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  1. #1
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    Bike upgrades and what ride improvements they make

    I’m a rookie, but really liking being on my bike more and more. had not ridden a MTB in close to 12 years when I bought my current one (2018 Trek fuel 9.7). Bike isn’t doing anything necessarily wrong, but some things could be better.

    My question is what upgrades to do, and what the performance gains will be. My current idea is to upgrade wheels and drivetrain, but what else should I be looking for/at?

    What would you upgrade first and why?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Saddle can be one as its the one that contacts your body most of the time. Also consider your handlebar length get sized exactly to your body.

  3. #3
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    This thread can go all over the place, but here are 4 groups of upgrades:

    Fit:
    Saddle that fits better, shorter/long stem, bar width - anything that may help you stay on the trails longer, and feel more comfortable. These can be fiddly, and I've never stopped trying to optimize things here. Very noticeable if you get it right (or wrong), especially on longer rides.

    Rubber:
    Maybe not as much an upgrade, but choosing the right tread for the job. You may find your OEM tires don't work for your typical trail conditions, or maybe they're overkill and sluggish for your lighter trails. You'll notice the right change in tire quickly. Moving to tubeless will allow you to run lower pressures, can can eliminate certain flats (or at least delay them).

    Drivetrain:
    Switching to a cassette with more range may really help you out. Moving to a 1X setup may be simpler, drops a shifter, but probably not a game changer (if anything you are losing range). A rear derailleur with a clutch may help keep the chain on.

    Weight:
    Probably overblown for most, but shedding rotational weight (on a wheelset) should be noticeable, if coming from something heavier. Related to above, 1X gearing drops weight easily, but is usually a range trade-off. Moving to lighter components obviously reduces weight, but not likely as impactful as you'd want, and typically expensive.

  4. #4
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    If you like riding the bike as it is I would just ride it as it is and maybe upgrade parts as they wear out or begin to be a problem. Throwing money at the bike without a clear reason is unlikely to be very satisfying.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, give it some time that way you will know exactly what you need/want to upgrade.

    Its taking me some time to get my bikes right where I want them, but for my needs, I think I've reached that point....just ride, have fun and you will figure it out.


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  6. #6
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    Dropper post. That is all.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bills View Post
    I’m a rookie, but really liking being on my bike more and more. had not ridden a MTB in close to 12 years when I bought my current one (2018 Trek fuel 9.7). Bike isn’t doing anything necessarily wrong, but some things could be better.

    My question is what upgrades to do, and what the performance gains will be. My current idea is to upgrade wheels and drivetrain, but what else should I be looking for/at?

    What would you upgrade first and why?

    Thanks!

    Wait a second. Or an hour. You are a rookie and you bought a $3700 bike and you are already looking to upgrade it? So are you like a natural-born MTB prodigy?

    Sorry on this one I have zero ideas. I've read about carbon rims but I've also read that they wear out faster too.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Yeah, give it some time that way you will know exactly what you need/want to upgrade.

    Its taking me some time to get my bikes right where I want them, but for my needs, I think I've reached that point....just ride, have fun and you will figure it out.


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    JCD, the bike's MSRP is $3700. It really should not have many problems lol.
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  9. #9
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    Anything you upgrade on that bike would be a waste of money since youd have to go top of the line for a few hundred grams of weight savings.

    But Im assuming it has the new Bontrager Line hubs so if I were to do anything I would upgrade the Bontrager freehub to the fast engagement XD version and try to find a used but good condition X1 or X01 cassette to go with it, it will have wider range and be a lot lighter than an NX cassette. Wider range and double the engagement for under $200 is a pretty great upgrade.

  10. #10
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Okay Bills, you just wanna buy stuff because Its fun, Its like buying things for your car or girl friend.

    Lets assume your riding with the fast groups, the 'A' groups and you want more performance.
    And lets assume your really really riding and not some fat azz pizza pigging couch potato console jockey looking for some attention because your mama was a stripper. :P Sorry I just couldn't resist, I like strippers :~D

    That bike would benefit as most bikes would with some really good wheels, But that's a 9.7 Fuel so It has some pretty good wheels, SO,,,,

    It seems you should have spent at least $8,000 or better yet $10,000 on a mountain bike to start with....
    As IMHO that's about the only way your gonna feel a real performance diff...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bike upgrades and what ride improvements they make-img_20180523_130823683.jpg  

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  11. #11
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    Surprised it hasn't been mentioned, upgrade the rider! By that I mean take some skills courses or work with a coach.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    Remember, there's always quilting and knitting if pedalling becomes too tough.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, no point in buying stuff mainly for the sake of buying stuff. If you simply MUST shop more, you could change out any fit parts that actually don't work for you (grips, seat, pedals) and possibly tires if they're wildly inappropriate for your terrain.

