Prioritizing Component Upgrades For Performance
Revolution MTB|Issue 58
Prioritizing Component Upgrades For Performance
One of my favourite commonly asked questions at the bike shop is; what component upgrades give the most performance gain for my budget? What it all comes down to is prioritizing the order that you make each component upgrade. So, in this article lets go ahead and weigh the importance of each component upgrade and examine how wide the budget options are. For instance, brakes rank high on the list affecting a bike’s personality. Brakes also have a great choice of options at a wide range of prices. Components are listed from most important to performance/ personality. Then overall expensive (meaning getting it wrong will cost $ to fix). Whether you’re working with a full custom or just looking at functional upgrades on your factory complete being able to prioritize performance is going to help you build a better bike. I hope this article provides you some insight to better define and maximize your spending for the most fun on the trail. Okay, so lets run through the list from the top…

1. FRAME / SHOCK

The most important factor in your bike’s performance is the frame. Suspension system, geo, rear shock, riding vibrance, service longevity, durability, and the list of factors to consider goes on and on. Research is key. Get as much intel before you shell out your money because if you get this wrong you might end up with a project you chase and never get right.

Expense: Typically, the most expensive component on your build. If you miss on this it tends to be a spendy fix...

Pricing Range: While there is a wide range in frame pricing, you’ll see the leaders fall into a similar range.

2. FORK

A poor handling fork will compromise your bike’s performance every single ride.

Expense: not cheap, but less than the frame or wheels.

Pricing Range: modern forks with good performance are available across a wider range of budgets than ever before.

Using the current Fox range as an example you have Performance, Performance Elite and Factory options. There are damper options on the Performance Elite and Factory forks as well. My bike has a Performance Elite fork (vanity - I wanted all black) but with attention to volume spacing I can comfortably ride a Performance fork too. But, fork is second on my list. I’m likely to find somewhere down the food chain to save a few dollars and buy the fork I want.

3. TYRES

Tyres are your bikes connection to the ground which makes their performance incredibly important to how your bike handles.

Expense: Relatively inexpensive overall.

Pricing Range: Since they’re not crazy expensive you can look at it a couple of ways. One (my way): they’re all kind of the same. Maybe $25 here or there.Two: Big price range when some might cost 40% more than others.

Tyres really do make this big of a deal to your bike’s performance. I hear the “I’ll ride these till they wear out, then...” I’m not a fan of that. With only so much time to ride why compromise on what actually touches the ground?

4. RIMS

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Issue 58