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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    TOP TEN LIST - most important to upgrade

    say you got a decent run of the mill mtb, ride all mountain / XC...
    what are the ten most important bike elements to upgrade, in order of importance?

    1) wheelset
    2) crank
    3) pedals
    4) fork
    5) rear suspension (if applicable)
    6) adjustable seatpost
    7) brakes
    8) comfy saddle
    9) carbon bottle holder
    10) get new carbon frame

    11) win lottery

    hmm, forgot rear derailleur ect... going 11-36 and what not...

  2. #2
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    My first and foremost upgrade is a freakin huge horn on the front! Blast your fellow riders as you leave 'em in your dust! Second, grip streamers! When you fly past your rivals, they cry knowing they got dusted by the streamer guy! Third, and final upgrade....supersonic noise maker on the bars so when you run into Sasquatch (ride long enough and you will) you can scare him into the bush and he won't steal your granola bar.

  3. #3
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex(K)
    say you got a decent run of the mill mtb, ride all mountain / XC...
    what are the ten most important bike elements to upgrade, in order of importance?

    1) wheelset
    2) crank
    3) pedals
    4) fork
    5) rear suspension (if applicable)
    6) adjustable seatpost
    7) brakes
    8) comfy saddle
    9) carbon bottle holder
    10) get new carbon frame

    11) win lottery

    hmm, forgot rear derailleur ect... going 11-36 and what not...
    #1: Rider skills
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    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    #1: Rider skills
    #2 loose 15 lbs.

  5. #5
    Five is right out
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    The engine.

  6. #6
    AKA Dr.Nob
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    This is why I spend the coin on getting the bike the way I want from the start. Don't need to "upgrade" anything.
    Not that all teenagers are evil mind, just most of them.

  7. #7
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    10 would be a down grade if you already have a titanium steed.

  8. #8
    Blue Pig
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbymark
    This is why I spend the coin on getting the bike the way I want from the start. Don't need to "upgrade" anything.
    No fun in that!
    Ragley Blue Pig

  9. #9
    Misses elastomer shocks
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    6) adjustable seatpost
    i tend to think that adjustable seatposts are completely unnecessary weight. are you going to tell me that you can't scoot your butt behind the saddle?

    1. tires
    2. clipless pedals

    the rest depends on the bike and is usually unnecessary.

    you can't beat the weight savings and performance change of an upgraded set of tires for the money. even if you paid double what the tires are worth, you will never feel the performance difference in a bike more than swapping tires vs dollars spent.

    pedals are a personal preference, but i think clipless offers a huge increase in bike control. 'nuff said

    that being said, i love upgrading and wrenching. i have so many upgrades on my bike that made absolutely zero performance enhancements its not even funny. let's all face it, can you really feel the performance difference between an XT and XTR front derailleur?
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  10. #10
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex(K)
    #2 loose 15 lbs.
    That is on my upgrade list.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  11. #11
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    Importance really depends on what is on your bike now. There really is no such thing as "run of the mill."

  12. #12
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    Upgrades are expensive so I try to buy the bike the way I want it right from the start. The rest is up to me ie improve my skills. Nothing like blinged out bike being ridden by a slow poke!!

  13. #13
    Ride Instigator
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    I'm with Shiggy and Alex...upgrading your physical condition is what makes the most noticable difference.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twenty Times
    Importance really depends on what is on your bike now. There really is no such thing as "run of the mill."
    good point. i guess the question is more generally about what you feel is most important to spend money on. crank guy vs. seatpost guy vs. brooks saddle guy

  15. #15
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    Wheels and tires, contact points (saddle, pedals, bars), possibly fork. Of course, this all depends on what's on your bike now. If you've got a low end wheelset with poor tires this might be a decent upgrade. One good thing about wheels and tires is you can usually move them from one bike to another. If your wheels are already mid level or above, not much to be gained. You might get some improvement from tires that are better suited to your terrain and riding style but that's assuming your current tires aren't doing the job.

    Contact points should only be upgraded if there's something wrong with how they fit you now. If your saddle is killing you then get one that fits better. If your position on the bike isn't working then a new set of bars (and stem if necessary) might make a difference. Definitely clipless pedals, but if you've already got a pair there isn't a lot to be gained from getting a different pair, they all work pretty good.

