Best Road Bike Upgrades 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

As a cyclist, you want your bike performing to the best of its ability at all times so that you enjoy riding it. This is why at some point you will have to get some bicycle upgrades to boost its performance.

While some significant boosts to your bike’s performance may cost you a lot of money, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Upgrades for road bikes are available in different shapes and sizes, from something as small and simple as clipless bike pedals to bigger upgrades such as new carbon wheels.

Whatever bike upgrade you choose to go with, the result is totally worth it as it will not only boost performance but also the overall aesthetic of your bike.

It goes without saying though that big upgrades, like getting a set of new wheels, may have the biggest impact on your bike’s overall performance, but they cost more. It’s a good thing that the small ones will also make you stand out and help you stay comfortable when cycling.

We’ve combined a list of best bicycle upgrades so you’ll know where to start. Read on!

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Road Bike Upgrades

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the road bike upgrades that most people buy).

  • Power Meter – SRM Origin Road Carbon Power Meter Top Pick
  • Carbon Wheels – Superteam 50mm Clincher Wheelset 700c Runner-up
  • Suppler Tires – Vittoria Corsa G2.0 Foldable Road Bicycle Tire Runner-up

Top 5 Best Road Bike Upgrades 2020 – Our Reviews:

1. Power Meter

A power meter is a device that can be fitted into a bike to measure the power output of the rider as they pedal. There are different types of power meters but they all work by measuring power using a strain gauge.

This strain gauge reacts every time force is applied to it. The force, also known as torque, is calculated against the velocity which results in a watts power readout.

The Power meter allows you to maintain a reasonable pace as you ride your bike and gives you important information at the end of your ride. This information can help in analyzing your performance and identifying areas you need to improve on.

An example of one of the best available power meters is the SRM Origin Road Carbon Power Meter.

SRM Origin Road Carbon Power Meter

The SRM Origin Road Carbon Power Meter makes for a great bike lift as it features a 144 point calibration protocol that gives you the best kind of accuracy and ensures consistency. The power meter uses the LOOK carbon crank arm that’s known to give a superior ratio of weight to stiffness.

This SRM Origin power meter device is lightweight coming in at just 599 g.

Its LOOK crank arm was fashioned with Trilobe Technology that enables it to work great in three different lengths: 170 mm, 172.5 mm, and 175 mm. All you need to do is rotate the Trilobe pedal inserts.

This power meter also offers you almost limitless compatibility with the 24 mm and 30 mm spindles, meaning it can be used on any frame out there.

When you’re getting batteries for this device, you have the option of buying the actual proprietary SRM battery that features 1900 hours of battery life. Rechargeable batteries also work just fine.

Key Features

  • 144 calibration protocol
  • Weighs 599 g
  • Functions at three different lengths of 170 mm, 172.5 mm, and 175 mm

Pros

  • Accurate and consistent
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to swap between bikes
  • Can use rechargeable batteries
  • Stiff
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Can only broadcast over ANT+

2. Carbon Wheels

Carbon wheels are both incredibly strong and lightweight. As such, they are sought-after in major competitions and races and have become highly preferred compared to aluminum wheels.

They’re popular among cyclists today as they’re made by companies with a wealth of experience in both engineering and manufacturing. Over time, a lot has been improved in carbon wheels which resulted in lower prices.

So, if you have the intention of tackling steeper grades, you need to get yourself a pair of wheels that are lower in profile. However, if you’re looking to improve your performance on flatter surfaces, a high profile like the 50 mm will be ideal for you.

Combined with a great set of brakes, carbon wheels offer a remarkable performance which is why they’re a brilliant upgrade for your bike that will improve your ride, performance, and in the process, cut down the weight. Plus, a carbon wheelset looks great too.

A great example is the Superteam 50mm Clincher Wheelset 700c.

Superteam 50mm Clincher Wheelset 700c

The Superteam 50mm Clincher Wheelset comes with a disc that provides a great platform for 23c to about 50c gravel, or cyclocross tire. This wheelset is made of premium Toray carbon fiber at t700c.

It offers awesome strength to weight ratio and works great whether on your normal road bike or on your gravel rig. It’s aerodynamic, incredibly stiff, and perfect whether you’ll be doing short-distance rides or trying out longer ones such as a 200-mile bike ride.

