How to customise your road bike

Road bikes are the perfect platform for customisation, with a whole range of spares and upgrades enabling you to tailor your ride. Simple road bike mods like swapping the bar tape, fitting clipless pedals or new bottle cages can the look on the road. Bigger jobs like changing the rear cassette, replacing the wheels and fitting a power meter can transform your standard road bike into the ultimate training machine or gravel bike.

Here are 10 ideas on how you can customise your road bike.

#1 Bar Tape

Customising your road bike with bar tape

Replacing the bog-standard black handlebar tape on your bike can change its look and feel. As well as making a statement, an upgraded handlebar tape will provide better road feel, dampening out some of the lumps and bumps of the road.

As well as standard black, you can find bar tape in a range of colours, including the ultra-aggressive Fluro Green Mistral Tape.

Fitting bar tape is pretty simple and with most bar tapes costing around £10, it's the perfect entry-level road bike mod.

#2 Bottle cages

Customising your road bike with bottle cages

Fitting a set of bottle cages is easy, with just two hex key bolts holding it in place – which mean anyone can attempt them.

Like bar tape, bottle cages come in a variety of shapes and colours ,from retro classics like the Halfords alloy water bottle cage to high-end race models such as the Elite Prism bottle cage.

If you want to add some extra bling, pick up a set of anodised bolts in your choice of colour to add that extra bit of personality. Don't forget your matching water bottles to complete the pro look.

#3 Clip-in pedals

Customising your road bike with clip in pedals

Clip-in pedals are a must on a road bike, making the transfer of power from the leg to the pedal to the road as efficient as possible.

If you're looking for the best clip-ins money can buy, the Shimano PD-R9199 Dura-Ace carbon SPD SL pedals are up there. Super lightweight at just 228 grams, they're silky smooth and highly efficient – making the perfect pro upgrade.

#4 Saddle

Customising your road bike with a saddle

Upgrading the saddle on your road bike is a simple mod that can transform your bike. Selle Italia is one of the world's leading saddle companies, and its range of performance bike saddles on offer at Halfords provide the perfect balance between speed and comfort.

Swapping a saddle takes a few minutes, but can change how a bike feels to ride. If you're looking for a high-quality saddle, the Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing Saddle is perfect for all-day rides as well races.

#5 Tyres

Customising your road bike with tyres

The tyres and wheels on your bike are a crucial component that can have a massive impact on speed and performance.

You can choose performance tubular tyres for racing, puncture resistance tyres for commuting and all-weather tyres for training. Swapping your 25s for a set of knobbly 35s can go some way to changing your road-bike into a gravel bike.

Most riders will have a selection of tyres to suit their different bikes and conditions. Changing them takes minutes, but can transform the handling and performance of your bike, which is why they're a popular upgrade.

#6 Rear cassette

Customising your road bike with a rear cassette

Changing the rear cassette is a custom job that just about any rider can perform. Replacing the existing chainset can give you access to a wider range of gears, including low gears if you're heading to the hills and mountains or higher gears if you're looking for speed.

At Halfords, we stock replacement Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM cassettes for road bikes. One of our favourites is the race-ready CS-R9100 Dura-Ace 11-speed cassette 12 - 28T, which offers a good range of gears for climbing and sprinting – making it perfect for that attempt on your century record.

#7 Power Meter

Customising your road bike with a power meter

It's not exactly a simple customisation, but fitting a power meter will change your bog-standard road machine into the ultimate training machine. Every pedal stroke is captured, providing a detailed output of your performance including cadence, speed and wattage.

They're not exactly cheap, but they're an investment in your performance and potential.

#8 Mudguards

Customising your road bike with mudguards

We've focused a lot on customising for performance, but you can customise for comfort too. A set of mudguards is an essential for road rides any time of the year, but they really come into their own during autumn and winter.

The Bikehut Front & Rear Commuter Mudguard Set is perfect for all-weather, all-season rides protecting you from mud, wind, rain and whatever else you will find on the roads.

If you haven't got the frame clearance or lugs to fit a set of mudguards, then you'll need a set of clip-ons. The SKS Raceblade Pro Black are the choice of riders, racers and audax fans up and down the country who swear by these clip-on classic.

They should slid on to most road bikes and with a bit of fettling will provide fantastic protection from the elements.

#9 Pannier rack

Customising your road bike with a pannier rack

So you've fitted mudguards to your road bike, now you need a pannier rack for carrying while you're commuting. Our bike rack buyers guide tells you everything you need to know about selecting the right pannier rack.

If you're looking for the ultimate go-anywhere, carry anything pannier rack then the Thule Pack N Pedal Tour Rack XT is a great choice. The aluminium rack fits securely to road bikes, hybrids and even mountain bikes without braze-on fixings.

#10 Child's seat

Customising your road bike with a child seat

If your riding is taking a back seat to family life, why not customise your road bike with a child's bike seat?

You can turn training time into family time and give your child a taste of the open road, while they're securely fixed to their seat. Reviewers love the Polisport Guppy Maxi Carrier Fixing Child Seat, praising the seat's five-point harness it for keeping their child safe and secure.