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From wheels to bar tape, handlebars to saddles, here are 10 good upgrades for under £200

Recently we rounded up some upgrade products for your road bike that cost under £500, now we’re going to lower the price and look at six products for under £200 that you might be interested in.

- 10 of the best upgrades for under £500

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 10 worthy upgrades for your road bike.

Saddle: Fabric Line — £54.99

Fabric Line saddle - 4.jpg

Fabric Line saddle - 4.jpg

Not getting on with the shape of the saddle that came on your bike? Maybe it’s time to try a different shape? The Fabric Line is a very comfortable saddle, with a curved shape and the recessed channel helping to relieve pressure, and the flex in the plastic base along with the foam padding makes it a very comfortable place to sit for many hours.

Read our review

Tyres: Continental Grand Prix — £21.99

Continental Grand Prix tyre.jpg

Continental Grand Prix tyre.jpg

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, and rolling resistance that's almost as good as the more expensive GP4000S II and slightly better puncture resistance.

Handlebar: Genetic Flare Road Bar — £29.99

Genetic Flare Road Bar.jpg

Genetic Flare Road Bar.jpg

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.

Read our review

Brake Blocks: Kool Stop Dura 2 Dual Compound brake blocks — £11.99

Kool-stop Dura Dual.jpg

Kool-stop Dura Dual.jpg

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.

Read our review

Saddle bag: Lotus SH-6702 M Commuter Saddle Bag — £10.99

lotus-sh-6702-m-commuter-saddle-bag.jpg

lotus-sh-6702-m-commuter-saddle-bag.jpg

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 never in common with the car manufacturer) is easy to fit it to the bike and the size is just right for the essentials.

Read our review

Bottle Cage: Tacx Deva — £6.95

Tacx Deva Bottle Cage.jpg

Tacx Deva Bottle Cage.jpg

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, Tacx makes some really good ones and this affordable composite cage hold water bottles securely with a nice firm hold - no bottle ejection to fear here.

Read our review

Handlebar tape: B’Twin Microfibre Handlebar Tape — £5.99

BTwin Microfibre bar tape.jpg

BTwin Microfibre bar tape.jpg

Replacing worn or uncomfortable bar tape can transform the appearance and ride comfort of your bike, and here’s an affordable bar tape from B’Twin that looks good and lasts well. 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.

Read our review

Wheels: Novatec 30 aluminium clincher wheelset — £169.99

Novatec 30 Alu Clincher wheelset - Main.jpg

Novatec 30 Alu Clincher wheelset - Main.jpg

Proving that wheels don’t have to cost a fortune, these Novatec 30 wheels offer a well-built rim that is tubeless-ready, should you wish to dump the inner tubes and go tubeless. The rims are laced via J-bend, bladed spokes to own-brand hubs that are compatible with Shimano 11-speed cassettes and are well sealed against the elements.

Read our review

Stem: ITM Ergal 7075 Alloy Stem — £29.49

itm-ergal-7075-alloy-stem-2.jpg

itm-ergal-7075-alloy-stem-2.jpg

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. This ITM Ergal stem is a good low-cost option that looks good, is a sensible weight for the price, and is all head together with 4mm Allen bolts.

Read our review

Pedals: Shimano PD-R540 SPD SL — £27.99

Shimano PD R540a1.jpg

Shimano PD R540a1.jpg

If you’re looking to make the leap to clipless pedals, Shimano's entry-level SPD-SL 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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The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

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Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

10 comments

Avatar
martybsays [7 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I'm new here. Excuse me. But alomost every 'new' article I click on seems go be a year or more old when I get to the comments. Why do you rehash old content and call it new with such frequency? 

Avatar
don simon [2327 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes
martybsays wrote:

I'm new here. Excuse me. But alomost every 'new' article I click on seems go be a year or more old when I get to the comments. Why do you rehash old content and call it new with such frequency? 

Whoa there!

Are you from the future?

Coooooool!

Avatar
Goldfever4 [403 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
martybsays wrote:

I'm new here. Excuse me. But alomost every 'new' article I click on seems go be a year or more old when I get to the comments. Why do you rehash old content and call it new with such frequency? 

 

To be fair, I can't recall any of the articles ever having been called 'new'.

 

I suspect it's because the platform is so unusable when it comes to finding old content. So why not re-publish an old but relevant article back to the home page where it is easier to find? 

Avatar
Tom_in_MN [17 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Half of these, bar tape, brake shoes, tires, are consumables that you will have to replace at some point. So you might want a separate list for maintenance upgrades, which are quite different from deciding you need a new saddle or bars.

Avatar
Reedo [30 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Under no circumstances skimp on tyres by going with the waxy slippery GP instead of the grippy fast wonderful and often discounted GP4000s.

Avatar
bob_c [57 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
Reedo wrote:

Under no circumstances skimp on tyres by going with the waxy slippery GP instead of the grippy fast wonderful and often discounted GP4000s.

They use the same tyre compound (BlackChili).
I've found the Grand Prix tyres to be excellent - not waxy or slippery at all.

Avatar
Goldfever4 [403 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
bob_c wrote:
Reedo wrote:

Under no circumstances skimp on tyres by going with the waxy slippery GP instead of the grippy fast wonderful and often discounted GP4000s.

They use the same tyre compound (BlackChili). I've found the Grand Prix tyres to be excellent - not waxy or slippery at all.

 

My understanding was that one of the few differences between these tyres was that the GP doesn't have the black chili compound...

Avatar
StraelGuy [1444 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I'd have assumed that too given the price but I've just checked the Conti website and they are Black Chili apparently. It's a brilliant rubber and the reason I have Grand Prix GT on my summer bike.

Avatar
Roadie_john [86 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
StraelGuy wrote:

I'd have assumed that too given the price but I've just checked the Conti website and they are Black Chili apparently. It's a brilliant rubber and the reason I have Grand Prix GT on my summer bike.

the box mine came in a couple of years back said black chilli on it...

Avatar
martybsays [7 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Goldfever4 wrote:
martybsays wrote:

I'm new here. Excuse me. But alomost every 'new' article I click on seems go be a year or more old when I get to the comments. Why do you rehash old content and call it new with such frequency? 

 

To be fair, I can't recall any of the articles ever having been called 'new'.

 

I suspect it's because the platform is so unusable when it comes to finding old content. So why not re-publish an old but relevant article back to the home page where it is easier to find? 

 

Cse in point.  Appears at the top of the feed. Has today's date on it. Referes to recently, and infers this is new content. Rehash or repeat of material from 2 months ago.  Write something new!