How To Update An Old Mountain Bike The Right Way

Last Updated on March 10, 2022

You might have noticed that your bike is holding you down whenever you’re going on the trails. If so, it most likely means you should update its parts.

You don’t need to buy a brand-new one unless your bike isn’t fit enough or if it’s too old. All you need to do is to change a few components to improve your performance when riding.

Here we’ll show you what you should do to update your mountain bike. We’ll also help you decide if you should just get a brand-new bike. It’s all about getting that right feel when shredding the trails, no matter how old your bike is, right?

How to Know If My Mountain Bike Is Too Old

Your bike is undoubtedly old if it’s already around for a decade or more. This includes the components it has, the geometry, and the technology it uses.

You should also check the condition of your bike if it’s still rideable as you might need to change a few damaged parts and upgrade it to increase its performance.

The latest bikes use different sizes and compositions to help the rider become more confident on the trail as people these days like to ride more aggressively.

There are also a lot of bike disciplines that have shown up over the years so the technology has evolved to fit the rider’s preference.

Are the Upgrades Worth It?

giant reign

Upgrading your bike gives you a lot of benefits. One good example is that you can experience the latest technologies that bike brands have created to improve your performance on the trails.

This allows you to go faster during the climbs and the descents, while also fueling you with confidence to go through any kind of technical terrain.

What to Upgrade on a Mountain Bike


Getting a new drivetrain provides better-pedaling efficiency on your bike. Most bikes these days opt for a 1x conversion with a wider gear range. This makes shifting your mountain bike much easier.

You also must get a narrow-wide chainring, clutch derailleur, and a chain that’s compatible with your drivetrain.

Dropper post

Changing your regular seat post into a droppers post removes the effort of getting off your bike just to slam down your seat to prepare for the descents. All you need to do is press a button when you have a dropper post with you. This lets you put your seat into any height that you prefer.


Having an old bike means you have an old tire that either wore out or is unsuitable for your new riding style. You need to replace it and find the perfect tire to improve your bike’s performance.

Check its thread profile, compound, and the level of puncture protection. Having the best tires to go biking with gives you more control on the trails.

Going tubeless

Going tubeless has grown increasingly popular for every mountain biker as it saves you the hassle of getting flat tires. Converting your wheels to a tubeless setup also allows you to run in lower tire pressures. This increases grip while still minimizing the chances of getting punctured.

Brake pads and rotors

It’s a good idea to check the lifespan of your brake pads and rotors if you’ve got disc brakes. These parts wear out the more miles you put on it. Because of this, it’s recommended that you get sintered pads and performance rotors to increase your braking power.

Upgrading to hydraulic brakes from mechanical brakes is also a necessity these days especially with the more aggressive trails we have now. These brakes provide more braking power. This also means you can exert less effort to stop your bike.


You don’t have to change your fork or rear suspension especially if you’re already running on high-end brands like Fox or RockShox. Just give it a proper suspension service and you’re good to go.

The performance of the suspensions on your bike will usually degrade the more you ride it as dirt piles up in its internals. Just take it to your local suspension service center for some cleaning and greasing so it can perform just like when it was still new.

Can I Still Use My Old Components?

You can just use your old bike if you’re on a budget and your components are still fully functional. You can then buy once you can already afford to buy a brand-new one.

But take note that using an old bike means that you will have lower performance on the trails compared to using a brand-new one.

When Should I Buy a New Mountain Bike?

If it doesn’t fit anymore

Sometimes the bike you purchased is smaller or larger than you think. Bikes have different sizes and weight and it’s important that you get one that’s the right size for you to have a more comfortable experience riding it.

Damaged frame

You need to buy another bike if you have a damaged frame that’s fitted with old components. Trying to fix any cracks or dents on your frame doesn’t mean that your bike is still strong as it used to be.

It’s better to find a new one rather than waiting for it to break which might become a one-way ticket to the hospital.

If Your Bike Is Too Old

The mountain bike industry keeps changing and upgrading their bike technologies and geometries yearly to achieve optimum performance. This means that specific sizes in each component will change while the old ones will phase out.

You will have a hard time searching for the right part when upgrading your bike if it’s already a decade old. There’s also a chance that you have to downgrade to replace a part because you can’t find any high-end components that fit your bike.


ghost amr

Mountain biking is an expensive sport. Some might even think it’s crazy to buy a bike that’s priced like a car.

But that’s what it is, and we can’t change the fact that the production process of bike frames and components are more meticulous and complex compared to cars and motorcycles.

So it’s sometimes better to just learn how to update an old mountain bike or upgrade it with newer components instead of getting a whole new mountain bike.

Sometimes, it’s just about getting the right combination and purchasing the needed parts to make your old mountain bike work and look like a new one.

If your bike’s FUBAR, consider getting yourself a new one! Here’s our list of the best mountain bikes under $300.

Related: The Parts of a Mountain Bike Explained