Upgrade Your Bike: Affordable and Efficient Tips

Although global bike shortages are easing just a bit, some riders are still facing rather lengthy waits for a new bike.

Instead of forking over serious coin for a new rig, a potentially smarter option might be to look at ways you can cheaply and efficiently upgrade your current bike.

It’s not as daunting as it sounds — there are plenty of upgrades that almost anyone can do with a couple of simple tools and a few minutes of online research.

Start With the Touch Points

“Touch points are a great way to quickly upgrade your bike without breaking the bank,” says Todd Ford, Director of Product Management at PNW Components.

“Touch points” is bike speak for the components that the rider physically touches while on their bike — namely grips or bar tape, saddle and pedals.

Unless you’ve invested in a high-end machine, manufacturers often equip mid or low-end bikes with similar components.

While these components are suitable for the average rider, a quick investment will make a noticeable difference.

Because these points endure the most wear and tear through normal riding, they’re also among the first to wear out after lots of use.

If you’ve put considerable mileage on your bike, any one of these points would be a good first place to look at an upgrade.

Within bar tape, specifically, there are a number of ergonomic-focused options now that not only do a great job of absorbing the shock and impact of riding, but also spread out the hand pressure during your ride for better overall comfort.

Upgrading Your Saddle

Among the touch points, figuring out your best saddle fit is easily the most important when it comes to your overall comfort.

“The more comfortable you are on your bike, the more you will ride it and enjoy riding it,” says Trek aftermarket marketing manager Alex Applegate.

He makes a great point.

The issue is, there are a dizzying array of saddles out there, from cushy cruiser pads to racing seats with the most minute pads imaginable.

Each rider will have a different best fit, and it also depends on your riding style.

Spending most of your time on the road? You may want something with a medium cushion, but more aero-focused for better efficiency.

Gravel riders will want more cushion to handle some of the bumps and mountain bikers will certainly want decent cushion to deal with the terrain.

Really, a great way to figure out your best fit is to head down to your local bike shop and ask an experienced professional about.

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