Buying a gift 'for the cyclist who has everything' used to be a tough gig. Cyclists are a picky bunch - bike components typically require months of deliberation, and even a seemingly innocuous water bottle holder that's 1 gram too heavy could end up on eBay a few days later.
Thankfully, the wearable and connected device revolution has paved the way for a number of new devices designed to help cyclists go faster, train harder and pedal more efficiently, outdoors and in.
Suddenly, then, picking something the cyclist in your life doesn't yet own has become far less of a minefield. And because so many cycle devices now use the proprietary ANT+ wireless technology to share data, one choice gift can open up opportunities for potential birthday, anniversary or Christmas gifts for years to come.
We've picked out our favourite cycling tech, from stocking fillers to money-no-object buys...
The Now builds on the success of last year's first generation sports tracker - a wearable that not only records and analyses activity but also coaches the wearer on how to improve at it. It can be mounted on a wrist or ankle - the latter being suited for both outdoor and indoor cycling (including spinning, which has been added in this new edition). The device's 9-axis motion sensor tracks everything from cadence to speed, while ANT+ compatibility means a separate heart rate monitor can be paired in order to paint an overall picture of performance.
Garmin Edge 520 bundle
It's surprising how easily a notification that another rider took the same route yesterday and did it 12 seconds faster can bring out that competitive streak in even the most casual cyclist. The Edge 520 bike computer packs a lot of tech into a tiny device; built-in GPS tracks every move, while Strava's 'live segments' automatically pit riders against their peers. The included sensors monitor heart rate, speed and cadence for post-ride analysis of how to make up those 12 seconds next time. And because everything's done in-device, lugging a smartphone along isn't required.
Wahoo calls its RFLKT+ a bike computer, but it takes a very different tack to Garmin's all-in-one approach by off-loading the majority of processing and GPS tasks to a smartphone. The device then acts as a second, monochrome screen that uses less battery power than both a dedicated bike computer and a smartphone screen. It also works as a bridge for any ANT+ sensors. This stripped-down approach has obvious cost benefits, though sensors must be purchased separately - and it's obviously less practical for phablet owners.
Stages Power Meter
If money's no object, serious cyclists looking to up their game are guaranteed to grin when they unwrap a power meter. A cadence sensor measures how fast a cyclist pedals, but only a power meter can tell you exactly how powerful that pedalling is - enabling far more accurate measurement of capability and fitness. Stages' power meters come pre-assembled into a crank arm, so you'll need to know which crankset it'll be used with before you buy.
It's still fairly rare to find a bike sporting Shimano's Di2 electronic gear shifting system, but if your giftee happens to have splashed out on their groupset, Shimano's D-Fly wireless transmitter offers an inexpensive way to log current gear information to a compatible cycle computer. Armed with this final piece of the data puzzle, riders can analyse and diagnose which of their gear shifts were made too early, too late and so on.
Shimano Sport Camera CM-1000
While GoPro continues to create action cameras suitable for a variety of sports, cycling stalwart Shimano has aimed its new HD action cam directly at its target market. ANT+ wireless tech enables data to be transmitted from cycle computers and accessories - including Shimano D-Fly and Stages Power Meter - and overlaid directly onto recorded video. Most importantly for wintery roads, it's fully waterproof.
Recon's Jet smartglasses combine sports sunglasses with a heads-up display, projecting real-time information such as speed, distance and location into the corner of a rider's vision. They're compatible with external ANT+ sensors, too, providing information on heart rate, cadence and power - though long distance riders should note that the battery is only rated for two to three hours.
BKool Turbo Trainer Pro
The thought of slippery roads and frozen fingers can tempt even the most dedicated road warrior into hanging up their helmet for the winter - but before banishing the bike to the garage until spring, turn it into an indoor spinning bike with BKool's Turbo Trainer Pro. While cheaper turbo trainers leave you staring at the kitchen wall, the Pro pairs wirelessly with a computer to create a 3D simulation of many of the world's great cycle routes to ride along to. It'll even vary resistance based on the inclines in the simulated route, transitioning smoothly between tough hill climbs and freewheel descents.