I really look forward to riding my Poseidon X gravel bike every weekend. Other than the bike’s ride feel, my Poseidon X customizations makes the bike unique to my riding style and helps the bike stand out in the trails. Fall is the informal gravel bike season. Here are a few Poseidon X customization options from which you can draw inspiration for your own gravel bike upgrades.
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Upgrades to Poseidon X Gravel Bike
These are the upgrades to my Poseidon X to suit my riding style.
The stock mechanical brakes were not the best. The stopping distance was long, making it dangerous. So an upgrade to the compression-less brake cable housing made the brakes much better. I used the Jagwire cables that gave a much better brake-pull feel, and the brakes also performed much better.
Some riders have upgraded to full hydraulic brakes that costs a little more, so that’s an option if you have some cash.
I have been riding on Specialized Romin seats for years. So that was the first upgrade from the stock seats, when I moved it from my monster-cross bike that I built. If you are in the market for a new bike seat, check out our Ask The Pedalist post on how to make your bike seat more comfortable.
The bike came with flat pedals in its stock form. I upgraded these to Shimano clip-less pedals.
Poseidon X Accessories
To help my Poseidon X gravel bike stand out and get attention on the riding trails, I changed a few visual elements:
Wanting a little pop on the black and red color theme, I put red camo tape on the left side and all black tape on the right side of the handlebar on top of the stock bar tape. This added cushioning helps on rough gravel trails as well, and the bike continues to pop on the trails.
Wanting to protect the shiny red paint and the frame from gravel and stones on the trails I wrapped the down tube, forks, chain stays and seat stays with frame tape. I’ve installed frame tape on all my bikes to prevent paint and frame damage from rocks and stones.
Black Frame Screws
The Poseidon X bike comes with silver/ aluminium screws in the grommets and bottle cages. To match the overall red and black theme I replaced these silver screws with black ones. These make the red color pop even more!
To keep the gravel bike tools with the bike I moved the tool bag from my monster cross bike to the Poseidon X. Now the tools are within reach if I face an issue on the trails.
How to Improve the Poseidon X Gravel Bike Performance
The following is how I improved Poseidon X’s perfromance to suit my style of riding.
The Poseidon X’s stock mechanical disc brakes have a poor stopping distance and don’t respond well on tough trails. The Tektro brakes look good on paper but underwhelm on the trails. There are performance issues with the brake cables, but even the pads and rotors require an upgrade.
For most riders the Jagwire cables with its compression-less housing seems to solve the issue. If this does not satisfy your braking needs, you have an option to change the brake calipers or the rotors.
Some riders upgrade to a mechanical-hydraulic disc brakes that performs between the full mechanical and full hydraulic set-ups. This is a self-containing hydraulic system at the caliper, with the mechanical cable pulling the hydraulic pistons.
Juin Tech seems to be the best performing hydraulic caliper brakes. It’s a simple and direct swap of the stock calipers with the Juin Tech calipers and can be completed in a few minutes.
Sometimes after a handlebar adjustment or a ride on rocky or rough gravel you’ll notice handlebar wobble a bit. This is usually the result of not-tightening the head tube screw enough, and may cause you to ding the headset. To fix the wobble, I follow these steps:
- Keep the bike on the floor and get across the bike while standing across the top tube.
- With the bike (or just front wheels if on a stand) on the ground, wiggle the handlebar to determine how much movement there is in the headset.
- Loosen the screw holding the headset cover and remove the cover and the long screw.
- Slowly wiggle to loosen the fork at the bottom of the headset by lifting the headtube a little bit. This gives all the parts a chance to settle into their positions within the head tube. There is no need to remove the entire fork completely for this minor adjustments.
- Once the fork is loose, slowly push down on the head tube into the fork. This enables all other parts to align together and “sit” in their position so that there is almost no gap between them
- Once you get a feel that all the parts are tight and “locked”, keep the headtube pushed down slightly to makes sure no gap forms while you put the headset cover and screw back in place.
- Tighten the headset screw to the torque limit. With the bike still on the ground, wiggle the headtube to see if this solved the problem.
- If no further adjustments are needed, tighten the headset screw to the torque limit.
Tire Customization for the Poseidon X
The stock tires are Kenda 40mm tires (about 1.5 inches). These have been perfect in hard-packed dirt and gravel in my usual trails. I plan to go a little thicker next year as I plan to hit trails made of more loose gravel and sand – maybe something closer to 2 inches.
Options for Wherever the Gravel Paths Take You
These are just some of the upgrades and customizations I did on my Poseidon X bike. The options are literally endless. Ride your bike and ride it often. Memories are made on the trails and riding will help you build your fitness and endurance. Happy riding!