    Finally, fork. Again, if your's is a low end fork then you would notice a difference in just about all phases of riding if it was replaced by a better fork. However, forks are costly.

    Assuming the rest of your stuff is Deore class or higher, upgrade when it breaks.

  16. #16
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    1. Ride more.
    2. Ride more.
    3. Ride more.
    4. Ride more.
    5. Ride more.
    6. Ride more
    7. Ride more.
    8. Ride more.
    9. Ride more.
    10. Replace/upgrade parts when/if I break them.
    Signature

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    #1: Rider skills
    *ding*
    :wq

  18. #18
    Is that Bill rated?
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    If you are looking to buy hardgoods and take them home I have always found contact points worth the dough.
    1) Tires, nothing changes the way your bike rides as fast as tires. This is where your bike touches the ground so all cornering, braking and drive actions that you perform go through your tires. Find out what other people who ride your trails have good experiences with and get the best quality beads, casing and compound that you can.
    2) Saddle, if you don't find your saddle comfortable chances are good that there is another saddle on the market that you will.
    3) Grips, thinner grips if you get sore in your thumb/palm joint, softer/thicker grips if you get sore palms. Ergon has grips that do both.
    4) Brake pads, many brakes come stock with resin pads and switching them out for sintered can dramatically alter your stopping power.
    5) Shoes, often overlooked, but worth some money. If you clip in and seldom walk anything, get some carbon soles, the increased stiffness is a real improvement. If you use flats, get some of the newer engineered rubber sole shoes such as FiveTen or Shimano are offering.
    6) Set up. This may or may not involve dollars, but trying some different stems, bar sweeps, bar tilts, seat post set back, brake lever set up, etc can alter your position on the bike allowing for better handling, stronger pedaling and less fatigue. Many people just ride their bikes the way they came, thinking that good enough is good enough. What they don't realize is that for just a little effort and maybe some new parts good enough can become great or even amazing
    7) Wheels. Rotating weight is always nice to lose and a light set of wheels can really liven up your pedalling. I left this later on the list due to the ridiculous prices on most quality wheelsets.
    8) Forks. Upgrading from entry level forks can dramatically alter the damping quality as well as reducing overall weight. This depends on what you define as a run of the mill XC/AM bike though, many bikes come stock with forks that are good and don't need to be replaced.
    9) Chain lube. I know it sounds cheesy, but many people in my area just use whatever and end up with an oily, dirt paste all over their drive components. Switching to something like White Lightning, Purple Extreme or Boeshield T9 can reduce drivetrain wear, improve shifting and prevent unsightly grease marks.
    10) There is no ten, but I would say if you still want to spend money on your bike after the other nine, spoil it. Take your bike on vacation and ride somewhere new.
    Well, it was a good try.

  19. #19
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    I've come to appreciate seat upgrades. Seats are place companies can save bucks on stock bikes so they are often not up to par with the rest of the bike. Upgrading to a higher quality seat can save a surprising amount of weight and make riding much more enjoyable if you find one that fits your arse well. If you're rear isn't sore the day after a long ride you can go riding again the next day and get the additional upgrade of ride more ride more ride more.

  20. #20
    Single Speed Junkie
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    1. Increase usable and controlled power while increasing endurance.
    2. Increase flexability.

  21. #21
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    1. Bigger Lungs
    2. Stronger Legs
    3. Develop larger scabs and bruises on legs and arms
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  22. #22
    Just Ride !
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    Riding a california beach bike with a horn /streamers ,huge white walls that kicks all your ass and waves by by LMAO ........................................J/K

    Overall ride comfort # 1

    # 2 get all those listed narrow it down , do some home work , get the best deal ,go for it and ride on and stay safe ..

    As for the lottery , ehhhhh good luck..

  23. #23
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    I think the number one upgrade is a light weight tubeless wheelset with Stan's Rims so you go tubless with high performance XC tires. This will take off anywhere from 2-3 lbs of weight off the bike and make you feel like you have wings.

