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Diagnosis: Mod Mania

By Christopher Ashley

You’ve got the four bikes of your dreams, and your loved one will divorce you if he/she thinks you’re even considering buying another bike. There’s only one thing you can do – mod what you got.

Ceramic bottom bracket

The first MTB I bought myself was a hardtail Giant. Being a roadie, I was intoxicated by the liberation of whipping around a bike designed for dirt. I rode like a maniac for a few years before the bottom bracket fell to pieces.

A two-mile walk from my car, I learned the hard way the value of regularly servicing, and replacing, your bottom bracket. Now I’m obsessed with anything that holds bearings. Check this out:

It’s fair to say that I’m not quite as obsessed as our friend Hambini. This is a very technical video, but worth it for the nut-roast alone. Safe to say that it’s always worth looking after your bottom bracket, so to speak. And your bike, whether it’s a road one or an MTB, could probably do with some ceramics.

Oversized Jockey wheels

If you’ve bought a time-trial bike, you’ve almost certainly reached D-1 bikes – so this one’s for you. TT is a discipline that’s so reliant on efficiency and consistency that any modification you plan for your bike has to yield results. But this also means there may be snake oil for sale, so beware.

Here we see a gruppo of pro-cyclists discussing the pros and cons of the oversized jockey wheels, so here’s the tl:dr – they’re not for road bikes. They’re great for low shift-frequency riding, they’re efficient but, most importantly, they look badass. In other words, time-trial bikes only.

BMX handlebars on anything

You may have noticed hipsters bombing about your metropolitan-liberal-elite urban environment on fixies and singlespeeds with BMX handlebars. Hipsters aren’t an extravagant bunch of contrarians – they’re surprisingly pragmatic – and maybe BMX handlebars give them a more relaxed position on an otherwise slammed frame.

On an MTB, BMX handlebars exaggerate the instability of the handling. Whether you believe Matt Jones is a lunatic or just in love with cycling is a matter for your conscience, but you should take one thing from this video. The delight Matt takes in riding a bike, utterly transformed by one simple mod.

Sawn-off handlebars

A friend of mine took a hacksaw to his handlebars when he was a teenager, when on a cycling holiday in Germany. He did it so he could hurtle through narrow gaps between trees. But that’s not really the reason you should make this mod.

Considering how easy it is to change the width of your handlebars, it’s surprising how few cyclists make this adjustment – especially given the benefits. More comfortable riding, and better control make this mod a good idea. And when you hit the trail, everyone will be impressed that you made your own sawn-off handlebars.