    Other than that, stop shopping and go RIDING!
    Replace stuff as it breaks/wears out.
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  13. #13
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    If you go for a carbon wheelset I'd bump up the rim inner from 29 to 35mm and go XR2 2.35 Team for the rear and 45mm for the front rim and use a XR2 2.6 Team. The XR4s that came with the bike may not be needed for your terrain if its Alum Creek.
    You can put XR2 2.35s on your current wheels and get the tire pressure down just above the rim hits point to see how they do. Could be around 14fr/19rear.
    Your trails would be more challenging on a light hardtail, imo.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    JCD, the bike's MSRP is $3700. It really should not have many problems lol.
    I get it..but even people that buy $8k bikes do upgrades..



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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    If you go for a carbon wheelset I'd bump up the rim inner from 29 to 35mm and go XR2 2.35 Team for the rear and 45mm for the front rim and use a XR2 2.6 Team. The XR4s that came with the bike may not be needed for your terrain if its Alum Creek.
    You can put XR2 2.35s on your current wheels and get the tire pressure down just above the rim hits point to see how they do. Could be around 14fr/19rear.
    Your trails would be more challenging on a light hardtail, imo.

    ^ this is some wonky advice

  16. #16
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    Thank for all the responses.

    I’m not that good riding yet, but getting better. Coming from motorcycles and used to tinkering with my toys a bit.

    Started thinking I wanted a spare set of wheels, which led to a cassette, which led to upgrade??

    Probably some good advice to wait till I start breaking things to upgrade/repair them. (Hit my first tree on Sunday trying to go faster, didn’t work in that case)

  17. #17
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    Everything on your bike should be good enough while you get back into the sport. I generally don’t see a reason to replace perfectly working parts. When you do break something you can decide whether to upgrade, get the same thing, or perhaps get a heavier more durable part.

    The one upgrade however that surprised me was adding carbon handlebars. It added a bit of a dampening feeling that is a bit hard to describe. I would probably do the same thing on a future bike too so it might be the one exception to my above rule.

  18. #18
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    Grips and saddle. Everything else on that bike should hold up quite well. If you've got some serious climbs in your area then maybe a Wolf Tooth Giant Cog kit to give you a 49 tooth "granny gear" on the rear. Of course, if you just want to bling it out there is always plenty of anodized bits available. On a side note, I'm convinced that all 29ers should come from the factory with 203mm rotors.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    I've read carbon rims...wear out faster too.
    No, you haven't.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Surprised it hasn't been mentioned, upgrade the rider! By that I mean take some skills courses or work with a coach.
    Yeah I think This Is solid advice, the best yet in this thread :P

    I had a 'coach' for the first six months, a really good teacher that pushed me hard.
    Because of Him I didn't break any bones and actually learned things from the bunny hop to combat breathing :~D

    I rode a $650 hard tail 29er that first summer, and that was smart, can't count the times I watched that bike fly or pass me while I was sliding next to it.
    Was glad I learned the right way as bad habits learned when new are harder to correct.
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  21. #21
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    What pedals/ shoes are you using?

    Is the saddle tolerable for several hours?

    Handlebar position?

    I would focus on those items first.

    Also- do you have a set of bike tools for maintenance? Hydration pack? Comfy and durable ridings cloths, glasses, gloves, etc? Maybe invest in a skills course.

    I have my doubts about paying for a professional "fit." Most of them set up the bike for road riding and hamper your trail wrangling abilities.

  22. #22
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    "Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades"
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    Wait a second. Or an hour. You are a rookie and you bought a $3700 bike and you are already looking to upgrade it? So are you like a natural-born MTB prodigy?

    Sorry on this one I have zero ideas. I've read about carbon rims but I've also read that they wear out faster too.
    You clearly have no clue what you are talking about here, as usual.


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  24. #24
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    Don’t upgrade yet.

    I usually replace grips, saddle, and pedals right away with what I prefer, but those are not upgrades. By that I mean I do not spend more on the latest technology.