Key Features

  • Made of premium carbon fiber
  • 50mm clincher
  • 700cc

Pros

  • Graphene brake track
  • Aerodynamic
  • Tubeless design

Cons

  • Expensive

3. Suppler Tires

While wind resistance is mostly responsible for your energy loss as you ride, rolling resistance comes in a close second. As such, it’s important to go for a suppler bike tire as it will perform better compared to a rigid tire that will slow you down just like the wind.

Bike manufacturers often spec down some parts of the bicycle so that they’re within a given price point and unfortunately, that could mean tires too so that the overall cost is cut. An upgrade can therefore make a huge difference.

To reduce energy loss you could invest in suppler tires like the Vittoria Corsa Foldable Road Bike Tire.

Vittoria Corsa G2.0 Foldable Road Bicycle Tire

The Vittoria Corsa Foldable bike tire is a tubeless one that adds just around 70 g to the overall tire weight. It’s a tire choice for many professional riders in different world-class competitions.

It comes with a premium cotton casing that easily conforms closer to the surface of the road, giving you that much-needed smooth ride. It also offers a better grip and facilitates easier rolling.

For faster speeds, this bicycle tire features a functionalized Graphene 2.0 compound. It also has four compounds around the tread area to make it last longer by reducing wear, provide lower resistance, and give the bike a better grip around the sides.

Key Features

  • Premium cotton casing
  • Tubeless
  • Graphene 2.0 compound
  • 4 compounds in treads

Pros

  • They’re fast
  • Supple to reduce rolling resistance
  • Have improved wear rate
  • Tubeless set-up

Cons

  • The sidewalls end up staining

4. Water Bottle Holder

A water bottle holder upgrade is a great one to go for if you would like to change your bike but on a budget. Water bottle holders are important as they give you freedom as you ride and a good one will make sure you don’t have to struggle when all you want to do is grab your drink while you ride.

Getting a water bottle holder upgrade also makes your road bike look cooler, especially if you choose a stylish and durable bottle cage. A good example of a great water bottle cage is the Anjoy Ultra Light Full Carbon Cage that is perfect for your road bike.

Anjoy Ultra Light Full Carbon Fiber Bike Water Bottle Cage

This is a lightweight water bottle holder made of a strong, corrosion-resistant, and non-deformable carbon fiber. It steadily holds the bottle even when you’re on a bumpy road.

The top part of this Anjoy bottle cage has a protruding design that will make sure your bottle is firmly held. It also makes it easier for one to grab the water bottle and restack it.

Lastly, it comes with greatly designed bolt holes that allow hex screws with larger heads and are recessed enough so that your bottle is not mangled by the screw.

Key Features

  • Weighs 30 g
  • Carbon fiber material

Pros

  • Made of advanced material
  • Has an exquisite look
  • Ideal for both road bikes and mountain bikes

Cons

  • Not suitable for smaller bottles

5. Handlebars

Sometimes the best upgrades involve something as simple as changing up the handlebar. This is a budget-friendly move but it could significantly improve your experience on the bike.

Upgrading your handlebars isn’t so you could reduce the weight, but rather increase your comfort level when you’re on the bike. A great handlebar improves your posture and a good example is the EC90 Full Carbon Fiber Road Bicycle Handlebar

EC90 Full Carbon Fiber Road Bicycle Handlebar

This handlebar is available in carbon to fit your hands better. Its carbon construction also makes it lightweight.

The EC90 Full Carbon also damps the vibrations that are transmitted from the front wheel and the fork, enabling you to have the most comfortable ride. It’s made in the standard mold of a race bike and it fits the brake system perfectly.

Key Features

  • Carbon design
  • Similar design to standard race bike
  • Weighs 300 grams

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Not as durable as aluminum

Conclusion

As you can see, instead of getting yourself a new bike, you can just get high-quality road bicycle upgrades that will make for a great riding experience.

You may like to get the best upgrades for road bike such as the bottom bracket, tires, handlebars, and the likes but before you upgrade bikes, carefully check it to see which one would be the best bike fit. If you’re not sure, get someone with knowledge of bikes to help you.

Remember, an upgrade bike riders appreciate is one that saves them money while improving the look and overall performance of the bike.