5 More Great Road Bike Upgrades Under $50

(metal music) – Now you the viewers,
absolutely loved that video where I talked about the
upgrades you could make for under $50, 45 euros or 40 pounds. And I asked you to suggest
down in the comment section, what you would upgrade. So, today let’s run
through some of your ideas for under those amounts. (techno music) Firstly then, new cables. Fitting some new cables to your bikes, makes a big improvement almost instantly. Of course, if you’re
using hydraulic brakes you don’t need to worry about these. As well as if you’re using
electronic gears too. You don’t need to worry about these. But, loads of people out there still use traditional Bowden style cables that have been used for many, many years. And quite often, actually
when people get some poor performance, maybe
with their gears not quite indexing correctly, or the
brakes being a little bit grunchy and stiff. They just blame them on being old, or even worse, being dirty. Only to find, they go and wash their bike and while yet the gears and brakes still aren’t quite perfect. Go ahead actually. Why not feel your rear brake, ’cause that’s normally that’s the one which is suffering the most. Just try and pull the lever
very smoothly and gently. A very small amounts, and
just feel it sticking. That’s the inner cable, basically sticking inside the outer cable. And it’s not giving you smooth operation. It’s one of those things,
which when you change you instantly notice the difference. And I always recommend it. And, so would you, evidently. (techno music) Providing you’ve been keeping
on top of your maintenance, you won’t require a new cassette just yet. But something which is
almost a consumable, is your chain because they
do actually wear out quicker than your cassette, and
also your chain rings too. So, by putting a new one
on there periodically, you are actually going to
slow down the rate at which your cassette is wearing away. And while your gears, they need to work in perfect harmony too. A valuable little upgrade, and if you shop around, you may even, be able to get a gold one. (techno music) A service at your local shop, could well cost you more than
$50, 45 euros, or 40 pounds. But an inspection should well
fall into this price range. Now this is particularly relevant I think, for people who aren’t necessary the most competent home mechanics. Or maybe don’t actually
know what to look for. But, the good news is to the trained eye, us mechanics, we know exactly what to look out for. So possibly, you’ve got some
brake pads that are worn down. And while, we’re going
to advise to replace them before they’ve totally worn down, and they’ve wrecked your wheel too. Which is going to cost you even
more money in the long run. (techno music) Love them or hate them. Mudguards, in my opinion,
are an absolute essential when it comes to winter riding. And evidently, loads of
you thought the same too. Not only are they going
to keep you nice and dry, they’re also going to protect your bike from all that harsh salt
that comes off of the roads during the winter months. And, well they’re going
to keep your clothes looking better too. Now they do come in a huge variety, from the simple basic clip-on ones, to fully attached, almost
permanent-like features. What you can go for, really does depend on what your bike is designed to take. But if you can go for
full mudguards, go for it. Believe me, because my
backside and my feet have never been so dry, ever. (techno music) Okay, so you’ve replaced
your chain because you’ve listened to all of our
advice over the years. But, when you replaced it, did you try and turn your pulley wheels on your rear derailleur? Oh, by the way, pulley wheels are sometimes known as jockey wheels. It all depends where you come from. And quite often, what day
of the week it is too. I like to mix and match it. So the pulley wheels obviously, found here on your rear mech. They are in the firing line
when it comes to road debris. Everything tends to be
attracted onto them. And quite often, you find
bits of hair in there. I don’t know where on Earth it
ever comes from, but it does. When I worked in bike
shops many, many years ago, I’ve lost count of the number
of times bikes have come in with totally worn, ground down teeth or even shark-like profile
teeth on there too. And with bearings or bushes
that are totally shot and they’re just not
doing the job intended. Providing, well increased
resistance and also really sloppy gear changes. So, something like this is
really worth considering as an upgrade on your bike. If you can take the chain off
and try and turn them ’round, if there nice and free
spinning, absolutely brilliant. And not too much play. A little bit of play
is okay because it does take up any differences and tolerances, when you’re indexing your gears. But, if they’re really
stiff, just replace it. Put some new ones in there. If anything, try and go for something with a sealed bearing in
there, rather than a bushing. Because, I think they’re
slightly more free spinning, meaning that you’re going
to be able to unleash just a couple more watts. (air swoosh) There we go, five
absolutely cracking upgrades suggested by you, the viewer. Let me know what type
of maintenance videos you’d like to see too, down there in the comments section below. I love reading exactly
what you’d like to see on the channel. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel. And also, click the
little notification icons so you get alerted each time we put an absolutely great video up. And don’t forget also to
check out the GCN shop, at shop.globalcyclingnetwork.com. For two more maintenance videos, how about clicking just down here. And the other one? I’ll leave it up to the editor. Put it here. See you next time.