    For me, because they fit me better and meet other needs I prefer:

    1. Saddle-WTB, either Pure V or Volt
    2. Grips—Lizardskins Northshore or Deity knuckleduster
    3. Pedals—Flat Deity Compounds

    Those are all run of the mill parts by $, but I prefer them. It also took me a bit of riding and experimenting with other parts to find what I like best.

    Of the 3 listed above, I will put on Deity compunds asap, as I love that oedal. Whatever they did, my feet stay glued and I feel more in control. But I’ll at least try other grips and saddles before going to the others.

    None of this is upgrading, and you should ride what you have for a bit even before you start thinking about changing contact points.

    Get some padded riding shorts.


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  25. #25
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    Not all upgrades are mounted on the bike specifically:
    Good saddle (My favorite is WTB Pure V)
    Grips (I like ESI Chunky & ODI Rogue lock-ons)
    Good set of MTB pedals (I like Race Face)
    I also have a few different length stems to adjust bike fit to perfect as I like it.
    Hydration pack (I like Osprey Viper)
    Padded pants
    A good MTB helmet with a sun visor (Giro)
    Some decent padded gloves
    Bug spray
    Sun block spray
    Finish Line dry teflon lube
    A couple of extra bike tubes & tire patch kit (if you do not ride tubeless)
    Some plastic tire levers
    A good floor pump
    An accurate pressure gauge
    Multi-tool to bring with you when you ride
    I have tires that are more aggressive for wetter conditions, and another set for fast dry XC.

  26. #26
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    I've read about carbon rims but I've also read that they wear out faster too.
    Huh? My personal experience is that carbon rim is strong. Ive regularly ridden with two broken spokes on carbon rim and they barely complained. Now if you smash it into a rock, they might crack and splinter and youll be done. Aluminum you might be able to bend it back and limp out, might. But price diff makes carbon rims something lower on list.
    I think first thing to look at is tires. They can make a pretty big diff that you’re u can feel.

  27. #27
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    If you don't know what to upgrade, then you don't need to upgrade anything at this time.

    Save your pennies so that when the need for something becomes much more apparent, you'll have a better budget.

  28. #28
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    ... and if we just ...

    Thanks for all of the replies. I will definitely look into some coaching, training so that the rider improves as one of my first upgrades.

    So is there any location that would give the benefits for certain upgrades or changes? With motorcycles less rotating mass makes the motorcycle accelerate faster, so lighter wheels come up to speed quicker than heavy ones. I think I understand more gear range, but don’t know how much change I would feel going from a 46 to a 50 max tooth cassette.

    I’d like to know if the same works on MTB’s, since my experience is less on bicycles I


    am guessing that most things would translate but haven’t experienced it yet.

    What would lighter wheels do for the ride?
    How much would more gear range be noticeable?
    I do like the saddle suggestion and may look into that.
    What do carbon bars do? (Do they absorb some of the vibration)?
    Grips, mine are Stock Bontrager. What do you look for thicker, thinner, what is the difference?
    Clip in pedals? I use the Bontrager flats, and don’t think I want to clip in?
    Sintered metallic brake pads? What’s the difference? More initial bite, or stronger?
    How about oval chainwheels, what does that do?
    What are the right shoes? It was mentioned and I just use old ones I had around....
    Using motocross gloves now they seem fine, is there something better?

    Sorry to ask so many random questions, but figured I might as well since I have already been called a “fat ass pizza eating console warrior with a stripper for a mother”. So what the heck. Lol

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bills View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies. I will definitely look into some coaching, training so that the rider improves as one of my first upgrades.

    So is there any location that would give the benefits for certain upgrades or changes? With motorcycles less rotating mass makes the motorcycle accelerate faster, so lighter wheels come up to speed quicker than heavy ones. I think I understand more gear range, but don’t know how much change I would feel going from a 46 to a 50 max tooth cassette.

    I’d like to know if the same works on MTB’s, since my experience is less on bicycles I


    am guessing that most things would translate but haven’t experienced it yet.

    What would lighter wheels do for the ride?
    How much would more gear range be noticeable?
    I do like the saddle suggestion and may look into that.
    What do carbon bars do? (Do they absorb some of the vibration)?
    Grips, mine are Stock Bontrager. What do you look for thicker, thinner, what is the difference?
    Clip in pedals? I use the Bontrager flats, and don’t think I want to clip in?
    Sintered metallic brake pads? What’s the difference? More initial bite, or stronger?
    How about oval chainwheels, what does that do?
    What are the right shoes? It was mentioned and I just use old ones I had around....
    Using motocross gloves now they seem fine, is there something better?

