Contact your local bike shop and clear their shelves because there's no way any of your friends or relatives are going to get you any of this lot for Xmas!
These are all items that stop you from being able to ride when you don’t have any of them left. These are the unsung heroes of your mountain bike.
They are all items that are either designed to wear out (eg brake pads) or are items that break with sufficient frequency as to make it wise to have spares.
1. Tyre sealant
I admit that I change tyres more than anyone else I know but still… Tyre sealant is the new spare inner tubes. Even if we weren’t living in potentially Covid-compromised times, it makes lots of sense to buy sealant in bulk. It feels deeply dull buying a big tub of sealant (there’s no retail therapy highs here) but you’ll thank yourself in the future, numerous times.
2. Chain lube
Don’t let it get to the point where you’re using olive oil. Or, God forbid, 3-in-1 oil from the shed. Keep your chain clean as possible and lubed up in between rides.
Maybe you can ask for these. Maybe. Are they boring or okay? Anyhoo… Technically, you can still ride without gloves. I do ride without gloves occasionally. But for the time being it’s wise to have any bit of protection on as is feasible. It would suck having to go to hospital because of an infection from a palm cut.
4. Brake pads
If in doubt, buy semi-metallic (or semi-sintered). If you’re a good person who is well-organised, and you know how to bed in pads properly etc, go for resin pads and sintered pads and use accordingly. Or just bulk order semi-metallic and get on with your life.
5. Favourite tyre
You *could* ask for a tyre but it’s a real minefield. Just try explaining to your Aunt Barbara about the difference between Schwalbe Addix compounds, or Maxxis EXO versus Double-Down. This year of Covid makes you re-evaluate the important things in life. For me, this involved the emotional pain of admitting that my favourite tyre is not made by Maxxis. My new favourite can-do-everything-well tyre is the Schwalbe Magic Mary. There will never be an occasion where having an orange Addix Mary on the front and/or rear of a bike won’t perform well.
Maybe I’m just lucky, but since the era of 1x I don’t seem to buy chains half a frequently as I used to. But I am still aware that without a functioning chain my bike is essentially a hobby horse. Though I am no weight-weenie, I do always try to buy fairly decent chains because they are shockingly lighter than bog standard chains.
And because I am a member of the 99% of mountain bikers who never check their chain for wear until it’s far too late (even though I own at least two different chain checker tools), I’ll also need to get a new cassette to go with the new chain. At which point I’ll think to myself, “I’ll defo keep checking it for wear this time”, knowing full well that I won’t. I buy SunRace cassettes these days because SRAMano ones are simply too expensive, even if they may work slightly better.
8. Gear cable
I can hardly be bothered to write this paragraph because it is such a boring item. Maybe I can jazz this up by mentioning that chances are your dropper post also may require a gear cable, as well as your rear mech. No, it is still pretty freaking boring isnt it? At least gear cable is cheap.