The 2023 Union Garage Gift Guide
We’ve compiled our annual list of holiday gift ideas, from the easy-and-obvious (gift cards!) to the nerdy and practical, like a fantastic little Pocket Pump that'll top off your tire pressure working off power from your bike's battery.
We’ve got lots in between: maps, mugs, coffee to go in said mugs, books, magazines, belts...all ripe for the picking.
// Level up with D3O
One of our most popular upgrade items this season has been the magically thin and flexible Level 2 D3O Ghost armor. Available in two profiles, Elbow/Knee, and Hip/Shoulder, this stuff slips into most standard armor pockets and instantly upgrades your level of protection while simultaneously, and sort of uncannily, saving space, thanks to a super thin and flexible design.
It's so good, we don't really see the need to stock the Level 1 any longer, and have moved the first-generation armor to closeout status.
// Plate Pullers
After a few years out of stock, we just re-upped on a small run of these plate pullers.
A very NYC-specific motorcycle accessory, the Plate Puller is designed as an elegant way to hold your standard US motorcycle license plate—with a clear side benefit of allowing for just-as-quick removal of said plate. when, say, the right parking opportunity calls.
Example: you pull up at a meter spot and just need to run into a store to run a quick errand. NYC Meter Readers use a handheld device to scan bar codes of NY registered vehicles, which then automatically prints out the ticket.
If there's no window sticker, they've got to record the license plate manually.
If there's no license plate, well, then they need to stop what they're doing, find the VIN number (which is in a different place on every bike, and can be obscured by grease or dirt)...so then maybe they have to call in a supervisor, and it becomes extra work and fewer tickets towards the quota. So they move to the next double-parked, easy-to-scan car, and leave the bike in a de-facto liability loophole, safe from prosecution.
Safe, that is, until the cops decide to do the work and tow the bike. That risk, plus the rising inflationary cost of these machined-in-NY anodized aluminum, conspired to kill this accessory for us for a few years.
Fast forward to 2023, and we decided to make a small run of Plate Pullers—both for nostalgia, and because we do get inquiries about them still. Also, with congestion pricing coming into affect next year, which will cost motorcyclists as much as $7.50 to cross a bridge one-way into Manhattan, maybe it pays to forget to put your plate in again?
// Proxxon Tool Kits
The 36-piece Proxxon Engineer’s kit is an incredibly handy 1/4-inch-drive set for anyone who appreciates quality tools. Each tool in this kit is well thought out, made in Germany, and ready for anything from random household tasks to specific motorcycle maintenance. The sturdy steel case will last for a lifetime of use.
// Pinlock Accessories
// Zigzag Bag
This universal handlebar bag installs and removes without tools in seconds, and easily carries snacks, shades, registration/insurance paperwork, and other incidentals. It's a handy addition to any bike where you could use a little extra storage that doesn't clutter up your cockpit.
“I Have One Word for You: Plastics!” The Netherlands-based Pinlock is one of the smartest motorcycle brands out there. Years ago it patented a foolproof storm-window namesake "Pinlock" insert that can fit inside any standard motorcycle visor, and it licenses it to every high-quality helmet company in the business.
But while it's mostly a one-trick pony, this cagey Dutch firm has a few other smart accessories worth wanting. First up, the Pinlock brand visor wipes, for keeping your shield and the Pinlock delicate inserts clean and smudge free.
Also see the brand's motorcycle specific filtered ear plugs, which come with a handy carrying case and two different sized outer plugs, to fine tune per the rider. The filters dont' just mute the world around you, they help take the edge off the harshest, ear-killing frequencies, while actually improving your ability to hear traffic and/or your own helmet communications system.
// Stocking Stuffer No-Brainer
There are two types of motorcyclist—those who've discovered the awesome power of the humble cargo net, and have one (or more, can you ever have enough?) kicking around the garage. And there are those who aren't yet on the program; for whom this is an easy gift, or add-on.
Store one at the bottom of a saddlebag or tank bag, or just web it across your back seat, ready and waiting to tote a spare helmet, that extra layer you plan to shed when the day warms up, or just grab groceries or a 6-pack. These universal bungee cargo nets turn any pillion seat into cargo-capable real estate.
// Dress for the Slide
These armored Bowtex Kevlar leggings are a versatile utility piece to help riders stay safe on long road trips or short commutes. Simply put, they supercharge any normal pair of pants to CE Level AA+ levels of protection.
Slide these form-fit armored leggings under a pair of standard denim jeans, slacks, even a tuxedo—and voila: instant protection upgrade.
