Road Bike Upgrades: How to Improve Road Bike’s Performance

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This article contains the best innovations for top road bike upgrades that will actually improve your ride

In the spirit of the famous cycling saying - ‘Don’t Buy The Upgrades, Ride Them’, let's get you through this review quickly so you can decide where you want to invest.

We have listed a few must and reasonable road bike upgrades to improve you 2021 riding season. 

Best Road Bike Upgrades of 2021


If you are like me, I get excited every spring for the latest in bike technology.  I like starting with the USA Cycling Forum to see what people are most excited about.

If the upgrades make sense and come from a trusted source, I love to experiment and pass along my findings.  This review will also focus on the 'fundamental' of the classic gear that will make an immediate improvement to your ride if you haven't upgraded.

Read on!!

Road Bike Tubes

It's not only the wheels of the cycle but even the inner tubes of the wheel that make an incredible significant riding difference.

No doubt tires are of the primary importance of a best road bike making a difference in the ride feel, the speed and handling, but one cannot forget that the tire delivers it all thanks to its inner tubes.

So that is one of the crucial bike upgrades although it does not seem like an exciting upgrade to discuss.

AR-PRO 28 700x20-25C Road Bike Replacement Inner Tubes

AR-PRO 28 700x20-25C Road Bike Replacement Inner Tubes
  • 28 700x20-25 Road Bike Replacement Inner Tubes: Fits most 700c (622) road bikes with 28” tires that are between 20 to 25 wide – 80mm Presta...
  • ADDS COMFORT TO YOUR RIDE: With thick butyl rubber that absorbs shocks, you won’t feel the bumps and hollows because your bike will glide...
  • SAFETY FIRST IS OUR MOTTO: We designed this inner tube to be explosion proof. When and if punctured, it immediately creates an airtight seal to...

This inner tube is universal which fits road bikes with 700c or 622 having tires of 28’ and of the size 28 700x20-25 with the width of 20 to 25 between 2 wheels and an 80 mm Presta Valve.

This tube will surely add comfort to your ride as it consists of a thick butyl rubber which absorbs the shocks from the bumpy ride by making it hollow for your bike to glide.

This tube is completely explosion safe and also goes entirely air tight when the tire gets punctured. The installation is super easy and not at all time consuming as the tire levers come free with the tube which gets the job done in 5 minutes.

It is made up of good quality and heavy duty materials which provide long lasting durability and dependability. 

Road Bike Cables

Having a perfect inside and outside shifting gears all through the derailleurs as well and all the while through the well-lubricated components. 

Well apart from these yet another important part in your bike modifications that connects the two are the brake cables. 

It is a work of art as the interiors of the brake cable are the finest arrangement of engineered twining with tolerances, materials of low-friction allowing other parts to work effortlessly.

Shimano Universal Standard Brake Cable Set

Shimano Universal Standard Brake Cable Set
  • Universal Set: Fits either mountain bikes or road bikes
  • Stainless steel inner wires provide smooth movement and higher corrosion resistance
  • 1 x Black Cable Housing with Ø 5 mm (2200 mm long)

These Shimano brake cables are universal as the name suggests and thus fits both kinds of bikes - Road bikes as well as Mountain bikes.

These wires are made up of stainless steel thus making it corrosion resistant and to achieve smooth movement.  They are 2200 mm long having 2 steel cables of 1000 mm and 2050 mm length and 2 cable tips with 4 Ferrules. 

Road Bike Brake Pads

Brake pads are one of the most useful and very economical upgrades which facilitates sudden stopping of the bike due to any obstacle or may be just to show off.

This will affect the performance as well as the safety of you as a rider. Having a good quality of brake pads has a transformative effect on stopping distance with formulated conditions.

A high-quality set of brake pads, with a compound specifically formulated for the conditions is a boon for the rider.

Road Brake Pads with Installation Tool Caliper Brake

Road Brake Pads with Installation Tool Caliper Brake
  • 2 Pairs C brake pads: the bike brake pads are made of hard-wearing rubber which can decrease noise and provide good braking power in wet and dry...
  • Size: the road brake pad is about 50 mm/ 1.97 inch in length; Each piece has a nut and a spacer, it's easy to remove and install with the tool
  • V shaped water-leaking tanks: c brake pads with V-shaped tank design will do no harm to the wheel, and improve braking ability

The C brake pads are mainly designed to accommodate both wet and dry weather ensuring that there is no much noise while applying brakes and are thus made up of hard wearing rubber.

