All too often we receive letters from riders with the same problem: they love the sport of mountain biking more than they thought they would. That doesn’t sound like much of a problem, but what it also means is that they bought a basic bike and now they want something better. Since kicking a recently purchased bike
to the curb for “the next model up” is rarely an option, upgrades sound like a solution, but the problem with that is
obvious: upgrades to a new fork or wheelset can easily set you back more than the original cost of the bike.
We usually tell these riders to ride the wheels off the bike they have and save their pennies for a better one down
the road. That’s solid advice. However, we’ve discovered a few easy ways to improve a basic bike on a budget. That
way, you can still save your pennies for your dream ride. This month’s “Garage Files” focuses on how to upgrade an
entry-level bike—the smart way.
Stepping up to the big leagues on a budget M B A
The patient: The Airborne Goblin 29er is a $600 retail bike. It’s
great for a rider just getting into the sport, because it has everything you need in an exceptionally affordable package. We can
make it better, though.
First things first: These basic platform pedals are designed for
test riding the bike and will work well if you’re commuting. If the
platform pedals you’re riding don’t have removable pins in them,
they weren’t really designed for trail riding.
Clip in: Clipless
pedals, like these
Eggbeaters, are a
Since most high-end
bikes don’t even
come with pedals,
you will have to
invest in these when
you upgrade your
bike later anyway.
Soft touch: When torquing pedals, there’s no need to reach for
the biggest wrench in your toolbox. We always torque them a little
snug, and we’ve never had problems with them coming loose.
Pedal connectors: Don’t forget about the whole package. A
nice pair of shoes, like these Shimano-XC60s, will also last at
least a couple seasons and save you from having to upgrade
when you get the itch to upgrade your bike.