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Buyer’s guide: Bike component upgrades for more speed and better comfort

5 Apr 2017

Your bike is the sum of its parts, right? Which means you can improve it bit by bit. In association with Evans Cycles

1. PowerTap P1 power meter pedals

If you want to get the most out of your training, a power meter will help you measure your efforts more precisely, as well as giving you stacks of data about your rides to pore over and analyse.

Because PowerTap’s P1 are built into a set of Look Kéo-compatible pedals, they can measure the output of each leg individually, and they’ll instantly send the data wirelessly to ANT+ and Bluetooth enabled devices.

2. Specialized CG-R seatpost

While many cyclists revel in suffering, we reckon you’ll perform better when you can ride in comfort.

And that’s why we’d recommend a seatpost designed to cushion your rear end from bumps and road buzz.

The all-carbon CG-R from Specialized has an unusual looking but very effective Z-shaped head that flexes up to 18mm when you hit a bump, and contains a polymer insert to soak up vibrations.

3. Shimano Ultegra 6870 Di2 groupset

There’s nothing wrong with old-fashioned mechanical gears, but when you can shift at the press of a switch, it saves you energy – which is particularly good at the end of a long, tough ride.

And Di2’s clever circuitry constantly trims the front and rear mechs to ensure gears stay perfectly indexed, so you’ll never miss a shift at those vital moments in a race or hill climb.

£1,999 (full groupset),

4. Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Exalith wheelset

Upgrading the wheelset is one option we always look at when testing new bikes as it can transform a ride.

We’ve found these Mavics to be super stiff, meaning minimal flex and loss of power.

They also boast 45mm-deep carbon rims for enhanced aerodynamic performance, while their low weight (1,650g for the pair) ensures they don’t hold you back on the hills.

5. Zipp SL-70 Aero carbon handlebar

Being stuck out front, handlebars are one of the most important components to consider if you want to reduce drag on your bike.

Extensively tested in the wind tunnel, these bars could shave vital seconds off your efforts, while their all-carbon construction makes them super-stiff to minimise flexing.

Pro tip: consider going a size narrower to further reduce your frontal area and therefore drag.

6. ISM PN 1.1 saddle

When it comes to saddles, it pays to have an open mind – so don’t be put off by the PN 1.1’s unorthordox split-nose design which gets you resting on your sit bones rather than your buttocks.

Long and broad (135mm wide at the rear) and with ISM’s generous but firm ‘40 Series’ padding, it offers plenty of support, promising all-day comfort on long, tough rides, while its narrow width allows maximum thigh clearance to minimise rubbing.

7. Shimano RS505 Hydraulic disc brake system

With the launch of its RS505 STI levers last year, Shimano brought full-hydraulic disc braking to a more affordable price level than ever before.

With more power and modulation than cable-actuated disc brakes, easier adjustment and maintenance, plus more reliable performance in the wet than rim brakes, this is one upgrade that you’ll instantly feel the benefits of.

8. Look Keo Blade 2 Carbon pedals

French firm Look was the original pioneer of clipless pedals and it continues to blaze an innovative trail with the latest generation of its Kéo Blades – their carbon leaf spring provides safer and firmer engagement with the cleat, and allows a design with a lower profile.

The result? Improved aerodynamic efficiency, as well as super low weight – a mere 110g per pedal.


9. Vittoria Corsa G+ folding road tyres

You may have heard of the wonder material graphene. It’s a super-thin form of carbon that’s only one atom thick and is said to be 200 times stronger and six times more flexible than steel.

By adding graphene to its rubber compound, Vittoria has been able to make tyres that are ultra-light, grippy and supple enough for racing, yet promise the durability of much heavier winter ones.

10. Shimano Ultegra 6800 brake calliper

Rim brakes have been around for so long it’s hard to imagine they could be improved, but Shimano managed just that with their SLR-EV dual-pivot design.

It features reduced friction and flex, a more aero profile, plus a light leverage-boosting action that produces maximum stopping power for minimal effort.

In other words awesome (and affordable) anchors!

This buyer's guide was produced in association with Evans Cycles

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