They are 1.97 inches in length while 50 mm have a nut and spacer for each piece. To ensure that no harm is caused to the wheels, these pads are designed in V shape also improving the ability of the brakes.

These brakes are suitable for all kinds of bikes making it easy for all kinds of riders to choose. They are way too easy to install being light in weight. 

Road Bike Bottle Cages

When the rider thinks about upgrading one’s bike, a bottle cage is the least thing that pops up in their mind, but we would like to tell you that upgrading the bottle cages are a fundamental accessory for all the bikes and their riders.

It is nothing but a bottle holder which sounds an easy fitting but is the most essential and also must be done right to avoid the risk of the bottle falling on rough tracks.

Mandible Water Bottle Cage

 Mandible Water Bottle Cage

Mandible Water Bottle Cage


  • Built with Carbon fiber
  • Sleek design with minimal graphics
  • 40% more bottle-grabbing power

Providing an extra 40% grip, comfort and easy access to the bottle is The Arundel Mandible Water Bottle Cage having two slender arms creating a smaller cross section.

This bottle cage is designed with minimalist graphics and can be used for all kinds of rides like the cross, the mountain, the triathlon or general road as well.

It is said to be the dream design of a perfectionist providing maximum strength in a tiny make.

Road Bike Bar Tape

Any rider spends approximately 10 hours a week on their bike riding it. So in those 10 hours, handlebar tape has maximum contact with you, like in the ratio 2 of the 5 which is a lot.

 So considering this time and ratio it is advisable that you as a rider must invest in a great quality and comfort providing handlebar tape. 

BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tapes

BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Tapes
  • EVA Foam material with embossed “BV” logo provides comfortable and anti-slip grip.
  • Ultra-light and durable quality absorbs shock and vibration during cycling.
  • Fade, water, and UV-radiation resistant.

EVA is a great brand for handlebar tape made up of foam with the logo ‘BV’ embossed on it is way too comfortable providing an anti-slip quality.

These tapes absorb the shocks produced while cycling and also the vibrations caused. They are extremely durable and are waterproof, fade proof and resistant to UV radiations as well. For easy installation a 3M adhesive is given too. 

Road Bike Tires

One of the most essential components of a bicycle are tires. Although there is no point in unnecessarily investing in the wheels which just absorbs money and gives flashy tires.

But best bike tires of good quality can significantly increase speed, increase the overall performance of the bike and the rider experience as well. These are the best upgrades for old road bike.

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Road Bike Tire

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Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Road Bike Tire
  • HANDMADE IN GERMANY-Continental has been hand making their tires since 1871, maintaining the integrity of tradition, while evolving with the most...
  • VECTRAN PROTECTION- Reinforcing and matrix fibers made of Vectran are 5X as strong as steel yet still extremely lightweight and abrasion...
  • DURASKIN- Sidewall protection coming from the high quality polyamide fabric encasing the core casing of the tire from scuffs and cuts under the...

Ever since 1871 the company Continental has been making their own tires by hand in Germany carrying forward their integrity of tradition and evolved with super advanced technology.

They use the Vectran Protection which is said to be 5 times more stronger than steel and yet light in weight and resistant to abrasion and giving complete protection from punctures to the tires.

The tire skin is made up of high quality polyamide fabric which safeguards the tires in the worst conditions from getting cuts or scuffs.

This Grand Prix 4 Season is capable of handling all seasons and is also recognized as the best winter tire by the Road Bike Magazine. 

Road Bike Cassette

Positioned in the hub of the bike that is the rear one, this cluster of sprockets is known as the cassette. On a general basis there are 5 to 13 sprockets in a cassette.

Well now there are many modernized bike drive trains who have cassettes ranging from 9 to 11 as well. In fact a recent cassette with 2 sprockets has also been featured in one of the high end bike groups.  

While buying a cassette the primary thing to check is the gear spread on the cassette.

As the logic and mechanism is such that the least difference between the lowest and the highest number of teeth causes small jump in between gears thus giving a super smooth gear shift.

Shimano Sora CS-HG50 9-Speed Cassette

 Shimano Sora CS-HG50 9-Speed Cassette

Shimano Sora CS-HG50 9-Speed Cassette


  • 12-25 teeth gear range
  • Precision Hyperglide (HG) sprockets
  • Compatible with Super Narrow HG-53 chain

In Shimano Cassette, this is what is taken utmost care as Hyperglide (HG) sprockets which are computer designed for precision are used incorporating specific positioned ramps of shifts giving high performance. 

