If there’s one thing I love nearly as much as electric bikes, it’s getting to enjoy some new gear on my rides. With the holidays barreling down on us, there’s still a little bit of time left to bring that joy to an e-bike lover near you! Here are some of the coolest pieces of gear I’ve tested this year that would make great stocking stuffers for anyone who rides an e-bike (or a pedal bike!) in your family or friend group.
I know this is going to be a bold statement, but I think I’ve found the best folding lock in the world. The Forever from Foldylock is a veritable BEAST of a lock. I used to think ABUS was the name to beat for folding locks, but having tried both theirs and Foldylock’s, the Foldylock Forever is definitely top of its class.
Its link joints are so tight that there’s no room to get a tool in anywhere. Its pivot where the lock connects back into its housing actually wraps around 360 for the most freedom when locking, unlike other leading brands that only bend up around 90 degrees. It’s also weirdly quiet. I’m used to the many links in a folding lock resulting in lots of rattling. But the Foldylock Forever has such tight tolerances that it doesn’t move around or rattle. Even the bike holder keeps it secure from moving and making noise.
The only bummer is its a bit short at just 90cm, though the company is apparently going to be releasing a longer version soon, which I’ll probably want to upgrade to.
, it’s not even that expensive compared to most high-security bike locks. And ever since I had a $3,000 e-bike stolen, I’ve rethought just how much it’s worth it to buy high quality locks.
Hiplok Z Combo
This one might seem like a strange bike lock, but it’s super handy in a pinch as a quick and dirty low-security option. It’s only a 3 digit combo, which means brute forcing it would only require a maximum of 999 combinations. But that’s really not an issue because someone could literally brute force physically attack it even quicker. A pair of quality garden shears would likely go through it.
So why am I recommending it? Because this isn’t a main lock, but rather just a nice and tiny supplemental lock. it’s a fairly cheap sense of light security that barely weighs anything and you’ll forget you even have it with you. It’s basically a security zip-tie.
It’s great for locking your helmet to your bike, or just locking a wheel to the frame if you need to run in somewhere for a minute. Any thief armed with pretty much any type of cutter bigger than a pair of scissors could get through the thin steel strap in the core, but the point is to protect against theft of opportunity attacks – the guy walking down the street and thinks to himself “I’d like that helmet”. A professional thief will be through it in seconds but a random dude on the street is going to mess up his palms trying to rip it apart by hand.
In fact, it’s so small and handy that I keep one strung through the molle loops of my everyday backpack so I always have a quick way to lock something – or anything – always at my fingertips. Even if I just need to lock my bag for a bit while traveling or go full Jason Bourne with incognito flexicuffs, it’s there.
Hover Air X1 drone (flying camera)
Speaking of traveling, I think I’ve found the perfect filming drone for traveling and bike trips. I often travel to other countries for test rides and vacation, and I often debate whether to bring the drones that I use for pro-level filming. Even my DJI Mini drones are still not that small, meaning they take up a decent portion of my backpack. That’s a bummer for someone like me who tries to travel with just a backpack.
But the is the smallest drone I’ve found that still gives me good pictures and video. I’ve only been playing with it for a few days so far, and so of course I’ll be back with more on my experience with this flying camera, but it’s been an awesome experience so far. The image quality isn’t quite as good as my DJI drones but to be honest, it’s not that far off. I can definitely use the photos and videos professionally, at least if you can call what I do a profession.
The tracking, hovering, orbiting, and other smart flight paths give me quick little clips of interesting shots, like a spin around my bike shot, and also mean I don’t waste a lot of battery life setting up shots. The battery only lasts around 9 minutes, but I can pop a spare in if I need to. I only have the one battery though, and I’ve found it to be sufficient for grabbing lots of different shots on a charge. And since there’s a USB port on the side, I can top up the charge inside my bag from a portable power bank.
There’s also 32Gb of built-in memory, though around 10 Gb are taken up by the firmware. That still leaves me with lots of space for 2.7k video, which I can download right to my phone and clear up more space on the drone.
One of the reasons I don’t mine the small 9-minute battery is because the drone just doesn’t go very far. I’ll send my DJI drones out a mile or more exploring, but the launches from the palm of your hand (literally), does whatever flight you set it for, then returns to your hand.
There’s no controller – though you can buy third-party tiny controllers if you want to fly it manually or fly it from your phone.
Basically, it’s a great way to bring a drone with you traveling or on bike rides when you don’t want the bulk of a bigger piece of equipment but still want to get those higher perspective or third-person photos and video.
