5 Reasonably Priced Upgrades for Your Road Bike

gruppo-race_f_1_564_1If you’re considering upgrading your road bike but aren’t sure where to start or what components to change, take a look at our selection of five low-cost parts that may be upgraded to make the most of your next training session, commute, or leisure ride.

Tires

Oftentimes, the most effective and affordable upgrade you can make to your bike – no matter the type – is changing its tyres. With exceptions existing, of course, the tyres coming standard on bikes bought off-the-shelf are often unimpressive. It’s a simple area for bike brands to save money. Tyres that cost less typically use harder rubber that doesn’t grip as well or a more basic construction lacking puncture resistance.

If you’re looking to improve your bike’s performance, comfort and handling, switching to a set of road bike tyres is a great place to start. You might also want to consider converting to tubeless tyres – ditching inner tubes can help stave off punctures and boost comfort by allowing you run lower tyre pressures.

tires

Things get slightly more complicated with mountain bike tyres, as there are countless options available for different styles and conditions. However, choosing a set of tyres that match your riding intentions can make all the difference on the trails.

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The gravel bike tyres sit between the two. If you’re riding a gravel bike, upgrading your tires to wider or stickier ones can aid in gaining more confidence on rough terrain, while a fast-rolling gravel tyre will improve your speed if the trail gets rougher.

BB

No one enjoys press fit bottom brackets, am I right? They’re a pain to remove and install, and more often than not they end up creaking for no clear reason. Even high end bikes usually come with press fit bottom brackets, most likely because it is cheaper to manufacture them this way.bottom bracket

Enduro Bearings’ “TorqTite” series is the best bang for your buck when it comes to BB’s. These BB’s actually thread themselves into a press fit shell, saving you time and hassle. Enduro’s products are always high quality and perform well, so you can be sure that these BB’s will last.

Re-Cable

Brake and gear cables are often neglected when it comes to upgrading a bicycle, whether you want a cosmetic or functional upgrade (or both). Even if you don’t intend on replacing the cables on your own, it’s always a good idea to inspect the quality and form of your gear and brake cables after riding for some time.

cable

Not everyone cares about internal cable routing on bikes, and (like most people,) you probably can’t afford a model that has completely everything you’re looking for plus internal routing.

 However, it’s worth taking the time to fix your ride by re-cabling it–especially if you’ve been riding frequently this winter or haven’t given them much attention recently. This upgrade can significantly change how your road bike feels and performs overall. 

If you don’t have a bike with internal routing, go to your nearest bike shop and ask an employee what the best replacement option would be. If you already know which one you want, start re-cabling. You’ll feel the difference immediately and ride more confidently because of it. New cables always function better than old ones!

Compact Crank and Long Cage Rear Mech

If you have a vintage bike, it’s quite possible that it has a large 53/39 double chainring and an 11-25 cassette — this sounds acceptable if you’re a pro but the rest of us road riders want greater range and lower gears.

crank

A 50/34 crank is a good place to start if you want a compact upgrade. You may lose some top-end speed, but you will have an easier time climbing.

If you want more range, upgrade to a long cage rear mech and bigger cassette. This works well for rides in the mountains, on hills, and rougher terrain trails.

long cage rear mech

Go Tubeless

OK — this isn’t for everyone and is certainly controversial to suggest as a general rule for upgrading, but hear us out. While technology that challenges the old order (especially those from off-road bikes) bugs some cyclists, going tubeless may improve your ride. Although they haven’t gotten widespread acceptance in the cycling world despite being available for a long time, tubeless tires have lower rolling resistance and superior traction – depending on your type of riding, this can be a game-changer.

tubeless

Tires that are not inflated to their ideal pressure will cause your bicycle’s tires to burst and deflate on a ride. Tubeless tires have a higher level of safety than traditional tires due to the sealing compound that floats in them, allowing for better protection from punctures and blowouts on city streets or rougher terrain.

Final Thoughts

A professional bicycle fit will do wonders for your comfort and performance. With the right seat height, reach, and bar width, you’ll be shocked at how much of an difference it makes. You body also expends a lot of energy trying to fix a bad fit–energy that could be used elsewhere. In terms of bike world upgrades, there’s nowhere else you can gain so much with so little effort.