It is built with 12-25 tooth gear range for better performance of the bike. They weigh 270 grams and can be used for 9 speed gears road bikes.

Road Bike Saddle

Well, it is a true fact and a funny one too that out of all the road bike parts of the bicycle not even one component can directly affect the ride and the rider in both positive or negative manner as much as the saddle would.

This plastic-like piece which actually protects your bums making you ride comfortably is more or less like the rider’s body extension. 

If in case you pick a wrong saddle it would be the most painful decision of all times as the comfort of the saddle can make or break your ride and you as a rider as well.

S-Works Power Saddle

S-Works Power Saddle

S-Works Power Saddle


  • Premier cycling saddle from Specialized
  • Carbon shell and rails fine-tuned for support and ride compliance
  • SWAT-compatible mounts molded to saddle for adding storage options

The premier cycling saddle is made from the Specialized series having blood flow sensors, pressure maps that are also known as body geometry maps giving brilliant support and ride compliance through the fine tuned rails and carbon shells.

They are made up of the most light padding and are completely water resistant. To enhance the storage option, the WAT compatible mounts are molded too.

The saddle's channel is extra wide and elongated to provide bone support and all-day comfort.

Road Bike Handle-bars

The pedal, handlebar and the saddle are the 3 key touch points that connect you to your bike and thus most of them opt to upgrade the pedal and the saddle while neglecting the handlebar, whereas that is one of the crucial ones.

Having them upgraded and regularly maintained has a significant change in the ride, the rider and of course the bike.

Upgrading to a good quality bike handlebar will surely enhance the quality of your riding. 

UPANBIKE Urban Road Bike Bicycle Retro Handlebar

UPANBIKE Urban Road Bike Bicycle Retro Handlebar
  • Material:T6061 Alluminium alloy,strong and durable.
  • Bar ends outter diameter:22.2mm (fits 22.2mm brake levers, grips or bar ends.)
  • Bar bore diameter:31.8mm,handlebar wide:640mm.

A good well made product is what a rider needs and that is exactly what the UPANBIKE Urban Road Bike Bicycle Retro Handlebar provides, made with durable and strong material, aluminum alloyT6061.

The outer diameter of the bars are 22.2mm thus fitting the brake levers measuring 22.2 mm brake levers. 31.8 mm is the diameter of the bar bore while 640 mm is the width of the handlebar.

This design of retro mustache handlebar make it universal, fitting all kinds of bikes like the urban, general or even the road bike. 

Road Bike Wheels

Wheels are yet another major component of the cycle that make or break the ride and are also one of the easiest ways to improve the bike’s performance and also the aesthetic value of the bike.

If you invest in the best bike wheels that are light yet sturdy and stiff, they will glide as you ride a climbing hill and maintain speed effortlessly on flat roads and big time enhance the steering accuracy. 

XLC Altus RM40 700c Rear Wheel

XLC Altus RM40 700c Rear Wheel

XLC Altus RM40 700c Rear Wheel


  • Just right for the first-time cyclist
  • Wear-indicator line tells you when it's time to replace the wheel
  • Features a Shimano Altus RM40 hub, designed for use with an 8- or 9-speed cassette 

The Altus RM40 hub rear wheel is made to be used with an 8 or 9 speed cassette.

There are wear-indicator lines on the wheel which will indicate the time for wheel replacement.

The size of the wheel is 700cc with 36 spokes and 10 x 135 mm QR rear axle. Made up of aluminum rim the wheel weighs 1,295 grams.

Road Bike Power Pedals

Your personal choice is not of the main consideration here as the best power meters are of another level and have no competition at all.

They, as the name suggests, are extremely powerful, enabling you to track your performance and measure your ride while working in the cycling training zone, eventually improving the overall performance.

If the power meter is used correctly, every ride could be the best and winning ride as it helps you to move towards the goals swiftly. 

Vector 3 Power Meter Pedals

Vector 3 Power Meter Pedals

Vector 3 Power Meter Pedals


  • Easy to install and transferable powermeter pedals 
  • 120-hour LR44/SR44 battery life keeps track of data 
  • Dual-band wireless connectivity works with ANT+ and Bluetooth computers or phones

These Vector 3 Power Meter Pedals are redesigned from the Gramin power meter pedals providing a super powerful tracking of data at comparatively affordable cost with an easy to install mechanism as well.

These power meter vector pedals bring to the rider an improvised clearance for cornering.

Just like any other pedal it is easy to install and use, but gives extraordinary upgrades to the rider like the analysis power which helps in training better.

