers M19 the most. It’s affordable and comes with nearly everything I’ve ever needed to work on my bike, including several different sizes of hex wrenches and a chain tool. Even if your friend or family member is lucky enough to never have to use a multi-tool out on the road, they’re still indispensable for any regular maintenance a bike needs. — Igor Bonifacic, Contributing Reporter

$29 at Amazon$37 at$37 at

Knog Rear Blinder or Rear Plus Lights

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

With the days getting shorter, a rear bike light is essential for keeping your loved one safe out on their cycling adventures. The Knog Rear Plus is one of my favorites because it features a clever design that uses a USB-A port, instead of (shudder) microUSB, for charging. It’s also no slouch when it comes to battery life, with Knog claiming users can get up to 40 hours of run time when using the light’s Eco-Flash mode. At $20, it’s also affordable enough that your giftee won’t mind replacing the Rear Plus if something were to ever happen to it. If you’re willing to spend a little more, the $45 Knog Blinder Rear light ups the brightness to 100 lumens and the battery life to 60 hours, plus it has a slightly better IP67 rating and the same integrated USB-A charging. — I.B.

$42 at Amazon

Garmin Varia Radar

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Let’s be honest, riding alongside cars can be nerve-wracking, even for the most seasoned cyclist. One gadget that can give both newbies and seasoned riders more confidence on the road is Garmin’s Varia rearview car radar. It can detect vehicles up to 140 meters away and provide the rider with audio and visual alerts when a speeding car is approaching. While it works best with a compatible bike computer, it’s possible to pair the Varia with a smartphone. Plus, it doubles as a tail light. At $200, the Garmin Varia is pricey, but I find the safety and peace of mind it offers is worth every penny. — I.B.

$150 at Adorama$150 at Amazon$200 at QVC

Knog Oi Luxe Bike Bell

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

After a rear light, arguably the next most important accessory for keeping safe on the road is a bike bell. While it’s certainly possible to get away without one, I’ve found that a bell is a far more effective means of communicating with pedestrians and drivers than using my voice. One of my favorite models is the $40 Oi Luxe from Knog. It’s loud, fast and features a nifty design that won’t crowd a handlebar. It’s also easy to install and comes with a built-in channel to accommodate a bike’s brake and shift cables. — I.B.

$40 at Amazon$40 at$40 at

Kryptonite New York U-Lock

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If your loved one depends on their bike for their transportation and fitness needs, why not gift them a lock to protect their steed from theft? When it comes to bike locks, few companies enjoy the reputation of Kryptonite and its line of ‘New York’ U-Locks. I’ve used the company’s more affordable Kryptolok model since 2020, and (knock on wood) it’s kept my bike safe each and every time I’ve had to lock it outside. — I.B.

$60 at Amazon$67 at Walmart$67 at

PS Bagworks Rider Strap

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PS Bagworks

As great as smartphone cameras have become in recent years, I find I often reach for my Fujifilm X-E3 before jumping on my bike. Of course, the tricky thing about carrying a camera on a bike is avoiding damage to the body and lens. Enter the Rider Strap from PS Bagworks. It’s a stylish, 1-inch webbing camera strap that comes with a stabilizer to hold a camera in place on the rider’s back while they’re pedaling. PS Bagworks offers the Rider Strap in four colors, and three different attachment options, including Peak Design Links. If your friend or family member already owns a camera strap they love, the company also sells the stabilizer on its own. — I.B.

$55 at PS Bagworks

Patagonia Houdini Jacket

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After being caught in one too many summer showers, I bought myself a Patagonia Houdini rain jacket 2021. It’s available in both men’s and women’s models, and I love how small it can pack down, thanks to Patagonia’s decision to include a stow pocket. This makes it perfect for cycling since it can fit in most handlebar and top tube bags. The Houdini’s recycled nylon shell doesn’t offer the waterproofing of a heavier Gore-Tex jacket, but in a pinch, it will protect the cyclist in your life from a sudden rainstorm. — I.B.

$109 at Patagonia

Planet Bike Waterproof Bike Seat Cover

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Another gift that can help keep your loved one dry, particularly if they ride on a leather saddle, is Planet Bike’s Waterproof Bike Seat Cover. This one-size-fits-all cover is made of water-resistant fabric and is easy to store when not in use. It’s best to avoid leaving a bike out in the rain, but if the situation calls for it, the Planet Bike Waterproof Seat Cover will make the ride back more comfortable. — I.B.