    Sorry to ask so many random questions, but figured I might as well since I have already been called a “fat ass pizza eating console warrior with a stripper for a mother”. So what the heck. Lol
    Since we are all adults I’ll say that the worthwhile upgrades are fork, wheels, and dropper post. But please do not upgrade, just ride your bike.


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  30. #30
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    Since you ride motorcycle, many things are similar. Not many varieties of brake pads like for moto.

    Like sime people said a dropper seat post helps lower your body and go over obstacles easier.

    You can get carbon wheels, and latest and greatest parts, but I think you can just ride and upgrade yourself.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bills View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies. I will definitely look into some coaching, training so that the rider improves as one of my first upgrades.

    So is there any location that would give the benefits for certain upgrades or changes? With motorcycles less rotating mass makes the motorcycle accelerate faster, so lighter wheels come up to speed quicker than heavy ones. I think I understand more gear range, but don’t know how much change I would feel going from a 46 to a 50 max tooth cassette.

    I’d like to know if the same works on MTB’s, since my experience is less on bicycles I


    am guessing that most things would translate but haven’t experienced it yet.

    What would lighter wheels do for the ride?
    How much would more gear range be noticeable?
    I do like the saddle suggestion and may look into that.
    What do carbon bars do? (Do they absorb some of the vibration)?
    Grips, mine are Stock Bontrager. What do you look for thicker, thinner, what is the difference?
    Clip in pedals? I use the Bontrager flats, and don’t think I want to clip in?
    Sintered metallic brake pads? What’s the difference? More initial bite, or stronger?
    How about oval chainwheels, what does that do?
    What are the right shoes? It was mentioned and I just use old ones I had around....
    Using motocross gloves now they seem fine, is there something better?

    Sorry to ask so many random questions, but figured I might as well since I have already been called a “fat ass pizza eating console warrior with a stripper for a mother”. So what the heck. Lol
    As you said, lighter wheels spin up faster. I haven't upgraded mine, though.
    Do you drop into your granny gear and wish you had more? Spin out in your highest gear?
    Saddle is important.
    Supposedly. I had carbon bars before on my old bikes but not now. I don't miss them. I did pick up some for my road bike but I haven't installed them yet.
    I bought some cheap Jenson house brand grips; rubber is way too thin, I don't like them. I'll buy some with thicker rubber next time.
    I rode clipless for years, switched to flats a couple of years ago, like them much better at this point. But some people prefer to be clipped in.
    Haven't tried them yet.
    Haven't tried oval chainring, might consider when I wear my current one out.
    5-10s if on flats.
    Not familiar with moto gloves, I use fingerless bike gloves in summer and they get drenched in sweat.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    If you go for a carbon wheelset I'd bump up the rim inner from 29 to 35mm and go XR2 2.35 Team for the rear and 45mm for the front rim and use a XR2 2.6 Team. The XR4s that came with the bike may not be needed for your terrain if its Alum Creek.
    You can put XR2 2.35s on your current wheels and get the tire pressure down just above the rim hits point to see how they do. Could be around 14fr/19rear.
    Your trails would be more challenging on a light hardtail, imo.
    Here's the trail. In OH.
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    A lot of short ups and downs rocks and roots. Elevation change over 5 miles is 37 feet.

  33. #33
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    Your bike is fine...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bills View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies. I will definitely look into some coaching, training so that the rider improves as one of my first upgrades.

    So is there any location that would give the benefits for certain upgrades or changes? With motorcycles less rotating mass makes the motorcycle accelerate faster, so lighter wheels come up to speed quicker than heavy ones. I think I understand more gear range, but don’t know how much change I would feel going from a 46 to a 50 max tooth cassette.

    I’d like to know if the same works on MTB’s, since my experience is less on bicycles I


    am guessing that most things would translate but haven’t experienced it yet.

    What would lighter wheels do for the ride?
    How much would more gear range be noticeable?
    I do like the saddle suggestion and may look into that.
    What do carbon bars do? (Do they absorb some of the vibration)?
    Grips, mine are Stock Bontrager. What do you look for thicker, thinner, what is the difference?
    Clip in pedals? I use the Bontrager flats, and don’t think I want to clip in?
    Sintered metallic brake pads? What’s the difference? More initial bite, or stronger?
    How about oval chainwheels, what does that do?
    What are the right shoes? It was mentioned and I just use old ones I had around....
    Using motocross gloves now they seem fine, is there something better?

