When it comes to mountain bike upgrades, there’s a lot of information about what changes riders should make, and what they should prioritise. From small adjustments that promise massive returns to sweeping overhauls that will leave your bike nearly unrecognisable from its original iteration, the options are nearly endless.
Let’s take a look at the upgrades you should be making to ensure your best performance.
Often made with lower quality hubs and heavy rims, the wheels that come on most entry level mountain bikes can leave a bit to be desired. The weight of the wheel along with both the rim width and stiffness all have a fairly major impact on how your bike handles.
Some higher end bikes are now utilising carbon fibre as the base material for rims. When compared to aluminium, carbon rims can be stiffer and boast a lower weight. As rotational weight is a major factor in how your bike performs, shaving off those extra grams can be well worth it in the long term. That said, a higher quality aluminium offering is a better option than no upgrade at all.
It’s also worth noting that bigger wheels are going to lead to more dispersion and a better riding experience. Check out our collection of quality wheel brands in the store.
While inner tubes are quite cheap and relatively easy to replace, they are also prone to getting punctures. However, a decent brand’s sidewalls are strong and don’t suffer from snakebites as they prevent the rim from pinching, plus they offer great traction on gravel climbs. They can be run softer too, which provides better grip when cornering, and offers a smoother ride.
Generally speaking, tubeless systems are lighter, have the ability to self-seal small punctures and also have the added bonus of rolling faster than their inner tube counterparts.
Having the ability to adjust your ride height on the fly is not a luxury. In the last decade, adjustable seat posts have gone from a rarity to becoming an essential part of any setup.
Being able move the saddle out of the way when needed, such as on a steep or more technical decent, allows rider to maximise the control they have over their bike. When precious seconds count on those downhill trails, a dropper can make the difference, and for this reason, we’ve included it on our list of essential upgrades. Shop for the dropper post that suits your riding needs.
Grips and Gloves
You only have three contact points with your bike, and you want to make sure you’re secure and confident when the going gets tough. A good pair of grips for your bike can allow hours of riding without the hand fatigue that often comes with a lower quality product. From single and double clamp to slide on, grips come in a variety of shapes – each having their advantages. Silicone grips are highly recommended as they are shock absorbent and provide the best protection. Your best bet is to ask our staff about a few and see which suits your riding style best, but we can recommend ESI straight off the bat as a quality product that offers excellent protection.
Remember, control is king in mountain biking, so your new grips should inspire confidence.
In addition to providing protection from the elements and hazards on the course, a quality pair of mountain bike gloves can also save you in a nasty spill. As you can imagine, the first things to brace for an impact are your hands. They’re normally the first point of contact, and, depending on the surface you’re sliding on to, that initial knock and the ensuing tumble can leave you in a pretty bad way. A quality pair of gloves is a must, and if you have bigger hands, remember to choose bigger grips for proper coverage.
Another point of contact for the rider, pedals have an important job. It’s how you get the power from your legs to the bike. Whether they’re flat or clipless, we’re looking for the option that gives you the most control while on the trail. Picking the right size, shape and style is up to you, but quality is king so don’t skimp out on this crucial ride element.