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Norco Fluid H2
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently riding the Norco Fluid H2. A budget hardtail and I was looking for some budget upgrade ideas.

I know of tire inserts, but do they do much and how much should I be paying.

I would love to upgrade my coil fork but I don't have the money at the moment.

Tire pressure. I like to climb on about 35psi but what's a good pressure all around to climb and yet also smooth the decent?

Is there anything else I should consider?
 

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I am currently riding the Norco Fluid H2. A budget hardtail and I was looking for some budget upgrade ideas.

I know of tire inserts, but do they do much and how much should I be paying.

I would love to upgrade my coil fork but I don't have the money at the moment.

Tire pressure. I like to climb on about 35psi but what's a good pressure all around to climb and yet also smooth the decent?

Is there anything else I should consider?
Don't waste time with inserts.
Lower your pressure by by 7 or 8 psi and see how that works for you.

Looks like your bike came with Ardent tires?
Personally, I would lose those right off the bat, but they may work for you and your trails.

If the seat, grips or pedals ("fit parts") don't make you happy, those, along with handlebars, are things I might sometimes swap out on a new bike.

Otherwise, basically leave **** alone, ride it as much as possible and replace things as they break or wear out.
 

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Like slapheadmofo said, look at your contact points first. From the pic you posted in the Entry Level Bikes thread it looks like you still have the slippery throwaway pedals and thin grips from the factory on? If that's true, the first thing I'd do is get a good grippy pair of pinned flats. I wear size 10.5 wide and like a big platform. For larger pedals you can't go wrong with OneUp Composites, Kona WahWah 2s or Diety Deftraps. Just pick the one with the color you like best. Second would be thicker, softer grips. I've had good experiences with Diety, Ergon and Oury. Saddles can be a very personal fit, but I've had good luck with pretty much everything I've ever sat on.

You could also look at going to a tubeless setup. Then you can really play with tire pressure.

The best cheap non-bike upgrade you can do for riding imo is padded shorts. Decathlon sells an inexpensive decent pair.

Otherwise, don't upgrade just out of upgraditis. Ride it, replace stuff as it needs to be, or once you've progressed to the point that you really know what needs improving.
 

· Kick Start My Heart
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665 Posts
Good advice here.
Why inserts? Insets are for pinch flat protection, and you are running 35 psi, not pinch flat territory.
Rework your tire pressures. @ 240# I run 25r/20f with good results. YMMV.
For pedals and grips, one up composites have been doing the job, along with ODI grips on all my rigs.
Once the bike feels good, you ride harder, and that's where tires start to get in the equation.

Sent from my moto g power using Tapatalk
 

· since 4/10/2009
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I definitely agree with budget bikes not to upgrade for the sake of it. EVERYTHING can be upgraded and you can get yourself into a spiraling money pit if you change the wrong thing that has dependencies that forces you to upgrade more things.

Replace stuff as it breaks or wears out, and replace it with slightly better stuff. Don't go overboard.

I don't consider contact points to be upgrades. Those are fit issues and should be taken care of whenever they become an issue (which might be as soon as you buy the bike). Grips, saddle, pedals and even bars/stem to adjust for fit.

Tires are honestly the main one to consider to optimize the bike to your terrain and riding. Tread and rubber compound that suits your terrain better, adjusting size as needed, etc. Figuring out tire pressure is a near constant. Every time you change tires (new casings, different size, diff brand, etc), you'll have to fiddle with pressures a little bit. Nobody can tell you a specific pressure to aim for. There is an incredible number of variables that will determine your optimal pressure for you that you're going to have to figure it out yourself. "If in doubt, let it out" is the rule I follow. Things to watch for - rim strikes, squirmy tires, casings folding over in corners. These all indicate that you need more air for the tires that you have. If you have more air than is necessary, then your tires will bounce off of things more instead of deforming around irregularities in the trail. It's more fatiguing, you'll be slower, etc.

Don't mess with inserts at your level. First off, they require tubeless (I think there's one that works with a tube of sorts, but ignore that one for the moment). Second, there's a huge variety of inserts that give different levels of rim protection, different amounts of sidewall support, and may be easier or harder to install/remove. They might force you to change how you handle flats (like Cushcore - no way in hell you're pulling one of those out on the trail so you can install a tube). Inserts are for riders that ride hard through very rough stuff and are finding limitations with the support and traction they get from their tires. They're not really for beginners.
 

· Disgruntled Peccary
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I do not use inserts for pinch flats. I use them because I can run lower pressures and not have as much tire squirm (I hit my irritation level with that before I start to hear pings normally). In any case, 35psi is way higher than you'd need to be to worry about inserts.

I'd worry about contact points. Grips, pedals, saddle, bars, then I'd hold off until things break.
 

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Norco Fluid H2
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Like slapheadmofo said, look at your contact points first. From the pic you posted in the Entry Level Bikes thread it looks like you still have the slippery throwaway pedals and thin grips from the factory on? If that's true, the first thing I'd do is get a good grippy pair of pinned flats. I wear size 10.5 wide and like a big platform. For larger pedals you can't go wrong with OneUp Composites, Kona WahWah 2s or Diety Deftraps. Just pick the one with the color you like best. Second would be thicker, softer grips. I've had good experiences with Diety, Ergon and Oury. Saddles can be a very personal fit, but I've had good luck with pretty much everything I've ever sat on.

