• Country

Level Up Your Cycling – The Leap from Good to Great Gear

By Jiri Kaloc

You don’t need to have a bike that costs more than a new car to be a good cyclist. But there are certain upgrades that can really improve your cycling performance. Let’s take a look at our 5 top tips for upgrading your bicycle.


Getting new tires is probably the best bang for the buck upgrade you can make. Why? Let’s say you’re a road cyclist going fast on a smooth flat road. About 20 % of the total energy put into your pedals is influenced by rolling resistance. This percentage is even higher for mountain bikers on rougher surfaces. The rest is accounted for by aerodynamic drag and drive train friction. Your tires play a key role in rolling resistance. This means you can significantly improve your efficiency on the bike just by buying high-end tires. Tires also happen to be one of the cheapest components, even at the high-end.

Mid-range and even some upper range bicycles usually come with cheap tires. This means that you will see the difference in speed and feel it in increased comfort and improved handling in corners too if you upgrade.


Buying new wheels can dramatically change how it feels to ride your bike. Most new bikes, even those that cost several thousand EUR typically come with entry-levels wheels. That’s where manufacturers can cut costs because they know many cyclists will upgrade. This is a big reason why wheel upgrades can feel so impactful, even though they are expensive.

Bicycle outdoor
Buying new wheels can dramatically change how it feels to ride your bike. © Profimedia

Almost any wheel upgrade will improve the stiffness of your wheels which improves power transfer and your cycling efficiency. You will also get better hubs with faster rolling and more reliable bearings which last longer. And there are different types of wheels to choose from based on your preferences. You can get really light wheels to improve bicycle handling and steep climbing. Or you can get wheels with deep section rims that will be heavier but much stiffer and more aerodynamic on the flats or mild hills.

If you’re unsure, it’s best to go for a pair of all-around wheels with mid-section rims about 30mm deep. These will feel great on climbs as well as long flats. Experiments show that switching to wheels like this from entry-level ones can add 30 watts to your power output. That’s meaningful enough to consider pay the high price for new wheels.


A lesser-known upgrade that’s often underestimated is the seatpost. Seatposts are not glamorous, they all look almost the same, you don’t even see much of them, yet they can still be very expensive. The thing is, the seatpost is an area where you can maximize your comfort without sacrificing stiffness and therefore performance.

Carbon frames are very popular for their ability to absorb shock while still being very stiff. But cyclist often don’t realize that you get more flex from the seatpost than you can ever get from a frame. So, investing in a carbon seatpost can make a huge difference to your comfort, especially if you ride 100 miles or more.

For mountain bikers, dropper posts can make a huge difference, enabling you to lower your saddle height via a switch on the handlebars, making it easier to position your body over the rear wheel. Dropper posts are considered to be one of the best innovations for mountain bikes in the last decade.

When buying a new bike

When considering upgrades for your current bike, it’s common to compare the investment to buying a new bike. Some people have a bike that’s simply not worth upgrading or they would have to make so many upgrades that buying new makes sense. There are two considerations when buying new that will set you up well going forward.

Frame – It’s better to buy one bike frame and have it last you 10, 20 or even more years than it is to buy a new bike every few years. Look for a bike with a frame that has been proven and uses common standards. You want it to be compatible with a lot of different parts if you’re going to keep it for a long time and upgrade components as you go.

Group sets – Choosing a group set can be difficult when buying a new bike. Here are a few simple ways to better understand what you’ll get if you decide to get the more expensive group sets compared to the cheaper ones.

  • Weight: More expensive is lighter, making every climb a bit easier.
  • Stiffness: More expensive is stiffer, improving your power with no extra effort.
  • Shifting experience: More expensive ones allow you to shift under pressure and more than one gear at the time. Shifting is faster and smoother on more expensive ones.
  • Reliability: More expensive stay tuned longer than less expensive ones.
  • Ergonomics: More expensive have a more refined shape, making them more aerodynamic and pleasant to use.

Bike fit

Even if you buy the best components and a really expensive frame, you still need to make sure the bike fits the individual proportions of your body. A bike fit can seem expensive but if you spend a lot on upgrades or a new bike, it’s going to be a small price to pay for a big gain in comfort efficiency, and injury prevention. A bike that fits well will allow you to enjoy cycling more and pedal for longer without discomfort.