As time passes, our bicycles inevitably become slower and less reliable than they used to be when we first bought them. Either the bike’s components have started to become unreliable, or you as a rider have simple grown bored of the same type of ride day in and day out.
Sometimes just a spot of TLC can change a ride!
Here are the top 5 upgrades anyone can make to their bike, that will breathe new life into your old bicycle.
1. REPLACE YOUR TYRES
Over time, through simple wear and tear, our tyres become less grippy as a result of the tread wearing out. This happens across categories and types of tyres. This is a huge safety risk and you can lose control of your bike at a moment’s notice, particularly on wet or sandy conditions.
Tyres can also become more susceptible to punctures as the thickness of the tyre wears down over time. The rubber in the tyres can also harden over time, especially if they aren’t in use for a long period of time. This makes them brittle and likely to crack, further ruining the integrity of the tyre.
That is why replacing your tyres is one of the most affordable upgrades you can do which yields the greatest results. You will experience increased grip on the road and fewer chances of punctures.
New tires also end up having new rubber compound technologies which enable faster rolling, lesser punctures and more traction. An immediate upgrade to your ride as tyres are constantly in touch with the ground.
2. REFRESH CONTACT POINTS – GRIPS, the SADDLE & PEDALS
When we buy our bikes, most of us stick to stock components such as the Grips, the Saddle, and the Pedals. These components despite seeming insignificant impact our ride quite a bit as they allow us to steer the bicycle efficiently, provide comfort and stability, and ensure we’re safe on the bike.
Grips (or bartape in the case of drop bars and road bikes) are critical as they provide better steering capability, sweat control, vibration dampening and last but not the least – make your bike look good! A good set of grips or tape ensure you immediate better control over your ride and a lot more comfort. Good grips also ensure vibrations come up from the front end of the bike are dampened and end up making your bike ride so much more comfortable. Especially if you’re riding longer distances.
Saddles are the least understood part of the bicycle. Good saddles ensure you don’t hurt while you ride your bike and ensures nerves and soft tissue down there are not damaged. A good saddle will ensure your sit bones are well supported and will allow you to enjoy your ride painlessly and without any sort of numbness or chafing.
Pedals allow you to steer your bike better and to give you a nice platform as you power your bike forward without the chance of slipping. Most bikes come with stock pedals which are plastic and heavy. A quick upgrade in this department ensure every pedal stroke feels better.
If you like the components you currently have, then its definitely a good idea to buy new components similar to the ones you already have. We definitely recommend a mix and match to experience new brands and also see if there is a new component that can chrage up your ride!
3. REPLACE CABLES AND HOUSING
Most riders, even the experienced ones, expect brake and derailleur housing and cables to last forever and don’t replace them unless there are damaged.
But in reality, grime and dirt build up in your cable housings over time which makes shifting and braking harder, slower, and tougher. If you find your gear shifter or mechanical brakes tough to press then there’s a good chance your cables need replacement.
Luckily, housing and cables are relatively inexpensive and will dramatically improve your riding experience. Who does not like snappy braking and precise butter smooth shifting. While you’re at this, consider buying the slightly more expensive coated housing and make sure you opt for the stainless steel cables as they don’t rust unlike the galvanized steel ones that do.
4. UPGRADE BRAKE PADS
Brake pads are probably the most used and abused component on any bike. From last-minute braking to avoid colliding with traffic, to maintaining control while on your downhill trail. Brake pads are the one component that is almost guaranteed to need replacement during the life cycle of your bike.
The reason you might be experiencing poor braking or screeching sounds while you hit the brake might be because your brake pads are worn out. This happens because the constant friction between your brake pad and the wheel erodes a layer of your brakes with each use.
Apart from ineffective braking, worn brake pads damage wheel braking surfaces over time and might a wheel replacement if this is not caught in time.
Try and opt for the slightly more expensive good quality brake pads. They last much longer, have efficient mud removal mechanisms, don’t squeal as much and protect your rim braking surface. The dual compound ones are especially beneficial as they provide fantastic braking power under all weather conditions – wet & dry.
Replacing brake pads is again a quick win – relatively inexpensive, can be done at home or at a professional bike shop with immense benefits to the ride quality and your wallet.
Check Out Out Buyer’s Guide to Brake Pads!
5. STRIP DOWN SERVICE
While not technically an “upgrade” – a strip down service is essential to revive a bike and make it feel like new. Heck, if the mechanic at your local bike shop is really good – they can work magic on your bike and make it look and ride even better than the day you bought it.
This complete overhaul ensures a professional bike mechanic checks out your bike, recommends necessary part replacements, and also removes all the grime and old grease from your bike and repacks it with fresh bicycle specific grease and lubricants to ensure your bike rolls well. They also ensure braking and shifting is precise.
A full strip down service might sound expensive and time consuming – but regular maintanence of your bike will yield benefits far greater than the cost of service as it prevents unnecessary wear and tear of other expensive parts and also ensures you’re safe while you enjoy riding your bike.
You can visit our Service and Repair section on the website to understand the various service offerings our service center offers to riders.
There you go. These are our top 5 recommendations to make your old bike feel as good as new and to squeeze more riding out of it. Most of these are relatively inexpensive and quick to upgrade and some can even be done by yourself at home!
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING:
I love the freedom which comes with riding a bike. On my Hardtail MTB , nothing is an obstacle, I seamlessly flow down trails and through traffic like water in a river. And that flow gives me immense satisfaction and the continued drive to get back on my bike the next day.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain Biking & Commuting
CURRENT BIKE: Marin Bolinas Ridge Disc
DREAM BIKE: Cannondale TOPSTONE Carbon Lefty 3