The holiday season is hectic to say the least. Between swapping over to winter tires, making sure that the motorcycles have all been plugged into their trickle chargers, and that the convertible has taken its requisite teaspoons of Sta-bil there’s barely enough time left to cut down (and put up a tree) or decorate the house, let alone go shopping. That’s why every website on the internet has cranked out some sort of gift guide. Well, ignore those other ones. These are the eight gifts that will make the biggest splash with petrol-heads out there – each chosen to enhance their experiences on the road or remind them why their hobby is so damned fun in the first place.
1 — Dents Driving Gloves
Driving gloves aren’t for everyone, but if you’re special someone has a vintage sports car or classic roadster in their fleet they are most certainly for them. Dents have been in the business of leather gloves since John Dent started stitching them together from a wooden cottage in Worcester back in 1777, so rest assured you’re getting a quality product. There are a number of different styles to choose from and some models come equipped with touchscreen capabilities – should you want to wear them when piloting a modern car – but we’re big fans of the Delta line, which is as simple and elegant as things get. Crafted using unlined hairsheep leather – hairsheep grow hair, not wool, so the leather is incredibly smooth and strong in comparison – and featuring an elasticized inner wrist, they feel like a sumptuous second skin and deliver impeccable grip, especially on a cold, wooden Nardi steering wheel.
2 — Randolph Engineering Military Grade, Polarised Aviator Sunglasses
Good sunglasses are a must and Randolph Engineering makes some of the best. Founded in 1973 by Jan Waskiewicz and Stanley Zaleski – a duo of expert machinists – Randolph Engineering made a name for itself by securing a contract to supply aviator sunglasses to the U.S. military. With fifty years under their belts and countless happy pilots, you can trust that attentions are paid to quality and craftsmanship. The timeless frame design of their aviators looks good on just about everyone’s face and their ingenious “Bayonet” arm/temple design means that pilots or motorcycle riders won’t struggle to slide them on with a helmet. The Military Special Edition in 23k Gold may seem a bit spendy, but they are built strong and, unless you haphazardly leave them behind somewhere, will last longer and deliver far superior optics than those bent Foster Grants you keep in the glovebox.
3 — Cardo Packtalk Edge
Every motorcyclist should be riding with a communications device. It’s an absolute game changer. I know, I know, the arguments for “helmet time” and that “solitude is the reason I ride” are completely valid but hear me out: You can turn off a headset, but you can’t turn on a helmet without one, right?
With that out of the way, the headset you pick will go a long way to convincing you of just how much better a life behind bars with music can be. Cardo makes the best. They consistently deliver the clearest sound, best features and easy-to-use integrations. The Packtalk Edge is one of the newest evolutions to Cardo’s catalogue and features a set of 40mm JBL speakers that deliver exceptional sound thanks to an improved music processor and three redesigned audio profiles. With your phone connected you can stream music, take a call (or at least know about the one you’re ignoring) and get those vital turn-by-turn directions. If you’re into the group ride thing, the Edge also boasts Cardo’s Mesh network, so pairing with other riders has really never been easier.
4 — Vicarious Magazine Garage Time Fuel Coffee + Subscription to Vicarious Magazine
Good coffee, I mean good coffee – not that dirty-water, drive thru crap Tim’s is slinging these days – is something to be cherished, savoured. The roasters at Georgetown, Ontario’s Black Creek Coffee know this and celebrate it with every bean. It’s why we worked with them to put together a signature collection of light, medium and dark roasts known respectively as, Save the Manuals, Ground Effects, and my personal favourite, Overboost.
Each blend has a characteristic balance of acidity, body and caffeine hit, so there is definitely a brew roasted to appeal to each type of discerning drinker. If you’re unsure or would just like to sample “our garage”, you can’t go wrong with the sampler pack. Shipping is free in Canada.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend a subscription to our exceptional quarterly magazine as well, so you can pour over the pages of Canada’s best automotive and motorcycle adventure lifestyle magazine, while the 93-degree water pours over your freshly ground coffee beans. It makes the perfect stocking stuffer!
5 — Porsche Design Driver Velours Moccasin
Like driving gloves, driving shoes aren’t exactly for everyone either. I’ve long been a sneakerhead, so a pair of slim-soled Vans, Chuck Taylors or Asics really work for me. But there are those among us enthusiasts who demand a dressier approach to their heel-toe events. For them, the Porsche Design Driver Velours Moccasin may just be ideal.
Crafted of soft, velour leather these moccasins have been built with a driver’s discerning eye. The sole is grippy, pliable and features a rounded heal. This not only helps with dancing across three pedals but should protect the leather upper as well. The seams of the leather are all hand stitched and they boast a timeless design that pairs well with just about any ensemble you can muster. And when you arrive at your destination, know that the ergonomic footbed and added arch support translate to a comfy experience out of the car too.
6 — Lego Technic
Whether it’s a classic muscle car, Italian supercar, a lust worthy motorcycle or movie car from your past, Lego offers an incredible array of ways to work through some winter blahs.
Almost all of us around Vicarious HQ have a growing collection of builds from the quick and easy Speed Champions collection, and a few have dabbled with the more extensive Technic and Icons builds. The overwhelming consensus is that building these sets is incredibly fun and the trophy at the end is a marvel to look at. Buy one, buy three, buy a dozen. You and your petrolheaded accomplice won’t be let down.
7 — Goldtop “The Patrol” Golden Ochre Jacket
Take one look at The Patrol jacket by Goldtop and tell me it isn’t gorgeous. I know. You just can’t. Styled with the classic trials riding jackets of yore in mind, The Patrol is a thoroughly modern 1.4mm thick, aniline leather piece of kit with “AAA” CE approvals as a protective garment. It even has pockets integrated for armour placement at the shoulder, back and elbow areas to increase impact protection.
Of course, for non-riders out there skipping the additional armour won’t hinder the look and feel of this classic leather jacket. It is also available in black, but we think the golden ochre will age and patinate in a delightful manner.
8 — Honda Trail125 Motorcycle
Small enough to fit under the tree and less expensive than one of those highfalutin mountain bikes, the Honda Trail125 is one of the most fun and practical toys Santa could ever deliver.
Powered by an eight-horsepower, 124.9cc single cylinder engine, the Trail125 isn’t alarmingly quick or even complicated to ride. The ease comes courtesy of its electric starter and clutchless, four-speed transmission. It sips fuel and weighs a scant 116 kg. ABS braking is standard and the design of the Trail125 makes it perfect for urban commuting – complete with a luggage rack on the rear – or bombing around any rural trails or property.
If you or the person you’re shopping for have ever toyed with the idea of learning to ride or already do and have a smidge of room in the garage or shed, the Trail125 is perfection on two wheels.