Posted in Cycle and tagged cycling, road bike, road cycling
Best upgrades for road bikes

If you've bought your first road bike and now you're looking for ways to take your riding to the next level, we think a few simple upgrades can make your ride feel new again. Whether you want to go faster, get more comfortable, or you're looking for more environmentally-friendly accessories, here's Sam's essential guide to road bike upgrades.

The bike

Fuji Sportif 1.1 Disc Road Bike (2021)Fuji Sportif 1.1 Disc Road Bike (2021)

The Fuji Sportif 1.1 is an excellent all-rounder making it a popular choice for new road cyclists. The lightweight alloy frame with carbon forks is designed to be durable and comfortable, whilst the Wave seat stay promises to diffuse road vibration. 

This versatile bike has been designed for endurance and even has braze-ons so you can attach luggage racks if you're planning on using it to get to work, do the shopping or even if you're planning some bike packing adventures. 

A Shimano 105 11-speed groupset gives you enough gearing to tackle the toughest of climbs and you have the reassurance of disc brakes so you have complete control even in wet conditions.

The Fuji Sportif 1.1 is more than capable of whatever you throw at it, from social group rides to full-on long-distance sportives. However, a few simple upgrades could make this bike even faster and more comfortable. 

The upgrades

Prime RR-50 V3 Carbon Clincher Disc WheelsetPrime RR-50 V3 Carbon Clincher Disc Wheelset

Wheels are commonly the first upgrade most people make to their road bikes and for good reason. A lighter wheelset reduces rotational weight which can make a big difference to your bike's performance.

Prime's RR-50s have a 19mm internal and 27.5mm external rim width so they work well with 25mm or 28mm tyres. The wider rims offer increased aerodynamics, comfort, speed and traction. Unidirectional carbon fibre construction means they're reliably strong and stiff but extremely light, weighing in at 1775g for the pair.

Goodyear Eagle F1 Tubeless Road TyreGoodyear Eagle F1 Tubeless Road Tyre

Sam paired up the Goodyear Eagles in 28mm with the Prime Carbon RR-50 wheelset because they are the perfect size to lie flush against the rim, maximising aerodynamic advantage. 

They're made with Goodyear's Dynamic:GSR compound which not only offers excellent puncture protection, but it's also really grippy giving you extra confidence on corners. The light weight means you still benefit from lower rolling resistance and lower rotational weight so you'll be able to accelerate away from the pack.. 

Elite Jet Biodegradable Water Bottle Elite Jet Biodegradable Water Bottle

Sometimes it's the little things that can make a difference. If you're in the market for new bidons but you're also trying to reduce your impact, the Elite Jet Biodegradable Bottle is a definite upgrade on traditional bottles. It's constructed from a lightweight, squeezable BPA-free polyethylene that's sturdy enough to withstand the dishwasher. When the time comes to replace it, a special bio-additive in the plastic means it will take between three months and five years to break down. Impressive considering regular plastic takes 100 to 1000 years.


Fizik Tempo Microtex Bondcush Classic Bar TapeFizik Tempo Microtex Bondcush Classic Bar Tape

Great bar tape can make a big difference to your interaction with the bike. At 3mm thick, the Tempo Microtex Bondcush is the thinnest option in Fizik's range giving you sharp handling and control.

You still get a bit of cushioning and the leather-like texture makes it really grippy. Available in a range of colours, we think the perforations give this tape a really classic look that will smarten up any handlebars.


Garmin Edge 1030 Plus GPS Cycle ComputerGarmin Edge 1030 Plus GPS Cycle Computer

The 1030 Plus is one of the most comprehensively featured computers available right now. With a generous, easy to read 3.5" screen, plus Strava Live Segments, in addition to all the data and navigation you would expect, it's definitely an investment worth considering if you want to get the most out of your riding.

What we love about it is that, because Garmin is so popular, they have data from thousands of other riders using their computers. This means that their smart routing draws on masses of local knowledge so you can be confident that you're unlikely to be sent on a completely unsuitable road or trail.

Moon MX: 2.4G & Cerberus Light Set

These sleek USB rechargeable lights are packed with neat features and the Cerberus rear light has even won an IF Design Award. Both lights link up so that you can operate them using a single button at either end.

The front can output at 400 lumens whilst the rear has a 150-lumen output with impressive 270-degree visibility so you'll be hard to miss from the sides as well as the rear.

An integrated GPS mount on the front MX light allows you to mount both the light and GPS centrally, decluttering your handlebars and giving you a nicely centred beam at the front. 

Selle Italia Flite Boost Superflow SaddleSelle Italia Flite Boost Superflow Saddle

A saddle is a very personal thing and it's often the first thing riders swap out when they buy a new bike. Even on a high-end bike, there's no guarantee you'll get the right saddle for you and if it's wrong, you could end up with saddle sores that can put you out of action for weeks.

Sam loves the Selle Italia Flite Boost Superflow which is available in two sizes for riders with narrow or wide sit-bones. The cut-out channel is great for relieving perineal pressure whilst the flat shape and titanium rails offer stability and strength over long distances. Great for road, gravel or cyclocross, the Flite Boost Superflow's fans include Mathieu Van Der Poel, Caleb Ewan, Philippe Gilbert and many others.

Garmin Rally RK100 Pedal Power MeterGarmin Rally Power Meter Pedals

Power meters have been around for a long time, but the increased popularity of indoor training platforms like Zwift has brought the benefits of training with power to a much wider range of riders than just professional racers.

However, whilst your smart trainer probably gives you a decent idea of your power output whatever bike you put on it, it can be expensive to then get power meters with consistent reporting onto all the bikes you ride outdoors. 

That's why Garmin designed the Rally pedals to be easily transferrable between all your bikes. The tech is all in the core and you can buy conversion kits so that you can switch from road SPD-SL to Look to mountain bike SPD, keeping consistent power data on every ride. 

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About the author

NChamanian's picture
Nassrin Chamanian
Published on: 02 Jun 2021

Pretty OK at bikes. Enthusiasm outstrips ability.