It’s all too easy to get trapped in a mentality of needing new stuff however, so here are five upgrades you might just be able to live without.
1. Carbon wheels
Yes, they look awesome. No, you don’t need them.
Carbon wheels are AWESOME. Everyone thinks so. They look cool, they sound cool and they’re more aero so you’ll go faster, right?
Well, maybe, but full carbon wheels are incredibly expensive and if your bike has rim brakes, the braking is almost invariably worse than with cheap alloy rims, especially if it’s raining.
If you’re a lighter rider, deep section wheels will make your bike harder to handle because they catch more wind. You could swap back to your regular wheels when the weather’s bad, but (again, if you have rim brakes) don’t forget you’ll have to change brake pads as well because carbon requires special pads.
Does it still seem worth the effort?
2. Tubular tyres
Do you have someone to do this for you? Thought not.
Pro cyclists ride tubular tyres because they make sense for pro racing. When Egan Bernal punctures, all he needs to do is put his hand in the air and a nice man in a car will hand him a fresh wheel or a whole new bike.
You don’t have that luxury when you’re out for a ride, and swapping out a tubular by the roadside is a tricky process that will leave you with a bike that needs to be ridden carefully, lest the tyre should come unstuck.
Matthew Loveridge (formerly Allen) is an experienced mechanic and an expert on bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. Originally a roadie, he likes bikes and kit of every stripe, and he's tested a huge variety of both over the years for BikeRadar, Cycling Plus and others. For a long time Matthew's heart belonged to the Scott Addict, but he's currently enjoying Specialized's sublime Roubaix Expert and having a torrid affair with a Giant Trance e-MTB. At 174cm tall and 53kg, he looks like he should be better at cycling than he actually is, and he's ok with that.