Upgrade Your Ride
Feel like you’ve got the new bike blues after a few weeks of Grand Tour action and shiny bikes galore? Buying a whole new bike isn't always on the cards, but you can cure that aching hunger by upgrading your existing ride! Whether you’re in search of all of the performance gains possible, or want to capitalise on comfort, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top road bike upgrades!
Investing in a new set of hoops is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to improve performance on your road bike, especially compared to the stock alloy rims that most bikes will have as standard – but why is that?
Aero is everything, and not just for the pros! A deep-section aero rim profile will be leaps and bounds faster than a stock rim, and whether you’re competing at the highest level or battling a stiff headwind on the return leg of a café ride, the speed boost doesn’t go unnoticed. For the same power, you’ll go faster – it’s as simple as that!
The benefits don’t end there: a deep section carbon rim offers vastly improved stiffness (great for those town sign sprints!), and the nature of carbon fibre construction means you can have all this and still save a big chunk of weight! Less rotating mass = snappier acceleration and of course faster climbing – what’s not to like? Oh, and let’s not forget that most importantly, they look incredible!
Tyres & Tubes (or tube-less!)
It’s easy to overlook the importance of tyres in your upgrade quest, but they’re arguably the most cost-effective upgrade you can make for your bike. When it comes to watts saved per pound, it’s hard to beat switching out your tyres!
You’ve probably heard the term ‘rolling resistance’ thrown around during tyre chat, and this is where you’ll see the most gains. Switching out stock endurance tyres for something on the racier end could save in excess of 10W per tyre, and whilst that may not sound like a lot, consider how much training it would take to add 20W to your threshold power (hint: quite a lot!)! Pair that with a set of latex inner tubes or opt for tubeless, and you’ll save yourself even more watts for a relatively low cost.
While speed is of the utmost importance, it’s also worth noting the comfort benefits a supple tyre can provide – to finish first, first you must finish! You’ll instantly notice the difference rolling along the tarmac, as the buzz and bumps won’t resonate through your bones, and with road bike clearance getting bigger and bigger, you can opt for chunkier tyres to make your ride as comfortable as you like!
We spend a lot of time in the saddle, so if something is slightly off it can have a big impact on your comfort – all the performance gains in the world won’t prevent a saddle sore!
Of course, saddles are a very personal choice, and what works for one likely won’t work for another, so it’s worth spending time playing around and finding your perfect fit. From short nose to split nose, narrow or wide, there are a heck of a lot of options to choose from – head in-store for a chat, and we’ll measure you up to help you find the right one. We have a variety of test saddles to choose from, and Bontrager even offers a 30-Day Unconditional Guarantee on their range of saddles so you can get some miles in before making a final choice.
Saddles are just one piece of the puzzle, so when it comes to comfort it’s worth considering your other contact points – fixing a small niggle here and there can have a big impact on your riding, especially when you’re covering longer distances or heading onto rougher terrain. Road vibrations massively contribute to fatigue when out on the bike, so opting for components that can reduce that is worth trying.
In terms of handlebars and finishing kit, the primary difference from your stock components will be construction material. More often than not, stock components will be made with aluminium – strong and reasonably lightweight, this is a great starting point, but there are gains to be had.
Much like with wheels, carbon finishing kit presents a significant weight advantage over stock aluminium components, but the real gains are in the additional comfort it can provide. Carbon fibre can be engineered to provide directional compliance, which in simple terms means it can be stiff in one direction, yet flexible in the other. This results in a handlebar that will not only be stiff enough to withstand the twisting forces of an all-out sprint, but also flex vertically to provide a damping effect over rougher roads.
Explore our upgrade options by checking out our Parts & Accessories, or head in-store for a chat with our staff and see the parts in person!