New carbon components can transform your old road bike into a faster and more comfortable companion.
Editor's Note: This article is courtesy of the team at Art's Cyclery. The original post can be found here.
So you are wondering what are the best - and most noticeable - carbon upgrades for your road bike. Check out this video for answers.
Regardless of whether you ride a carbon or aluminum frame, there is a select list of upgrades that will make a large difference in the way your bike performs. Although this list is specifically referencing carbon parts, don't be scared off. Upgrading to carbon doesn't have to mean buying the lightest, newest, and most expensive products on the market. The most important things to consider when upgrading are comfort and function, not just weight savings.
Without a doubt, the most noticeable carbon upgrade that can be made to any road bike is the addition of carbon wheels. Although they are likely the most expensive upgrade, the gains you'll experience in switching to carbon wheels will be equally as large.
Losing extra rotational weight will make the bike be more nimble through turns and will make it more responsive to steering input. A lighter carbon wheelset also allows for faster acceleration and makes it easier to maintain speed. Finally, a carbon wheelset will be more comfortable than an aluminum one, making for a better overall ride experience.
Arguably the most important touch point on your bike is your handlebars. For those still running aluminum handlebars, switching to carbon bars can be a dramatic upgrade. The biggest difference in switching to carbon bars is comfort. Carbon handlebars absorb much more road vibration and chatter, allowing you to spend more time in the saddle and remain comfortable.
On top of offering comfort, carbon also improves stiffness, meaning that you'll lose less power through the handlebars when getting out of the saddle to climb or sprint. Finally, carbon is typically lighter than aluminum, so for those inclined to spend the money, grams can be shed quite easily.
Lastly is the seatpost. Although some might argue for a saddle upgrade, our recommendation is swapping seatposts. Saddles are a great way to save weight, but they aren't the best way to increase comfort in the same way that a carbon seatpost will. Upgrading to carbon eliminates a lot of road chatter that would otherwise go straight into the saddle and your more tender parts. This holds especially true for those of you who do a lot of gravel riding, cyclocross racing, or off-trail exploring.
Upgrading to a carbon seatpost eliminates a lot of road chatter that would otherwise go straight into the saddle and your more tender parts.
Check out all the Arts Cyclery road wheels and road components.