You won’t find a ‘badass’ section in your local bike shop but if you look carefully you’ll find certain components that can't fail to make your bike look cooler.
We’re not talking about performance here, although most of the products below are designed to give you some sort of advantage in terms of weight, aerodynamics, or whatever. That’s not the point, though, and practicality certainly isn’t a consideration either. No, we’re simply and unashamedly showing you stuff that look badass. That’s it.
If you want to point out that a £3,500 set of wheels just isn’t a sensible purchase for most of us, fill yer boots, but sensible and cool are two different things.
That brings us on to one other factor: cost. Cool bike components aren’t necessarily expensive… but they usually are. If they were cheap everyone would have them, and if everyone had them they wouldn't be cool any more. Sorry, I'm not particularly happy about this either to be perfectly honest with you, but that's just the way the world works. Don’t shoot the messenger.
If you’ve got other badass components to add to our list, let’s hear about them in the comments below.
Of course, you can use the standard cables that come fitted to your bike or in the pack with your new shifters, but they’re just not badass. Nokon cables, on the other hand, with anodised aluminium outers, are. The practical reasons for fitting them are decreased friction and lightweight, but the main thing is that they look very cool.
The idea of ceramic jockey wheels is that they reduce drivetrain friction. That’s all well and good but the committed badassateer knows that the fact that they look cool is equally important so don’t go for anonymous black or grey. You need to choose red, orange, purple or blue for maximum points.
Zipp 454 NSW Carbon Clinchers £3,500
“£3,500 for a set of wheels?!?”
Yes, but with their Sawtooth rim profile these look fast even when stationary. Yes, but the shaping is inspired by the pectoral fin of a humpback whale and how many other wheels can boast that?
(It's none, by the way).
Tune saddles are ultra lightweight and simply have an essence of cool about them. The carbon/leather Komm-Vor is designed to be flexible and comfortable enough for long rides despite weighing just 95g.
Admittedly, if you think about it, you’re paying £2 per gram, but no one said being badass was ever going to be cheap.
So you noticed that THM’s Carbones Clavicula cranks aren’t cheap (the price above is without the chainrings). They are all carbon, though, including the axle, and very lightweight at just 420g (including bottom bracket).
You’re absolutely right, a combined handlebar and stem doesn’t give you the set-up versatility of separate components but it's still somehow cooler. Maybe it’s because it gives the front of your bike a cleaner look. Bontrager’s XXX cockpit is 100% carbon-fibre and an internal relief channel avoids the need for a spacer above the stem, again adding to the neatness.
Black is badass so these brakes are off to a good start. Chuck in the fact that they have forged and CNC machined magnesium arms, titanium hardware and they weigh just 118g per brake and you’re onto a winner.
The Mandible has been around for a long time now and it still looks cool. It weighs just 28g and it holds your water bottle ultra secure. It might only be a water bottle cage but it’ll increase the sexiness of your bike by 9%*.
Read our review
Most headset caps are fairly nondescript and not remotely badass, and for that reason they must go. Kapz will put anything you want onto a headset cap with prices starting at £16.95
Do you have any more suggestions? Let us know down below.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.