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What to get your biker guy for Christmas

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Here it is, Cyber Monday and the perfect gift for your biker guy remains illusive. This year in particular, with fewer calendar days between turkey-day and zero-hour, it's getting down to the wire. Don't fret, there's still time, if the scope of gifts is limited. That means, forget the big-ticket or fancy items, too late for those. Anything that requires ordering from North of the North Pole won't make it in time.

Focus instead, on stuff that he will really dig, and will really use.

Bikers love Gizmo's and Gadgets, especially the long-distance riders who use bike-to-bike communications, GPS navigation, MP3 or other mobile music.

Communications: Cardo Systems, a company with many years in the bike-to-bike comm's biz, offers a number of options. At the top is the 'Scala Rider G9.' This Bluetooth device facilitates direct communication to another bike, a passenger, multiple bikes/passengers, or all of the above. In fact, you can voice-select up to 8 riders or, talk in full-duplex mode (like a phone call) with up to 4. The G9 has an auxiliary input for virtually any standard MP3 player and can Bluetooth stream digital music from devices such as Smart Phones. All this technology isn't cheap, but if your guy definitely rides with other Scala owners, he'll love the G9.

Cardo offers other less expensive models, too. Check out their website for more information.

Hint: If set on the G9 as the gift then contact one of your guy's riding buddy's significant other. If he doesn't already own a Scala Rider, purchase the Power Set consisting of two G9's and split the cost. This can significantly reduce the price when compared to a single unit purchase. Chances are she's trying to figure out the perfect gift too.

GPS: There are numerous manufactures of GPS equipment but fewer that make motorcycle specific stuff. That makes GPS buying a bit more tricky than other gadgets. If your guy rides a lot and by that, days or weeks at a time on occasion, or if rain seems to be just waiting for your guy's bike to emerge from the garage, a motorcycle specific GPS is your best bet. They're waterproof, hold up to the hostile environment of a bike and the screens are glove friendly. The average car GPS probably isn't. The other thing is cost. Truth be told, a good GPS is going to be pricey, period. Avoid the bargain-o-rama units from the local flea market. Whichever GPS chosen, make sure to include any mounting hardware. Ram mounts pretty much have the market cornered and motorcycle model-specific parts are available.

Hint: Whether it's a Garmin or any other brand, do a search for a forum on that model. There's a forum out there for everything, probably even forums for toasters and can openers. Read the postings on the unit of interest. It'll only take a bit of research to choose the right model.

MP3: Motorcycles equipped with sound systems or riders using a Bluetooth device like the G9 can allow the biker to take advantage of a music source other than what may be built into the machine. MP3 players are too numerous in form, function and style to cover here. The primary thing to consider is the format of the music and the ease of installing tunes on the device.

Here's where Smart Phones come in handy for other than web surfing or, believe it or not, actually making a phone call. The format of the music files is of prime importance to the operator of the device. Some proprietary MP3 players with their own software to manage music will probably cause the player to spend most of eternity in a drawer.

Then there's Apple. Although the software and rendered file type is indeed proprietary, iTunes is exceptional for managing music, audio books, podcasts, you name it. With an Apple compatible device, whether it's an iPhone or an inexpensive Nano, music streaming to a Bluetooth compatible headset or other device is a snap. If the biker guy receiving the gift already has an iPhone, get a iTunes gift card and load them up. Other smart phone brands handle music just fine in their own right and Apple isn't the only fruit on the device tree. Installing MP3's is likewise fairly easy on other devices, but truth be told, Apple hands-down has the real-deal when it comes to file management, storage and cross-compatibility.

Hint: Many motorcycle specific GPS units are MP3 players. An example is the Garmin Zumo line. Kill two birds with one stone with a good GPS. Want more than just MP3? Satellite Radio capabilities (with a separate receiver) are available.

Other ideas: Riders of sport-bikes or sport-touring machines will enjoy a nice tank bag. Many models and manufacturers of bags are available. For brick and mortar retailers, the motorcycle dealer or places like Cycle Gear can provide the goods. Online stores are great too, but it might be difficult to size up a bag. If the bag is designed for a specific model, then fine. If not, will it be too big? Too small? A tank bag is a great gift for the biker who doesn't have a lot of on-board storage like saddle bags or a trunk.

Hint: Going to the dealership for the particular make bike in question can help make sure the tank bag fits. If the same model isn't on the showroom floor, a similar model might do to try a bag on for size.

Finally, avoid purchases like clothing, protective gear and helmets unless the exact proper size is known. Spouses might know this information when it comes to jeans, shirts and tee's but bike gear often runs very much smaller than what we're all used to, depending upon the manufacturer. Bikers are particular about fit and finish of riding gear. Jackets, helmets, chaps, gloves, protective armor, leathers and pretty much anything worn needs to be tried on first. If dead set on a helmet or handsome chaps, get a gift card instead for enough dough to cover a decent quality item.

So there it is, a few suggestions for getting the biker guy that illusive gift for Christmas. Keep it simple and functional because nothing is uncool if it transmits, plays tunes, has a cool screen or stores junk inside.

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