It is inbuilt with a dual-sensing power meter which is useful for extra accuracy and 3S is a single-sensing affordable model.

Road Bike Handlebar Grips

The best handlebar grips of the cycle are the crucial contact points on your bike which actually control the riding of the bike.

Having new gen and quality filled handlebar grips will enhance the riding experience and thus an ergonomic design which is comfort oriented would be the best choice for handlebar grip upgrade adding style, performance, control and comfort to your bike.

OUTERDO New Handlebar Grips

OUTERDO New Handlebar Grips
  • Material: Rubber
  • Inner Dimension: 21mm,Length: 12.5cm (approx)
  • Ergonomic comfort handlebar grips will fit any regular handlebar

These OUTERDO Bike Handlebar Grips fit all the standard bike handlebars of all category bikes like the folding bikes, the downhill bikes, the mountain bike, the road bikes or the BMS etc.

These are long and comfortable allowing an elongated grip comfort for the rider. The Ergonomic design of the handlebar grips will give pure comfort and firmness for any regular handlebar too.

These grips are made up of soft material which are shock resistant and vibration proof too. They come with extra rubber grips that are skid-proof and have hard durable inner core with a dimension of 21 mm and length of 12.5 cm. 

Road Bike Light

Best Bike lights are a small thing compared to the rest of the upgrades, it is very essential and many big brands have worked towards fitting it lightweight so that the overall weight of the bike is light and thus easy to ride.

In the due course LED lights and Lithium battery packs have come into existence producing powerful light and small packages of batteries.

The result is brighter lights with similar or longer run times in smaller, lighter systems.

Lezyne Zecto Drive Light Combo

Lezyne Zecto Drive Light Combo

Lezyne Zecto Drive Light Combo


  • Combo package for tons of visibility on low-light rides
  • LED bulbs encased in dome structure for 180-degree visibility
  • Clip-on attachment is very secure over bumpy roads

Keeping the news technology to make this Lezyne Zecto Drive Light Combo has got you covered from dual sides giving an illuminated visibility of 180-degrees.

This combo also has a Maximum Optical Reflection beam facilitating the rider to see more clearly and swiftly asn at the same time be seen by the opposite side swiftly too.

The lights are small yet powerful and designed in such a way that they can be mounted anywhere and are easily installed and removed. You can remove the lights when the bike is not in use to protect it from being stolen.

It is packed with multiple flashing and steady modes of light beams which can be charged using a USB cable. The clip-on attachment makes it very secure for the rider to speed across the bumpy humpy terrain without fearing the falling of the light.

Road Bike Headset Spacer

Small aluminum rings or carbon fiber sliding on the steered tube’s forks are the headset spacers which are again tiny parts of the bike when considering the upgrade but are extremely crucial and not at all expensive.

These headset spacers will very easily and effortlessly enable you to adjust the handlebar’s height which is a very critical thing to do for road riders, MTB or BMX as well.

Sumind 11 Pieces Bike Carbon Fiber Headset Spacer

Sumind 11 Pieces Bike Carbon Fiber Headset Spacer
  • Multi-size package: this package contains 7 different sizes, 1 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm, 5 mm, 10 mm, 15 mm, 20 mm, small size of spacer headset let you...
  • Appearance and performance: automatic cutting, smooth edge, fit most of the road bicycles, delicate texture and durable to use
  • Material of bike handlebar spacer: woven carbon, nice look and good quality, light weight, good strength and well temperature resistance, good...

There are multiple size headset spacers available in one package - 1 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm, 5 mm, 10 mm, 15 mm, 20 mm for the rider to choose as per the adjustment of light and height.

They fit all kinds of bikes and are of smooth edge and very very durable too made up of woven carbon. They are light in weight, have good strength and are completely temperature and impact resistant.

The inner diameter of the headset spacer is 28.6 mm approximately with the external diameter of 34.9 mm and having a total weight of 45 g.

Road Bike Rack

Bike racks though not a bike upgrade yet an upgrade for the bike with an eternal goal of transferring it from one place to another safely and risk free.

There are different kinds of racks like the ones which  become semi-permanent extensions of the car or like the others which are entirely portable.

Ibera Bike Rack

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Ibera Bike Rack
  • Frame-mounted for heavier top and side loads
  • Quick-release bag mounting system
  • Adjustable to fit most 26–29 inch bicycle frames can carry upto 25 kg (55 lb)

Considering all the above points the best rack at a reasonable cost is the Ibera Bike Rack having a frame-mounted rack which is best for both the heavier top loads and side loads too.