$11 at Amazon

Park Tool Cyclone Chain Scrubber

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Park Tool

If there’s one bit of maintenance every cyclist should find time to do regularly, it’s cleaning their bike’s chain. Doing so will not only extend the life of a drivetrain, but it’s also a great wave to save money over the long run on expensive components. Plus, it’s more enjoyable to ride on a clean, quiet chain. One tool that can take much of the tedium out of cleaning a bicycle drivetrain is a chain cleaner. Plenty of companies make their own version, but I’ve had success with Park Tool’s Cyclone Chain Scrubber. I like it because it’s durable and the company sells replacement parts, so there’s no need to replace the entire package once the internal brushes wear down. — I.B.

$31 at Amazon$31 at$31 at

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt V2

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If the cyclist in your life has a competitive streak in them, a bike computer can go a long way toward helping them meet their fitness goals. In my experience, there’s something about having my Strava Segments right in front of me that helps motivate me to push harder than I normally would. When learning a new route, it also helps to have turn-by-turn navigation in a form factor that isn’t distracting.

The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt V2 is one of the best entry-level models on the market thanks to a recent refresh that added USB-C charging and a color display to Wahoo’s most affordable bike computer. For something more budget-friendly, one option is a smartphone mount like the Out Front model made by Quad Lock. At less $50, it costs significantly less than a dedicated bike computer and will save your loved one the hassle of learning an entirely new user interface. Instead, they can simply use the smartphone they’re already familiar with. — I.B.

$266 at Amazon$280 at$280 at

Ortlieb Back-Roller Plus Panniers

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Adding panniers to my bike transformed it from a hobby machine to a capable errand runner and potential car replacer. Ortlieb Back-Roller panniers come in a set of two and each one holds 40 liters and up to 20 pounds. That’s a lot of groceries, gear or whatever else your cyclist needs to carry — for me, they can carry more than I’m able to ride around with. The quick lock system is simple enough once you get used to it and the shoulder strap makes it easy to carry into a store. I’ve used them in rainstorms and nothing inside felt a drop. While Ortlieb’s mounting system is compatible with a number of racks, I use the PakRak from Ibera. Panniers and a rack may not be the spiciest gifts, but they’ll up the utility of any bike out there. — Amy Skorheim, Commerce Writer

$250 at Ortlieb

Outdoor Research ActiveIce Sun Sleeves

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It might seem counterintuitive to put sleeves on when it’s hot, but pulling on these ActiveIce Sun Sleeves feels way better than slathering sunscreen on before a ride (it’s faster, too). The quick-drying fabric feels cool while you ride, particularly when you work up a sweat, and the SPF 50 has kept my arms from getting sunburned numerous times. They have thumb holes and go all the way down to the knuckles, protecting a rider’s hands, a place that sun damage can be particularly unkind to. — A.S.

$29 at REI

Steadyrack Vertical Bike Rack

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Steadyrack’s vertical bike rack is great for apartment dwellers, but even if the cyclist you know has a garage, this can keep the bike from getting buried behind the lawnmower. It takes about 25 minutes to install in either a stud or masonry with basic tools. Then, to hang the bike, just pop it up on its back wheel and roll the front wheel into the swing arm. The whole bike can swing to the side to save a little more space and (I think) it looks pretty cool on a wall. — A.S.

$90 at Amazon$90 at$90 at Lowe’s

Burley Kazoo Trailercycle

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My kid pretty much knows how to ride a bike, but I’m not ready to expose his new-found skills to city traffic. The Kazoo Trailercycle has been a great way for him to experience the rules of the road while still being fully in my control. There’s an odd, fishtailing sensation when he’s pedaling harder than I am, but I got used to that pretty quickly. It’s heavy at 20 pounds, but I’d rather it be sturdy than flimsy. It also requires a special rack (which is included) that replaces any you have currently installed. Once it’s on, it’s ridiculously simple to attach and detach the trailer, which means you’re far more likely to make that split-second decision to bike rather than drive. — A.S.

$380 at Target

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