Note; while these are AA rated (one notch lower than the Bowtex Elite AAA product), we still think they're a valid option for the money, and like them because of the thermal value offered by the Kevlar.
// Butler Motorcycle Maps
We love the tactile old-school feel of of a quality map, and when it comes to motorcycle maps, the only name in the game is Butler.
These are no generic AAA trip-planners, they’re made for motorcyclists, by motorcyclists, and they specifically call out the Gold Standard (G1) best roads for two wheels, as well as off-road routes.
We’ve got the whole dual-sport BDR on-/off-road series, as well as Butler’s G1 road map series covering the entire USA. Each map comes with a waterproof coating and is made from tear-proof material — ready for service at the campground picnic table or life at the bottom of a tank bag.
// Pocket Pump
This latest MotoPressor V2 Pocket Pump is about half the size of the original that we sold for years, but fills up a tire just as quickly thanks to a small but powerful little pump motor. It’ll go all the way up to 130psi, and fills up an 18” 150/70 tire from 0 to 31psi in about 3 minutes.
The pump plugs into a standard Battery Tender SAE connector, and comes in a zip-up case to house a tire pressure gauge, alligator clip connectors, and the screw-off inflation hose with knurled brass valve.
// Union D3 Moto Gloves|
We’ve carried Lee Parks Deerskin Gloves since Day One, and for the last couple of years we’ve co-produced a special Union Garage D3 Moto version that blends LPD’s legendary quality and craftsmanship with our own spec D3O knuckle armor.
These gloves come complete with touch-tips at the thumbs and index fingers, ready for use with your smart phone on the fly.
Riding season on pause? Already have a set? Pick up a tin of balm to help condition and weatherproof your gloves for seasons to come with LPD LeatherAide.
// Shop Swag
Our best selling swag is in stock and ready to ship.
We've got hats and t-shirts, from new designs released in the last year, to old Brooklyn-branded pieces—which are not only collector's items now; they're also on sale.
Order anything from our store, and we’ll include a thank-you note on your receipt and a complimentarily sticker. But the only way to get the whole suite is to plunk a 6-pack sticker pack in your cart. Six matte-finish vinyl stickers, guaranteed to class up any pannier, helmet, toolbox, or urinal.
// Roll Your Own
The RSD X Kriega Tool Roll is one of the best examples of the breed we've seen to date. It comes with several zippered pouches, a socket-rail for 3/8" sockets, and mounting points for more. It rolls up and can be chucked into the bottom of a pannier, or strapped to a rack or sissy bar. Available in black or tan waxed canvas finish with Hypalon and Cordura construction making for a bomb-proof build.
// But First... Coffee
Having a cortado (or espresso, or Americano, or iced coffee in the summer) at the showroom is a hallmark of the Union Garage showroom experience. And now you can enjoy that same high-quality coffee at home with this take-home kit.
We’ve always proudly served Stumptown’s medium-road Hair Blender blend, which we've now got packaged in 12-oz bag ready to go.
We’ve also got sturdy diner mugs, emblazoned with the mark of your favorite independent motorcycle gear outfitter.
The whole-bean coffee is the freshly roasted and the mugs are on sale while supplies last.
// Knees in the Breeze
Why buy summer shoes on the eve of winter? Because the REVIT arrow riding shoes are the most comfortable all-day motorcycle shoes we’ve seen in a decade of hunting. And they’re no slouch in the protection department either.
The solidly built Arrow shoes from REVIT leave little to be desired with reinforced toe caps and heel cups, and sturdy ankle protection built into the inside and outside of each ankle.
And let’s be honest, if you’re not choosing to go out riding in the rain and mostly only take the bike out on nice days during the regular riding season, why deal with a swampy waterproof sneaker when you can have comfortable all-day air conditioning? Available in 3 stylish colors, all of which come with an alternate lace color.
// Hundred-dollar Helmets
Normally we're not big fans of cheap helmets. We prefer to deal in Japanese made fiberglass shells with integrated pinlock inserts and a wide catalog of optional pads to choose from to fine-tune fit.
We also like to keep a range of products at every price points, and have relied on the Bell line for its solid entry-level helmets for years.
But finding ourselves with an overstock of Bell Qualifier Blackouts, we've decided to close them out at an even $99 apiece.
Under a hundo' is an incredible value for a lid that comes with two shields (clear, and dark smoke) in the box, and a universally loved (or at lease easy to live with) "blackout" color scheme.
Buy one as a spare helmet, a passenger helmet, or as a gift for a new rider. Closeout promo subject to stock on hand.
