Skip to main content

These are the mountain bike upgrades that will increase performance

Get the mountain bike of your dreams with these three easy upgrades

Riding a mountain bike in the Five Ten Freerider Pro BCA shoes.

If you’re considering getting a quality mountain bike, maybe you’ve noticed that it can come with a hefty price tag. Men’s mountain bikes, women’s — even kid’s mountain bikes can be expensive.

Often, buying a lower-end model with the intention of upgrading the components makes sense, but what upgrades have a return on performance? These three mountain bike upgrades will help you increase your mtb skill and take your riding to the next level.

Upgrade your mountain bike with a dropper seatpost 

cannondale topstone carbon dropper post
Kurt Spurlock

Commonly referred to as a dropper post, this type of seatpost allows the rider to adjust their seat height with the push of a lever — and there’s a chance you don’t have one.

When descending down a trail, it’s best to have the seat all the way down to the frame. This gets the seat out of the way, allowing the rider to be more aggressive on the bike. When going uphill, the seat should be up, allowing the rider to sit comfortably and attack difficult sections as they climb.

A traditional seatpost makes the rider adjust manually. This means putting the seat up when going up a hill, stopping at the top, and putting the seat down to descend. What it really means is the seat is most likely left up for the entirety of the ride. This makes descending uncomfortable and dangerous. Upgrading to a dropper post will drastically change your ride. A comfy seat is also a good thing to look into.

Mountain bike tires

man fixing a bike tire on trail

There’s a good chance that your mtb didn’t come with the greatest tires, or perhaps it didn’t come with tires that are meant for the terrain in your area. Your local bike shop is a great place to start the conversation of what tire would be best for you, given your local terrain.

I prefer to have two different tires on the front and rear of my bike. Up front, I want a wider, more aggressive tire that will provide good traction. In the rear, I’m looking for a slightly narrower, less aggressive tire that will be fast rolling.

Having the same tire front and rear allows both tires to lose traction at the same time. This typically results in a crash. Having a less aggressive rear tire means it will lose traction before your front tire, giving you time to adjust.

The importance of fast-acting brakes

gerogia mountain biking destination ellijay.

Perhaps one of the most important mountain bike upgrades you can make to your bike is to the brakes. As you progress as a rider and begin to ride trails faster, you’ll likely find that braking faster is a must. Faster braking allows for more confidence when you’re gaining speed on those long descents. 

Many mountain bikes come from the shop with organic resin brake pads on the disc brakes. While these pads have great initial bite, their power diminishes rather quickly. Switching to metallic brake pads gives you the lasting braking power you’re looking for. In some instances, the brake rotor may also need changing, as it may only be compatible with resin pads. 

Metallic pads tend to be a bit squeaky, but I’ll take the annoyance over a tumble down the trail! 

Editors' Recommendations

Travis Reill
Hi! I'm Travis, a teacher turned stay-at-home dad turned freelance writer. Mountain biking is my passion. Fortunately, I've…
This van life camper van sleeps 8, goes everywhere, and you can rent it for less than a hotel would cost
Explore the best of the U.S. in these custom-built, four-wheel-drive, go-anywhere rigs
Moterra Campervan rental parked in a Utah National Park campsite.

The quintessential image of modern van life is one of unbridled freedom, of taking to the open road, of living on your terms and going whichever the wind takes you. While that can be pretty accurate, actually living the van life can also be expensive. There’s buying the van, the time and investment required for building it out, and, of course, the looming cost of repairs, which can seriously add up. But what if you could have all the fun of van living without the expense and hassle of actually owning a campervan? That’s where comes in.

Here’s the low-down on Moterra Campervans
Moterra Campervans is a rental agency offering short-term campervan rentals in the United States. These aren’t your old-school Westfalias (no disrespect intended) but high-end, late-model, four-wheel-drive, van life-worthy rigs ready to take you just about anywhere. Picture your next vacation: Trading in your typical hotel room and boring rental sedan for a go-anywhere van life rig purpose-built for exploration.

Read more
You know you’re a mountain biker if…
How you can spot a mountain biker
Mountain biking down a trail in Evo Bike Pants

If you have been mountain biking for a long time, the content of this article won’t come as much of a surprise to you. You likely already know the quirky things that make a mountain biker, well, a mountain biker.

If you are not a mountain biker, or perhaps you are fresh to the sport, some of these quirks and idiosyncrasies may come as a bit of a surprise for you. For some, it may shed some light on why a loved one is so weird. For others, it will be like looking into a crystal ball, showing an inevitable future you can’t run away from.

Read more
3 mountain bike trends we hope to see the industry adopt
Dear mountain bike industry: please make these changes
My Specialized Stumpjumper with Forge + Bond 30AM carbon wheels

Old habits can certainly die hard, and the mountain bike industry is no expectation. For almost two decades, we have seen significant changes proposed in the mountain bike industry face opposition, only to be accepted as the new standard a handful of years later.

And while this opposition to change in mountain biking does have something to do with new technologies not being better than previous ones, opposition to change itself is a factor. 

Read more