We all know that riding a shiny new bike is always a great feeling. Likewise new wheels, or even new bar tape. But beyond the placebo effect of having something new, upgrading your bike can offer genuine performance benefits.
Some offer aero gains, others save weight, others might improve comfort, and if you’re really lucky, you might find an upgrade that offers all three. But which are the best?
We’ve collated a list below of what we reckon are the best bike upgrades. Of course, depending what bike you already have, not all will work for you, but upgrades can take a chunk of weight off many bikes, increase your performance, make your ride more comfortable, or simply make it look better.
Although some upgrades can be expensive, some cheap bike upgrades can improve your ride without too much expenditure.
So let’s get on with our choice of the best bike upgrades.
Lighter/more aero wheels
High on most people’s list of upgrades is a new set of wheels. Although potentially expensive, this one makes sense. Many bike brands have upped their wheel game on new bikes, but there are still plenty which come fitted out with penny-pinching wheelsets.
The best lightweight wheels can lower your bike’s weight significantly, while stiffer wheels will can make your bike feel more sprightly.
Deep section carbon fibre wheels are de rigueur on the latest aero bikes, but again you may not find that your new bike is supplied with the best wheels of optimal depth to deliver the greatest aero benefits and make you faster – or provide that pro look.
In addition, brands put a lot of work into fine-tuning the aerodynamics of aftermarket wheelsets, so you can expect aero gains. With modern wheels, you’ll get a wider internal rim width, which delivers the benefits of wider tyres without the additional weight of nominally wider rubber.
There’s a lot to be gained from an upgrade to the best road bike tyres or best gravel tyres. Tyre makers pour their best tech into their premium tyres, so not only will you maybe save a little weight, but a higher quality tyre will probably have lower rolling resistance.