The Official Snyder's Riders Holiday Gift Guide
As featured in the ThunderRoads December 2016 issue.
It might be time to put away your bike, but there's still plenty to enjoy during the off-season. Update and detail your bike, get involved in motorcycle organizations, and, of course, give great holiday gifts to your friends and family who love motorcycles.
For the Rule Breaker
Even though Pennsylvania repealed its mandatory helmet law in 2003, some remain unaware of exceptions. Motorcycle operators are still required to wear a helmet if they're under 21, and if they haven't been licensed for at least two years or haven't taken a motorcycle rider safety course. And remember: Eye protection is required for everyone – operators and passengers alike.
Even if your gift recipient wears a helmet, it might be the perfect time to grab a new one with closeout prices. The life of a helmet is only about five years – the interior protection materials start to break down after that.
Giving a helmet is also a great way to show you care: Wearing one reduces the risk of head injury by 69 percent and the risk of death by 42 percent (Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety).
For the Big Spender
If you have a big gift budget for your motorcycle lover (or if you're willing to go all out and treat yourself), consider a safety upgrade.
One product causing some stir is an adaptive headlight kit. If you do any miles in the dark, you know that coming around a corner can cause some vision concerns. The issue? Your headlight moves with your lean. With adaptive headlights, additional lighting is activated as needed, based on the angle of your bike, eliminating any blind spots on the road.
Another big-budget item with a step up in safety is a riding jacket with built-in air pockets. The pockets are activated if a safety clip between the jacket and your bike is ever unclipped while in motion – for example, if you are ever thrown from your bike. The jacket takes only a fraction of a second to inflate.
For the Budget Buyer
A meaningful motorcycle-related gift doesn't have to be expensive – and sometimes it's just hard to buy for motorcyclists who are picky about their gear.
Consider getting your giftee a motorcycle read, perfect for days when it's cold and they're stuck inside. Suggestions include Motorcycling the Right Way by Ken Condon and Stayin' Safe – The Art & Science of Riding Really Well by Larry Grodsky (a Pittsburgh native and original developer of the Stayin' Safe program).
Another cost-effective but infinitely useful gift is a membership to the American Motorcyclist Association. Membership has many perks, like partner discounts and roadside assistance. You can join on their website, AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
A third option is to create a motorcycle gift bundle. Think cleaning supplies, a battery tender, gear gift cards, and more. A handful of Snyder's Riders partners can help you put together the perfect gift: Cycle Gear (Allison Park), Three Rivers Harley-Davidson (Glenshaw), and Gatto Harley-Davidson (Tarentum).
For the Tech-Savvy Trekker
We all have one of these friends – always on their phone and have the latest and greatest tech on the market.
Consider getting your techie friends a mobile app store gift card. There are many mobile applications for motorcyclists, including GPS trackers, motorcycle riding routes, and more. Many of these apps are free, but users can make "in-app purchases" to unlock more features. Some apps may also require membership, and your gift card can cover those fees. Some of our favorites include EatSleepRide Motorcycle GPS, Greatest Road Motorcycle Rider GPS Road Finder, and WeRide.
Another tech treat is Spot – a unique, potentially life-saving device. This is the perfect device for someone who rides off-road or on long trips. You can send loved ones updates on where you are, notify emergency officials if you need help, and track your ride. Spot differs in that it works outside of cellular coverage areas.
For Every Motorcyclist
A safety course is one-size-fits-all and is of immeasurable value. Without training, you're 148 percent more likely to die or be injured in a motorcycle accident (Live Free Ride Alive). And besides that, 90 percent of motorcyclists involved in accidents are "self-taught" or have only been shown to ride by a friend or family member (The Hurt Report). It pays to take a course.
Snyder's Riders suggests taking advantage of motorcycle courses offered by ProRider Pittsburgh and Stayin' Safe Motorcycle Training. As a Snyder's Riders member, you can save 5 percent on a Stayin' Safe course. Sign up for free at SnydersRiders.com, and we'll send out your membership kit including our official bandana. Members have the opportunity to win prizes and stay involved all winter long.
Happy Holidays from our team at Snyder's Riders!