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77 thoughts on “5 More Great Road Bike Upgrades Under $50

  1. Hi Jon, I was wondering for pulley wheels. Do I need to lube them after cleaning my bike? I usually remove all the grime from the teeth and dry them. I don't know if I have cartridges bearing or not. Its the original pulley wheels that came on my R8000 derailleur. Thank you and have a great day. #ASKGCNTECH

  2. I'm really starting to enjoy stuff presented by you, Jon – you've truly matured. Keep up the great work and looking forward to seeing more content from you:)

  3. These parts are supposed to be changed as they waste with use. Upgrades aren't supposed to be modifications to improve some aspect?

  4. Need your help John! I have rotor aldhu cranks that ping and slip when I put pressure on them. I can pedal then stand and put my weight on the back pedal, when i do it crunches and pings and I feel the crank slip down a tad. Then I can pedal forward and repeat it. I have narrowed it down to the bolt that attaches the drive side arm to the axle. I can't find any information on this bolt or how its meant to be setup but for some reason there is a lot of play in it. I have tried grase, tight, loose, an extra washer… I hate the crunchy feeling and really hate the noise. Soon I will bin these cranks but would love to find a solution! How is the crank arm meant to be installed?… I must have something wrong but I can't figure out what.

  5. Mudguards don't really work imho. At least I would be equally wet with or without them. At least those saddle guards.

  6. About the hair you find in your jockey pulleys, I get the same thing myself. I take mine out periodically and clean/lube them. If you ride past pastures or farms with animals, that's most likely the culprit, shedding livestock. I ride past fields with alot of horses and cows and find their hair in my drivetrain regularly

  7. How about a video on wheel building? I tried it once and ended EP with oval wheels! I'd love to know how it should be done.

  8. When I changed out the cables and jockey wheels on my bike I upgraded to Dura-Ace. Wow! What an improvement, the shifting is now smooth as butter 😀

  9. Despite shop maintenance early Summer, by mid-Fall, rear gear indexing can present up to three seconds' delay. I presume the mechanism is dirty, but can there be other causes?

  10. Brake pads. A decent set makes a big difference and costs 15-20. The pads sold with most bikes are often substandard

  11. Hey Jon, another great one here. Have to say you’re one of the best cycling brains / presenters on YouTube: Good content I can really use delivered in a great way. Even though you’ve forgotten more things about bikes than I will ever know, I never get the feeling you’re talking down to those of us that are working our way up the learning curve. On behalf of one humble viewer, THANK YOU for helping me understand more about the machinery that is central to the sport I love.

    DJB – North Texas.

  12. Love to see a comparison between older top spec group sets and modern mid range ones, for example dura ace 7800/7900 vs. modern day 105

  13. Replacing worn out parts with new parts is not an upgrade unless what you replace them with is a better product.
    I'm dissapointed that you chose these things to list.
    I get it, it's an upgrade over the worn out parts, but come on.
    And just to contribute something other than just negativity:
    for 40 pounds you could probably replace your cable housings for better ones, or get a better rear deraileur, or better brake pads, or cool bartape, or whatever.

  14. Squirt Wax Lube instead a standard chain oil, the most best upgrade I made in recent years. No more dirt, sand, dust…

  15. I bought a used road bike and changing the cables was one of the best things I could’ve done. It shifts so good now

  16. A saddle cover, but this is more of a question as well, any good one to recommend, one that is actually water proof? Maybe able to wipe off my handle bars if that is possible?

  17. Well, this is basic maintenance, not upgrades.
    But, at last but not least I really recommand to prepare the bike for winter by inspecting hubs, bb and headset and grease them, because they gonne take a looooot of shit on wet conditions. And it's always cool to have them smooth and buttery :).

  18. Day 634 of following GCN: I have spent a total of £1850 on £50 upgrades 😅 with marginal gains totalling 275 watts, now I have started to pedal backwards 😂

  19. #AskGCNTech Hello to all at GCN, great show as always! The thing I saw a lot of debate on forums about is replacing the chain before doing the same with the cassette. Many people have had skipping issues and claim that a new cassette is almost a must. Does the new chain/old cassette combo need breaking in?