I’ve tested a lot of helmets over the years, but the XNITO helmet impressed me as one that is quite comfortable while still feeling like it gives me good wraparound protection.
It doesn’t look like a big egg on my head, it doesn’t feel too nerdy and it doesn’t look like I’m qualifying for the olympic cycling team. It just looks like a nice urban helmet, which is what I’m going for.
The quick-release clasp is also great for one handed removal, and it’s hard to go back to a normal two-handed buckle systems when I’m not wearing the XNITO.
The integrated front and rear LED lights are key, and it they’re especially important if you’re on a bike, scooter or skateboard that doesn’t already have integrated lighting. But even on my e-bikes that do have lights, I like knowing I’ve got one more bright red light up high to make me extra visible to distracted car drivers coming up on my six.
The forward-facing light isn’t really bright enough to light up your way like a headlamp, but it’s perfect for being seen. When you roll up to an intersection, drivers will definitely see your bright white spot on top of your forehead.
For $120, I’d have loved to see a MIPS safety lining, but otherwise I’m very happy with this helmet. It looks good, feels good, works well – what’s not to like?!
Electric Bike Company custom helmet
If you want your helmet to be a bit sexier looking, and you like the idea of customizing it however you’d like, you’ll want to check this out. The Electric Bike Company uses the same awesome Customizer program that allows you to create a 100% custom-painted e-bike, but now they’re applying it to helmets as well.
I made a really pretty blue helmet that my wife has since stolen from me. And you can even customize the strap and trim colors. Plus it’s got built-in front and rear LED lights so you’re always visible, even if your bike lights aren’t working.
Even better yet, the helmet is actually super comfortable, so it’s not just one of those good-looking but poor-performing helmets. It feels as good as it looks.
Woowind electric bike pump
I’ve used a few electric pumps over the years, but this is one I bought a few months ago to have as a spare and I’ve been super happy with it.
It claims to go up to 120 PSI, though I never run my tires that high so I’ve only used it up to around 40 PSI. But I can confirm that the battery lasts a long time, it feels well made with an aluminum case, and it’s even bright red so it doesn’t get lost in a pile of black bike gear.
I’ve never actually run it empty, but I tend to charge it every ten uses or so and it’s never made me feel like it was about to run out of battery.
It came with a bunch of attachments I’ve since lost, but I only ever use the Schraeder valve anyway so I don’t worry too much about the Presta adapter or the sports-ball tips.
, it’s not cheap. But it’s also infinitely nicer than using a manual hand pump. And as a bonus, its battery lasts long enough that you can use it to top up car and motorcycle tires too!
Cycplus mini electric pump
While the pump above is great for having a larger battery, the Cycplus mini electric pump is incredible for being so tiny. I can literally carry it around in my pocket and forget that it’s there. As an emergency pump to carry on your bike, you’ll never notice the few extra grams and it won’t take up much space in your limited on-bike storage.
It gets quite hot while you use it, but it has a silicone condom thing for it that I assume is there to prevent you from burning your fingers. It also probably helps protect the unit in case you drop it.
The main downsides are that there’s no screen to let you know how much pressure you’re at, and the small pump only has enough battery for two tires. But I can just pinch the tire to get a feel for pressure (this is more of an emergency pump anyway) and two tires is exactly how many tires I have on my bike, so it’s perfect!
It’s a bit pricey . But like many things, the best pump is the one you have with you. And a pump this tiny is easy to bring it along.
Dynaplug tubeless repair tool
Last year I was surprised to see this Dynaplug tool show up in my mailbox. It’s a nifty little repair kit for tubeless tires.
It’s about the size of a space pen, which itself is around half the size of a typical ballpoint pen. Basically, .
The only problem is that I’m not fancy enough to own any tubeless bikes. So I gave it to a lycra friend of mine and forgot all about it. Fast forward nearly a year or so and I received this text message from him recently:
Hey, so a while back you gave me a tire plug in a small stainless steel pen shaped tube. On my way home this evening I’m barreling down the trail, pssssssss, tire sealant goes everywhere…I have one hand stopping the air from coming out of the tire, the other hand reaches to the bottom of my saddle bag, as if placed by an angel from heaven your tire plug contraption falls out as I am fumbling around to see what’s in the bag. I untwist the sucker with my mouth, stab the it into the hole in the tire, pull it out aaand I hear the trees swaying into the wind, the train rattle by and my tire sealed.
I guess it works pretty well.
