5 Mountain Bike Upgrades to Improve Comfort and Convenience

Tips on how to improve your time on the trails from the gear experts at evo

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These tips from the gear experts at evo will improve your time on the trails. Photo by Cameron Munn

These tips from the gear experts at evo will improve your time on the trails. Photo by Cameron Munn

Editor’s note: This post is brought to you by the gear experts at evo

Some mountain bikers love to trick out every component and piece gear, others just want to ride until something wears out and needs to be replaced. Whichever camp you’re in, there are a few simple upgrades you can make to your mountain bike and riding gear that can make your life a whole lot easier. With these items, we’re not going to have you start from scratch either, so don’t worry about staring at the pieces of your rear shock wondering if you rebuilt the damper right—these are easy wins. From simple comfort and ease to grip on your bike and on the trail, these five items will help you focus on simply riding and having fun.

Hitch Bike Rack

A hitch rack is the best way to transport your bikes from the house to the trail and back again. Photo courtesy Thule

A hitch rack is the best way to transport your bikes from the house to the trail and back again. Photo courtesy Thule

Are you still lugging your bike around in the back of your car? Sick of getting mud all over the seats? A mountain bike can quickly get your car dirtier than a dog let off-leash in a mud pit, so the first item on our list is a hitch bike rack. Even if you already have a trunk rack, or a roof rack, upgrading to a hitch is a huge win. We love the feeling of the wind ripping by us as we ride, but your bike doesn’t need to have that feeling on the roof of your car. Hitch racks move your bike into a better position for loading and unloading, save them from bug splatter, and give you back some fuel economy. We think the ease and convenience of hitch racks are totally worth getting a trailer hitch installed on your car, too, making them some of the best bike racks you can buy.

Mountain Bike Shoes

A good pair of mountain bike shoes is your primary connection to the bike. Photo by Cameron Munn

A good pair of mountain bike shoes is your primary connection to the bike. Photo by Cameron Munn

Next up on the list of “I wish I had bought these sooner” items, is a proper pair of mountain biking shoes. While clipless riders have to use specific shoes to work with their pedals, many flat pedal riders choose to procrastinate this purchase, opting for “good enough” options like riding in skate shoes or trainers. However, the difference in a true pair of mtb shoes, like some nice pair of Five Tens, is huge. They’ll give you much better grip, last longer, and will provide better protection from anything you might encounter on the trail.

New Tires

Tires that matched to your local terrain will greatly improve your ride experience. A good pair of mountain bike shoes is your primary connection to the bike. Photo by Cameron Munn

Tires that matched to your local terrain will greatly improve your ride experience. A good pair of mountain bike shoes is your primary connection to the bike. Photo by Cameron Munn

Mountain bike tires are usually made to match to a specific type of conditions and a specific type of riding, and it’s impossible for manufactures to spec right bike tire for every rider’s local trails. This is why it can be a big win to upgrade to the perfect tire for where you ride. Maybe this means stepping up to a knobby trail for grip on steep loamy trails, or mellowing things out with a faster-rolling semi-slick tire. Alternatively, maybe you question whether you should have worn your spandex every time you look down at your tires because it’s bald and smooth like a road bike tires, in this case, a new pair of knobbies will make your bike feel like new again.

A Better Fitting Saddle

Finding the right saddle will make your ride much more comfortable.

Finding the right saddle will make your ride much more comfortable.

As every tire is not perfectly suited to every trail, not every saddle is suited to every rider. Finding the perfect saddle for you can be like unlocking your mountain biking Excalibur—giving you the power to ride farther, and more comfortably than ever before. Trying out a couple of different widths and shapes of saddles can bring your comfort to a new level, so that next time you’re anything but comfortable as you grind up a lung-busting climb at least you won’t be thinking about the pain in your backside. This is a great upgrade for any mountain bike, new or old.

New Wheels

Lighter wheels are a surefire way to improve how your bike accelerates and handles. Photo by Cameron Munn

Lighter wheels are a surefire way to improve how your bike accelerates and handles. Photo by Cameron Munn

One final upgrade that can take your bike up a notch is a new set of bike wheels. By far the most expensive item on our list, wheels can have a huge effect on the way your bike rides and on how much weight your pushing with every pedal stroke. For most riders, this upgrade is all about materials, going from alloy rims to carbon. Carbon mountain bike wheels have come a long way in recent years. They have always been light, but now they also deliver great durability and nice riding characteristics that are stiff in all of the right ways. Put some carbon hoops on your bike and you might just be flying up climbs that you used to walk, shedding rotational weight is the best way to make your bike pedal easier.


We are evo –  a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, skate, camp, and lifestyle retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with stores located in Seattle, PortlandDenverWhistler, and Salt Lake City (coming soon). We also offer trips to remote locations across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, and legendary mountain biking through our evoTrip Adventure Travel Trips.

evo explores the collaboration between culture and sport by seamlessly joining art, music, streetwear, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking , and wakeboarding. Our aim is to bring all things relevant to the urban, action sports lifestyle into one creative space. Whether it is on the website, on the phone or in our stores, our aim is to make all who come into contact with evo feel welcome and excited about their experience.



About the author: Mtbr

Mtbr.com is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.



Comments:

  • STEEZY B says:

    I bought a new bike, and got obsessed with dialing it in. It was so uncomfortable to ride. Ordered an Ergon SM Sport saddle. Now I don’t even care it’s not dialed in yet. It was a game changer!

  • Chris J says:

    Pretty good article but here are my two cents. I have been cycling for a long.time and the most important things that should not be forgotten is comfort. You can buy all the new mechanical components you want want but if your hours in the saddle are hurting your body then something is wrong.
    1. Adjust saddle, bars, stem. Geometry first.
    2. Buy nice saddle and grips. Comfort is key.
    3. Helmet, shoes, shorts. You just spent a lot of money on a new bike, you must be comfortable on a three hour ride. Or you have been riding the same gear since 1998.
    4. Tires!!! They are the contact to the dirt. I agree to buy tires that match your terrain and riding style.

    I always say head, hands, butt, feet. Don’t skimp on the items that touch your body.

  • ML says:

    I think the biggest mistake new riders make is assuming their saddle does not suit them before they get enough hours on the bike. Of course when you start out your butt will hurt. Your hands will get sore too, just like your back. I suggest you get a few rides in and develop a little fitness before you start changing things. Save your money until you know your discomfort is from bike and not from being unfit. MTB is a difficult sport. Once you develop some fitness you will be able to tell what fits and what does not.

  • Joey says:

    Biggest mistake is to look around and buy what everyone else is buying. Work on the following
    1 comfort
    2 fitness
    3 skills

    4 fitness/skills – you will realize that you don’t need all those gadgets.

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