Affordable Upgrades For Your Bike
Mountain biking as a sport can be very expensive, but it doesn’t mean that the upgrades you give your bike have to also break your bank.
Most of the upgrades discussed in this article will not go over a 100 buck-budget. Therefore, upgrading your bike can improve your riding experience and make your spending will be worthwhile.
Here are some of the affordable upgrades that you can do for your bike:
Tubeless Valve Stems
It is hard to justify not having tubeless tires for your bike. Rims, tires, and sealants are so affordable and work well, therefore, you cannot skip this upgrade if you are a serious rider. There are a lot of chichi steel valves available in the market that work great, look cool, and go well with a tubeless setup.
Phone App for tracking your ride
There are free apps that you can download to your phone to track your riding adventure—no matter how short or long your ride is.
These apps provide information that is helpful when used well. Some of these apps include Strava, Bike Brain, Map My Ride, and Cyclemeter.
Shifter cables are not the most noticeable, “blingy” or glamorous upgrades you can do for your bike. However, their performance makes up for their lack of showmanship.
You will notice that the performance of your cables has deteriorated when you remove them.
Once you replace them with a new set of generic cables, you will see an improvement in performance. Consider replacing your cables at least once a season—especially if you ride in harsh or muddy conditions.
Better Sealant for your tires
A good sealant will make a tubeless tire even better. If you use inferior sealants, your ride could be cut short and you will be left with having to ask a stranger for a ride back home. Find yourself a good tire sealant if you want better results (and less hitchhiking).
Most professional riders have their names customized to their jerseys, top tubes or even water bottles. You can get yourself a customized decal from a reputable company that you trust.
Having a customized sticker on your bike may not make you go faster on your rides but can make you feel faster.
Colored-Cable End Caps
In the 90s, the coolest bikes came with peace signs that were iodized in purple. Having a colored end cap on your bike still hasn’t lost its cool factor. Talk to your mechanic at the local bike shop to find one for you.
The main contact point between your bike and you are the grips. Getting a new set of grips to replace the worn-out ones will make your bike look fresh compared to other upgrades.
Better Chain Lube
A good chain lube for your bike is like having a secret weapon for your local riding conditions. A good lube will make your chain cleaner, your drivetrain more efficient, and you may not need to replace the expensive parts of your bike more often.
If you are riding on a dry, desert climate, dry and wax-based lubricants work well. However, if you are riding on muddy and wet conditions, use wet lubricants. Do not over-apply the lubricant as it is simply a waste—no matter what type you use.
New Front Tire
A new pair of tires will cost you more than $100—it’ll be expensive if you were to upgrade both of your tires at once. Since the rear tire of your bike wears quickly than the front tire, here is a tip for you to make use of the rubber.Instead of purchasing a new pair of tires, simply put the front tire to the back and get yourself a new front tire as long as the tread pattern is not specifically for the front, but universal.
Fresh Riding Shorts
Most riders forget about their riding gear as they only talk about the hard parts of the bike.
However, an upgrade can include clothing—like a good pair of riding shorts. The ones you have now may not be desirable and could be a breeding ground for bacteria. Therefore, get yourself a new pair of riding short at least every season for you to comfortably ride your bike.
Wider handlebars will work best with a short stem. This is because it allows for better breathing by opening up your lungs and puts you in a powerful position by spreading your arms.
Handlebars that have a width of between 760 and 780 millimeters are preferable and will make you feel better.
A Shorter Stem
Longer stems will make your riding experience more uncomfortable. If your bike is an XC type, a stem which is 90 or 100 millimeters is too long. For a mountain bike, the stem should be around 70 millimeters. If you are riding downhill, your stem should probably be between 35 and 50 millimeters.
For the cables to be held in place, your bike needs zip-ties. You can get good zip-ties at your local hardware shop in the electronic section. Select zip-ties that have the same color scheme as your bike so they can blend right now.
Use fingernail clippers or flush cuts to clip the zip-ties to avoid sharp edges. Also, ensure that the heads of the zip-ties are facing in the same direction.
Lighter Fork Axle
Your bike will have a pro look and you can save some grams if you use a trick bolt-on to replace your fork axle. There are great upgrades for fork axle available in the market that will make your bike shed a bit of weight and look cool at the same time.
A Dialed Cleaning Kit
Cleaning your bike will make it perform better and a quality cleaning kit will make that possible. At the bare minimum, you will need a degreasing soap, a bucket and two brushes, one for the other parts of the bike and one for the drivetrain.
Most of the cleaning kits available come with brushes, cleansers, and bike cleaners. It is better to buy the complete kit because it has everything that you need for cleaning your bike than to buy individual cleaning items. It will save you some cash and the cleaning kits come with degreasers, polishes, gloves, and rags that you may not find at the store.
A more comfortable Saddle
Most people do not want to ride when their saddle is uncomfortable. There are a lot of comfortable saddles available on the market to try and since the rear end of each bike is different, finding the right one will involve some trial and error.
Most bike shops give a period in which you can try a saddle. A couple of rides is enough to test the saddle and if it does not work, you can always exchange it for a different one.
The bike’s drivetrain wears as a system and if a chain runs for too long, the chain stretches and the bushings wear out. This makes the chainrings and the cogs to wear quickly leading to chain skipping.
If you ride more times in a week you should replace your chain at least once every season. Do not wait until your chain is broken to fix it. A little maintenance now will prevent future costs.
A good sealing tape will prevent the annoying chain-slap noise and save the paint on the chainstay. To protect all the vulnerable parts of your bike including the frame, invest in a good pack of clear decals.
New Reservoir for your Hydration Pack
The petri dish in your bike that you use as a hydration reservoir could be a home for dangerous bacteria. Stop using home remedies such as mouthwash and lemon juice as they only make water taste funny and it will not solve the problem.
Therefore, replace the current reservoir with one that has a treatment in it to keep the bacteria away and keep your water fresh. Find a reservoir which has a multi-layer film made of polyethene as it has a self-cleaning system that prevents the gross build-up.
Get a Tune-Up for your bike
Your bike will be at its best when it is dialed and tuned. It is always better to go to a professional to tune your bike if you are not an experienced mechanic. This is because a professional can turn your brake dragging, ghost shifting, cracking and creaking piece of metal into a tuned bike.
You can even give them a tip to teach you how to do it yourself to save you some time and money in the future.
Affordable Upgrades for the Best Bike Ride
Your bike may be new and functioning well for a while, but after some time the parts wears and tears off. If your riding gets uncomfortable, maybe its time to upgrade your bike. A little upgrade can make your bike look new and feel more comfortable in no time.
You do not need to do all the above upgrades at the same time. Start with a much-needed one and slowly replace all the other parts. Hopefully, this article has broadened your knowledge on the upgrades that you need for your bike, so that you can ride comfortably on that new trail you have wanting to go.