They come with a quick-release bag mounting system which can accommodate bikes frames of the length 26 inch to 29 inch bicycle and can carry up to 55 lb or 25 kg.

 They are sturdy, light in weight and very durable.

Tips to maintain Road Bike

Bike maintenance is a very important and very crucial routine for a rider as this will decide the life of the bike and eventually the performance of the rider. 

So, with that we are listing down a few tips to maintain a road bike of which the most basic and the simplest one is to keep it clean.

This will automatically extend the life of the bike parts like the bike chain, cassette and tires by months and years too.

Read on the tips to follow the maintenance regime.

Brush Set

Having a brush set is always useful to clean the moving parts of the bike which generally tend to accumulate a lot of dirt and dust. 

Cleaning Products

Having various cleansing products of the bike also becomes essential as cleaning the bike is no less than an art. Each part needs different types of cleansing products which enhances the ride and the parts last longer.

Chain Checker

A chain checker is a mandatory product to have while maintaining the bike as a rider would know, all chains tend to stretch longer than life and they tend to break when least expected.

So having a chain checker handy is always beneficial in understanding when is the right time to change the chain without letting the ride hamper. 

Allen Key Set

A 5 mm Allen Key is said to be the best friend of a rider as many times a 4 to 6 mm keys are required but only once or may be really just once a 5 mm is needed, but that is when the bike would be in a grave situation.

So, having all kinds of Allen Keys is always beneficial and undoubtedly a very important and smart purchase. 

Chain Tool, Chain Whip and Cassette Tool

The parts of the bike that swiftly keep changing with frequency are the chain, and the cassette apart from the tires and inner tubes.

Thus, these parts would require constant attention and maintenance and thus having tools to do so is very essential.

Torque Wrench

You will have to have a torque wrench handy with you to protect your bike from the carbon parts like the stem, handlebars, saddle rails etc.

Cable Cutters

Cable replacement in the bikes is comparatively easier than any other parts provided you have the right tool to do so.

The right tool for cables is the cable cutter as the cable from within is made up of sturdy steel like material and is very strong and unbreakable.

Common FAQs

What is the best upgrade for a road bike?

The most important, mandatory and best upgrades for a road bike are the;

  • Tires
  • Bars and Saddles
  • Brakes
  • Chain rings
  • Wheels

Should I upgrade my road bike?

Replacing the old bike unnecessarily would be a waste of time, energy and money as it would not be a smart or necessary move. Instead replacing the old parts or upgrading the bike parts is the way to go.

Is it worth upgrading bike components?

Upgrades in general will not improve the value of the bike, but instead enhance the performance of the bike and keep the rider happy as if not upgraded you would be stuck with the old and laid back technology.

In case you buy a new bike still you would end up spending for the old technology and parts. Instead upgrading is a great idea.

 

How can I make my old road bike faster?

The easy 8 steps to keep the bike fast are as follows;

  • Keeping the bike clean
  • Lubing the chains regularly
  • Lowering the front end
  • Ensuring that the height of the saddle is right
  • Adjusting the pedal tension
  • Regular checks of the tire pressure
  • Ensuring that the gears are adjusted properly on a regular basis
  • Ensuring that the brakes are adjusted properly on a regular basis

Are road bike wheel upgrades worth it?

Upgrading the wheels will enhance the performance of the bike in a single purchase. This is unfortunately one of the most underappreciated advantages of upgrading your road bike wheelset.

It will give better rotating efficiency, ride quality and aerodynamics.

 

Should I upgrade my road bike or buy a new one?

Don't buy a new road bike, instead change the wheels and this upgrade will instantly show results when you ride.

Is bike groupset worth upgrading?

While upgrading a bike, the groupset upgrade is one of the last things to consider until the current group set is worn out completely.

Although the speed would be gained and the new group set would be lighter you'll be hard pressed to notice the loss of a few hundred grams.

 

Can I upgrade my bike gears?

The answer is a qualified "yes." Based on the types of components your bike is fitted with and the latest upgrades you have made, you need to select the right kind of bike gears to not have any compatibility issues.

Conclusion

Isn't upgrading one of the best options? Well, we surely think so. It is easy on pocket and not much of a hustle either.

Choosing the upgrades rightly is the key here to enhance the performance of the bike. So go for it, riders. Hope this guide was of help. 

Keep Riding Keep Scoring!

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Last update on 2021-05-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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