Improving your bike without wasting your money

by François-Léo Fortin Gaudin

Maybe you like your bike, but you’re looking for a way to make it look better. Or perhaps you’re competing in amateur races and want to improve your bike’s performance. There are lots of good reasons for wanting to improve your bike, but where do you begin so as not to waste your money?

Here are the five best ways, in terms of value for money, to spruce up your bike.

The wheels

© Quilicot

If you’re looking for performance improvement, look no further: new wheels. A good set of wheels will make you feel like you have a new bike and that you’re riding effortlessly. If you’re in mountainous terrain, choose low-profile wheels (less than 40 mm) to reduce the weight of your bike as much as possible. If you bike more on the flat, go with more profiled wheels (40 mm and more) for an aerodynamic gain. Even more importantly, choose your hub well. This component has ball-bearings on which you roll every time you head out. Good rolling means you travel more distance with every stroke of the pedal.


Tires are your point of contact with the road, responsible for keeping you under control and propelling you forward 100 per cent of the time. Obviously, investing in a good set of tires will provide a significant gain. Look for a tire with a higher TPI (120 tpi is often synonymous with higher-quality tires) to obtain minimal resistance and increased comfort. What’s more, they’re lighter!

Cables and housings

Cables and housings, often neglected, will provide the best value equation improvements: the most for your money. In fact, because they are responsible for gear changes and the brake action, your cables are of major importance. Treat yourself to a deluxe set and you’ll notice a general improvement in your ride. You’ll have faster and more fluid gear changes and more efficient braking…and all for less than $100. What are you waiting for?

© Specialized Canada

The cockpit

The cockpit is made up of several parts: handlebars, stem, shift levers and handlebar tape. While each of these pieces is of lesser importance individually, together they make a big difference! First, make sure you have handlebars that fit you, with a nice, comfortable curve. Then be sure to have the right position with a stem at the right height and length for you. Take advantage of this opportunity to position your shift levers for maximum comfort and change your old handlebar tape. You’ll notice a significant gain in comfort plus a bike that looks like new…at least, when you’re in the saddle!

Personalize your bike!

Adapt your bicycle to suit you through a personalized paint job, well-placed stickers or handlebar tape that goes with your bike. Anything goes to make it your own. What about a coloured bottle rack or gold-coloured screws? Your only limit is your imagination!

There are tons of ways to improve a bike: it all depends what you want to get out of it. You can find cool ways to personalize it and to get real performance improvements, no matter what your budget. Whichever way you decide to invest, your modifications should have at least one major result: they should give you the urge to get your bike out of the shed and onto the road (or bike path).

Have a great ride!


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