Topeak Ratchet Stick
The Topeak Ratchet Stick is probably my favorite bike tool of all time.
It doesn’t have every tool in the box, but it has most of the hex driver sizes you’ll need for common tasks (adjusting brakes, saddles, racks, etc.), and then the second plastic holder that snaps onto it carries even more drivers that you probably don’t need as often (mostly the Torx drivers).
To be honest I don’t even know where the second plastic holder with the other drivers is anymore, I’ve probably long since lost it in the bottom of my bike parts bin. That’s how infrequently I need any of those extra bits. The five drivers that fit in the handle are all that I use on a daily basis.
The main part of the tool without the extra bits is a godsend. Not only do you have all of your common drivers in one place, but they fit into a ratchet tool that makes it super easy to install bike parts. Instead of trying to spin an Allen wrench 20 degrees for 100 repetitions until you finally tighten down a bolt, it’s so much easier to use a ratchet. No more pulling off your Allen wrench, resetting it, then turning. The ratchet does it all for you. And the quick direction change lever has you going from tightening to loosening in a second. It’s a bit pricey but so, so worth it if you are wrenching on your bikes as often as I am.
Smallrig folding tool
I bought this tool specifically to have the smallest collection of common bike tools possible. It’s perfect. It fits into the watch pocket of my jeans so I forget it’s there, but it’s ready in a second when I quickly need a 5mm Allen or a Phillips head screwdriver. I don’t use the Torx bit much, but it’s great to have that Phillips there in addition to the common metric hex sizes.
In fact, it’s not even a bike tool. This is a camera tool meant to be used for adjustments on tripods and other filming equipment. But universality is the whole point of metric bolts, and so whether those bolts are holding a camera quick-release plate or a bike headlight, the tool still works! making it a great deal for a tool that puts all of the most common bike drivers in something the size of your thumb.
The big flat thing is mostly for screwing in the 1/4-20 tripod plates used in photography, but I often use it as a pry bar. I’m thinking of filing down the end to make it a bit narrower and work as a smaller flat-head screwdriver as well.
In fact, I love this little thing so much that after I had my first one confiscated by airport security, I went back and bought a second one. Now I just remember not to leave it in my pocket when travelling carry-on.
Redshift Arclight pedals
These are the coolest bicycle pedals I have ever seen in my entire life. Hands down.
They’re also quite expensive, so prepare yourself. But trust me, they’re awesome.
You swap these in place of your existing pedals and then – boom! – you’ve got headlights and tail lights that move with you.
Each pedal has two removable LED lights, one facing forward and one facing backward. But you don’t have to make sure you get the orientation right, since they have some sort of witchcraft in them to automatically tell which way they are facing and light up with the correct color. I’ve tried flipping them quickly to trick them, but they always instantly change color to keep white facing forward and red facing the rear.
Plus there’s a 5th LED module that mounts on your seat post for a standard tail light. It’s wild!
And the fact that the pedal lights are moving in a circle makes them even more obvious to drivers. The only thing that stands out more at night than a bright LED light is a bright LED light in motion.
The set of pedals , which is not cheap, but then again they’re not just smart lights but also a good set of pedals. For , you can get that fifth module to mount on your seat post.
You can see the pedals and tail light in action below. That bright headlight isn’t part of the kit though –that’s the next light below.
Fenix E09R 600 lumen flashlight
This little thing is a beast. It throws light like a much larger tool, yet is the size of a chapstick.
If you just saw it on a table, you’d think “ for that?!” But as soon as you turn it on, it’d make sense.
It’s technically not a bike light, but I use it as one because it’s easy to pop on and off the handlebars on allowing it to serve double duty as a headlight and a pocket flashlight. And since it recharges on USB, you never deal with batteries.
The video above with the RedShift pedals has the mounted, which is what is throwing that big beam way out of in front of the bike.
Thousand Traveler Light
The cool thing about these Traveler Light units is that instead of some annoying, hard-to-reach clicky button that forces you to cycle through a number of flash-pattern programs to find on and off, these lights use a spinny-knob.
I’m not sure spinny-knob is the industry term, but basically you just turn the entire unit like a rotary switch. That lets you choose from different flashing programs and light intensities. They’re also held on by magnets that let them separate from the rubber mounting base so that you can just yank them off easily and toss them in your pocket if you don’t want them stolen when parking outside (or for when you occasionally need to bring them inside to charge on USB).
These are also pretty pricey , but they sure do work well!
Author: Micah Toll