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Top 10 Road Bike Upgrades

Top 10 Road Bike Upgrades


We all love riding our bikes, but let’s face
it – a lot of us are just as in to our shiny bits of kit. However, unfortunately very few
of us have an unlimited budget. This is the Felt road bike of our channel
editor Mike, and as you can see, it’s in dire need of a lot of upgrades. I wish my wife was this dirty! However, this is a top 10 video, so let’s
go through the points on this bike that could most do with a shiny bling new piece of kit. If you’re somebody who’s looking to save a
large chunk of weight on your bike, then the first thing you should look to upgrade are
your wheels. Of course, there are a lot of different wheels on the market at the moment,
but there’s something to suit everyone. If you’re somebody who likes to do mountainous
sportive events, you might want to go for a shallower carbon rim as that’s going to
be the lightest. However, if you’re predominantly riding on flat roads or you race a lot, you
might want to go for something that’s slightly deeper and slightly heavier, because that
will be more aerodynamic. Yes, this is potentially going to be a rather
large outlay, particularly if you opt for some of the modern, super light, top of the
range carbon wheels. However, if you do wait around long enough, you’re bound to eventually
come across a bargain. Our suggestion – if you do make this purchase, save these ones
for special occasions. This is the least sexy upgrade on our video.
However, changing your inner and outer cables will not only improve the performance of your
gears and brakes, but also make it feel so much better. In fact, your bike can feel like
new again. Unless you’ve got a cracked frame. The jury is definitely still out when it comes
to non-round chainrings produced by companies such as Rotor and these ones by O Symetric.
However, there are a number of professional riders who use them, including of course Bradley
Wiggins and Chris Froome, who won the Tour de France in 2012 and 2013 respectively. On
the front here it gives you a promise of 10% more power – that might be a little bit excessive,
but it’s worth giving them a try, and at the very least they’re going to be a big talking
point on your local group ride. This is a bicycle component which you want
to get right. A badly fitting saddle will cause you discomfort and generally mean that
you just don’t enjoy riding your bike. Your local bike shop should be able to help you
out with your needs, and some saddle manufacturers, including Fizik, offer local bike shops a
try before you buy scheme, so that you can actually make sure it works for you. Some top-end saddles like this one might look
quite painful, but actually comfort is less about padding and actually more about the
shape of the saddle versus the shape of your arse. This is also a great way to save some
weight on your bike, with top-end saddles using titanium or carbon rails here versus
the aluminium rails that you’ll get on standard saddles. Rotating weight has an even more pronounced
effect on the way your bike handles and feels than static weight, so tyres are a great way
of saving a few grams and making your bike feel that much better. Don’t go for anything
super, super light – that way you’ll be even more susceptible to punctures. But a good-quality
folding tyre with a high thread count will make a big difference if you’re somebody that’s
used to a beaded tyre which is quite heavy. However, our advice is not to go for super
lightweight latex inner tubes. In our experience, you don’t get much bang for your buck and
again, you’ll be more susceptible to punctures. Our next recommended upgrade is a brand new
bicycle computer such as this Garmin 1000 here. It’s got GPS functionality and it works
with things like Garmin Connect or Strava, so you can analyse your rides in detail. And
even if you’re not a super competitive person that likes to go on Strava, it’s still a great
way to keep track of where you’ve been. Also, if you’re a numbers geek like me, there are
more than enough functions on here to keep you satisfied. If you’re somebody that’s relatively new to
the world of cycling and you haven’t yet upgraded to clipless pedals like these, well that’s
the first place in which you should upgrade. Being attached to your pedal will allow you
to pull up as well as push down, allowing you to develop a more efficient and rounded
pedaling style. You can spend a lot of money on a pair of pedals, but spending that much
won’t make much difference in terms of how they function. So save the extra money and
use it on a pair of shoes, because that’s where you’ll really feel a difference. Handlebars come in a variety of shapes and
sizes, and the one which came with your bike might not necessarily be the best one for
you. If for example you’re someone that’s relatively short, you might want to opt for
something which is narrower with less of a reach and less of a drop. This should help
your bike handling in general and also there will be less of a drop down to the drops for
general riding. However if you’re somebody that’s simply looking to get more aerodynamic,
narrower bars might also be something for you. You can track your progress in training using
a variety of methods. It might be heart rate, it might be speed, or it could just be the
time it takes you to get up your local climb. However, if you want to get truly scientific
about it, it’s time to invest in a power meter. Power is not affected by outside variables
such as temperature, air density, fatigue or even caffeine intake, so it’s a great way
to gauge and monitor your training progress and compare yourself against yourself. The grass is always greener on the other side,
so the saying goes. It’s very easy to look at other people’s bikes and forget just how
good your own bike is. The best way to rectify this is just to give it a good clean. Get
some degreaser, get your chain coming up like new, clean between the sprockets, even clean
behind the chain set here on the frame, which is normally obscured. A shiny bike feels like
a new bike. So what’s the best ever upgrade that you’ve
made to your bike? Make sure you let us know in the comments section below this video.
Meanwhile, I’m off to make upgrade number 11 – which money can’t buy. GCN water bottles! You can only win these.
To do so, just keep your eye on the news show. See that? That’s what it should be looking
like. Disgusting. He doesn’t even ride it, I don’t know how
he gets it so dirty! He probably just made it this dirty deliberately
so that he’d get some free new tape. Do you think it’s a bit of a coincidence that
he wants his bike used for the top 10 upgrades video?!

