A few affordable upgrades and maintenance needs can make a big difference in ride quality.
by David Newcomer / Customer Service Manager
Spring has Sprung! If the bike is seeing a bit more attention than it has in the last few months, or maybe it has taken a bit of a beating with some winter riding, here are a few important and affordable things to upgrade your bike. Guaranteed to make an immediate and positive impact!
A New Chain – I know this can be met with skepticism when the fine folk at the shop tell you that it’s time for a new chain. Worse still when the cassette is worn along with it to the point that needs replacing, too. We all know the feeling of issues shifting in the mid-range that can’t be resolved with adjusting the range on the derailleur. And despite the care and cleanliness you maintain, chain stretch is inevitable.
I wish I could claim the wisdom of preventative maintenance here, but like many of you, it tends to creep up on me. Yes, it’s one of those things we know is going to happen. And we know, too, that there are too many variables to predict exactly when that will be. So get it checked and pony up when it’s time. You’ll be glad you did
- Bar Tape – Bar tape is another tool in the kit of instant gratification! I love how much difference this simple and affordable change can bring. This is one of those things that I resolve to do myself and almost always regret. Considering how often I do it versus a wrench at the shop, I should know that the crisp, consistent wrap I’m looking for is worth paying to have done. But here I go again…
- Saddle – I know a few guys that buy bike frequently enough that this isn’t a concern, but even after the initial upgrade that is often needed here, saddles, too, have a lifetime. This can be a challenging one to research and with the price of some in consideration, the faith required in the purchase can be tough, too. If you’re happy with the one you’ve ridden – or maybe there’s a saddle on another bike that you love – play it safe. But if you’re noticing wear on the saddle itself or in the seat of your shorts sooner than you should, this may be a consideration for the season.
- Tires – Getting a few more flats than you should? Noticing that the nicks and cuts are starting to add up? Or maybe, like me, you even let it go until the threads are showing? There are some great resources for finding the best tire for your road, ‘cross, or MTB. Durability, puncture resistance, tubeless ready, rolling resistance and many more considerations can be researched for your next pair. For me, this is an annual investment, but considering my trigger (threadbare spots and flats) maybe it’s something I need to schedule like you would an oil change…
- Cables and Housing – Yep. For the tried and true love in your quiver, new cables and housing can be a whole new lease on life. Shifting and braking both improve immediately. And you can even change it up a bit with a variety of housing colors available to match the bar tape, stem, pedals, frame or saddle. Live a little!
A few affordable upgrades and maintenance needs can make a big difference in ride quality. Affirm your commitment to the season, your health and the bike this year with a couple changes to improve and reward your efforts.
About the Author
A lifelong commuter and amateur racer in road, CX and MTB, David Newcomer has experience with just about every aspect of our sport. A former race director of the Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb, and Executive Director of one of the largest cycling clubs in Colorado, he brings a wide range of experience to share with others. David is the Customer Service Manager at Pactimo and host of our podcast "On the Road with Pactimo." You can reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org