You could also look at going to a tubeless setup. Then you can really play with tire pressure.

The best cheap non-bike upgrade you can do for riding imo is padded shorts. Decathlon sells an inexpensive decent pair.

Otherwise, don't upgrade just out of upgraditis. Ride it, replace stuff as it needs to be, or once you've progressed to the point that you really know what needs improving.
I am currently riding clips, just haven't changed the pic. I like the grip going down and the extra power climbing.
 

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If you have a Shimano drivetrain, you may enjoy an XT shifter. It let's you do two upshifts in one trigger pull so it's less finger fiddlin' to get through your cassette when going from the steep ups to the steep downs. I love mine. They're available used for pretty cheap too. Just something to fuel your upgrade fever a little in the midst of everyone else trying to give sensible advice :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you have a Shimano drivetrain, you may enjoy an XT shifter. It let's you do two upshifts in one trigger pull so it's less finger fiddlin' to get through your cassette when going from the steep ups to the steep downs. I love mine. They're available used for pretty cheap too. Just something to fuel your upgrade fever a little in the midst of everyone else trying to give sensible advice :).
Thanks(y)
 

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Get to know your frame before you upgrade beyond what's mentioned. You may decide you want different geometry and that's likely going to mean a new bike. Trust me, I'm probably $700 into upgrades, not counting tires, and my bike has geo that doesn't suit the trails I ride, nor how fast I ride them. If I had it to do over again I'd keep riding my old Trek 4300 for a few more months so I could afford a better geo frame than the bike I upgraded to.
 

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Save your money for a better fork, it will transform the bike being able to tune the spring rate to your weight and having an adjustable damper. Looks like the frame has tapered head tube and boost hubs so you are spoilt for choice. The geo isn't too shabby, will serve you well for years.

@Smithy678 , Wiggle has Fox 34s with GRIP damper for 680AUD shipped at the moment. Not a bad price.

Or, save for abetter bike. You'll probably get close to what you paid for that one used these days with how mental the bike market is.
 

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I am currently riding the Norco Fluid H2. A budget hardtail and I was looking for some budget upgrade ideas.

I know of tire inserts, but do they do much and how much should I be paying.

I would love to upgrade my coil fork but I don't have the money at the moment.

Tire pressure. I like to climb on about 35psi but what's a good pressure all around to climb and yet also smooth the decent?

Is there anything else I should consider?
A digital tire pressure gauge and check it before each ride. Don’t be afraid to experiment down to about 15psi. You could even change it differently for uphill/downhill.

Change raisin pad to metallic one will give you better braking, but keep an eye on your disc wear. Tire is super important but more expensive.

Clipped in give you better stability going down, but is also not budget upgrade unless you could find cheap shoes.

If bike fit is less than ideal, start with cheap stem followed by riser bar if needed.

Get a chain wear checker and change your chain at 0.5%. This will save your cassette and chainring.

Fork and wheel are the two big expensive items if you are determined down this upgrade path. Otherwise save the fund toward a full suspension bike.
 

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Change raisin pad to metallic one...
Raisin pads are not very effective for braking, but they must taste nice! 😂

Plenty of good suggestions above. I will second choosing tyres for your conditions, going tubeless, replacing contact points that don't work for you.

I also agree that you shouldn't upgrade without a reason, and when you do choose functional options that are not out of place on your bike. If it's a bike you see selling on in a couple of seasons definitely upgrade as little as possible. You won't get your money back when you sell on.
 

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Raisin pads are not very effective for braking, but they must taste nice!

Plenty of good suggestions above. I will second choosing tyres for your conditions, going tubeless, replacing contact points that don't work for you.

I also agree that you shouldn't upgrade without a reason, and when you do choose functional options that are not out of place on your bike. If it's a bike you see selling on in a couple of seasons definitely upgrade as little as possible. You won't get your money back when you sell on.
You caught me as a non-native speaker who heavily relies on auto correction in my daily life…

Definitely go tubeless before trying low tire psi!
 

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One of the issues I ran into as a budget bike owner was cheap wheels. I have 19mm internal rims. Sure, I went ghetto tubeless and am running 2.5/2.4 f/r tires...yes, my LBS tells me I'm at risk of burping and throwing a tire if I don't run 28PSI...but so far so good :) I would like wider rims, but even on marketplace (used) I can't find a set for less than $250. Again, that's a chunk of change I could use on as layaway downpayment on a new bike. I think it gets to a point where spending more than $100 on a given upgrade has diminishing returns. I've spent probably $1700+ on this bike between purchase price and upgrades...I should have just saved my money and bought a better bike (like Ragley Big Al 1.0) to begin with...
 

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Chain reaction cycles got their brand X wheels on for 50% off right now. 27mm internal width. Hubs can be adapted to QR skewers, but the end caps are currently out of stock. I bought the wheels anyways....fingers crossed the end caps come back in stock.
 
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