100 thoughts on “Top 10 Road Bike Upgrades

  1. The best upgrade I have made is to get a new bike altogether. I went from a Velocite Selene to a Cervelo S3 at the beginning of last year. Holy cow, what a difference. I swapped wheels (Mavic C40's), went to Thomson bars/stem, swapped the saddle to a Selle Italia SLR Team and switched to Mavic pedals and that made my bike feel like a new bike again. The wheels greatly improved all aspects of the bike, the bars/saddle increased my comfort exponentially and the pedals allowed much more float over the Ultegra pedals. The added float almost completely corrected my crazy knee motion that seems to have stemmed from my feet being too constrained.

  2. Fugi absolute 2.3 $370
    Giant escape 1 $325 "used"
    Cannondale quick5 $490
    Cannondale quick6 $490
    Schwinn volare 1200 $275

    This is a list of hybrid bikes, I'm considering one for my first bike , would appreciate your opinion which is best, rank them if you like and pros cons etc. thank you In advance for all the opinions.

  3. Definitely best upgrade was saddle and clipless pedals. Saddle made riding more comfortable and pedals easier. Not to mention, with clipless pedals I have a connection to my bike all times and sudden bumps doesn't make my feet drop off pedals.

  4. Brake pads, most that come with your bike are useless in the rain. Get a pair of Swiss Stop greens – they're a little bit more in price but the difference is amazing if you ride a lot in the wet.

  5. I have a boardman cx comp bike 14, so far i've got gatorskin tires (700c x 25c), shimano 550 pedals w/ 6 degree float cleats, shimano R065 shoes, and i'm gonna get a new saddle soon aswell. it's going well so far :D.

  6. In the car community we have this thing called "driver mod" which basically means that the best upgrade for you car is a better driver. Because well, a racecar with no driving knowledge wont be fast…

  7. best upgrade i made was getting a new bike, swapping from a Norco Indie 3 to a Search A Tiagra cyclocross bike

  8. I have just gone for the cycle to work scheme and bought Raleigh Strada 3. I have upgraded the seat and raised the handlebar stem and swapped the quick realise bolts on wheels for hex key type. Manly because I live in Cambridge and bikes get stolen all the time. I have been watching all your videos and am impressed in what you guys do.

  9. Losing 15 kg's helped. Still another 5 or so to go! Also helped me justify a new bike altogether with the wife's blessing!

  10. When I build my bikes I generally get a top frame-set with SRAM (light), power meter, a set of all around clincher a carbon tubular. Visit a professional bike fitter who knows his stuff. A lot of stuffs can be used with a second frame (Tarmac to Roubaix for example), like wheel sets, the saddle, bottle cages. This approach can last many years and no need for upgrades.

    My bang for the buck upgrade. Riding apparels, mid calve compression socks from Panache, very aero and simply looks super. Specialized Evade, very aero. Specialized S-Work 6, aero, light and super direct transfer of leg power.

    My real breakthrough is train with a coach who knows his stuff. ($120 US dollars a month). TrainingPeaks and Trainerroad ($35ish dollars a month combined). Every quarter get into a virtual win tunnel learn the aero tuck and various positions to learn aero positions ($150 for 2 hours.) If you can only find coach from TrainingPeaks be prepared to pay 150 to 300 a month.

    And train hard, but not long hours. Don't train with a coach with outdated training prescription. A coach who is a real cyclist, a TT specialist with tons of medals for example. A coach who is very close to the circle of modern sport science circle (UK for example), who prescribes the most modern training method used by pro teams, and not something he/she reads from books published a decade ago. For example the modern 2016 sweet spot is 97% of FTP, 17 minutes, twice (for intermediate riders). Interval training is 10x2min 120% FTP, not 30 seconds (again, for intermediate riders). I only train 5 hrs a week indoor, and go all out 90 minutes outdoor once a week). Also, find your lactate threshold with the blood test method. (Those FTP tests from trainerroad, or coaches who tell you to ride 30min all out, can be off by as much as 10%-15%)

    Stretch, stretch, stretch. Get your body so flexible especially hamstrings because stiff hamstrings can cost you 10% of your FTP watt. And do core exercises, it helps with aero position.