  24. #24
    Truly Doneski
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    1 Wheelset and tires.
    2 Contact points.
    3 Not on the bike really, but a good comfortable pair of cycling gloves. Solid gloves with solid grips reduces fatigues for me a lot

  25. #25
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    but a good comfortable pair of cycling gloves. Solid gloves with solid grips reduces fatigues for me a lot
    What kind of gloves to yo prefer GFAthens?

  26. #26
    wuss
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    I agree I've felt the biggest difference when honing my skills and getting more fit (not just the legs and lungs). Next, as mentioned tires can make a big difference. You might be able to loose a lot of weight for a cheap price, or you might add a bit of weight and gain a bunch of traction. I have a lot of high performance gear on my bike, but I feel suspension makes a far bigger difference then the cranks or wheelset (despite them being expensive). Maybe if I was not riding on slippery roots and stones all the time I would feel the stiffness from a better wheelset would make more of a difference.

    This site is mainly about gear, but it's not really that important for 95% of the riders out there. My main bike might cost 5000€, but I've had some of the best rides of my life on a far cheaper loaned hardtail that was even a bit too small for me.

  27. #27
    Truly Doneski
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    I usually use Bontrager Satellite Fusion Gelfoam gloves (Full fingered). I also have some Pearl Izumi gloves that I like as well but aren't cushioned as well as the Bontrager gloves for my hands. Cycling gloves are one of those things - you don't need them until you try them once and then riding without them (For me at least) is a pronounced difference. I even commute to and from school (About 1.0 MI) with them.

  28. #28
    1946:2006:2066
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    Your diet.

    But I don't see it on your list.
    "Be not afraid of going slowly but only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb

  29. #29
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    A nice light so you can ride even when work takes more time away then we would like.
    Hot Brakes!!!

  30. #30
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    Go w/ a Pro DH'er I saw/heard say... "Tires are most important thing to get right. If the tires are wrong nothing works."

    After that for me, are handle bar and stem (correct width/length).

    Then pedals and shoes.

    Next 5?

    Take your pic ^^

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    #1 resolution... Ride it like I stole it!!
    to err is human... to face plant is frickin hilarious!!

  31. #31
    Colorado
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    Normally I'd say wheelset would be at the top of the list. But he's got "Comfy saddle" at #8; If your saddle's not "comfy," it will rise to #1 in a hurry. A $2,500 carbon wheelset means little if your butt feels like it's sitting on razor blades.

  32. #32
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    A new wheelset is the second dumbest upgrade, since it's the second most expensive component on the bike...THE most expensive component if you go carbon.

    Want good wheels, fork and shock? Buy a better ****ing bike, and learn something about money.

    Most important things are fit and contact points, then tires...everything else, aside from a dropper post if it didn't come with one, should have already been on the bike that you carefully chose to fit your overall budget.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    A new wheelset is the second dumbest upgrade, since it's the second most expensive component on the bike...THE most expensive component if you go carbon.

    Want good wheels, fork and shock? Buy a better ****ing bike, and learn something about money.

    Most important things are fit and contact points, then tires...everything else, aside from a dropper post if it didn't come with one, should have already been on the bike that you carefully chose to fit your overall budget.
    On your point, I have been looking at new bikes and the models with carbon wheels. I would like a set of carbon wheels but it is a spendy aftermarket upgrade. But the bikes I am looking at have carnon wheels available at the top end, so it becomes a $3k "upgrade", like buying the bundled option package from the car dealer that has only one thing in it that you value, or like subscribing to cable tv.

    there is a significant value to getting exactly what you want and it can be at the lower price when the alternatives from the dealer are limited. I suppose I cn try and negotiate the carbon wheels to a lower model, but ten I am taking what they have and so on...and most likely they will try and jam me on that upgrade.

  34. #34
    2006 Yeti AS-X
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    Upgrade the pie plate.... The pie plate is the most underrated piece of bicycling technology available today. We laugh and scoff at the white circular wonder that sits between the spokes and the rear gears but you just can't hit maximum strava warp without an upgraded flux capacitor warp pie plate installed...

