When and why to upgrade your bike

When and why to upgrade your bike

There are many reasons why you might want to upgrade your bike. It can make it lighter, faster, last longer or be more comfortable. You might just want to personalise it with your own colours and style. We take a look at when and why you might buy new parts.

Repairs and maintenance

Bike parts wear out after varying lengths of service. Over the lifetime of your bike you will likely go through several sets of tyres, brake pads and a few chains and cassettes. Other parts like your bottom bracket (where the pedals attach) and the headset (which allows the bike to steer) generally don’t need replacing as frequently. When you replace a part that has worn out it offers a great opportunity to upgrade to something better that will last longer or perform better on your bike.

Improved performance

When you buy a complete bike some parts are lower quality to keep the overall cost of the bike down. Tyres are often low-cost versions and pedals the most basic available as manufacturers expect you to change to your own preferred brand. If you buy a mid-range bike with a good quality frame it is likely that the wheels have been selected to offer a cost saving. Wheels offer the greatest performance increase for the money invested. A new wheelset can reduce the overall weight of your bike, improve aerodynamics and, with lower rotating weight, help make climbing easier.

Increase comfort

If your bike doesn’t feel comfortable you can upgrade parts of it to make it suit your body better. All of the contact points on your bike – bars, saddle and pedals – can be changed for different components. Another area you can upgrade is your gears. If you find climbing difficult and you’re always running out of gears, your bike shop will be able to change the cassette (rear sprockets) or the front chain rings to give you lower gears that will help you when tackling steep climbs.

Style and appearance

Your bike is an extension of you so it is only natural that you will want to personalise it. New bar tape or grips, frame stickers and stylish bottle cages are all relatively cheap upgrades that you can use to make your bike stand out from the crowd.

Because you want to

Instead of buying upgrade parts you might just want to dive in and buy a whole new bike. You don’t need reasons or to justify yourself to anyone – you want a shiny new bike and can afford it? Then get it! Unlike new cars there is a belief that you have to ‘deserve’ a top of the range bike by being a fast rider and a good athlete. If it gives you pleasure and helps you get more from your cycling then why not treat yourself? It’s a healthier choice, for you and the planet, than indulging a mid-life crisis with a sports car!

What was your last bike purchase? Share a photo on our Facebook or Twitter feed. We love seeing other people’s choices.