Cycling can be a very affordable hobby. However, it is very easy to spend a lot of time and money, making little upgrades to your ride.
On mountain bikes, you have plenty of opportunities to upgrade the ride quality, speed, comfort, and stability. But, sometimes, you just want an easy win that will not break the bank but will make you smile next time you go for a ride.
Here are our top 5 things we would upgrade first on a budget!
|Our Favorites||The Product||Rating|
|Grips||Hapleby Premium Bike Handlebar Grips||5 / 5|
|Saddle||ZHIQIU Mountain Bicycle Seat||4 / 5|
|Helmet||Smith MIPS Convoy||5 / 5|
|Plastic Valve Caps||40 Piece Presta Valve Cap Kit||3.5 / 5|
|Plastic Fenders||BlueSunshine Mud Guards Fenders||4.5 / 5|
- 1. Some New Grips – Hapleby Premium Bike Handlebar Grips
- 2. The Right Saddle – ZHIQIU Mountain Bicycle Seat
- 3. A New Helmet – Smith MIPS Convoy
- 4. Plastic valve caps – 40 Piece Presta Valve Cap Kit
- 5. Plastic Fender – BlueSunshine Mud Guards Fenders
- What you should think about when searching for cheap bike upgrades?
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Some New Grips – Hapleby Premium Bike Handlebar Grips
The first, and one of the least expensive mountain bike components that you can buy is your handlebar grips! This is one of the main contact points you have with your bicycle, and can make the difference between staying on your mountain bike in a hard corner, or flying off because you lost grip on your bike.
This also plays a huge role in keeping your hands comfortable during your ride! I don’t know how many times I have been riding my bike, and my hands cramp up, because I don’t have my grips dialed in correctly.
Even if your current grips are not worn, your bike can feel brand new by upgrading your grips. Choose from several different compounds, and make sure you get a color and pattern that adds to your style.
Everyone is a bit different when it comes to grips, and thankfully you can try plenty of different options out at a relatively low price for each.
We really like the Hapleby Premium Bike Handlebar Grips (which can be found by clicking the button below). These are extremely budget friendly, but also offer a great grip, are highly rated and are lock-on (which means they won’t slide around, and are easy to install).
Thankfully, if these grips aren’t quite right for you, most all grips can be purchased at what would be considered a budget price.
2. The Right Saddle – ZHIQIU Mountain Bicycle Seat
While we are on contact points, consider upgrading your saddle. We are all different, and a slightly different design or composition saddle will feel comfortable for some but not others.
If you are still riding the stock saddle that came with your mountain bike, investing in a new saddle will dramatically improve your comfort while cycling, especially if you pay attention to what you are personally needing.
Of course, there are plenty of super expensive flashy saddles out there. But there are also plenty of bargains that perform just as well at a fraction of the cost.
We really like this ZHIQIU Mountain Bicycle Seat that can be found at the button below, as it lightweight (which is extremely important when mountain biking), comfortable, yet extremely reasonably priced.
Thankfully most all modern bikes follow the same guidelines for attaching to a bike, which make them mostly universal! This means you can easily choose the seat that you personally like the best, without worry of if it will fit your bike.
Another awesome thing about bike seats, is you can also easily change them out, depending on the situation you are riding in, which makes buying a couple inexpensive saddles a great option.
3. A New Helmet – Smith MIPS Convoy
Alright, so I am not going to completely recommend you buy the cheapest helmet out there! You should most definitely be keeping your brain and head safe.
That said, you don’t have to break the bank to make this happen. I personally utilize the Smith MIPS Convoy, of which is a budget MIPS helmet.
However testing this helmet up against many other, more expensive helmets it has come out on top time and time again.
In all seriousness though, of all of the items on this list, this by far is the most important! Do not go out riding your mountain bike (or any bike for that matter), without a good helmet.
Now, I also wanted to go back to the MIPS portion of this helmet!
If you don’t have a helmet, and are looking to get one, then you should consider getting one with MIPS, as it allows for the helmet to rotate ever so slightly during impact, which further protects your head from jarring during a fall. You can read more about that here!
4. Plastic valve caps – 40 Piece Presta Valve Cap Kit
If you are looking for something cheap, and that changes the look of your mountain bike quickly and easily, you can’t go wrong with plastic valve caps!
You can buy them for both standard, and also presta valves.
You basically will be removing your old valve caps, and replacing them with whatever color, style, or quality valve cap that you want to buy for yourself.
If you want to get super fancy, you can get the 40 piece kit at the link below, and then change out your colors every time you ride to set yourself apart from everyone else.
Sure, these aren’t going to make you a better rider, or your mountain bike more comfortable, but for the value, they are definitely worth the purchase!
5. Plastic Fender – BlueSunshine Mud Guards Fenders
If you do not have some already, get yourself some plastic fenders to help keep you and your bike a little drier on muddy trails.
They are easy to install and, more importantly, easy to remove when they are not needed.
We personally recommend fenders if you at all plan on using your bike other than on the trail, as you normally will be wearing clothes that you don’t want to get dirt and mud on.
Thankfully these BlueSunshine Mud Guards Fenders can be bought for such a low price, it is most definitely worth the purchase. Much like everything you want to install on your mountain bike, they are also lightweight!
You can also choose from quite a few different colors, to match the bike you will be putting it onto.
What you should think about when searching for cheap bike upgrades?
Weighing the quality
Before you ever get too far into deciding what budget component you should be adding to your bike, you need to think about the quality of the component! If you are looking at something structural, or drivetrain component specifically, you want to make sure you aren’t buying something just because it is cheap.
Generally, an upgrade should result in a better outcome than what the bike had before. Because of this, if you put a lower quality component on the bike, it might actually make it worse.
You will notice that most of the components on this list above are not structural or drivetrain related, and because of that they are items that you can buy on a low budget without hurting yourself, or your riding experience.
What is your budget?
You should always know the budget you are sticking to when upgrading your mountain bike! Parts and accessories can pile up on price quickly, and because of that you should know exactly what you are willing to spend.
Thankfully most of the accessories on this list are all items you can buy for under $50 (with some exceptions), so as long as that is your budget, that should be fine!
Who makes it?
Brands make a difference in the mountain biking world! If you are wanting to make a major upgrade to your bicycle, make sure to do your research before purchasing. What are other people saying about this brand?
Sure, items like valve stem caps or fenders may not be a big deal. However items like helmets and even a new saddle does! Do your research, and make sure you are buying a reputable brand.
Will it fit your bike?
Before you hit “purchase”, double check that the components you are buying will actually fit your bike! Not all seats will fit every bike, not every valve cap will fit every bike, and not every helmet will fit your head.
Just doing a quick double check of everything will save you time, money, and headache in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
This comes down to your personal preference! The easiest way to change the look of your bike is to change out grips, tires, and pedals. However you can go all-in and get yourself some sticker packs to flair up your bike in a pinch.
Most people will generally start with contact points of a bike like pedals, grips, and seats when upgrading their mountain bike. These are items that you will be using every time you touch the bike, and will make the biggest difference. From there you can move on to drivetrain, and suspension upgrades.
For most people, the cost to upgrade a group-set on a bike will not result in enough of a noticeable upgrade to make the upgrade worth it. However if you are someone who really wants to get the most out of your bike, then this will likely become something you will be upgrading down the road.
I hope these cheap, budget conscious mountain bike upgrades gave you some great ideas to start out with on your mountain biking journey! Everyone starts somewhere, and these components will put you on the right track.
My personal recommendation would be to start off with a helmet, not only for the safety side, but also the comfort, then move on to the remainder of the categories!