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Gavin Richardson

10 Feb 2024

Transform Your Ride: Essential Mountain Bike Upgrades

What We Covering?

  • Tyres
  • Suspension
  • Pedals
  • Brakes
  • Dropper posts
  • Wheels
  • Drivetrain
  • Saddle
  • Mudguards
  • Tubeless
  • Cockpit

Welcome to Cykel House where we're passionate about helping you transform your mountain bike with essential upgrades.

As avid riders ourselves, we understand the importance of having the right gear to tackle any trail with confidence. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, upgrading key components of your mountain bike can make a world of difference in performance, comfort, and overall enjoyment.

In this guide, we'll explore a range of upgrades, from tyres to cockpit accessories, to help you take your ride to the next level.

1. Tyres:

Tyres are a great upgrade to make, grip is pretty essential, right? So making sure you have the correct tyre is crucial. From a big wide tread pattern for grip in the thick british slop to a semi slick tyre that's great for summer cruising down faster rolling terrain.

Lots of things to consider here from sidewall thickness to compound.

Explore our selection of tyres from top tyre brands, all the tyres we sell are tubeless ready.

Onza porcupine tyres white

Tyres & Rim Protection

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2. Suspension:

Upgrading your bike's suspension can make a world of difference to your riding, ground hugging traction is the aim of the game. Whether you prefer the adjustability of air or the reliability of coil, we offer a range of forks and rear shocks to suit your preferences. Our expert team can also assist with tuning your suspension for the best performance on the trails.

Most budget suspension has very limited adjustability in terms of rebound and compression. The higher spec unit, for example, Factory offerings from Fox, the more adjustability you get. Meaning you can dial in your suspension and, in theory, ride faster.


Smashing bike park laps at DYFI and want a tripple crown DH fork? Looking for a feather weight XC fork? We have you covered.


Air shocks are great for adjustability, so when you put a few pounds on over xmas put a bit more air in, problem solved. Although all this adjustability comes at a cost. You don't have the same small bump sensitivity of a coil and the progressivity of an air shock can be a feeling some don't like. 

Coil shocks are great for downhill riding yet pedalling uphill can sometimes be more of a tow. But that's not the same for every bike, it all depends on the leverage curve and pedalling platform.

There are lots of things to consider when buying new suspensionMake sure to read our suspension guide before you make a purchase.

EXT coil shock suspension


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3. Pedals:

High-quality pedals are a must, when you upgrade from a poor set of pedals to a decent set you really notice the difference. When your feet are stuck to the pedal like glue, it's confidence inspiring. Don't forget you'll need propper riding shoes to match. These will have a far grippier sole than normal trainers and some will have features such as D30 to protect your feet.


Alloy pedals are more expensive for obvious reasons. But the logevity and quality far surpass their composite counterpart. We did a review of our favourite pedals of all time, the Burgtec Penthouse Pedals


Some composite options offer great value for money. When upgrading, if you do choose to go down the composite route make sure they have replaceable metal pins if possible.

Whether you prefer the freedom of flat pedals or the efficiency of clipless systems, we have a variety of options to choose from. Discover the benefits of upgrading your pedals and explore top brands and models in our store

Burgtec penthouse mk5 pedals

Pedals | Flat Or Clipped

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4. Brakes:

Stay safe and in control on the trails with reliable braking systems, upgrade to disc brakes for superior stopping power and modulation, especially in wet or muddy conditions. Explore our selection of brake calipers, rotors, and pads from trusted brands to enhance your bike's braking performance.

Brake Pads

Brake pads can be a great way to improve your brakes for little outlay. Resin pads will have a good initial bite but are prone to faiding when hot. So on long decents, sintered pads are your friend.

Brake Rotors

Rotors are also a great way of increasing stopping power without costing the earth. You can increase the diameter of the disk and you can also increase thickness with the likes of HS2 rotors from SRAM.

Brake Set

A full new brake set might be what you are looking for, a good brake set helps you out on the trails, as you can brake later before corners which will make you faster down to the bottom.

Magura raceline brake caliper


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5. Dropper Posts:

Don't have a dropper post yet? Why not?

A dropper post is definitely an essential upgrade in my opinion. When descending your saddle is out of the way, but at the push of a button you can have that saddle at the perfect height for climbing.

Choose between mechanical, hydraulic and even wireless options to adjust saddle height on the fly. Our team can assist with installation and adjustment to ensure a perfect fit for you and your bike.

Wireless Dropper

Wireless droppers are definitely not a cheap upgrade, neither are they a necessity. But if you want a clean cockpit and a post that can be switched from bike to bike easily, you may want to consider one. 

Cable Actuated Dropper

Cable actuated dropper posts are seen more regularly on most bikes. They can be picked up for just over £100 and in my opinion are a necessity. 


Already have a dropper post? A new lever can make even the most basic dropper post feel great. The Hope dropper lever is a clear winner when it comes to feel and adjustability.

Magura dropper post

Seat posts

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6. Wheels:

Upgrade to lightweight and durable wheels for improved acceleration, cornering, and overall performance.

Whether you're seeking the stiffness of carbon fiber or the reliability of alloy, we have a variety of rims and hubs to suit your needs. We can custom build practically any hub and rim combo you would like. Even if you can't see them on our website we can still source them. 

Want one of our hubs building onto your rims or vise verser? Give us a call on 01977 520852 and one of our expert wheel builders can discuss it with you.


Upgrading hubs can be a great investment, wheather that be for reliability or high engagement. Hope and Chris King are well known for their long lasting bearings and reliability, while industry nine are way ahead of the competition on the engagement front.