  20. I think bar end plugs can be another upgrade. Some are pretty crummy rubber that fall apart over time and risk turning the end into a hole punch in a crash. As a hack, or for a very vintage-theme'd bike, you can use a cork stopper from a bottle. The mushroom shaped ones look best. And it's an excuse to buy something nice to drink because it comes with a "free bike upgrade"!
    Another would be a set of good allen keys, a bondhus set is about $25 and the park tool 3-way is about $12. They can make routine maintenance and adjustments much much easier, which makes you more likely to do them.
    Some bumper material for leaning your bike against a wall is also a good upgrade – keeps the paint nice.
    A GOOD bell, required by law in many places but the bad ones plain suck and are unreliable. IncrediBell makes some a good options, and I'm fairly certain most if not all are made in Japan.
    A phone mount for your music or GPS, or a bluetooth speaker for just the first. Because when you're about to go up a hill and something like Push it To The Limit or Don't Stop Me Now comes on, it can really help. No headphones blocking your hearing, and you ride by people too fast for your music to be a bother – it's not a car stereo.
    And finally, something like RejeX or another paint protectant can make cleaning easier.

    PS: I may be a heretic, because I don't like the gold chains haha! I prefer black. Unfortunately that seems hard to find unless I leave my chain dirty…

  21. My front deraillieur cable broke a few days ago and the bike has only done 4000 km, so changing them in advance is not the cost, inner cable was 1,90 euro

  22. When it comes to consumable stuff, cleats is definitely one of the quickest worn parts. I know cleats can't technically be counted as part of the bike, but a set of worn out cleats would just make the ride so much more risky and unsafe. After all you can get 5 pairs of them for £50 lol

  23. I have big one: how to fix my front derailleur? I changed the cable with the Shimano Optislick and still, I can only use the small and the middle chain ring or the middle and the big chain ring. I tried a lot of tutorials and nothing. I have also inline adjusters. Shimano Tourney set. How to fix this? Thank you.

  24. I have a beautiful, vintage Suntour Cyclone GT rear derailleur. I'd love to keep it in service, but the jockey wheels need replacement and as far as I can tell they are really hard to remove and replace. Any suggestions?

  25. I'm going to shill/spam Oz Cycle, no affiliation. Make your own (hot) paraffin chain lube. New recipe coming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=953QTThT4_M&t=0s

  26. Take your group set, stick it up your peloton and have a Campagnolo of a day. Personaly I find bearings make a huge difference and a true running chain ring. I have found so many on a fixie that are not causing chain tension to change .

  27. One of the best upgrades I’ve ever done was to subscribe to GCN 👍🏻 just added a new pannier rack and front mudguard for more winter rides to work

  28. Hi John, Love the show down here in NZ. What about a tech clinic on getting shoe cleats into the optimum position, how you rate the various systems on the market and the best budget/medium and pro shoes.
    Giles Blay

  29. How about doing a video on £500 upgrades? Should I ask for those Ceramic Speed over size jockey wheels, or bottom bracket for Christmas?

  30. 2:45 mudguards protect rider, maybe the frame, but water and mud will fully be on your cassette, chain and brakes…(much quicker than without guards) It's true especially for full size guards… So, this doesnt help your bike at all, does it? PS sorry for my English, with love from Russia)))

  31. Hi Jon, another question for you regarding my GCN inspired mtb to gravel bike conversion. I have settled with a tiagra 9 speed drive chain. The gears shift good, but should I ever pedal backwards, the chain 'derails' across the cassette. Any ideas what's going on here? Best Regards Andy #AskGCNTech

  32. #askgcntech I'm building a new s works tarmac frame (11s mechanical, rim brake) and would like to know if I can use a Dura-Ace crankset, with everything else being SRAM red (both derailleurs, cassette, shifters and chain)? Thanks.

  33. Daytime LED front light. There are several models now that can run for over 30 hours and make you more visible to cars while riding during the day. Very useful for sunny days when drivers may not see you as well due to blind sunlight. Many lights can be USB recharged.

  34. I had that light mud guard thing and I would be cautious about its use on British bumpy roads. I got it snagged on why rear wheel when I hit a pothole and received a hefty puncture.

  35. A local shop inspection lmao worst £40 ever spent. If you don't know how to 'inspect' your own bike you shouldn't be riding it.

  36. A bike that can handle installing full size mudguards is the way to go…..the clip on junk has a nasty habit of "unclipping" off in the worst moments….

  37. I have just enrolled. Great site. My bike is a "E" bike and I am blessed with some wonderful cfoastal bike trails and a great local bike shop. Cheers!

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