Upgrading 101 - Intro to Upgrades

Is there anything better than New Bike Day? Rolling your beautiful bicycle off of the showroom floor and into your life is a magical moment, but it’s just the beginning of your new relationship together. Before long you’ll find yourself eager to make your bike more “you” - suited to your specific needs, ready to tackle your unique challenges, a rideable reflection of your personality. Upgrades are the key to getting your bike exactly where you want it. In this series, we’ll look at the most common changes people make to their bikes and how you too can upgrade your way to perfection!

Where to Start?

Fit and comfort are arguably the most important aspects of your bike because if you don’t feel good riding it, you won’t – it’s that simple. That’s why the first targets for upgrades are the three places where you and the bike meet, your contact points.

Saddle

First up is the most subjective component, the saddle. Comfort here really comes down to personal preference and the best way to find the right one for you is just to try ‘em out. Your riding posture, sit-bone width, and natural… “support” will all play a role in which saddle’s most likely to get you riding happily. Luckily, most local bike shops will let you sample a bunch of different styles and sizes until you’ve narrowed it down. Some shops will even let you borrow a “tester” for a week or more so you can experience it in your day-to-day travels and really get a sense of how well you and the saddle fit together. If you don’t have a shop close by, swap saddles with a friend (or four)! They won’t have the same selection as your LBS, but it’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

Bars and Grips

Next up, bars and grips! Thanks to the upright position of your Pure City, you likely won’t accidentally put too much weight on your hands, but it’s still important that you feel comfortable. If you have wide shoulders, you’ll appreciate the fit of wider bars, while the opposite will be true if you’re narrow at the top of your torso. Drop bars, bull horns, and other bar styles can be used to give yourself some extra hand positions for variety on longer rides – and grips can be swapped to make your hands even happier in the position they already have! This is another great opportunity to check out what your friends and other local riders are using, then swing by your local bike shop to scope out your options and take some test rides.

Pedals

Your last contact point is the pedals and you want to have a good relationship with them because they’re responsible for transmitting all of your effort to the bike. Platform pedals are ideal for casual cruises without swapping shoes, but you can easily increase your efficiency with some foot retention. Pedals with straps or cages allow you to get energy out of the upswing of your pedal stroke (by pulling up with your rear foot as it comes around) – a huge help when tackling climbs or getting started from a stop. For the serious cyclist, clipless pedals are the way to go, but having to wear special shoes for a quick jaunt to the coffee shop isn’t ideal for everyone. Pedal upgrades are less about fit and more about how you like to connect with your bike. Once you’ve determined if platforms, straps, cages, or clipless are for you, your bike shop will help you find the perfect pair! And, if you can’t decide, ask about combo pedals that offer a platform on one-side and clipless on the other! You won’t be the first person interested in going clipless but hesitant to dive in before you know how deep the pool is.

And you’re on your way! Now you and your bike are connecting like never before, and you’re three steps closer to “perfect”. In the next lesson, we’ll look at practical additions that can take your bike from recreational ride into a full-on workhorse. Whether you’re building a commuter, grocery-getter, or vacation-rig, there are an assortment of parts and accessories to make your bike better at getting down to business.