// Shatterproof Riding Shades
These high-quality riding glasses are ANSI Z87 rated, and if you snap on the optional side-shields, they’re even Z87+ — that's good enough to safely make some serious sparks on a Union job.
Either variation will get you out of a NYPD Gotcha ticket, and more importantly, they’ll all do a great job of keeping your eyeballs free of roadside dust and debris. As a bonus they serve as great safety glasses in the workshop, and come in a black-frame/smoke lens option that make great everyday sunglasses, too.
// Lee Parks Design Motorcycle Tie-Downs
There are a hundred different options when it comes to ratchet straps. Skip the flimsy orange Home Depot version, especially when it comes to tying down something as precious as your motorcycle.
These motorcycle-specific tie-down straps from Lee Parks Design have been verified after years of use hauling everything from dirt bikes to Vermont in the summer to retail fixtures across state lines, in the snow. They're ridiculously overbuilt, and simply the best. Sold in pairs; made in USA.
// UNIT Garage Klickfix Bags
This one's a bit of a trick entry, because to use one of these slick minamalist motorcycle panniers, you'll need to have a corresponding Klickfix rack installed first.
The good news is that UNIT Garage makes the world's largest selection of bike-specific Klickfix racks, ready to install in mere minutes and provide a ready perch for any one of these bags (or pairs of bags) to click and lock secruely into place, or remove, in seconds.
Read all about it at the UNIT Garage Buyer's Guide.
// ADV Rider Magazine - Collect ‘em All
ADVrider, which started (and continues) as a popular online forum, is now available as a seasonal periodical. It's guaranteed to inspire. We’ve got all four volumes in stock—and if you plunk the full set into the cart we’re running a buy-3-get-one-free deal.
// Total Control - in book form
The promise of Total Control is simple and substantial: “to significantly improve your ability to control any motorcycle.” Based on the proven techniques of expert coach Lee Parks' critically acclaimed Advanced Riding Clinics, reading this book cover-to-cover will no doubt improve your skill (and safety) on a motorcycle. Or put it this way: as a gift, this book is guaranteed to make the reader a better rider.
// Lone Rider, by Elspeth Beard
It’s been a few years since Elspeth came to the old shop and regaled a packed audience with the first-hand account of her incredible journey around the world on a 1970s air cooled BMW, but she sure did leave an impression.
You can catch a grainy archive Facebook video of the talk on Union Street, but it’s really no match for the book, which in poignant and surprisingly personal detail spells out an epic around-the-world journey that will leave any reader properly gobsmacked. For a mere $20, Lone Rider presents an absurd value.
There’s also a highly reccomended follow-up publication available exclusively through Elspeth directly—her self-published photo book called “Lone Rider - The Photographs,” which serves as a great complement to this memoir. If you’d like to check out a copy we’ve got one on the coffee table at the shop.
// Gift Cards. Can't go wrong.|
The easy and instantaneous way to cross something off a holiday gift list: A Union Garage gift card. Starting as low as $25, these gift cards will be delivered via email and can easily be printed out and slipped into a card, or forwarded along. Holiday shopping: Done.
// Peak Design Phone Cases & Mounts|
Give the gift of the most glorious pyramid scheme we've ever willingly been patsy to.
California based bag- and camera accessory/tripod-maker, Peak Design has, in our opinion, come up with the the ultimate system for mounting a smart phone to your motorcycle.
Once you buy into a phone case and moto mount, the other car, desk, and general everyday lift accessoires just start to make sense., a scheme which we are willing dupes in.
The well-designed motorcycle mounts come with slikcly integrated vibration dampening, and the on/off action of slapping a phone onto and off of the handlebars has never been faster.
// John Doe Leather Belt
Offered in three colors and 3 sizes apiece this quality leather belt from John Doe is a no brainer. They come in a nicely packaged container and have withstood our own personal testing with flying colors.
// Go Big: Premium Shoei Helmets
You can tell someone you love them, or you can show them—with the ultimate gift of cranium safety. These premium Japanese-made full-face helmets are a longtime shop favorite and come rife with smart features.
The build quality is second to none, from the well-engineered shields and pads to the fastidious paint quality. Closing the shield on a Shoei yields a reassuring thunk, like closing the door of a luxury car.
And for a brief spell you can get into a luxe Shoei for less than $400—with the Shoei RF-SR (shown below) on a December special.
Shop online, or come by the store—we’re here every weekend and Tuesday-Friday by appointment.
Even when the showroom is closed we're shipping orders as fast as they come in.
For the time-sensitive holiday shopping season, any UPS or USPS rate usually equate to next-day shipping within the tri-state area, and we’re happy to ship globally.