Mountain Bike Racing
Quick Fix: Adding tubeless tires like Continental’s Race King ($65) is one of the best ways to drop weight, and you don’t have to worry about pinch flats.
Easy Upgrade: The Fox DOSS dropper seatpost ($339; ridefox.com) lets you position the seat up high for efficient pedaling on climbs, then drop it lower for technical downhills.
Quick Fix: Go with your lightest shoes on race day. Every ounce shaved from shoe weight saves roughly 0.8 second per mile.
Easy Upgrade: A spendy backpack for calories and water is overkill. The Fastdraw Plus from Ultimate Direction has an adjustable handle and agel-compatible pocket.
Quick Fix: Get yourself a pair of Mad-Grip gloves (from $10). They’ll keep you from slipping on greased-up ropes, bars, and walls. Cut off the fingertips so water can drain out.
Easy Upgrade: Because they’re made of rip-stop polyester, Patagonia’s Stretch Planing boardshorts ($79) won’t easily catch on barbed wire or rocks.
Quick Fix: Get a bike fitting and the specialist will likely move your seat forward and lower your handlebars for a more aero position. You can do that yourself.
Easy Upgrade: Clip on Profile Design’s Century aero bars ($99) for even better aerodynamics.
Quick Fix: A cross bike isn’t a necessity. Put fatter tires on your road bike or skinnier ones on your mountain bike.
Easy Upgrade: Because you’ll be running over obstacles, get shoes that are as comfortable on the ground as they are on your pedals, like Pearl Izumi’s X-Project 3.0 ($160).