Recently we rounded up some upgrade products for your road bike that cost under £50. It's a popular category, because it's not unusual to have fifty quid spare, and how better to spend it than to improve your bike? Let's take a look at some more £50 hop-ups.
There are many reasons you might want to upgrade part of your bicycle. A component might be worn out or, worse still, broken, so it needs replacing, and this can be a good time to upgrade to a superior component. You might simply be wanting to save some weight on your bike, make it faster with an aero upgrade, or inject some more comfort. Here are nine worthy upgrades for your road bike.
Not getting on with the shape of the saddle that came on your bike? Maybe it’s time to try a different shape? The Charge Spoon is a modern classic: a very comfortable saddle, with a curved shape and the flex in the plastic base along with the foam padding makes it a very comfortable place to sit for many hours. It has an amazing 1,200 reviews on Wiggle, almost all positive, though like any saddle there are some people who it simply doesn't it fit them.
Bicycle tyres can be surprisingly dear, but Continental's mid-range rubber bucks that trend. They’re a really good all-round tyre with decent grip, rolling resistance that's almost as good as the more expensive GP5000 and slightly better puncture resistance. Okay, recent price rises have pushed a pair just out of our budget, but they're still the tyres we'd go for in this price range. Well worth the extra four quid.
Handlebars come in a vast array of shapes and sizes, which means if you don’t find the handlebar that came with your bike very comfortable, you can easily change them. These Genetic Flare bars provide a compact shape with flared and anatomic drops that are pretty comfortable. The small degree of flare offers a bit more control when in the drops, and the anatomic shape means you have loads of options for where to place your hands.
At some point, your brake blocks will wear out and will need replacing. Sometimes, you might be wanting a bit more power than your regular brake blocks can provide. There are many aftermarket brake blocks available so you don’t just have to automatically replace yours with original manufacturer equipment. The dual compound design of these Kool Stop blocks provides great braking performance in a range of conditions, especially when it’s wet, and are noticeable better than many original brake blocks fitted to new bikes.
Fed up with filling your jersey pockets with a spare tube, pump, tyre levers and multi-tool? The best solution is to invest in a small bag that attaches to the bottom of the saddle and can house the essentials, keeping them safely stored away from the elements and your jersey pockets free for more food. This Lotus bag (it has nothing to do with the car manufacturer) is easy to fit it to the bike and the size is just right for the essentials.
If your new bike came with no bottle cages, you’ll be want to add one or two if you want to do any rides longer than an hour, to avoid dehydration. There are plenty to choose from, Zefal makes some really good ones and this affordable plastic cage holds water bottles securely with a nice firm grip - no bottle ejection to fear here.
Replacing worn or uncomfortable bar tape can transform the appearance and ride comfort of your bike, and here’s a luxury bar tape that looks good, lasts well and feels great. It’s also available in a wide range of colours so you can match it up to your bike if you’re that way inclined.
The stem is quite an easy component to change, and you might want to do just that if you want to change the reach of the handlebars, to bring them closer to you or push them further away, or to alter the height of the bars. The Aerozine XS7 stem is a sensible price for a very light stem that looks good, and is all held together with titanium 4mm Allen bolts.
If you’re looking to make the leap to clipless pedals, Look's entry-level Keo pedals won’t break the bank and offer excellent performance that belies their low price. They offer lots of support and 6 degrees of float and the release spring tension can easily be adjusted.
Any upgrades you would add to this list?
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As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.