    They laugh today but with the new Flux Pie Plate you'll be laughing at them at the end of the trail - the only thing they will hear as you pass is "STRAVA!!!!".
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    On your point, I have been looking at new bikes and the models with carbon wheels. I would like a set of carbon wheels but it is a spendy aftermarket upgrade. But the bikes I am looking at have carnon wheels available at the top end, so it becomes a $3k "upgrade", like buying the bundled option package from the car dealer that has only one thing in it that you value, or like subscribing to cable tv.

    there is a significant value to getting exactly what you want and it can be at the lower price when the alternatives from the dealer are limited. I suppose I cn try and negotiate the carbon wheels to a lower model, but ten I am taking what they have and so on...and most likely they will try and jam me on that upgrade.
    To be perfectly clear, I'm not talking about top of the line bikes with an ENVE wheel option, and neither is the OP. The only less cost effective "upgrade" are the cranks.

    The OP is about someone who tries to save money by buying a "decent run of the mill mtb" and then throwing excessive amounts of money in the vain attempt to make it high-end...but they don't save money because it doesn't work like that.

    Buy the bike you want out of the box, upgrades will never be as cheap as when packaged on a new bike.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    To be perfectly clear, I'm not talking about top of the line bikes with an ENVE wheel option, and neither is the OP. The only less cost effective "upgrade" are the cranks.

    The OP is about someone who tries to save money by buying a "decent run of the mill mtb" and then throwing excessive amounts of money in the vain attempt to make it high-end...but they don't save money because it doesn't work like that.

    Buy the bike you want out of the box, upgrades will never be as cheap as when packaged on a new bike.
    Agree with you on that in general. When I bought my Heckler I paid extra for the R build with the Pike because the incremental cost was quite bit less than the aftermarket for the Pike. I could have sold the stock fork on the lower model but they priced that model at just the right point where you have to get a premium price for an OEM fork in order to make it a wash, and then there is the time and hassle involved.

    In my current bike search I was expecting more carbon wheels available on lower priced models stock, that's all. I would jump in on that for sure, but the only thing I see are Enve which creates the crazy premium. For this exception, it seems cheaper to go aftermarket, probably cheaper even with enve but definitely cheaper with a lower cost carbon like Derby or Nox, so long as you don't do King or I9, DT240s, stick with Hope Hubs--a great value.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    Want good wheels, fork and shock? Buy a better ****ing bike, and learn something about money.
    Already priced that option out. Its 7 thousand dollars to get the bare minimum bike that comes with the suspension, wheels and tires I want. I get a whole crapload of other stuff along with that, that I dont need at all.

    ... or I could spend a grand and get the wheels, suspension and tires I want. Its crazy people think spending 7 times more is the cheaper way to go. Its really, really not. Its 7 times more expensive

    I dont enjoy riding when im in pain. No bad seats, grips, or cheap forks.

  38. #38
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    My 5 y/o Tallboy had Stan's Crest wheels. Great wheel set. But when damaged , I replaced them with the Ibis 941's and Maxxis Ikon 2.35.
    Made a huge difference in performance, traction and plushness. I weigh 165 and can run 17psi or low. YMMV


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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  39. #39
    Keep on Rockin...
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    Motor.

    Dropper post.

    Tubeless tires.

    Good wheel set.


    If I had little money and still wanted to ride mtb, I'd run a rigid 29er SS with a dropper post and tubeless tires. (Which I'd done for quite some time in the past).

  40. #40
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    I can honestly say, without shame, that all of my bikes can currently perform better than I can in their given state. With that said, my upgrade list has everything to do with me.

    1) Legs
    2) Lungs
    3) Diet
    '14 Demo 8 II
    '13 Stumpjumper FSR Elite
    '13 Stumpjumper HT Comp
    '13 Roubaix Elite Apex

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Already priced that option out. Its 7 thousand dollars to get the bare minimum bike that comes with the suspension, wheels and tires I want. I get a whole crapload of other stuff along with that, that I dont need at all.
    ts 7 times more expensive
    This is my experience as well. I will hold on to my $7k for now and drop perhaps $1-1.4k on carbon wheels for a bike that is one year old.

    Which leads me to my next question, when are larger companies going to bring more affordable brand carbon wheels down to mid-point bikes? Are companies like Specialized and Trek already doing this through their in-house wheel brands? Bummer, I don't want to buy another Trek or Specialized although they each make great bikes.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    This is my experience as well. I will hold on to my $7k for now and drop perhaps $1-1.4k on carbon wheels for a bike that is one year old.

