Picture of my bike for your time. Musings and questions below.

I went out to the trails last night for the first time in a month. Other than the fact that I’ve seriously fallen out of shape in the last 2 months, I’ve realized my bike needs some more upgrades. I’m not interested in buying a new bike at this moment because my wife needs a new bike more than I do (she has 26" wheels and v-brakes...), so we need to save for that (we’ll probably buy her new bike with her tax refund) and also save in general since we’ve had some large expenses over the last couple months.

My buddy recently got a Santa Cruz Chameleon R 27.5+. Pictured below.

I got to ride it a little last night and I was seriously blown away with how agile and tossable it was. I also got to feel what real brakes feel like. I want to replicate this on my bike, as I feel out of control on steep fast descents and I don’t have the turning ability I’d like on fast corners.

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I’ve already decided on a longer bar, Mine is 650mm with a 15mm rise and I’m probably gonna go 760mm to match the Chameleon. I’m not sure if I should increase rise or keep the same. If anyone has some suggestions on some budget oriented handlebars I’m all ears.

I need new pedals, but I don’t feel like going clipless is gonna be worth the cost and adjustment unless I’m convinced otherwise. So I’ll probably get race face composite pedals.

I discovered my brakes were leaking a little last night, but honestly my brakes have the stopping power of cheese. I’d like to make this better, but I have feeling a full brake upgrade isn’t gonna be worth the money, so if anyone has any suggestions there I’m open.

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I’ve considered new wider tires, specifically Maxxis Forekaster. But I’m scared of getting the wrong thing and MTB tires are expensive. I don’t need anything super aggressive, as I ride mostly technical dirt with a lot of up and down.

For some additional information I’m 6'0" and 215lbs of squish. I typically have a inseam of 30-32". Link to spec sheet on my bike. The bike is a medium. I have upgraded the Suntour XCT Coil fork to the Suntour Radion Air fork (which I need to figure out how to adjust since I use like half the travel on average.)

Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far, any advice is appreciated.

TL;DR: I’m a cheap bastard when I shouldn’t be, and now I’m suffering the consequences. Please help.

Bonus Savage Rivale “Roadyacht” GTS