If you're Bradley Wiggins, you need those $4,000 wheels. The rest of us should first consider these clever, intuitive, and eminently affordable improvements. (And if you're really short on cash, check out these 5 Super-Cheap Bike Gear Upgrades.)
Specialized 26-Ounce Purist Watergate bottle—$12
Made from BPA-free plastic with a glass-infused inner surface, this bottle keeps potential chemical nasties from leaching into your water. More important: The Heart Valve cap delivers a robust stream of fluid with each squeeze and prevents drips--even if you leave the top open in your gear bag. It's available in a rainbow of hues to go with any frame color.
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Free advice! Throw your bottle into the dishwasher after each ride to clean out gunk from drink mixes. No dishwasher? Buy a bottle brush to clean all the way inside. (Avoid these 5 Common Hydration Mistakes.)
Save Your Bottom Bracket
Deda Dog Fang—$16
It's a little-known fact that a dropped chain can damage your bottom-bracket shell. The Dog Fang sits unobtrusively on your seat tube behind your crank and guides a misdirected chain back onto the little ring.
Bontrager XXX latex tube—$20
Latex tubes save you (a little) weight. Even better: The thinner, flexible material can help improve road feel and decrease rolling resistance.
Free advice! Before installing an inner tube, partially inflate it and drop it into a plastic bag with a few sprinkles of talcum power. Shake the bag (hold the top closed) to coat the tube. The powder keeps the tube from sticking to the tire's casing, preventing wear. (Is it worth it? How to decide When to Splurge and When to Save on your bike gear.)
Sound a friendly warning to pedestrians as you approach them, or just express your unbridled enthusiasm for riding a bicycle. This classic bell is one of our perennial favorites because of its bright, high-volume ding.