Whether you’ve just bought a new mountain bike or are looking to breathe new life into an old trusted steed, upgrading key areas of your bike setup can make your bike lighter, faster, more confidence inspiring, and more fun. But, upgrades to your bike don’t have to cost an arm and leg to get a hefty bump in performance. We’ve put together a quick guide of affordable upgrades with big results.
The cost of upgrades can add up, but luckily most can be done one or two item(s) at a time. We suggest building an upgrade plan that allows you to target the most important upgrades that match your budget. We organized the list below by order of biggest improvement to your riding. If you’re bike already has good parts within a category, skip to the next category to see what can bring you the most bang for your buck.
The most noticeable upgrades to a bike will be in suspension and wheels, but these can be expensive. We suggest starting your upgrade process with quality tires and setting your wheels up tubeless. These upgrades are quite affordable and can significantly improve your ride experience thanks to reducing rotating weight and improving grip and cornering. Modern bikes are often tubeless-ready, but tubeless kits can allow older bikes to be converted for tubeless setup.
Contact points are any part of the bike that meets your body. This includes pedals/shoes, grips/handlebars, and saddle. Why are these so high on our list of upgrades? The answer is comfort and control. If you are uncomfortable on a ride you will not want to ride for long and may limit your ability to control the bike how you want to while ripping along or cranking through a technical section. Upgrading these contact points can improve comfort and control and may even reduce your bikes weight allowing you to ride longer and charge harder.
If your bike is relatively modern, it is likely that your drivetrain is quite good and may not warrant upgrading. If your bike is older, however, a new drivetrain can make it feel like a whole new ride. Plus, new entry-level drivetrain groups are so good that it often makes sense to replace your older setup with an entire drivetrain group. But if you’re drivetrain is in good working shape, we suggest looking at upgrading your brakes because good brakes allow you to ride faster, with better control and confidence.
If you need further guidance in finding the perfect upgrades for your bike, please reach out to one of our expert Gear Advisors. They can help you navigate the various options and match them to your riding style and preferences. You can contact our Gear Advisors by phone, email, or chat.
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