Cheap, Easy, DIY Upgrades For Your Mountain Bike

You’ve been saving up all year, and you just splurged on a mountain bike. (Let me guess, you got the Diamondback Hook?)

You love this ride, but now you are ready for every upgrade you can afford.

Here’s the good news, there are several extremely affordable upgrades you can set you to ride up with that will enhance your enjoyment without breaking the bank.

1. Dropper Post

Ok, so this one is going to break the bank. But they are pretty easy to install and can do a lot to upgrade your riding experience.

Have you ever gone off a harsh landing only to get racked by your seat? Ever feel like you have to choose between riding with your seat at the right height or being brutalized by it on the descents?

Well, no more.

With a Dropper seat post, you can push your seat down and keep it out of the way on those bumpy descents and hardcore drops. And then, with a flick of the switch, it pops back up underneath your butt to give you the correct height for that climbing power.

Sure, this is one you might want to save up for, but you’ll love how much it adds to your ride.

2. Add Color

I love adding a splash of color to my bike, and few riders realize just how many parts can be customized.

With a little collaboration with your local shop, you’ll find that there are many nuts and screws that come in colors other than silver or black.

You may want to start by picking out a major part — like your pedals — and then choosing colors than complement that part. I’ve seen bikes themed in all sorts of colors, and even a few free-spirited riders who throw components of every color on their cycles. They are a rainbow of colors, barrelling down the trail.

Here are some components that you can customize:

  • Headtube spacers
  • Chainring nuts
  • Replacing your Clips with colored zip ties
  • Colored brake and shift cable ends
  • Chainstay protector (either colored electrical tape or something like Lizard Skins. Or, hell, sew your own.)
  • Grips (plus you can get something more comfortable!)
  • Aluminum bar ends
  • A colored chain
  • colored, aluminum valve stem

3. Rear Derailleur

Often, these bikes come with really low-end rear derailleurs. A high-end rear derailleur can often be had for under $100. Upgrading can give you smoother and slightly faster shifting, plus all of the buddies will ooh and ahh over it the next time you are riding.

4. Ditch the Dork Disk

That plastic disk that came with your bike? Yeah, it is there to protect the spokes. But, if you are keeping your bicycle properly adjusted, you really won’t have any need for that disk.

Besides, they typically just come loose and rattle the whole time you are riding, anyway. Cutting that off (don’t cut your spokes!) can give you a cleaner look.

Just keep in mind, that you have to keep everything adjusted, or your chain can slide off on the inside and chew everything up.

Of course, proper maintenance is more important than any amount of fun upgrades you might put on your bike. Keep in mind that you will want to have a good lube and cleaning system and that you will either need a budget for keeping your bike tuned, up, or you might need to invest in some simple tools for maintaining it yourself.

Here’s a video with a few more tips for upgrading

Of course, you could forget about these upgrades and just keep riding. After all, a bike looks best with a little mud on it.