    Sorry to ask so many random questions, but figured I might as well since I have already been called a “fat ass pizza eating console warrior with a stripper for a mother”. So what the heck. Lol

    Your bike is pretty much fine as is. However, if you want to make changes I would, as others have said, start with your contact points (saddle, grips pedals). I have the fuel ex 8 and personally found the stock saddle and grips borderline unrideable, I personally like ergon saddles and grips but YMMV. I wouldn't bother upgrading your wheels, they are decently light (for a wide, aluminum 29er set, that is) wide, and have high engagement hubs. You will benefit much more from improving your fitness than upgrading a more than good enough wheelset. As far as upgrading your gear range, it may or may not be helpful to do that depending on where you live and how much elevation you have in your area, If I were you I would ride your current drivetrain until it is worn then upgrade to something like nx eagle (12spd)or XT 11spd. The Bontrager pedals appear to be decent, however, Trek has issued a mandatory stop sale to their retailers as some were defective, I would inquire at your lbs to see if your set was affected by that. Carbon bars are nice but you will benefit more from a nicer set of grips, (esi chunkys, ergon ge1s, and DMR brendogs all look nice). Also, make sure you have some decent clothes to ride in, they don't have to be bike specific but should be comfortable and allow good range of motion obviously. A pair of flat pedal specific shoes like 5-10s 0r similar offerings from Giro or shimano are recommended otherwise skate shoes will work too. Anyway, just make sure to get out and ride and don't worry too much about replacing parts.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricTheDood View Post
    If you don't know what to upgrade, then you don't need to upgrade anything at this time.

    Save your pennies so that when the need for something becomes much more apparent, you'll have a better budget.
    Yes! And what chazpat said about considering a skills course or coach. Saying the bike could be better without details about problems, limitations, or desired improvements is saying nothing aat all. There's nothing wrong with your bike a better rider wont fix.

    When got my Fuel EX8 earlier this year I got my LBS to throw in a set of pro line carbon bars because my last bike had carbon bars and I felt they helped prevent numb hands. I also put on my favorite WTB saddle and some Ergon grips. I made these changes because I knew what it took to maximize my comfort on the bike. I considered upgrading the hub engagement, but opted to ride the bike awhile first. I found 54 POE to be more than enough for me and passed on the upgrade. After 6 months, I'm starting to think about a lighter wheelset and moving up to SLX or XT brakes, but honestly the stock wheels and brakes work fine. Hard to justify the expense. My .02 fwiw.
    Veni vidi velo!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bills View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies. I will definitely look into some coaching, training so that the rider improves as one of my first upgrades.

    So is there any location that would give the benefits for certain upgrades or changes? With motorcycles less rotating mass makes the motorcycle accelerate faster, so lighter wheels come up to speed quicker than heavy ones. THIS IS MOSTLY TRUE WITH BICYCLES, BUT THE RIDER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PUTTING OUT THE POWER.

    I think I understand more gear range, but don’t know how much change I would feel going from a 46 to a 50 max tooth cassette. GOING FROM 46 TO 50 WOULD GIVE YOU AN EASIER GEAR TO CLIMB WITH, AND LIKELY WOULDN'T HAVE ANY EFFECT ON ACCELERATION.

    I’d like to know if the same works on MTB’s, since my experience is less on bicycles. I am guessing that most things would translate but haven’t experienced it yet.

    What would lighter wheels do for the ride? WHEELS ARE EXPENSIVE. YOUR STOCK WHEELS SHOULD SERVE YOU WELL.
    How much would more gear range be noticeable? DEPENDS ON YOUR FITNESS.
    I do like the saddle suggestion and may look into that. GET A SADDLE THAT FITS YOUR SIT BONES.
    What do carbon bars do? (Do they absorb some of the vibration)? CARBON BARS TEND TO BE A WASTE OF MONEY.
    Grips, mine are Stock Bontrager. What do you look for thicker, thinner, what is the difference? WEAR OLD ONES OUT THEN WORRY ABOUT THIS.
    Clip in pedals? I use the Bontrager flats, and don’t think I want to clip in? USE FLATS AND 5-10 SHOES.
    Sintered metallic brake pads? What’s the difference? More initial bite, or stronger? DON'T WORRY ABOUT THIS.
    How about oval chainwheels, what does that do? NOT A WHOLE LOT OF DIFFERENCE.
    What are the right shoes? It was mentioned and I just use old ones I had around.... 5-10s ARE THE STANDARD GO-TO SHOES.
    Using motocross gloves now they seem fine, is there something better? WHATEVER IS COMFORTABLE

    Sorry to ask so many random questions, but figured I might as well since I have already been called a “fat ass pizza eating console warrior with a stripper for a mother”. So what the heck. Lol
    Do you even know how to ride, bro?

