Whether your bike has travelled 10 miles or 10,000, we know as riders that there are always those little tweaks and changes we can make to level up our performance.

Below are some of the ways you can customise a new bike or breathe new life into one that’s already been put through its paces.


The best way to quickly see an improvement in your bike’s performance is by changing out your tyres. Since they’re your bike’s only contact with the ground, they will influence the entre feel of your ride. Depending on your bike, where you’re riding, and the time of year, there are a variety of tyre options to improve your speed and handling.

Road Bike Tyres are usually narrow, as they’re used mainly on smooth surfaces at high speeds. It also helps to keep them lightweight and reduce rolling resistance to reach these top speeds. Road bike tyres are usually measured using the metric French system, meaning you’ll see sizes such as “700x23c”. This just translates as the approximate diameter of the tyre and the approximate width of the tyre when inflated in millimetres. 

Mountain Bike Tyres, on the other hand, need to cope with off-road riding, so these tyres are usually wider with more tread. If you are riding trails, tubeless-ready tyres are a great option, giving you more grip and allowing you to run at lower pressures. MTB tyres are usually measured using the imperial British/American system, meaning you’ll see sizes such as “29x2.2”. This just translates as the approximate diameter of the tyre and the approximate width of the tyre when inflated in inches.

Bike Tyres usually best for commuting or leisure riding – fall somewhere in between, with enough width to handle uneven roads and paths, but still with a slicker tread than an MTB tyre so that you can navigate urban routes quickly. Hybrid bike tyres will often use either the English/American or French measuring systems.

Because your tyres are so important, we’d recommend prioritising them on your list of upgrades, and be willing to spend a bit more to get a high-quality brand. Premium bike tyres will give you better rolling resistance and reduce the overall weight of your bike, as well as offering more grip compared to the tyres you’ll get as standard on off-the-shelf bikes.

Ultimately, the best tyre upgrade will depend on what features you want the most. A lighter tyre will liven up the ride, but it may come at the expense of puncture protection. A wider tyre will offer increased grip and comfort but will be heavier. It’s important to weigh up the benefits of each for your riding style and habits. For a helping hand, head over to our guide on choosing the right tyres for your bike.

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If you’re upgrading your tyres, you may want to consider going tubeless. This is a quick upgrade that can really save you time and effort dealing with punctures.

Tubeless, as the name suggests, means running your bike without inner tubes. Before attempting a tubeless set up, you will need to check that your wheels and tyres are tubeless compatible. With some bikes, it’s as easy as installing some tubeless valves and adding sealant, but with others it may require more work.

One of the main benefits of going tubeless is that it reduces the risk of both pinch flats and punctures. Pinch flats occur when the inner tube is squeezed by your tyre when you hit a pothole or a rock, causing the tube to tear. With no inner tube, this can’t happen. As for puncture flats, tubeless tyres are filed with a liquid or gel sealant which plugs punctures and holes up to about 5mm, allowing you to carry on riding. 

As well as this, many riders prefer the feel of tubeless tyres – they can be ridden at a much lower pressure thanks to the reduced puncture risk, meaning you get more grip and a better feel for the trail or road. Losing the tube also makes for a lighter set up, meaning less energy spent turning the wheels.

If you do go tubeless, it’s worth keeping a CO² inflator in your kit - it can take a large burst of air pressure to get a tubeless tyre to seat on the rim and a floor pump might not be up to the job, so it’s worth keeping one to hand for top ups and reinflation.


The grips may not be the most exciting part of your bike, and you may be sceptical as to how much impact changing them could have on your ride. In reality, your grips play a central role in your handling, and how you feel the movement of your front wheel.

Most premium mountain bikes come fitted with lock-on handlebar grips as standard. Unlike push-on grips, these grips attach with a locking collar to ensure they don’t slip or move around in rougher riding conditions. Once you’ve put the grips on, you just tighten the clamp to lock them in place - this system also makes them much easier to remove. While you’ll most commonly see mountain bikers using lock-ons, they can be beneficial for anyone wanting a more secure and reassuring feel.

Grips come in all shapes, sizes, and finishes, so knowing which one to choose can be tricky. Thicker grips can help to dull vibrations on long rides over rocky terrain, but they can make some riders feel less connected to the bike. Knurled grips are useful for improving your grip, but they can become uncomfortable if you haven’t got gloves on. Each style will have benefits and drawbacks, so it all depends on what features you value you the most.

