Whether you’re into gravel, road or mountain biking, this is an extensive list of accessories that you can buy to give yourself a better riding experience.
There are so many different types of bikes and types of cycling, so some accessories will not apply to all bikes.
For example, road cycling is usually kept as light as possible, so minimal accessories are usually favoured. However, more long-distance cycling (gravel and bike packing) may want more accessories as distance is favoured over speed.
To make this article easier to read, I’ve split the accessories into different areas of the bike. Some items may fit into more categories than one, but I’ve placed them into the best-fit category so as to not duplicate them.
Accessories for Different Areas of Your Bike
The List Of Accessories
There are loads of different types of bells or even horns for your bike. From traditional cog-based, lever-action and even electric bells and horns. The function of your bell is to alert other cyclists and pedestrians of your presence. It’s important that your bell fits in a place to allow you to still brake quickly if you need to.
2. Bike Handlebar Lights
Gonna be cycling at night? A good strong light is essential for your handlebars. These types of lights come in many sizes and brightness. They will usually have an option to vary the brightness, some also come with a strobe function.
One thing I like about more modern bike lights is that they can be charged via USB which means that if you’re out and about, you can power or charge them on longer rides without having to carry extra batteries.
3. Bike Phone Mount
Navigation is an essential part of cycling for many people. Having a solid reliable mount is important. Also, being able to quickly remove your phone from the mount for a photo is important for some people as well. The best phone mounts for your bike right now are the QuadLock and Peak Design mounts.
4. Handlebar Bags
Bikes are small, so every space is usable. A bag can easily fit in the space under the handlebars for carrying extra items. These are popular with bike packers and adventure cyclists.
5. Handlebar Basket
Not so popular with long-distance cycling, but many city bikes have a basket on the front for quickly throwing things in. The advantage is that a basket is in visible sight and you can quickly reach it while on the bike.
6. Bike Handlebar Mirror
When cycling on the road you need to be extra vigilant about cars creeping up on you (especially those electric ones) and to avoid having to keep turning your head all the time, a handlebar mirror can be a great addition to your bike. Or just to check to see if your friend is still there or has fallen behind.
7. Water Bottle Holder
Water is one of the essentials to take with you cycling can take up valuable space on your bike. Especially popular for bikepacking, you can get a water bottle holder that will attach to your handlebars so that you can carry more with you for those longer rides. Plus it’s right there in an easy-to-reach place!
8. Handlebar Extender
Not got enough space on your handlebars to fit everything? Lights, cycle computer, bell…An extender does just what it sounds like. It is attached to your handlebars and gives you an extra bar a few cm in front with lots of attachment space for anything you’d like to attach.
9. Handlebar Bar Ends
These are more of a mountain bike thing. Originally bar ends served to get extra leverage when climbing hills, but they also serve to give extra comfort when doing longer rides – if you think about it your palms are face down on a traditionally flat bar handlebar. Bar ends will give you the option to have your palms face each other, which is a more natural position for them.
Reflectors are not everyone’s cup of tea (especially if you have lights on your bike), but they are commonly attached to your handlebars.
11. Grip Tape
That tape that you have on your handlebars (especially on drop bars) – you can change that for something brighter, more grippy or just better quality that comes with your bike.
If you really care about speed, aerobars are a great addition to your bike. They allow you to get into a more compact, lower and narrower position on your bike to basically make you more aerodynamic – hence the name!
13. Cycle computer/GPS
Stats and navigation are super important these days, so getting a cycle computer or GPS navigation device is popular these days. Whether it’s your speed, distance or just the route you want to see, a cycle computer is a nice way to see these things with the advantage of being compact and having a long battery life. I prefer to use my phone, but it’s bulkier and the battery runs out quite quickly.
Your handlebars are a cool place to attach a small camera to record your ride or just for safety (unfortunately). The GoPro action cam is a popular option for recording. It does slow-mo and is very durable.
Alternatively, you can get cameras that record and overwrite at intervals (for example 60 seconds), so you can record any dangerous driving around you, but not worry about your memory card filling up. You just click to save when you’d like to keep the last incident on the card.
1. Bike Seat Cover
Whether it’s memory foam or gel-based, a seat cover can add extra comfort to your saddle. They are quick to put on and take off, so an easy addition to your bike.
2. Leather Bike Seat
A leather bike seat is a nice addition to your bike. They are more durable and will mould to the shape of your bum. They are much more expensive than other saddles, but some people feel it’s worth it for what you gain. Brooks is a popular brand for leather saddles having started producing them in 1886
3. Seat Lights
If you’re cycling at night your bike can never have enough lights. If there is room, then the seat post of your bike is a good place to put them. Either solid red or strobing lights are popular.
4. Saddle Bag
The seat post is one of the most popular places to attach a small saddle bag. What you keep in it is your choice, but for me, it’s usually my bike tools and puncture repair kit (including spare innertubes).
