So you just bought a good entry-level mountain bike from your local bike shop and already feel the urge and desire to begin doing some upgrades and to also by some new accessories. Here are some upgrades that can be relatively inexpensive, especially if you shop at an online bicycle components store such as Jensen USA or NashBar. If you bought a mountain bike from a mass department store such as Wal-Mart then you can disregard anything mentioned in this article because your bike is trash and nothing will help it.
Many entry-level mountain bicycles such as the Trek 3500 come with adequate handlebar grips, but you will learn that often times the grips will “throttle”. The grips will twist around, especially in hot weather when the glue gets heated up and then you start gripping hard as you pedal up a hill. You can buy many types of grips but I highly suggest you get lock on clamp grips. Instead of being held in place on the bars by glue these grips use little screw attachments that tighten the grip to the bar and does not allow the grip to rotate no matter how much pressure you put on the bar.
Many entry-level mountain bikes do not come with a cage to hold a water bottle. If you are the type who likes to carry a water bottle in a cage mounted to the frame as opposed to a hydration pack on your back then buy a good cage. Even if you bike does come with a cage it is probably a cheap one. Buy a good cage that is specifically designed for mountain biking. Your bike will be hitting a lot of bumps and a road bicycle cage can easily dislodge your valuable water bottle but a mountain bike specific cage will grip the bottle better so you can huck, jump, and throttle all without losing your water bottle out of the cage.
Entry-level mountain bicycles come with cheap plastic pedals. These bicycles ship with cheap plastic pedals to keep the cost down as well as recognizing that many cyclists will prefer to put on their own pedals. You may want to use the pedals but once they begin to wear you can easily replace them. Many pedals are super expensive, especially if you get pedals where you clip in because you are then also required to get shoes that will attach to the pedals and clip in. Regardless of whether you want pedals you can clip-in to or simply platform pedals you can always find good deals on line for cheap mountain bike pedals. You may want to simply upgrade to some aluminum platform pedals, but if you buy online your bicycle pedals will be cheaper.
Although a helmet is technically an accessory and not a component of the bicycle it is a must that you buy a good helmet. You need a helmet that will provide protection to your noggin and is comfortable for you to wear. If you do not like wearing helmets then you will eventually learn to feel comfortable in them. For cyclists that regularly wear bicycle helmets you will find helmets that are comfortable and ones that do not feel as comfortable. It is vital that you get a bicycle helmet designed for your style of riding that is comfortable. If you buy a bike helmet that is comfortable to wear then you will be much more likely to wear it every time you go outside to ride your bicycle.
Inner tubes and Slime
When you buy a new bicycle from your local bike shop you should ALWAYS pay a few bucks extra and have them install thorn resistant tubes and Slime. The thorn resistant tubes and Slime combination makes flat tires happen a lot less often. Yes you will still get flats, but not near as often. Trust me when I tell you to get thorn resistant tubes and Slime.
If you are a newer mountain biker buyer and on a budget then the best thing you can do is use the stock tires that come with the bicycle. You can always upgrade or change the tires when they need replacement after they begin to wear down. If you buy an entry-level mountain bike but find that you are riding most if not all of your miles on hard packed surfaces in town then you may want to look at getting some “slicks”. Slicks are tires that are designed specifically for riding on hard packed surfaces and have much less rolling resistance on roads then mountain bike knobby tires. This may be a good choice for you but if you spend some time in the mountains then you will definitely not want to upgrade to slicks.
A cycling computer should be purchased and placed on every bike. A cycling computer can help to tack how far you ride, how fast you ride, and how many total miles you have ridden on your bicycle. More advanced cycling computers also have additional features.
A cycling computer is a great buy because it helps to motivate you by showing you how many miles you have ridden. You can set mileage goals and then attempt to increase the total amount of miles you ride each month on your bicycle.
Every time you buy a new mountain bike you should always buy a good lock. You also will want to have the bicycle shop you bought the bicycle from show you the proper way to lock your bike up. You will often want to run the chain around the frame and through the front tire. Most bicycles have easily removable tires and the front tire and skewer can easily be removed in a few seconds so if you do not have it locked up your bicycle may be safe but they will get half of your wheel set.
It is also vital that you keep in mind that no matter how expensive of a lock you buy, it will never fully protect you from getting your bicycle stolen. It will however be able to provide enough time to go into the store to buy some groceries. A bicycle lock is more of a deterrent.