    Your biggest concern right now should be learning to ride and building fitness. The weakest link right now is most definitely you. If you have a little money to spend, sign up for Lee McCormack's online mountain bike school (llbmtb.com) to get your bike setup and attack position dialed (his method is the best in the business, IMO), then move on to the skills lessons. If you do that, you'll have a solid foundation for riding.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by blundar View Post
    Not all upgrades are mounted on the bike specifically:
    Good saddle (My favorite is WTB Pure V)
    Grips (I like ESI Chunky & ODI Rogue lock-ons)
    Good set of MTB pedals (I like Race Face)
    I also have a few different length stems to adjust bike fit to perfect as I like it.
    Hydration pack (I like Osprey Viper)
    Padded pants
    A good MTB helmet with a sun visor (Giro)
    Some decent padded gloves
    Bug spray
    Sun block spray
    Finish Line dry teflon lube
    A couple of extra bike tubes & tire patch kit (if you do not ride tubeless)
    Some plastic tire levers
    A good floor pump
    An accurate pressure gauge
    Multi-tool to bring with you when you ride
    I have tires that are more aggressive for wetter conditions, and another set for fast dry XC.
    Most importantly, ride the hell out of that bike until the wheels fall off. Don't fuss about updating things on your bike. Build up your fitness and skill levels first, and go to as many different trails as possible.

    The list I had posted before may seem long, but if you look closer there are 4 basic categories:

    1. Contact points and what you wear on those... (pedals, grips, seat) (soft rubber grippy sneakers, padded gloves, padded shorts).

    2. General outdoor sports gear for long hours on the saddle (hydration pack or water bottle/seat bag combo, helmet, bug spray, sunblock, granola bar).

    3. Tools just in case you break down 15 or more miles away from the car park (tire patch kit, tire levers, small air pump, pressure gauge, multi tool, phone, some cash or your wallet with credit cards).

    4. Bike maintenance tools for home (floor pump, a set of allen wrenches, extra set of tires and inner tubes, dry teflon lube).

  37. #37
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    If you are into color coordination, then you may find this helpful, too:

    https://youtu.be/RE19vL1ZVm0


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  38. #38
    Lone Wolf
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    Ok, so you wanna go faster,,

    Ever seen those canvas five pound ankle weights that you velcro on ?
    get a pair and put em on tight, check crank arm clearance even tho your only going to ride up grades with them.
    Next add an extra 15 or 20 pounds of weight to your hydration pack.
    Buy an old dive belt,,,

    Like Sgltrack said, Ride the F-n bike !

    Rule five applies to you, was custom written with riders like you In mind.

    Velominati › The Rules
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    Ok, so you wanna go faster,,

    Ever seen those canvas five pound ankle weights that you velcro on ?
    get a pair and put em on tight, check crank arm clearance even tho your only going to ride up grades with them.
    Next add an extra 15 or 20 pounds of weight to your hydration pack.
    Buy an old dive belt,,,

    Like Sgltrack said, Ride the F-n bike !

    Rule five applies to you, was custom written with riders like you In mind.

    Velominati › The Rules

    Don't do this. Except the ride the bike part.

  40. #40
    Lone Wolf
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Hey, If ya wanna get stronger ya gotta earn it.

    We had a very tall steep levy that was almost too steep to ride straight up the sides more than maybe twice, All deep grass and chuder, three times up If you were Into badassery.
    So we tackled it at angles, getting less steep as we wore our selves down.
    When It was time to throw In the towel we made one more trip up to the top.
    With the bike held over our heads or at least on our shoulder.

    Yeah It was hard.
    We embraced rule #5 with passion.