    Which leads me to my next question, when are larger companies going to bring more affordable brand carbon wheels down to mid-point bikes? Are companies like Specialized and Trek already doing this through their in-house wheel brands? Bummer, I don't want to buy another Trek or Specialized although they each make great bikes.
    I just checked Specialized web site and carbon wheels come stock on the S Works Stumpjumper, just need to pony-up a cool $8600, although i am sure you can negotiate that bike for only $7500. Eff that! I will buy a much more affordable lower model and get aftermarket carbon wheels.

  43. #43
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    trek looks the same, $8+k for the carbon wheels and they are DT Swiss? Ithought Trek used Bontrager? Can't he get them an affordable carbon rim? He is a founder of mountain bike and all.

  44. #44
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwampDonkeyDisco View Post
    My first and foremost upgrade is a freakin huge horn on the front! Blast your fellow riders as you leave 'em in your dust! Second, grip streamers! When you fly past your rivals, they cry knowing they got dusted by the streamer guy! Third, and final upgrade....supersonic noise maker on the bars so when you run into Sasquatch (ride long enough and you will) you can scare him into the bush and he won't steal your granola bar.
    It seems you forgot one very important upgrade. Click on the link in my signature line for more details.
    Front Range, Colorado.

  45. #45
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    I know the rider is very important, but equipment makes a difference. The OP asked about equipment, not the rider or riding technique, so I am going to talk about equipment, and not riding technique.

    Bikes like other wheeled sports are heavily influenced #1 by tire choice (which includes inflation), and closely second by geometry. Everything else is peripheral. Get the tire and geometry correctly matched to the terrain and you'll mostly have a good time. You might accelerate a little slower if you are on a heavy bike, or the shifts may be a little rough if you are running some old school Shimano SIS with thumb shifters, but on the whole the bike will ride well.

    Now a lot of things impact geometry, because geometry is not purely about the numbers and angles on a frame, but how a rider fits on a bike. So things that matter include also the front and rear suspension configuration/setting, seat height, bar location and width, and even crank arm length.

    Different riders have different techniques, just like different race car drivers have different driving styles and there fore run different geometry/tire settings. Given the same height, someone with lean short torso and long slender legs will obviously run different geometry versus someone with long torso and short stout legs.

    Get a good fitting bike, and choose the right tires. Everything else pales in comparison.

  46. #46
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    Tires.

    Just like in motor-sport they make the biggest difference in ride characteristics. Not necessarily lighter as heavier may be better for your trails and/or riding style. Strong side-walled tubeless tires for example let you run low pressure and grip hard with less squirm and flats. It seems even many upper end bikes are spec'd with poor tires.
    2015 Giant Trance 3
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    Ergon Grips

  47. #47
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    What the hell?
    This thread was SIX YEARS DEAD when it was brought back up in February.
    Then it was bumped again today. Do people not notice post-dates?

    A "top ten upgrades" list for a bike? Eff Me. There's barely 10 parts to replace on a bicycle unless you count "preference parts" like grips/saddle/pedals/tires
    Excluding the frame, you have left:
    Wheels,
    Fork,
    Shifters
    Derailleurs
    Crank
    handlebars/stem
    seat post
    ....
    .......
    ..........

    Yep. that's pretty much everything. there aren't even 10 things to list.

    Just build a bike with the parts you want. It's so much less hassle.

  48. #48
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    Nothing has changed enough in 6 years to warrant a new thread like this. There has been a lot of 'reinventing the wheel (size)' by the industry during that time. While tech and manufacturing processes improve, the fundamentals never change.
    2015 Giant Trance 3
    X-Fusion Sweep RL2 160mm fork
    Straitline Defacto pedals
    Renthal Fatbar with TV 40mm stem
    Ergon Grips

  49. #49
    U sayin' Bolt ?
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    First thing is ESI extra chunkies and a dialed cockpit, then pedals/shoes and tires.

    +1 it's all about the contact points.

  50. #50
    mtbr member
    Reputation: banditpowdercoat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    366
    Quote Originally Posted by suprcivic View Post
    i tend to think that adjustable seatposts are completely unnecessary weight. are you going to tell me that you can't scoot your butt behind the saddle

    I can't

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