5. Bikepacking Seat Bag
A Bikepacking bag is more of a recent invention but explained simply, they are just a long, narrow bag that attaches to the seat/seat post and allows you to store several litres of contents. They became popular because they cut down on the need to use a bike rack and panniers which can be heavier. They also fit more bike types which basically allows you to do more or travel paths that you may not have been able to before!
6. Seat Reflector
Most people take this off, but the seat post is a popular place for a reflector. For me, a light here is a better option, but if you can fit both, go for it!
7. Seat Suspension
Better, more modern seat suspension posts have become popular recently. Obviously, the purpose is to help take out any bumps in your ride if you don’t have suspension on your bike. Remember though that it’s only the seat vibration that they help with and if you don’t have front suspension or some kind of handlebar suspension, then they only solve part of the problem.
1. Frame Bags
Frame bags are a cool way to make use of space on your bike. There are two types you’ll typically see:
1. Inline frame bag: This is usually a triangle-shaped bag that will fit within the triangle part of your frame.
2. Top tube bag: These are small bags that sit on the top tube of your bike by the handlebars.
2. Suspension Forks
Want to dampen your ride? Switching your front forks out for suspension forks will even out the bumps in your ride. There is a disadvantage to using suspension forks though. They are heavier than standard forks, plus they are less efficient for energy transfer from your body into the bike. This means that it takes more effort to cycle.
3. Water Bottle Holder/Cage
The standard place to hold your water bottle is on the down tube. There are many different bottle holders or cages that you can get to fit there. Or alternatively on the seat tube.
If you are using an inline frame bag though, you might lose some of these positions on your bike.
4. Water Bottle
For most rides, you are going to need to take water with you for the journey. Water bottles are usually cheap and easy to get hold of.
Alternatively, you can use the water bottle to store other things in, like snack bars or even your bike tools.
5. Hydration Bladder
Another way to carry water on your bike is using a hydration bladder similar to when hiking.
You can either buy a dedicated inline bladder that is triangle in shape and fits similar to an inline frame bag or just use a hiking one and place it inside your frame bag.
The main function of a bike’s mudguards is to stop water and mud from spraying up from the road onto your face and body. There are various types and fittings of mudguards and different ones suit different bikes better.
7. Bike Lock
Important if you’re leaving your bike alone and especially if you’re in a city. A good bike lock is important. They come in 3 main types: Chain Locks, U/D Locks and Cable Locks.
8. Bike Alarm
A bike alarm is very useful for theft prevention along with your lock. They are usually vibration-triggered and emit a high-pitched sound to deter potential thieves.
9. Rear Bike Rack
A rear rack for attaching panniers or other bags is popular on touring or city bikes. If you need to carry shopping or lots of gear for an adventure, a rack provides the extra space for this.
Panniers are the name given to bags that you attach to your bike (usually the rear rack, mentioned above). They come in different sizes and some convert into a backpack too for when you leave your bike and want to carry your possessions with you. The word pannier comes from the French “pan” for bread bag.
11. Cargo Net
A cargo net is useful to use in combination with your rear bike rack when you are not using panniers and you’d like to attach items to your bike. For example, if you take your coat off, you can use the cargo net to attach it to your bike rack without the worry of it falling off.
12. Bike stand
All bikes use to come with a stand, but not so popular anymore. You are more likely to see a stand on a city/hybrid bike, but due to wanting to save on weight, you would never see one on a road bike.
Bike wheels can be very confusing. There are lots of different standards and sizes that don’t match up. The most popular sizes are 700C (29 inches) for road cycling and 26 inches for mountain bikes.
Why might you want to change your bike wheels? If you are road cycling and concerned about weight. Or if you have a gravel bike and would like to experiment with a more comfortable ride off-road.
It’s become common to switch from 700C wheels on gravel bikes to 650b to allow for wider tyres. Many gravel bikes don’t have great tyre clearance so there is a limit to the tyre width you can use. However, as 650b wheels are smaller, this problem is solved.
Bike tyres come in many different sizes, widths and treads.
Road bikes will have narrow slick tyres designed for speed.
Gravel and mountain bikes go with thicker, gripper tyres with visible tread.
The type of tyre you choose may change depending on the surface, season and how wet/dry the ground might be.
Everyone is going to need to pump their tyres so a bike pump is one of those top essentials that you can’t do without.
There are different pumps you can buy. One option is a floor pump that is bulky and you keep at home. Another option is a smaller pump that you attach to your bike. Most people opt for both.
More modern alternatives are CO2 inflators which are lighter and faster than traditional pumps.
4. Inner Tubes
If you don’t want to worry about fixing punctures when out on your bike, carrying inner tubes is an easy solution. Instead of having to fiddle around fixing the puncture, you just switch out the inner tube instead.