Aluminium wheels can be a more affordable option. They have more flex in the wheel giving it slight dampening properties. Heavier than their carbon brother, but can often be straightened after an impact.


Carbon wheels are lighter in weight generally, but also stiffer. This means that power transfer can be better. This stifness can be bad news on a really heavy impact as it may crack the rim, leaving it unusable. Although many comapanies offer lifetime warranty on their carbon rims these days, so look out for that.

Some people also like the stifness while others may not, as it increases vibration over rough terrain. Unless you have carbon wheels made with fusion fibre like ENVE. This is a blend of materials making them strong but also compliant.

Whether you're seeking the stiffness of carbon fiber or the reliability of alloy, we have a variety of rims and hubs to suit your needs.

View our selection of top wheel/hub brands for your next upgrade.

Industry nine wheelset pink

Wheels & Hubs

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7. Drivetrain:

Upgrading your groupset because it's old and tired? Escaping the 3x life or looking for a weight saving? Many people have moved over to a single gear at the front with 12 at the back. This simplifies your gears only having one shifter/derailleur with little negative effect on gear ratio. Also there is less to go wrong, what's not to be liked about that? Discover the benefits of upgrading your drivetrain and explore options from leading brands.


A decent shifter feels good to touch, solid and defined. Some cheaper shifters can feel flimsy and floppy. Although it doesn't improve performance much, if you favour the feel of a good shifter then it's worth the upgrade.


Some budget derailleurs have far too many plastic parts, either leading them to break or shift innacurately after little use.

I would say a solid upgrade for SRAM would be GX which is comparable to Shimano XT. Anything above these specs have a minimal performance increase and more of a weight saving for people who like to get between the tapes.


A lot of people are toying with different crank sizes these days. With many opting to run shorter cranks, some as short as 155mm. If you want to get real bling you can go for titanium 5DEV cranks that are both light and strong.


A full groupset can be a great upgrade. Be that a complete change from a 3x or 2x groupset to a 1x. Or an upgrade to higher end components or even going wireless with AXS or T-type. We can help you get the right product for your needs and budget.

Sram GX AXS Derailleur


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8. Saddle:

A big comfy gel saddle is what you want? Wrong. Although you may think that will be comfier, it actuallty isnt, it wouldn't support your sit bones on those longer rides causing far more discomfort.

Find comfort and support for long rides with the right saddle upgrade. The WTB Fit Right page is a great tool which helps you find the right size saddle for your body.

Once you know what size you need, explore our selection of saddles designed for optimal ergonomics, pressure relief, and durability. 

Title JS1 saddle brown

Saddles | DJ & MTB

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9. Mudguards:

Mudguards can help keep you riding during those dreary days, making it slightly more bearable.

Keep mud and debris at bay with durable mudguards. Whether you're riding in wet conditions or tackling muddy trails, we offer a variety of front, rear, and full-coverage options to suit your needs.

Explore our range of mudguards and stay clean and dry on your next ride.

Burgtec bmc mudguard


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10. Tubeless:

You can experience fewer flats and improved traction with a tubeless tyre setup making it a great upgrade to do to your bike. Increase grip by being able to run lower pressures than you can with tubes. I have run tubeless for years and have never had a puncture, aside from a few ripped sidewalls on razor rocks.

We also have a guide on how to set up tubeless tyres.

- Be careful to ensure you have tubeless compatible wheels and tyres before you try to convert.

Peatys tubeless sealant


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11. Cockpit:

What do we mean when we say cockpit? Handlebars, grips, stems, stem spacers, top-caps and bolts. Some things will get changed just for the aesthetics. Shiny anodized pieces are great for customizing your bike to look unique and your own.


There are many different things to look at when chosing handlebars. Rise, this is the height of the bars. Width, how wide your bars are, this will change the manouverability of the bike. Narrower bars helps navigate through tight singletrack but could be a bit twitchy in high speed bike park situations.


A stem can be a great upgrade both in style and form. A coloured stem can make your bike stand out from the rest. You can also tailor your ride feel with different length stems. A shorter stem stem will make steering feel faster and more direct. A longer stem will make steering feel slower.


Contact points are always going to be the best upgrades. The thickness of grips will make a difference to how they feel in your hand. Then you have the different types of compound, some will be more shock absorbant but may be more uncomfortable on longer rides. A firmer compound will mean you will feel more vibrations through your hands. Sometimes it's trial and error to find the right grips for you. Our favourite grips are the Burgtec Bartender Pro be sure to read our guide on them.

Top Caps & Stem Spacers

Stem spacers, top-caps and bolts are not generally performance related (except for maybe a slight weight saving), but they look great in combination with your other coloured bits and are very affordable. 

Final Words:

Ready to transform your ride? Visit Cykel House today to see our range of essential mountain bike upgrades and take your riding to the next level. Our knowledgeable team is here to assist with product recommendations, installation, and expert advice to ensure you get the most out of your upgrades. Dont forget to also consider your style of riding as that will also determine what upgrades will benefit you.



Some say Gavin invented the wheel. They are lying of course, but he does build a mean set.
Chief of Cykel House, aging rider and father of 3. Gavin has been riding the majority of his life in multiple different forms. He created Cykel House out of passion and enthusiasm for the sport which cannot be matched.
Always on the hunt for the best products and latest trends his finger is right on the pulse.

Interesting fact - Gavin won a handwriting competition at age 7. What a legend.
Likes - A well built berm, beer and raw sprouts
Dislikes - Stainburn woods, headset cable routing and lycra

Gavin working on a bike

Cover image by: Lewis Bell Photography