The best way to know for sure is to test out some different grips on a real ride. Ask a friend if you can borrow theirs (or swap if you’re riding together) and see what you prefer. Even if you don’t love the ones you try, it’s good to think about what you did or didn’t like to help you narrow down what you’re looking for.

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Bar Tape

Another small upgrade that can have a big difference is changing up your bar tape. This low-cost upgrade can have a big impact on your comfort during a ride, especially if you’re tackling rougher terrain. Handlebar wrap provides cushioning across your bar to dampen the feel of shocks and vibrations into your hands for a more enjoyable ride. A thicker tape will provide better vibration reduction, while a thinner tape won’t compromise your bar feel.

This extra padding also comes in a variety of materials, but the best one for you will depend on a number of factors. Traditional bar tape was made from cotton, but the three predominant types today are cork blends, leather, and synthetic. 

Cork bar tape is usually thick, providing increased shock absorption and a comfortable hand feel. Its ability to absorb moisture also makes it a good choice for wet weather riding. Leather bar tape gives a vintage feel and is highly durable, making it a great option for all-weather commuters who won’t tend to their tape as often. You will, however, pay a higher price for the premium finish.

Man-made synthetic bar tapes are the more modern option, and the popular choice of most road cyclists. Lightweight and durable, they’re usually backed with foam or gel and can have perforations or a tacky finish for better grip. Synthetic tapes are highly customizable, with colours, thicknesses, and finishes varying by brand.

The right tape for you will depend on your preferences and riding discipline – if you’re racing, then a thinner tape will reduce bulk and give you a better road feel for intuitive handling. For endurance riders or off-road drop bar bikes, a thicker tape might be better to dampen vibrations for increased comfort over long distances. 

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Upgrading your pedals is a great way to instantly level-up your riding, ensuring consistent and efficient power transfer. Whether you’re changing to clipless pedals or flats, you’re sure to feel a big difference.

As for which type is best, it depends on the type of riding you’re doing, and what improvements you’re looking for. Flat pedals offer a larger surface area and the freedom to remove and reposition your feet more easily, while clipless pedals help to maintain an even cadence and keep your feet in position on rough terrain.

Flat pedals offer ultimate versatility, and they’re easy to use. That makes them a great choice for upgrading a commuting or leisure bike. You can use flat pedals for mountain biking too, but they’ll usually come equipped with metal pins to help keep your foot planted to the pedal more than a standard flat pedal. 

As for clipless pedals, you’ll find different versions for road biking and mountain biking, to best suit the needs of each discipline – the cleats used for mountain bike pedals tend to be smaller than those on road bikes, to collect less mud and allow you to adjust your foot position quickly.

A big advantage of clipless pedals is that you don’t lose any power as you rotate the cranks because your foot is always attached to the pedal, which improves your overall cadence. You will need a specific pair of shoes to use clipless pedals, as the cleats on these shoes are what lock your foot into the pedal.

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Upgrading performance features is one thing, but you aren’t going to feel the benefits if your bike isn’t comfortable. 

Most bikes will come fitted with a standard saddle designed to suit a variety of riders, but there are a variety of specialised shapes, brands, and designs that you can choose to fit you and your riding style better.

It’s normal to feel some discomfort if you haven’t ridden a bike in a while as it can take some time for your body to adjust, but you should feel settled in your saddle after a few weeks. If you don’t, then it may be time for an upgrade.

Generally, you can ascertain the right saddle style for you depending on your riding position. Casual riders that default to an upright riding position are best suited to a leisure saddle, which is usually wider with more padding for comfortable day-to-day rides. Riders that lean slightly forward and use their bike for commuting are advised to go for an urban or e-bike saddle which will offer more support to your sit bones. As for performance riding where you’re leaning forwards more severely, a road or mountain bike saddle will have a longer and narrower shape to prevent chaffing and reduce weight.

For a premium personalised fit, we’d recommend having a professional saddle fitted so you can understand the perfect size and design for you. You should also consider a quality pair of padded shorts, as these are ideal for reducing pressure without compromising on a performance saddle. 

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Dropper Posts

Quick release seat clamps are great for making quick stationary adjustments, but more complex trails often require multiple adjustments throughout the ride. So, many trail riders benefit from upgrading to a dropper post.

A dropper allows you to drop your saddle as you ride and then raise it again at will, controlled by a lever on your handlebars. This level of customization allows you to adapt to the trail as it changes for a more effective ride - drop the saddle out of your way for descents then raise it back up for efficient pedalling on the climbs, without the need to stop.

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