    With this coach, in 18 months, my FTP went from a pity 145 to 280. My weight reduced from 73kg to 67kg. My kg/watt improved from a pity 1.98 to 4.18 (I have reached my limit…) I am turning 41, with all those years training myself without a clue. I do not care much about 150gram saving from a 3000$ wheel set anymore.

    One can spend thousands and thousands on sets of wheels, fancy framesets and many other upgrades. I suggest get a coach, get the watt up and reduce weight first. Unless you can maintain a speed of 25mph on flats there is really no need for fancy wheel and fancy frames. They do look good though.

  11. best upgrade I have made on my work horse is to completely replace the drive train at the beginning of this month. It's like having a brand new bike

  12. When I tried to loss my own weight, I lost my weight AND power at the same time. So my best upgrade I made so far was a new set of tires.

  13. Lynderets Wolftooth components roadlink which enables me to put a XT 11-40 tooth cassette on the back, TA specialties 33 tooth small chainring. Also good black bar tape.

  14. Just ordered a carbon handlebar to upgrade from my stock bar. Considering the stem as well, but noticed it wasn't mentioned in this video. I know that unlike handlebars, stems are pretty much always made of a grade of aluminium with some hardware made of lighter materials. Aside from a getting a more proper fit, is it really worth upgrading a stem? Will there really be that much of a noticeable increase in performance that justifies spending $100-$200? Any thoughts and comments would be much appreciated. THANKS!

  15. Just upgraded the throughset on my 2007 Specialized Tricross. It came with a mismatched but functional set of 105 and off-brand components. Went with a full Ultegra set and simultaneously upgraded to a Zipp stem and bars, and even put on new canti brakes. Meanwhile, with all the mech off my frame, I was able to give the frame a complete cleaning and even touched up the paint in a couple spots. Whole new bike…

  16. What's the highest tpi you'd recommend without sacrificing a reasonable level of puncture resistance? #torqueback

  17. Buy new carbon wheels, but if you do "save it for special occacions"?? Whats the point in buying them if you dont use them?

  18. "The jury is still out on non-round chain rings"??? I have a very low miles 42/52 set of steel Shimano Biopace chainrings in my attic I took off a new 1987 Specialized Sirrus. What is old becomes new again thanks to marketing.

    Current trends: 1) You make the valid point of tire rotating weight but 25c and 28c is all the current rage and 23c is today's stepchild, but I predict that will come back around. 2) Narrow bars?! All you have to do is look at the pros to see "properly" sized bars based on one's shoulder width is the right way to go. Don't be fooled by aero hype unless you riding the prologue TT.

  19. Surprisingly crank and chain. Admittedly from a very modest 7 speed to Sora level 8 speed. The increase in climbing speed was dramatic shaving 7 minutes off a 1 hour climb. Yes the gear ratios have changed slightly from 28-28 to 26-28 but 7 minutes faster. I am wondering if a 2 piece crank and external bearings will see further though not as dramatic gains.

  20. “So what’s the plan for this video guys?”

    Si: “Yeah…I just really like the idea of Dan standing in a nice big lawn with grass clumps talking about the bike”.

  21. When this video was uploaded, my bicycle was in my car as bikes weren't allowed inside the building. Now, it is back together and feels good again. Even before I put it in the car, I felt it needed new brake and gear cables as the original ones were just sticking.

  22. I have lightweight Foss tubes on two of my distance unicycles and they make a real difference to lightness, handling and comfort. £20 each in 700c size so a set of 4 for my 2 bikes would be too much at the moment.

  23. when you buy an excellent bicycle with good equipment you do not need this upgrade, but buy "Trabant bicycle " and you want to make "Porsche bicycle" like Colnago….no way…..garbage is always garbage no matter how you decorate it….excellent bicycle make two basic things …. frame and wheels …. group of equipment Shimano or Campagnolo You choose how you want to ride a bike like professional or amater and you need it expensive and ultra lightweight equipment (Dura Ace or Record) or you need something cheaper but very good like Ultegra or Chorus…..the upgrade is always more expensive

  24. I agree with most of the road bike upgrades. Saddle, tubes and tyres, cables, plus bicycle computer 🙂 however some parts will really cost you a lot especially if you're just a student. So I prefer changing them individually as time passes by, like the hubs, cogs, rims, etc. Also thanks for the info that we must spend more on shoes rather than the pedals cuz that doesn't make much difference in pedals. Looking for more road bike vids GCN!

  25. Aero seatpost, other bartape and gelpads for more comfort, instead of a bike computer use a bike watch. When you have more than one bike you do not need more bike computers.

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