There are plenty of cheap bike upgrades that will make your ride more comfortable or improve its performance, without buying a new bike or making a big ticket change like wheels or a groupset.
There’s a tendency to see one of the best road bikes or a new set of wheels as the panacea to solve all your current bike’s deficiencies, but in reality, small changes can make a big difference, even if it’s not obvious that your current componentry is subpar. They needn’t cost a fortune either.
Bike brands fit one saddle model to every bike of a certain spec level, for example, regardless of the best road bike saddle to suit a particular rider. They don’t have much choice when they’re building a bike in a factory for an unknown rider, but you do have a choice and a saddle swap may make you a lot more comfortable.
Bikes are usually built to a budget too, so the choice of items like bar tape might not be the best bar tape available for comfortable riding.
If you have a mechanical groupset or cable-operated brakes, cables can deteriorate quickly, particularly if you’re riding in the winter. A new set of gear or brake cables can make a big difference. Ditto new brake pads. They could cut down on longer-term repair costs as well.
So with that in mind, here are our top suggestions for cheap bike upgrades.
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Upgrading to a set of the best road bike wheels or the best gravel wheels will likely be a significant investment. Despite this, it is possible to transform the feel of your bike, or significantly alter its capabilities in one area or another with a much cheaper alternative to new wheels: swap to a different set of tyres.
Whether you’re after best road bike tyres or the best gravel tyres, the prices can be a tenth of a new wheelset, and they can improve the bike’s rolling resistance – making it faster – as well as providing a better balance of traction and speed when riding off road.
While you as the rider make contact with the bike at five different points, your bike contacts the ground at only two. The characteristics of your chosen tyre can genuinely elevate a lacklustre ride to something magical. Whatever rubber you chose to adorn your rims with there are a few factors to consider:
A grippier tyre will allow…