The most common method for upgrading a bike is to replace something as it breaks! If you must replace stuff then start with things that your body touches, Grips, Pedals, Saddle, and tyres that a good for your riding style and area.
Decide how knobby your tires have to be for your riding, and adjust your next choice of rubber to match. Think about tubeless, but it's up to you. Stan's potion is wonderful, but there are ways to improve its performance. PM me about that.
Pedals, saddle, grips -- do they suit you, or are you just suffering along with them until they croak? Try sitting on bikes at the LBS, see what your sit-bone width is, things like that. Clipless or platform? Lock-on or not? Thick, thin grips, what?
I usually start by eliminating the Shimano stuff -- personally, I hate it! Two things I'd consider from Shim -- XTR cable housing & a front derailleur. I'm a SRAM man through and through. There's not a single Shim part on my Jamis. SRAM/Avid/Race Face.
Customizing is a kick, because there's no better way to make the bike scream "ME!" Sure, I could have bought a complete Dakar XLT 2.0 for what I paid for in separate parts for my 1.0 frame -- but the frames are the same but for paint! And there's not another XLT like mine anywhere in the world! It fits ME! And for it to work like it does is even better.
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