Purchasing your first bike is always exciting, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The next step is to accessorize! There’s a lot of gear out there, which can be overwhelming for new riders, if they don’t know what they actually need. Fortunately, I’ve spent years testing products and dialing in my own set-up, so I know what gear will help new riders get up to speed.
This gift guide features essentials that any cyclist will appreciate, but the first priority is getting new riders geared up to do their own maintenance or improve their riding experience. So, help your favorite cycling newbie on their path to becoming an expert with one of these beginner-friendly gifts.
Beginner bike tools
Nothing beats maintaining your own bike. You get a better understanding of how bikes work, and you don’t have to pay a mechanic to do things you can easily do yourself. All new riders need is a bit of curiosity and the proper tools. The Feedback Recreational Repair Stand 2.0 is essential for lifting bikes off the ground to get easy access to the drivetrain, brakes, wheels, and tires. When not in use, it folds away to save space.
To air up tires, a high-quality floor pump like the Silca Pista looks great and will reliably inflate tires for decades. Mountain bikers will also need a shock pump to set up suspension at home. While out on the trail, the powerful Lezyne Pressure Drive hand pump and Dynaplug Racer Pro plug kit will let them repair tubeless tire punctures with ease. (Unfamiliar with tire plugs? Check out our handy guide on how to plug a tubeless tire.)
Muc-Off Bike Care Kit - $49.99
When it comes to maintenance, keeping the drivetrain clean and lubed is the easiest first step for new riders. We’ve gone in depth on how to clean and lube chains, but to keep things simple, the Muc-Off Bike Care Kit provides everything necessary, including degreaser, a brush, and lube, plus some bike wash and polish to keep frames looking fresh.
Lezyne RAP II 24 Multi-tool - $29.99
And if your newbie can only have a single bike tool in their workbench, make it the Lezyne RAP II multi-tool. This portable tool has every wrench size they’ll ever need, plus a chain breaker, spoke wrenches, disc brake wedge, and rotor truing tool.
Beginner cycling backpacks and saddle bags
As new cyclists venture farther from home, they’ll need to carry spares and tools in case of punctures or mechanicals. For road or gravel, a simple saddle bag is perfect for carrying spare tubes, CO2s, and a multi-tool. The roomy Silca Seat Roll Asymmetrico provides the styling of an old-school tool roll but updates it with a modern BOA closure. For something a bit smaller and sleeker, the Arundel Medio uses a thermoplastic, water-resistant shell that won’t look ratty after a few months like some cheaper saddle bags.
For extra storage on singletrack excursions, mountain bikers choose backpacks and hip packs like the Osprey Katari 7 or Seral 4. These packs have lots of room for spares, tools, and snacks, plus hydration bladders so it’s easy to keep drinking when the trail gets rough. Backpacks are the traditional choice, but hip packs have become popular with riders who want to keep weight off their shoulders and closer to their center of gravity. For riders who want to travel light and leave the bags at home, the Fox Racing Enduro Strap lets them stow everything neatly on the frame.
Beginner bike pedals
Every beginner rider faces a key decision early on in their cycling journey: Do they prefer flats or clipless? Look or Shimano (or Crank Brothers)? New riders need good but affordable entry-level pedals to figure out what works for them. The Race Face Chester has long been my favorite affordable flat pedal. It has tons of grips and comes in a plethora of colors. For riders making the switch to clipless, the simple Crank Brothers Candy 1 is perfect for mountain biking and gravel while the Look Keo Classic 3 is ideal for road. If going clipless, make sure your new rider has clipless cycling shoes too!
Every cyclist needs more water bottles. These ultra-fresh Radavist water bottles use Purist bottle technology to shield the inside from bad flavors, mold, and stains. On the outside, they have colorful designs that will accent any bike and match the beautiful landscapes they’ll help new riders discover.
GPS head units
If your cyclist wants to level up, a GPS head unit will help guide them. Riders can navigate new roads and trails, save their favorite routes, and find their way home when they get lost. Plus, head units display ride data in real time and share their rides on platforms like Strava. The Garmin Edge 830 is the benchmark for GPS head units, but I’ve recently been using the new Hammerhead Karoo 2 and love its beautiful high resolution screen and nifty features.
There you have it, the best gifts for beginner riders. If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, check out some of our more discipline-specific gift guides, which will go deeper into what cyclists want for certain styles of riding.