We often look to try and save cash on bike components. Just as important to value for money, are the products that you’ll want to spend a bit more generously on. Going too cheap on certain components can be significantly detrimental to your bike’s performance. Watch the video to hear more or read on below.
There are certain products where that added cost is worth it to improve your riding experience and the performance that you get out of your bike.
Of course, there will always be those really expensive options and if you want those and can afford them, that’s great! For the budget spender, we’re not here advocating for you to go all out on the following products but rather to consider spending that extra bit for the added value.
Good quality brakes are a necessity on your mountain bike to ensure control on descents and to save you energy. If you have poor performing brakes you will be using unnecessary energy to slow yourself down or even failing to control your speed. You don’t need to be spending over the top here but aiming for the mid-tier models is a safe bet. That would be, for example, the Shimano Deore, SLX and XT or the R and RS versions of the Code and G2 brakes from SRAM.
If you are a trail rider we would really recommend 4 piston brakes with at least 180mm brake rotors. Ideally 200mm brake rotors for bigger riders and those riding a bit faster and more aggressively.
The mid-tier models will likely just have fewer tool-free adjustments which isn’t a major issue but will get you a brake that performs powerfully and consistently.
You can buy second hand when it comes to brakes but you do want to make sure none of the parts are bent or seized.
When it comes to buying grips for your mountain bike, find what suits your preferences, and don’t compromise. We talked a bit about choosing the right grip in our article discussing contact points setup.
You want to look for a softer compound and lock-on style grips in the particular dimensions that you prefer. These will maximise your comfort and control on the bike. Second hand is not a good idea when it comes to grips because they are such a high wear item.
Mountain bike tires are expensive but the performance you get out of a decent set of tires is non-negotiable. An appropriate tread for the kind of riding that you’ll be doing and a soft rubber compound on the front wheel are highly recommended to get the best traction.
Look for an appropriate casing for your weight and riding style to make sure you’re getting good support and puncture protection. If you’re not a full-blown XC racer, we suggest you compromise a little bit on rolling efficiency and try a tire with a more aggressive tread to see how it changes your riding experience.
Don’t go second hand here but you could consider rotating your front tire to the back when you get a new front tire. Also, be sure to set the tire pressure appropriately to maximise performance, we spoke about tire pressures in our suspension setup article.
When buying tools that you will use to work on your mountain bike there is no need for anything too fancy but a higher quality set will last longer and will be less likely to damage your bike.
You can consider buying tools second hand if they’re in good condition and of good quality.
For most riders, when it comes to suspension, a current mid-tier model will give you ample performance. Those are the Select + or Performance models when it comes to RockShox and Fox respectively. A brand like Marzocchi is worth looking at for really good value suspension, lighter on the wallet, and good on performance. It can be worthwhile to find out if your current suspension could receive internal upgrades. These are much cheaper than a whole new fork or shock and will get you on par performance.
You can buy your suspension second hand but don’t go older than a couple of seasons and make sure it is in good working order and suitable for your bike in terms of hub spacing, wheel size, and travel.
When it comes to buying new wheels for your bike you’ll want to be a little bit cautious. You don’t want to have a set of wheels that are weak, so make sure to go for a reputable brand and be willing to spend a bit more for good durability. Your wheels can have a very significant effect on your bike’s performance by their weight and strength. To have wheels that are both lightweight and strong you will incur a higher cost. You may need to add a few grams in exchange for a more affordable price if you are on a tighter budget but they are a worthwhile component to spend more on if you can afford it.
Second hand wheel purchasing is an option. Check the bearings are running smoothly and make sure there are no cracks in the rim. Also be sure they are the correct size and hub spacing for your bike.
Between this post and the “where to save” post, you should have some good direction on how to spend on your bike if you are on a tighter budget. If you can afford those top-notch components and you want them then, by all means, enjoy them but if they aren’t in your price range, don’t let that put you off!
Work with what you’ve got and spend wisely where necessary and don’t forget to just enjoy being out on your bike because at the end of the day, that’s what it is all about!
If you have any questions, drop them in the comments.
Have a good time out on the trails!