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Top 5 Affordable upgrades for your Mountain bike

adventure begins hereIf you’re not planning to replace your mountain bike this season, you can still upgrade a few key components on the cheap, and get your bike feeling like new!


Pro_Extreme_PadsBrake pads: If you want to know the basics of what each type of brake pads will do for you, we wrote a post on it recently. Regardless of what pads you choose, buying pads designed for your application are going to perform better, and make you more confident on the bike.

Cost: A pair (one brake’s worth) of good quality Jagwire pads retails for $15.99.


163146-01Tires: Fresh rubber always makes your bike feel better. If you haven’t identified your favourite tire(s) yet, we have some suggestions for choosing a pair.

1. Front and rear tires need to do different things. You want your rear tire to track well in straight lines – lots of accelerating and braking grip. Your front tire, on the other hand, typically benefits from a larger volume, and beefed up side lugs to give it better performance in corners and when turning.

2. Consider the conditions you’re riding in. Summer is coming. A tire with a lower-profile tread pattern will roll faster and more easily, but will pack up more quickly if you hit deep mud, and won’t have the same grip on wet roots. If you have a lot of slimy conditions in your future, err on the side of a chunkier tire.

3. Try bigger tires. Across the industry, the trend seems to be returning to wider tire widths. If you’re running tires in the 2.1″ range, try a wider tire next time! Better grip and more confident cornering are the benefits. Consider rim width and frame clearance though- wide tires on narrow rims tend to squirm around a lot, and are more likely to burp if you run tubeless. Tire clearance is an obvious one- the tire has to fit inside the frame, even when the rim isn’t true or the tire is covered in mud.

4. Durometer: Durometer refers to the stickiness of the rubber used in the tires construction. Tires come in many different rubber compounds these days, and higher end tires will use multiple durometers in the same tire, to maximize lifespan and grip. Put as simply as possible, the softer the rubber, the better the tire grips. The firmer the compound, the longer the tire lasts.

New tire costs: Expect to spend $60 -$120 per tire to get something that will improve your ride quality.

The Joeblow booster pump and a recently converted wheel.

Convert to Tubeless: Another video we recently produced teaches you how to convert your regular rims to tubeless. Tubeless tires are virtually immune to pinch flats, allowing them to run much lower pressure for increased grip. Tubeless tires conform to the ground better, as the lack of a tube means a thinner effective sidewall. Finally, running tubeless usually saves a considerable amount of rotational weight. If your tires are tubeless compatible, grab some tubeless tape, valves and sealant and make the switch!

Cost: Assuming you already have tubeless ready tires, your conversion will cost you around $70. You will need access to a compressor, or tubeless specific pump to complete the installation; a really good tubeless pump like Topeak’s Booster will set you back another $200.


255411-011X setup: Did we say affordable upgrades? While converting to 1x might not be the cheapest change you’ll make to your bike, it can make your bike feel like you’ve invested in a brand new rig for a fraction of the price. 1X drivetrain setups benefit your bike and riding style by removing unneeded complications, allowing for a better chainline and more accurate shifting, removing excess cables and levers from your cockpit, and being lighter and more compact. It’s very rare to hear stories of people who didn’t appreciate the move to 1x, and it’s even rarer to hear people switching back.

Cost: Varies based on a number of factors, but expect to spend $250 to $500, depending on your current setup and quality preferences.


250009-01Shifter housing and brake hoses: If you want more responsive and crisp feeling braking and shifting performance, upgrading your housing and hoses is a quick and inexpensive solution. Hydraulic brake hose upgrade kits, like those from Jagwire, allow less flex than standard OEM hose, resulting in more stopping power and a crisper brake feel. They come in a bunch of cool colours too!

Jagwire does some of the industry’s best shift housing as well. Higher quality housing allows for less compression in the shift line, which translates into a crisper shift with a lighter shifter action. Look for Jagwire housing in a plethora of colours to accent your ride. Road.cc recently dubbed Jagwire’s Elite Shift Kit ‘the holy grail of gear cables’ in an article you can find here.

Cost: Jagwire shift housing (LTP part number 250569-01/10) will cost $49.99 for a kit, and the Jagwire brake hose kit (250009-01/12) retails for $59.99.


We hope that this guide has been helpful towards your 2017 bike choices. With a few simple upgrades to freshen up your current ride, you can enjoy the trail riding season with a bike that inspires confidence and helps you ride your best. Make sure to stop by your local Live to Play Sports dealer for more advice, trail information, or to hear their input on these upgrades!


Derek Kidd BioFooter