There’s no doubt a $3,000 wheelset or a $400 pair of carbon-soled shoes makes life a little easier on the bike. But not all bike upgrades require a serious shellacking of your bank account. In fact, these 10 cycling upgrades are all less than $20 and will improve your comfort, increase your visibility and boost the look and feel of your bike.
KNOG OI BIKE BELL
Whether you’re on a bike path or out on the road, a bike bell can come in handy when you need to alert others of your intentions. While other bike bells can be clunky and heavy, the low-profile Knog Oi won’t look out of place on a road bike and is light enough to keep from weighing you down.
PRO RACE CONTROL BAR TAPE
Replacing your bar tape can be a great way to make an old, dirty bike feel like new again. This affordable option from PRO is made from thick microfiber that’s durable, grippy, easy to clean, and helps dampen road vibrations over rough surfaces.
Getting stranded without the right tools to change a flat is definitely not cool. Luckily, this road tube spool from Specialized includes everything you need to repair a flat in a light, compact design that easily fits in a saddlebag or jersey pocket. Included in the kit are tire levers, a CO2 cartridge and head and a spare tube.
This option from Lizard Skills does the trick to protect your frame from nicks and scratches caused by chain slap. This clear option is ideal if you’d rather not muck up the look of your bike with a neoprene version, and the adhesive makes it stay in place just as well. It’s also available in leather for added durability.
For minimalists who prefer not to have a huge saddlebag hanging off the back of your seat, the Road Caddy from Lezyne is a sleek, compact design that allows you to carry all of the essentials as aerodynamically as possible. The extra-wide clamshell design also makes it easy to remove your tools when you need to and the reflective accents are a nice touch to improve visibility when riding at night.
MUC-OFF BIKE PROTECT
If you want to make your bike last longer and keep it looking new, this product from Muc-Off is one of the best investments you can make. The high-oil content inhibits corrosion and can be used to protect your frame, drivetrain and other metal parts without leaving any sticky residue behind. It will also keep dirt from clinging to your ride between washes and can help reduce friction and wear on your bike parts.
It’s always good to have a backup. In those instances when you’ve accidentally wasted your CO2 cartridge or happen to be unlucky enough to receive a second flat, this mini pump from Topeak gets you back on the road. The T-handle design makes it reasonably easy to get your tire back up to around 90 psi, and the included mounting bracket makes it easy to attach to your frame.
Keeping your pants away from your greasy chain is a must for commuters. While the BRT will definitely do the job, the reflective material also provides additional visibility when you’re forced to ride at night. It will also attach easily to your arm or backpack and can be used easily as a dog collar if you decide to head out for an evening run.
READ MORE > 7 UPGRADES TO TAKE YOUR BIKE TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Depending on the size of your water bottle, some cage designs can be a challenge to get your bottle in and out of — especially when used with a small or compact frame design. The Flow SL from Lezyne has an open design that solves this problem while keeping your fluids secure on the road or trail. At just 48 grams, it’s light weight makes it an extremely good value for anyone interested in keeping weight low for racing.
KNOG POP R REAR BIKE LIGHT
Sure, there are plenty of bright bicycle lights on the market — but why spend $200+ when this one will do the trick? The Knog Pop rear tail light is well-built and surprisingly bright, increasing visibility on the high mode to 3/4 of a mile. It’s also water resistant and can be mounted vertically or horizontally, which makes it easy to use with saddle bags or low-mounted seats.