Which 5 MTB upgrades can you ‘probably’ do without?
1. Ceramic bearings
Ceramic bearings made their way into the world of bicycles a few years back, and when they did they arrived with the promises of smoother rotation and increased durability over regular stainless steel bearings.
They also arrived with a crazy high cost, with many parts that feature ceramic balls fetching ten times that of a regular, stainless steel alternative. However, this didn’t stop ceramic balls from making their way into everything from hubs and headsets to bottom brackets and even jockey wheels.
Our advice? Unless you’re royally wealthy, astonishingly fast or really, really hate maintenance, they’re simply not worth it.
2. Carbon handlebars
Do you really need to go carbon?
Swapping a bar for one of a different width, height or sweep measurement can make a real difference to the way your bike handles. When it comes to materials though, we’re a lot more sceptical.
Carbon handlebars are commonplace in the world of cross-country racing, where grams can actually matter, but they’re also a very expensive way to shed weight and for most riders a regular alloy bar will do just fine.
Some people shop for a carbon bar specifically to reduce vibrations at their hands, but we would suggest first picking up a set of better grips or paying more attention to your suspension and tyre setups.
3. Expensive pedals
Would a cheaper pair do the job just as well?
Another critical contact point on the list is pedals. In particular, expensive fancy pedals that do little more than save a few grams.
Let’s put it another way: expensive pedals certainly aren’t bad, but budget pedals are just so damn good nowadays and are available for a fraction of the cost.
Take Shimano’s M520 SPDs, for example. The cleat mechanism is basically the same as Shimano’s uber pricey XTR models and once clipped in it’s hard to tell them apart.
Those who prefer not to clip in can also find some pretty amazing flat pedals at outrageously low prices too, just take a look at the Superstar Nano-X or the Nukeproof Horizon Pro for a couple of excellent options that won’t break the bank.