Splashing the cash on bike upgrades

Ever so often a bike needs a bit of love to be kept running smoothly and to keep providing a comfortable ride free of annoying noises.

So recently I got myself down to the local bike shop and picked up:

bike upgrades

Well, the lock and chain cleaning tool were actually from Amazon and Halfords but never mind.

I’ll go through each upgrade and let you know why I chose to do it which may help you decide if you want to show some similar love to your bike.

New chain

A new chain is an upgrade that for me is long overdue. The old one had become rusted and was stretched. This meant it was wearing away at my drivetrain components such as the rear cogs which are much more expensive to replace than a new chain which costs around £12. Therefore it was time for the old chain to go to bike component heaven.

My sparkling new chain is suitable for a 9 speed bike with a quick release link so I can take it on and off much easier. I also went for a narrow chain as they tend to change more smoothly. Your local bike shop will be able to advice you on a good one for your bike.

Useful links:


New brake cables

My old cables had become frayed and so the braking was not as smooth as I would like it to be. This is one of those upgrades that instantly makes you feel happier about your bike and life in general!

Replacing a break cable is a very simple and cheap upgrade. Your local bike shop should be able to supply you with a new cable set but you may need to be cheeky and borrow their professional wire cutters to be sure you do a good job because the cables tend to be incredibly strong.

Useful links


New brake pads

Brake pads do not take long to wear out especially not on V-brakes. So I binned the old ones and bought two new sets. The total cost of this repair is around £12. I would like to say it is simple to do but I find it a bit of a pain to line up all the washers and to toe it in which is why I tend to put off doing it. Thought it is a good idea to keep an eye on them as worn out brake pads provide poor stopping power and wear out the rim. I tend to do this upgrade 2-3 times a year.

Useful links


New lock and chain cleaning tool

I’ve already reviewed the new chain cleaning tool last month and tomorrow I’ll be reviewing my new bike lock so keep an eye out for that!

Useful links


I like slowly upgrading parts of my bike as it gives me a smoother ride that I enjoy much more. I hope this list is useful to anyone thinking about doing some upgrades on their bike. Let me know what you are thinking of upgrading next or what new accessories you are considering buying.

What is next on your upgrade list?

See also:


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7 Responses to Splashing the cash on bike upgrades

  1. Adam Edwards 09/12/2009 at 11:12 am #

    My next upgrade is a whole new Brompton, which should be ready next week. You have to wait about 6 weeks if yours is custom spec.
    I’m also very tempted by the new Brompton C bag. Bromptons have a really good clip on luggage system with bag at front where you can see and use it.
    I’m hoping to get the Brompton story book from Santa.



  2. fgp 09/12/2009 at 11:53 am #

    What is next on your upgrade list?
    Too long to explain them all, but basically i’m changing my Bottom Bracket and Chainset.
    I’ll be buying the tools to change them so i can do it again when needed.

    I’m buying new tires too. The’re slightly wider (now 1.5, to 1.85) and they have a reflective band, which i think will greatly improve my visibility to others.

  3. Jon 09/12/2009 at 12:00 pm #

    I too will be getting new brake blocks soon. These wet rides I’ve had recently seem to wear out the brake pads very quickly. I recently upgraded my rear wheel, cassette and chain so everything is running smoothly.

  4. Andreas 09/12/2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Adam – Good shout on the new brompton. I want to try out a folding bike at some point too. Its on my “to buy” list!

    FGP – I’m trying to build up my tools list too but for now when cash runs out I just borrow from the local bike shop if they let me!

    Jon – With the new brake blocks try sandpapering the brake blocks (with paper you get in your puncture repair kit) once every two weeks just to give them that good braking surface again, they may last slightly longer. The upgrades to cassette are a good idea, I’m planning on new cassette soon too

  5. thereverent 09/12/2009 at 2:32 pm #

    This had reminded me to change my brale pads, they are overdue a change. That and a new gear cable as the casing of the old one is fraying.
    I replaced most of the running gear in the summer.

    It might just be me being rubbish, but every time I had a chain with a quick release link I mangle it the first time I split the chain. Then have to go back to old school chain spliting.

  6. Jon 10/12/2009 at 9:37 am #

    Good call Andreas. A little sand papering should up their performance. Does anyone have any recommendation for brakes pads for v-brakes?

  7. Andreas 11/12/2009 at 2:03 pm #

    I think you may as well get some cheap pads like these. This time of year when the pads are going to wear out its not worth splashing out more. Plus I don’t think you get huge performance gains from expensive pads vs cheap – unless anyone has found otherwise?

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