Here are eleven upgrades that will transform your ride and protect your purse.

Mountain biking can be a very expensive sport with some bikes costing as much as a car. However you don’t need to remortgage your house to spruce up your pride and joy.

Watch: Five essential tips for setting up your bike

1. Tyres


The tyres that come fitted to off-the-peg bikes are usually not the best. Quite often in fact, they’re awful. Even if they bear the name of a well-reviewed tyre, chances are they’re a cut=price version made of sketchy, slippery rubber and a unsophisticated carcass.

>>> Best mountain bike tyres

2. Cockpit

Cockpit layout was confidence-inspiring but lock-on grips are needed (Fowler)

Cockpit layout was confidence-inspiring but lock-on grips are needed (Fowler)

Stem, handlebars or grips. Possibly try changing all of them in fact. Off-the-peg bikes often come with stems that are too long and bars that are too narrow and grips that just don’t suit your hands. If possible, get your bike shop to swap the bits at time of purchase and haggle for a good deal.

>>> The best mountain bike handlebars

>>> The best mountain bike grips

3. Saddle

Fabric Scoop saddle for upgrades

Are we sitting comfortably? If not, begin with a new saddle, like the Fabric Scoop. It’s a great all-rounder with enough padding to cosset your behind.

>>> The best mountain bike saddles

4. Brake pads

Best Upgrades, brake pads

You don’t have to get down to the metal backing for brake pads to fail; they pick up contaminants and wear unevenly too. Replace with some organic pads.

>>> The best mountain bike disc brakes

5. Fresh cleats

Best upgrades cleats_edited-1

New cleats can return SPD shoes to their former glory, bringing back that positive connection and making you feel faster.

>>> The best mountain bike shoes

6. Gear cables and outer

Best upgrades madison cables
Cables stretch over time and water and grit can get inside the outer too, making even the poshest of shifters clunky. Swap them out for a Shimano mtb gear cable set.

>>> How to replace a rear gear cable (VIDEO)

7. Plastic pedals

Superstar El Plastique best upgrades_edited-1
A good set of flat pedals costs around £100 but slash that spending with these El Plastique pedals from Superstar. You get grippy pins, a stiff body and a light 334g weight.

>>> Best mountain bike pedals: flats

8. Chain retention

Best upgrades chain retention

A noisy chain is a distraction, but a chain that leaps off the ring and gets jammed in the BB is serious. Get a dangler-type chain retention device like Bionicon’s C-Guide.

9. Rotor power

Best upgrades disc brakes shimano
If your brakes still lack bite after replacing the pads you may need to up-size your rotors. Box-fresh trail bikes typically arrive with a 160mm disc at the rear; try upgrading to 180mm.

10. Go tubeless

Stan's no tubes 15th birthday race

This is easier – and cheaper – said than done. But if you’re plagued by pinch flats, tubeless is a Godsend. Going tubeless at least means shelling out for a pair of decent tubeless tyres and may also involve purchasing a tubeless conversion kit if your current rims aren’t tubeless ready. And even then you’ll be faced with the task of getting the system to inflate and seal.

>>> How to convert to tubeless (VIDEO)

11. Go 1x

Renthal 1xr chainring

>>> How to fit your narrow wide chainring

Ditch the double (or triple) chainrings up front and move to a single ring system with a narrow-wide chainring. Move to a wider ratio cassette at the back. Sorted. Lighter, neater, quieter.