5. Tyre levers
To get your tyres on and off, or to remove your bike’s inner tube, you need some tyre levers.
6. Puncture Repair Kit
An essential for every bike and you never know when you’re gonna need it. Puncture repair kits are cheap and easy to use. Make sure you carry one with you.
Safety is essential and a good cycling helmet is part of that. One important thing to remember is to replace your helmet every 5-7 years as the materials degrade.
2. Cycle Shorts
Cycle shorts are designed to make cycling more comfortable. They are tight around the thigh to stop chaffing and often have padding to make sitting on the hard saddle easier over longer distances.
3. Cycle Tops
Cycle tops come in various forms. They can be a light t-shirt or a more technical zipped jersey. The thing to remember with cycling is that your body temperature can change quickly, so layering is good. Zipped jerseys allow you to do this and often also come with “pockets” for snacks on the rear.
4. Cycle Jacket
You never know what weather you’re going to encounter while out cycling. A good water and windproof jacket that’s also light is essential in changing conditions.
5. Cycle Shoes
Your feet are in close contact with the road when cycling so come into contact with dust, mud and water. A good waterproof shoe can be helpful. Also if you are riding clipless/clip-in pedals, then shoes with attachments are necessary.
6. Cycle Backpack
If you are doing shorter cycles and don’t want to carry equipment on your actual bike then a bike backpack is useful. As the backpack has your body between the bike and the ground, then vibrations are dampened and items like laptops will be safer from bumps.
7. Cycle Glasses
Whether it’s to protect your eyes from the sun, wind, or rain, or just to look cool, cycling glasses are a great addition to make your cycling experience more comfortable and fun.
8. Cycle Arm Warmers/Protectors
I mentioned about layering with cycle tops…and arm warmers are a great way to do this. If you’re wearing a short sleeve t-shirt but it turns a bit cooler (and it’s still not time for a jacket), you can use arm warmers to keep your arms warm.
Alternatively thinner versions of “arm warmers” can protect your arms from harsh sun when you’re out for hours and sun cream just isn’t gonna do the job.
1. Replacement Pedals
The pedals you use can affect the comfort of your ride. Replacing standard pedals for larger grippier versions can help stop feet slipping and reduce knee pain etc…with better foot position.
Also, if you are going to go clipless, then you will have to switch to the special clipless pedals, ironically that clip to your feet.
2. Chain Upgrade
More of a replacement than an upgrade, you should replace your chain after about 2,000 miles (3,200km) to prevent wear to other bike components.
You can however upgrade for vanity and switch your chain to a nice colourful one.
3. Bike Rear Cassette
Depending on what size your bike will take, you may want to upgrade the cassette to get better climbing torque for hills. The teeth on the big cog at the back that determines how much torque you’ve got, and the more teeth you have, the easier you’ll find it to pedal.
4. Power Meter
Power meters used to just be for the pros, but now you see many amateurs adding them to their bikes too.
The purpose of a power meter is to measure the force that you are pushing through the pedals so that you can judge your performance.
There are 3 types of power meter, but they all fit on around the pedals and crank arms of your bike.
5 Bike Wall Mount
Many people don’t have much space to store their bikes, so a wall bike mount is useful to have. Basically, they allow you to store your bike on the wall in different positions which can save valuable floor space.
6. Turbo Trainer
Not for everyone, but a turbo trainer can be a useful tool to keep up riding when you can’t get outside.
Basically, you attach the back wheel and it allows you to cycle inside statically.
Keen cyclists often use turbo trainers during colder winter months to keep up their fitness.
7. Bike Car Rack/Carrier
Bike car carriers are popular for mountain bikers or casual cyclists that want to go somewhere nice to cycle and stay within that area.
8. Bike Child Seat
As the name sounds, a child seat can attach to the rear rack of your bike.
9. Bike Trailer
If you need to expand the carrying capacity of your bike, then you can attach a trailer to the rear hub.
A trailer could carry extra supplies if you’re cycle-touring or even children if you’re going for a leisurely cycle and they aren’t up for riding themselves yet.
10. Bike Frame Protector
Most bikes come with a chainstay protector which is a piece of plastic film stuck to the frame where the chain may rub or hit. This protector protects the frame from scratches and damage. You can buy and apply more frame protectors for other areas of your bike frame too.
11. Bike Tyre Pressure Gauge
If you want to get your tyres to the right pressure you can’t just rely on feel. Even if you’re pump has a gauge on it, sometimes they can be unreliable. Using a dedicated pressure gauge will give you a more accurate pressure reading.
Who is This Article For?
This post is for anyone who has a bike! Whether you cycle often or not, it’s nice to have your bike look and feel as best as it can.
There are small upgrades and bigger upgrades. Some of the accessories are for safety and some are just for fun. Most accessories are for the bike, however, some are also for the rider!