It's that time of year again. We review a dozen motorcycle gifts, including riding gear and several books.
AMA BMW R75GS.
1. One of our favorite motorcycle-related gifts to give to friends and family is raffle tickets for the yearly motorcycle raffle from the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. This year’s raffle bike is a 1975 BMW R75/6, customized by renowned motorcycle builder Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles in Chicago, Illinois. Called the AMA BMW R75GS by Prust, the bike has been modified with a custom rear subframe and updated suspension front and rear including Race Tech Gold Valve emulators in the front and new Fox Street RC51 shocks in the rear. The bike has new controls, updated electronics and wiring throughout, custom paint and lighting and more. The drawing will be held at the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show in February 2017. Tickets are $5 for one or $20 for five.
2. Every classic motorcycle rider needs a good leather jacket, and if you have a friend without one, we suggest the Vintage Rocket Leather Jacket from Joe Rocket. A classically cut, understated jacket that looks good both on and off the bike, the Vintage Rocket is available in black/black with subtle brown accent stitching, or in black/white with white stripes that run down both arms (shown). Made from 1.0-1.2mm drum-dyed cowhide, the jacket has a relaxed fit, a zip-in quilted full-sleeve liner, an inside eyeglass pocket, four exterior pockets and zipper cuffs. Sharp, comfortable and stylish. Price: starting at $329.99.
3. Got a buddy who prefers an open face helmet? If they’re still using sunglasses, get them a pair of goggles to go with it. A pair of goggles offers more eye protection than sunglasses when it rains, and goggles are a great option if you wear prescription eyeglasses and wear an open-face helmet. We ordered a pair of Biltwell Inc.’s new Moto 2.0 goggles in a cool Chocolate color scheme. Made from injection-molded plastic with a clear polycarbonate, anti-fog lens, they have an adjustable elastic strap and fleece-lined foam for comfort. Available in four different colors, plus a checkered design and a lightning bolt design. Five lens options are also available. Price: $39.95.
4. Help a riding friend hide that helmet-hair with a Motorcycle Classics ball cap! Our caps are dark blue with the Motorcycle Classics logo in gray embroidery and a gray-edged brim. These sharp-looking baseball-type hats feature a comfortable fit and a hook-and-loop adjustment strap at the back. Price: $10.
5. Another great gift for the home, office or even the garage is the Classic Triumph Calendar from the fine folks at Baxter Cycle in Marne, Iowa. The 2017 calendar features a variety of Triumphs, from the new-for-2016 Triumph Bonneville 1,200cc T120 to the striking 1969 750 Trident, and even a pair of 1940s 5T Speed Twins. Price: $25 with shipping.
6. Here’s a gift you’re going to want to buy two copies of — one as a gift, and one for yourself! Motorcycle Classics is proud to announce our first Special Collector Edition celebrating Street Bikes of the ’70s. We’ve put together a 100-page issue featuring some our favorite bikes from that magical decade, like the Honda GL1000 Gold Wing, the Ducati 750 Sport, the Triumph X75 Hurricane, the BMW R90S and many more. Price: $6.99
7. Every rider needs a go-to pair of gloves. We’ve worn a variety of Aerostich Elkskin Ropers for years, with our most recent pair being the Elkskin Gauntlets. They feature an elkskin palm for durability and protection, along with an oversized layer of elkskin sewn across the heel of the palm for added abrasion resistance. A knuckle impact pad adds further protection. The gloves feature a hook-and-loop strap at the wrist, a visor squeegee sewn into the left thumb, and adjustable, gusseted gauntlet cuffs. Available in black, natural or brown/natural, they’re comfortable and ready to wear right out of the box. Price: $85.
8. The Isle of Man, The Classic TT and the Manx GP have a special place in the hearts of many motorcyclists. Editor Backus’ favorite souvenir from this past summer’s Motorcycle Classics/Mototouring trip to the Isle was this slick coffee mug with artwork featuring a pair of vintage Honda racers that he bought from artist John Hancox. His website features a variety of greeting cards, Christmas cards, calendars and canvas prints showcasing a wide variety of café racers, classic race bikes, TT legends and more. Coffee mugs featuring a variety of these prints will soon also be available on the site. Price: £9.99 ($12.98 at time of printing).
9. Norton Commando: The Complete Story by Matthew Vale focuses on one of the most loved British motorcycles ever made. Produced from 1968 until the end of Norton Villiers Triumph in 1977 (U.S. deliveries stopped in 1975), the Commando model range featured Norton’s unique Isolastic system that isolated the engine, transmission and swingarm on rubber mounts, significantly improving rider comfort and long-distance capability. This book looks at the history and development of the Commando, along with specifications and model-by-model changes. Price: $29.71.
10. If you have a friend who loves Ducatis, here’s the gift of the year. The Complete Book of Ducati Motorcycles: Every Model Since 1946 by renowned motorcycle researcher and author Ian Falloon lays out the stunning chronology of Ducati motorcycles. From the small Cucciolo auxiliary engine of the 1940s to the singles of the 1950s and all the way to the 750 Super Sport, the models are listed and shown in an encyclopedic form, along with photos and specifications for each bike. A must for the Ducati fan. 256 pages. Price: $50.
11. A great gift for all fans of the Indian brands, both past and present, check out Indian Motorcycle: America’s First Motorcycle Company by Darwin Holmstrom. This great new book tells the complete story of Indian Motorcycles, America’s first mass-produced motorcycle maker. The story begins all the way back in 1889 when George Hendee founded the Hendee Manufacturing Company to produce bicycles, right up through the 2011 purchase of the brand by Polaris Industries and the subsequent new Indian models. This new book features a wealth of photographs of Indian models over the years, and is perfect for any gearhead’s coffee table. 224 pages. Price: $50.
12. Remember the classic 1965 children’s book The Mouse and the Motorcycle? If you don’t know it, get it, but not before also ordering a copy of How to Build a Motorcycle for the budding young bike lover in your life. Written by Saskia Lacey with illustrations by Martin Sodomka, it’s a captivating morality tale about the conflict between ego and teamwork, with motorcycles carrying the story. Written for adults as well as children, it explains a motorcycle’s inner workings in surprising technical detail as it weaves the tale of Eli the mouse and the rest of his crew. Beautifully illustrated and featuring a memorable cast of characters, we think it’s already a classic. 64 pages. Price: $14.95. MC