For many of you, your mountain bike is the love of your life. So you want to tend to and pamper your mountain bike but have no money left to do it. There are lots of MTB upgrades to your bike to make it work better, look better and last longer. 

So, what are the super cheap MTB upgrades? Plastic valve caps, steel pin, volume reducers, bash guards, etc. are the most common upgrades you can do. Read on to find out more. 

Cheap MTB Upgrades That Will Boost Your Bike’s Performance

When it comes to mountain biking, many things can be upgraded to improve the experience. Here are some of the best upgrades for your bike so you can have the ultimate experience.     

  1. Plastic Valve Caps 

If color coordination is important to you, plastic valve caps are the cheapest way to do it. These are available in an absurd amount of colors. You only have to worry about the right size so that your valves don’t leak.

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  1. Stainless Steel Pin

These pins will eventually become unrecognizable if you run flat pedals and ride hard. Replacing them with new stainless steel pins will restore your pedals to their original glory if you can get the old ones out. 

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I’ve used everything from vise grips to screw extractors, and plain pedal pins, 8mm, and 10mm pins. They get the job done, and the whole process is an oddly satisfying endeavor.

  1. Anti-Kink End Caps

At the end of your shift -cable housing is an end cap, and these can be upgraded with anti-kink end caps from Jagwire.  

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Anti-kink end caps are plastic caps that go on the end of your fork to prevent all of those annoying little kinks. No matter what bike you ride, they’re super cheap and don’t require any special installation tools.

  1. Volume Reducer

Especially on large-frame mountain bikes, the handlebars can be huge. A cheap upgrade that fixes this is a volume reducer. 

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It can be found at any bike shop and comes in different sizes. They’re super easy to switch out, and they come in a variety of different colors.

  1. Thru Axle

If you remove your front wheel often, you appreciate the convenience of a quick-release thru-axle. These stealth axles are much better. They’re more straightforward, lighter, lower profile, better looking, and in many cases, more secure. 

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Make sure you do a little googling to get the right one for your fork and keep a multi-tool on hand if you need to remove your front wheel.

  1. Bash Guard

You can easily install a bash guard if your bike has little threads under the bottom bracket. This bash guard is the most expensive thing in this article at $45 and includes a spare. 

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Over time the guard will rust, and you’ll have to replace it with a new one. But if you’re investing in a single value upgrade for your bike, this is worth its weight in gold.

  1. Lubricate Your Bike Chain

If you wash your bike, which you probably should, you’ll need to re-lubricate your drivetrain. Dry lube is the way to go. 

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This particular stuff is Teflon based. You spray it on your drivetrain, which gets into all the nooks and crannies. The liquid part will dry up, leaving a slippery Teflon residue behind.

  1. Change Your Chain

Those chains that come with new mountain bikes are pretty much junk. They stretch a lot, and they’re usually not very good quality. 

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If you slack off on changing your chain once every year to a year and a half, you’ll start to complain of drivetrain skips. This is because the chain has stretched so long that it’s no longer the right length. You can try out KMC.

  1. Tubeless Sealant And Valve Stems

Most mountain bikes these days come tubeless, meaning you can remove your inner tubes and run the lower tire pressure. The parts you’ll need aren’t expensive. Just buy tubeless sealant and valve stems. 

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The tubeless-ready rims already come with tape, but if not, you can buy it or use gorilla tape. This process involves unseating the tire, installing the valve stem pouring in the sealant, closing everything back up, and pumping up the tire.

  1. Upgrade Your Brake Pads

Brakes are the most critical part of your setup. You need to brake whenever you’re faced with a situation where you can’t pedal. 

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Getting quality brake pads is as cheap as buying a bottle of water. Whether you have disc brakes or not, this is a significant upgrade because it’s easier and less expensive than upgrading your rotors and calipers.

  1. Change Your Drivetrain

If you have a two-by or three-by drivetrain, you have to shift up at the front of your bike. While this does provide a lot of range in gearing options, it’s also more complex. If you’re ok with losing a bit of coverage, you can go one by. 

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This involves removing all your front chainring—a length of chainring your front derailleur shift cable and shifter.

In their place, this relatively inexpensive single-speed chain ring. Since single-speed chain rings don’t need to shift, their teeth can be optimized to hold the chain on. 

Performing such a conversion can improve reliability, make your bike quieter, increase ground clearance, reduce cockpit clutter, and reduce the weight of your bike by a whole pound.

FAQs

How do I make my hardtail better?

The most common way is to upgrade your bike’s components and the bike itself. A better quality frame, fork, handlebar, saddle, chainrings, and crank will give you a more comfortable ride with a smoother gear change.

Are hardtails faster than full suspension?

Yes, hardtails are faster than full suspension. A hardtail will allow you to go faster than a full-suspension bike – provided that you are comfortable with your bike’s equipment, are experienced at riding off-road, and have good form.

Should you clip in when mountain biking?

Yes, it’s essential to clip in. Clipping in allows you more accurate gear shifting and overall control of your bike, as well as increases safety by preventing the pedals and rear wheel from slipping out of gear while cruising down the hill on two wheels.

Conclusion

I hope you found some of these cheap MTB upgrades useful or at least entertaining. The most important thing to remember is that your mountain bike will work better, and you’ll ride faster if it’s tuned up properly. 

I recommend you go over a few of your pedal’s kickstands and brakes at the very least once a year.