    Yeah we got faster, and could ride farther, much sooner than others who did normal stuff.
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  41. #41
    jcd's best friend
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    Instead of ankle weights, I opted to train hard on my road bike. I plan to get a hardtail very soon and I will see what my work has done for me! I have a ton of hills in my area. I've been road cycling a month now and I have 10k ft in climbing already. I want to increase my monthly climbing so my goal is to get 15k in the next 4 weeks
    Trek Emonda | Transition Sentinel

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    Hey, If ya wanna get stronger ya gotta earn it.

    We had a very tall steep levy that was almost too steep to ride straight up the sides more than maybe twice, All deep grass and chuder, three times up If you were Into badassery.
    So we tackled it at angles, getting less steep as we wore our selves down.
    When It was time to throw In the towel we made one more trip up to the top.
    With the bike held over our heads or at least on our shoulder.

    Yeah It was hard.
    We embraced rule #5 with passion.

    Yeah we got faster, and could ride farther, much sooner than others who did normal stuff.
    Nothing wrong with training hard. Ankle weights just aren't that effective, especially on your ankles where they're mostly counterbalanced by the weight on the opposite ankle.

    Still, to someone getting into (or back into) the sport, upping the suffer score usually isn't the best course of action. Learning the fundamentals is way more important, especially learning to ride with a nice, low hinge and distributing weight into the pedals and not the handlebars.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Nothing wrong with training hard. Ankle weights just aren't that effective, especially on your ankles where they're mostly counterbalanced by the weight on the opposite ankle.

    Still, to someone getting into (or back into) the sport, upping the suffer score usually isn't the best course of action. Learning the fundamentals is way more important, especially learning to ride with a nice, low hinge and distributing weight into the pedals and not the handlebars.
    Ride more, learn the basics, take a course if necessary, build up your fitness level, go to as many different trails as possible, hop up and down onto and off sidewalks, go on some local bike shop group rides, and ride around your own neighborhood just for the fun of it. That is what will make you a better rider. I would definitely pass on the weights...

  44. #44
    Lone Wolf
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    Yeah you guys are right :P
    FWIW I have done the added hydration pack weight but never the ankle weights.
    Always wondered If the ankle weights would work, never thought of the counter balance effect.
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    Yeah you guys are right :P
    FWIW I have done the added hydration pack weight but never the ankle weights.
    Always wondered If the ankle weights would work, never thought of the counter balance effect.
    I normally carry 1 Liter of water in my 2L hydration pack. Each liter of water = 1 Kg = 2.2 Lbs.

    I would rather improve my fitness by pushing myself to do the steeper hills, and more longer distance (10 or more miles) speed rides to improve my cardio. After a few of those early in the season, most intermediate trails are not so difficult anymore.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    Instead of ankle weights, I opted to train hard on my road bike. I plan to get a hardtail very soon and I will see what my work has done for me! I have a ton of hills in my area. I've been road cycling a month now and I have 10k ft in climbing already. I want to increase my monthly climbing so my goal is to get 15k in the next 4 weeks
    The controlled power and endurance from road biking is very useful for mountain biking. The complete lack of bike handling skills is a steep learning curve but you will soon get into it

  47. #47
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    A well maintained and setup MTB is a big help for gaining fitness as you can just get on with the riding.

  48. #48
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    You must ride ultra clean roads, I find crap everywhere, and need bike handling skills to avoid it.

    I disagree that road bikes don't require those skills, maybe not at the same level as a mtb but you still need to know how to handle your bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kajjal View Post
    The controlled power and endurance from road biking is very useful for mountain biking. The complete lack of bike handling skills is a steep learning curve but you will soon get into it
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kajjal View Post
    The controlled power and endurance from road biking is very useful for mountain biking. The complete lack of bike handling skills is a steep learning curve but you will soon get into it
    I've been mountain biking for 3 years. I already have an established skillset. I actually do crank wheelies on my road bike to clear over railroad tracks and other things in the road. It's kind of second nature for me now.
    Trek Emonda | Transition Sentinel

  50. #50
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    Yeah, after this original post I have decided that any actual bike upgrades can wait. Now I am looking into proper shoes for flat pedals (5/10’s more than likely), as well as some actual MTB shorts maybe with some butt pads. Also some new lenses for my riding glasses as mine are too dark, and it is hard to see some things in the woods.

    Got to ride with a more experienced guy last Friday and I learned a bit. I wasn’t really making good line choices and realized how big of an improvement it was when I paid attention to those details and picked my way through sections, rather than trying to plow over them. Lots to learn still, and just starting to do multiple laps so fitness is getting better each time. Averaging 3 days a week now that the local rain has slowed down.

