5 cheap and easy bike upgrades anyone can do

If you’d like to breathe some fresh life in to a well loved commuter bike, then here are 5 cheap and easy upgrades you can make.

Bar tape

Fizik mirotext bar tape

If you’ve got road bike style, drop bars, then you’ve probably got some bar tape on there. This gets scruffy over time and doesn’t give you a nice feeling each time you grip it. Fi’zi:k’s Microtext is a great upgrade option. It is one of the most long lasting tapes you can buy and it feels really good to grip. You can either get the bike shop to install this for you (it shouldn’t cost too much) or you can do the upgrade at home. We’ve got instructions inside the Bike Doctor app. You also get to choose from a pretty wide range of colours!

Cost: Microtext tape £12

New tyres

A new set of tyres are a great upgrade. You can get better puncture resistance and a better handling on the road. The Schwalbe Durano Plus tyres come highly recommended, as do the Hutchinson Intensive Kevlar tyres.

Cost: Schwalbe Durano Plus £26

Upgrade your cables

Bicycle cables corrode and fray over time. You can get a new set for around £15. The effect on your bike’s performance will be immediately noticeable. Your brakes suddenly respond far more quickly and your gears shift more smoothly. For a guide on completing this repair, make sure you get a copy of our Bike Doctor App.

Cost: £15 from your local bike shop.

New brake pads

V-brakes, common in mountain bikes and hybrids, need replacing frequently. Road bike brakes less frequently and disk brakes even less frequently. You should keep an eye on the condition of your pads and grab a new pair when they are too worn. This will provide better braking and will stop your pads wearing down your wheel rims.

Cost: £10-£15 from your local bike shop.

New pedals

If you are still using the standard set of pedals that came with your bike, a clever upgrade can be a new set of pedals. I recently covered the advantages of mountain bike style, flat pedals.

I’ve gone down the new tyre, pedal and bar tape route and my bike feels great to ride. A pair of new cables will probably be next on the cards, as my breaking is starting to feel a little spongy.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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4 Responses to 5 cheap and easy bike upgrades anyone can do

  1. joey 17/10/2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I would add a new seat, if you have a bike with a cheap standard seat, and a simple mudguard now that the roads are getting wetter.

  2. cycleoptic 17/10/2012 at 2:58 pm #

    best upadte for me is to loose a few Kg, much better for wind and rolling resistance.
    from me not the bike!

  3. Paul 17/10/2012 at 7:42 pm #

    This is really the time of year you should be looking at getting your bike serviced, all those summer miles will have dried out bearing lube, axle and cone lube, cables will have stretches, wheels and spokes stressed etc, dont leave it untill you are stuck miles from no where in the dark in the rain, service now!

  4. Alec 19/10/2012 at 10:42 am #

    If you don’t have them already then a pair of toe clips for your pedals make a real difference. I know you know that but I used them for the first time today and was really surprised at how much more power I had from the start. My fear has always been that my feet would get stuck at traffic lights and I’d topple over so I got the basic plastic ones that you slip your feet into and out of. They’re not as efficient I expect but a good compromise it would seem.

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