Cheap Upgrades To Your Bike


You finally bought your first bike and most likely its a medium priced bike or a cheap one at the least.  Having spent a great deal on the purchase you are left broke already.  Even so, one will have been bitten with a new disease afflicting bike aficionados, the Upgradeitis.  One will have the urge to upgrade parts and accessories.  You are still broke but here we can some tips for you to deal with your disease.

1.  Zip Ties
One thing we like about the zip ties is the ability to tie things down securely.  We can use them in all sorts of ways on the bike but let us show you how you may use them on your bike.

First you can use them to replace your bike's brake C-clips.  These clips are the things that hold your brake or shifter cables down so they won't sway and slap your frame creating awful noises.  These clips are great actually however they do come off and you will be stuck with these slapping noises when you least expect them.  What better way to secure these cables is by replacing these C clips with zip ties.  The latter is just cheap from hardware stores so this is a doable upgrade for you.

2.  Electrical Tape
Another hardware product worth an upgrade to your bike is the humble electrical tape.  You can use these to protect your chain stays.  This is the part of your bike that is under constant abuse of chain slap.  Our transmission chain is loose a little bit (especially if you have rear derailleurs) so whenever you hit bumps, go into ruts or do some jumps, your chain slaps into your bike frame.  This slap creates an annoying sound and will chip off the bike paint and you don't want that.

Get a roll of electrical tape (you chose which color you want) and wrap it around the chain stays.  Get the 3M brand so when the time comes that it wears off or needs replacing, no residue is left on the bike frame.  Wound this tape around many times to create a protective barrier against these chain slaps.

An alternative is to buy fabric chain guards from your bike stores.  It won't cost that much and they come in various colors and designs.  Usually they are attached via velcro, making them easy to clean when needed.

3.  Grip Tapes
These are tapes usually sold at skateboarding stores.  Tapes that have adhesives on one side and a rough surface (similar to sand paper) on the other.  This upgrade best applies to those riders who use full finger gloves.  This prevents our fingers from slipping when applying brakes.  

Simply cut a small piece and apply to the brake levers and you are good to go.  Another way of doing this is by buying silicone brake lever sleeves.  These are inexpensive from your bike shop and comes in various colors to choose from.

4.  Valve Caps
Another thing worth buying are these valve caps.  Yes I know when you buy a new bike, it comes with these black plastic valve caps.  These caps are useful as we remind you.  They protect the valve stems from being bent (especially with presta valves).  Plastic ones serve their purpose well, but buying the anodized aluminum ones will make your wheel sets look even better.  Adding to your "pogi" or "handsome" points.

What we suggest you buy are the ones with added purpose in them.  Like for presta valves, buy those that adapt them to shraeder valves.  Not most repairs shops or gas (petrol) stations with air compressors can pump into presta valve stems.  There are various colors available to choose from.  If you are a shraeder valve user, then buying a valve with a core installer/ remover.  Shraeder cores sometimes get loose and let air out without you knowing so if you are stuck with a flat tire with no puncture, simply tighten the core and pump away.  These tips not only make your wheel set look good, the valves serve another purpose as well.

5.  Cable Ends or Ferrules
We don't want frayed cables and cable ends or ferrules prevent such from happening.  Another noteworthy upgrade is by placing one at its ends.  These cable ends now comes in anodized aluminum in various colors.  You can personalize your bike by choosing which one's you like to install on your bike.  A cheap upgrade, you won't break the bank with these.

6.  Handle Grips
Entry level bikes come in black hard grips which are not comfortable in long rides.  Better replace them outright with good ones that are.  Lock on grips are cheaper nowadays that it is a no brainer for a bike enthusiast to replace them right after buying your new bike.  Lock on Grips can be installed with an allen key wrench to prevent them from rolling around and heaven forbid slip off.  A great upgrade tip if you ask us.

7.  Saddle
Another hard accessory on your new bike is the the stock saddle it comes with.  We can't stress the fact that there are 3 contacts between your body and your bike.  Your hands, can adapt to the grips, your feet are designed to withstand impacts, yet your soft bum makes contact with this saddle for long periods of time.  Needless to say, you better protect it before you experience saddle sores, ending your riding comfort.

Thanks to technology, replacement saddles are now cheaper and they come in various shapes and sizes that manufacturers say handles your bum like a baby.  These saddles are now shaped according to your soft side, and materials now are soft to handle your underside much better, and they come light was well.  A must upgrade if you ask us.

8.  Aluminum Bar Ends
For our last tip on cheap upgrades, we introduce you to the aluminum bar ends.  Your bike comes with rubber or plastic bar ends that are practical yet not pleasing to our eyes.  These items do not cost a lot, yet it looks good.  Adding more to your bike's handsome rugged looks.

There you have it, 8 cheap upgrade tips that will enhance the looks and the performance of your bike.  If you do have other suggestions, please email us at

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