    I carry an Osprey Raptor pack with a 3L bladder, also keep my emergency kit in there so it has a little weight, not too much.

  51. #51
    jcd's best friend
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bills View Post
    Yeah, after this original post I have decided that any actual bike upgrades can wait. Now I am looking into proper shoes for flat pedals (5/10’s more than likely), as well as some actual MTB shorts maybe with some butt pads. Also some new lenses for my riding glasses as mine are too dark, and it is hard to see some things in the woods.

    Got to ride with a more experienced guy last Friday and I learned a bit. I wasn’t really making good line choices and realized how big of an improvement it was when I paid attention to those details and picked my way through sections, rather than trying to plow over them. Lots to learn still, and just starting to do multiple laps so fitness is getting better each time. Averaging 3 days a week now that the local rain has slowed down.

    I carry an Osprey Raptor pack with a 3L bladder, also keep my emergency kit in there so it has a little weight, not too much.
    Sounds like you are off to a great start! Most of all, have a lot of fun learning. Another shoe you can look for is the Specialized 2FO flats. I have a pair and I love them! They are a little more spendy than the Freeriders, but it's an option if you find some on sale somewhere.
    Trek Emonda | Transition Sentinel

  52. #52
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    Following experienced riders is a great way to really up your skill level, particularly if they're actively trying to teach you along the way. I love riding with beginners/novices and make a point of having them follow my wheel, as well as following them and trying to give them pointers as needed.
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  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    Dropper post. That is all.
    Agree - skip the drive train upgrade and go with a dropper.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kajjal View Post
    The controlled power and endurance from road biking is very useful for mountain biking. The complete lack of bike handling skills is a steep learning curve but you will soon get into it
    I'd like to add, My time on my road bike that I bought just to Improve my mountain bike rides did help immensely It two major ways:

    1) I really became a far better pedaler, far smoother and able to maintain a much higher cadence.
    Smooth efficient pedaling Is EVERYTHING when trying to conquer a major hill no matter If Its very steep or very long or loose or all three...

    2)Riding non stop for 50 miles on my road bike vastly Improved my endurance on my trail rides, This also quickened and eased my recovery times after 15 to 20 hard miles In the single tracks.
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    I'd like to add, My time on my road bike that I bought just to Improve my mountain bike rides did help immensely It two major ways:

    1) I really became a far better pedaler, far smoother and able to maintain a much higher cadence.
    Smooth efficient pedaling Is EVERYTHING when trying to conquer a major hill no matter If Its very steep or very long or loose or all three...

    2)Riding non stop for 50 miles on my road bike vastly Improved my endurance on my trail rides, This also quickened and eased my recovery times after 15 to 20 hard miles In the single tracks.
    Consider riding your mountain bike on that road circuit. The resistance of the tires alone give you a bigger workout. Cost is wear on the MTB tires.

    I run a 25K circuit every once in a while. Sustained climbs that you don't experience in the bush. No quick-flex stuff, but a different cardio train that you won't quite get with a road bike.

    Not to mention you really find out if your MTB saddle is comfortable.

  56. #56
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    Consider riding your mountain bike on that road circuit. The resistance of the tires alone give you a bigger workout. Cost is wear on the MTB tires.

    I run a 25K circuit every once in a while. Sustained climbs that you don't experience in the bush. No quick-flex stuff, but a different cardio train that you won't quite get with a road bike.

    Not to mention you really find out if your MTB saddle is comfortable.
    Yeah True Dat, tried It one time, was a true azz kicker. But Instead of wearing down my $90 each mtb tires I figured I'd just get on the big ring and push the road bike up to where the wind was whipping my tail real good, that worked for me..

    As for the saddle, I had the ISM peak Adamo gen 1 on my MTB and bought another ISM that was longer for the road bike.
    I ended up with the newer longer ISM saddle on the mountain bike and the oOlder shorter Adamo on the road bike.

    I cant help It, I got a very particular Ragnarok :P
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bills View Post
    Y. . . . as well as some actual MTB shorts maybe with some butt pads. . . . . .
    Get some good lycra cycling shorts. Performance branded Ultras are actually pretty good, and their Elite aren't bad either. If you're trying to avoid the MAMIL look then throw some baggy cycling specific shorts over them, as opposed to regular shorts which lack the stretch needed.
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