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Best Upgrades to Make on an Old Road Bike

Best Upgrades to Make on an Old Road BikeEver happen upon an old vintage road bike that just screams possibilities? We certainly have. Purchasing a vintage bike and restoring its components is a rewarding project that leads to a future of enjoyable cruises on a retro ride.

If you’re preparing to restore a vintage bike and get it ready for riding season, here are the most cost-effective upgrades to make first:

Tires and Wheels

Even if they appear to be in decent shape, old road bike wheels and tires offer weak spokes, poor traction and are more susceptible to blowouts. The good news is that tires are among the most affordable and easiest bike parts to replace. If you’re looking for a smooth ride, you want tires with more supple carcasses. If you’re after speed, consider getting lighter tires with more grip.

Carbon fiber wheels have become an increasingly affordable option in recent years, and they offer an aerodynamic advantage over your usual aluminum rim. However, solid aluminum rims perform better at braking and still remain a wise and viable option.


As the main contact point of your bike in terms of weight distribution, the saddle holds approximately 70% of your body weight. A comfortable saddle can make long rides much more fun. Furthermore, replacing your saddle is one of the most cost effective ways to make your bike a little lighter.

Shape, padding, materials and pressure relief are important factors that will determine the right saddle for you. You should always try before you buy, and as a general rule of thumb, the best fit is the one you don’t notice.


Similarly to saddles, handlebar upgrades are often overlooked but can significantly improve the comfort of your ride and the look of an old bike.

Width, drop and reach are the key dimensions to consider when shopping for the perfect handlebar. If you’re tall, for instance, you’ll want a wider handlebar that will put less strain on your shoulder blades. Deeper drops will make your posture more aerodynamic, but put more strain on your neck. The handlebars you choose will depend on your unique riding habits.

Need a hand getting your old bike ready for the road? Stop in today to browse our selection of bike parts and accessories, or give us a call at our toll-free number to learn more.

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