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.
Saddle: Charge Spoon — £15.95
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
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
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.
Brake Blocks: Kool Stop Dura 2 Dual Compound brake blocks — £11.99
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.
Saddle bag: Lotus SH-6702 M Commuter Saddle Bag — £10.99
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.
Bottle Cage: Tacx Deva — from £6.95
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.
Handlebar tape: B’Twin Microfibre Handlebar Tape — £5.99
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.
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.
Pedals: Shimano PD-R540 SPD SL — £27.99
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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Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.