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How to Make Your Old Bike Feel Brand New


Ah, New Bike Day: one of the best days of the year. Unfortunately, we’re not all made of money, and a lot of the time it makes sense to keep riding the same, steady steed as in seasons past. Whether because of the economy, sentimental attachment, or habit, it doesn’t always make sense to get a shiny new bike when your current ride starts feeling a little slow, uncomfortable, or “tired.”

Lucky for us, there’s a lot you can do to make your old bike feel new, and our friends over at Urban Cycles are more than happy to help!

We’ve compiled a short list of some of our favorite “upgrades” (read: small things you can do to make a world of difference) to help make your bike feel as fun and as fine as the day you got it.

Brake Pads and Brake Cables

Sunsets, smelling roses, erratic Uber drivers… there’s always lots of reasons to stop!

We recommend regularly checking your brake pads for wear, and replacing them sooner rather than later. A part of the issue is safety: worn brake pads are both less effective, and in certain cases, can also cause premature rim failure, which is both a safety issue and can be expensive: you don’t want to have to buy a new wheel because your rim’s split!

If your brakes feel squishy, or sticky, or hard to pull, chances are your cables could use some love, too (unless you’ve got hydraulic brakes: then it’s a “bleed”). Sometimes it’s a matter of simply lubing the cables and housing, but for optimal performance we may recommend just replacing the cables and housing. Cables stretch over time, and though they’re made with rust-resistant materials, it does happen… especially in during “salt on the road” season (i.e., winter).

Have questions about your brake pads or are unsure when they need to be replaced? Swing by the shop! A look is always free.

Drivetrain: Chain, Cassette, Cables

Not unlike your brakes, your drivetrain — that is, your chain, cassette or freewheel, and associated cables — make a big difference in the”feel” of your bike. Chances are, if it’s been a while since you replaced your chain (yes: you do need to replace your chain every 1500-3000 miles!), and you’re noticing it skipping across the gears or not engaging correctly, chances are it’s time to change it.

Our advanced tune up covers the labor for drivetrain replacement, so especially if you’re in need of other work, that’s always a great option!

Contact Points: Saddle, Pedals, Grips/Bar Tape

It’s always important to take care of your contact points! How your saddle fits, whether or not the pedals you’ve got on the bike make sense for your footwear/riding style, and your grips make a big difference how the bike feels — not to mention that a fresh bar warp just makes your bike look…. nice. You know?

We carry a wide range of saddles for all riding types, including high-performance Fizik saddles and the ultimate in comfort, Brooks leather. So far as grips and bar tape, we’ve got plenty of options, too, including some Urban AdvenTours green grips to go along with your green fenders!

Finally, whether you’re looking for flat pedals, toe-clips, LOOK, SPD, SPD-SL, Crank Brothers, Speedplay, or wanting help navigating the wide (and often confusing) world of bike pedals, we’re more than happy to help! And don’t forget we’ve got plenty of cycling-specific footwear and apparel as well.