10 Upgrades That Will Make Your Bike Look Pro

10 UPGRADES

TO MAKE YOUR BIKE LOOK MORE PRO

For those of us who are obsessed with mountain bikes, riding them simply isn’t enough to fuel our passion. Many of us get overly excited thinking about every little part and accessory available for our rides. We want our bikes to look as cool and as fast as the bikes our favorite pros ride. So, how do you make your bike look fast while it’s just sitting in the garage? We’re here to help with 10 upgrades that will make your bike look more pro.

Take your bike to the next level with matching graphics. Your fork and wheels are a great place to start.

 

1. REPLACE WORN-OUT PARTS

It is rare to see a top pro with worn-out parts on their bike, mostly because pros are always trying to gain a competitive edge over their opponents. Replacing worn-out parts, such as tires, grips, pedals and other components, will keep your bike looking fresh and ready to rip. Replacing small things such as the end caps on your grips or your slightly torn saddle will quickly refresh your bike and make it look new again. Best of all, grips are inexpensive and can drastically change the look of your bike. If your goal is to focus purely on performance, keep a fresh set of tires ready to go.

The pros wouldn’t be caught dead with boring bolts. Look close and you’ll see attention in the details.

2. CHANGE UP THE GRAPHICS

Graphics kits for mountain bikes not only change up the look of your bike, they also help protect the paint. Having a protective layer over your frame will greatly enhance resale value down the road and will prevent chips and scratches during regular off-road use.

Another option is to replace the fork graphics with something more fun. Most popular forks on the market have graphics kits available through online retailers, such as Jenson.com, or at your local bike shop. Mixing and matching your fork graphics with other upgraded components is a surefire way to make your bike look super pro.

Let alone looking cool, tubeless valves contribute to added tire performance.

 

3. SWAP OUT YOUR STEM CAP AND SPACERS

Ditch the boring top cap and spacers on your bike for ones that are a little more exciting. There are numerous options out there—from custom-made caps from Kustom Caps to complete kits, such as the one from Deity Components. Some colorful spacers or a custom-made top cap with your name or race team on it will quickly give your bike a little more flair. Bonus points are awarded if you can mix and match stem spacers to complement your ride.

4. REPLACE BORING BOLTS

A subtle way to make your bike look better and reduce a little weight is to replace the bolts with a titanium bolt kit. One company that specializes in aftermarket bolt kits is BetterBolts.com. Everything from linkage bolts to stem bolts and rotor bolts can be swapped out to give your bike a highly professional look. These bolt kits come in different colors to match your ride and slightly reduce weight compared to the standard bolts on your bike.

An easy-to-overlook detail is your rotor bolts. Spice them up with a splash of color.

 

5. LOOK SPONSORED WITH NAME STICKERS

One quick, easy and inexpensive way to look pro is to have your name on your bike. These frame stickers can be purchased fairly cheap. This very small upgrade can make all the difference when you go to hop on your bike for a ride. Another way to look pro is tossing some stickers on your bike to reveal your favorite brands and companies. Just think how fast you’d ride with a Mountain Bike Action sticker slapped on your frame. 

It might not make you ride any faster, but having your name on your bike will make you feel like a pro.

 

6. ADD ANODIZED COMPONENTS

Anodized parts look amazing and bring so much color to your bike, but you have to be careful not to get carried away. A bike with too many anodized parts quickly becomes an eyesore without some artistic discretion. A great tip for buying anodized parts is to use different colors, since the process of anodizing doesn’t always produce the exact same color consistently. Using only a few anodized parts in complementary colors will give your bike a very trick look. Think of colors that work well together, such as blue and orange, black and gold, and so on. 

7. NEW TUBELESS VALVES AND CAPS

If you’re planning to make your wheelset tubeless, or you have a pair of old valves that are clogged with sealant, a new pair of tubeless valves will help. Tubeless valves are sold in a variety of colors and can even be purchased in titanium for weight-weenies. Top off your new valves with a trick set of caps that match other parts on your bike.

A less-exciting yet highly important upgrade for your bike is a new chain. You’ll never catch a pro with a dirty, old chain.

 

8. COLOR-MATCHED ZIP-TIES

Nearly every bike needs zip-ties to hold cables in place. For just a few bucks, you can go to the electrical section of your local hardware store and pick up some zip-ties that match the color scheme of your bike. Bonus points are awarded if you clip the zip-ties with a pair of flush cuts or fingernail clippers to avoid sharp edges. Double bonus points are awarded if you face all the zip-tie heads the same direction.

9. REPLACE YOUR CHAIN

A fresh chain will keep your bike running smoothly, just like the pros’ bikes. Furthermore, there are more colored chain options on the market now than ever. SRAM’s 12-speed systems offer matching cassettes and chains for the ultimate professional look. A classic chain, however, will do the trick of keeping your bike rolling smoothly and may prolong the life of your drivetrain.

The cockpit of your bike has many options for customization such as your stem, stem cap or headset spacers.

10. UPGRADE YOUR RIDING GEAR

The final suggestion on our list is to upgrade your riding gear. From head to toe, the pros wear the latest gear, which makes them look fast, even off the bike. Sure, you may not need to replace your gear every season, but a new set of gear is bound to make you look and feel a whole lot faster out on your local trails.

Hint: You could try shopping for the coolest gear sets from last season to keep your look fresh without breaking the bank. 


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Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.

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