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  1. #1
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    How important is bike weight

    It seems people are willing to pay big bucks for shaving off pounds on a bike. I will see a 10% decrese in weight costing 2X more. What is the big benefit? I weigh 200lbs. How much difference will I feel between a 33lb bike and a 29lb bike? I assume it is not one to one, but could I possibly loose 10lbs and make up for the 4 lb loss in bike weight? Is bike weight less important for bigger people as it constitutes a smaller percentage of total weight?

    Thanks for the help.

    Wojtek

  2. #2
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    How critical is weight? This was on page two of the AM forum

    Depends on the person, my friend took his Stinky Deelux everywhere I took my XC bike. There will be a benefit between 33lb and 29lb, especially if its located in the wheels. And loosing 10lbs won't equate to the feeling of a lighter bike, different weight distribution.

  3. #3
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    From the old days when night ride light batteries were 3 pounds I could feel the difference in climbing but it smoothed bump feedback a little more with that much added weight.

    I don't notice adding half that amount of weight while riding. But I do notice even a 1/4 pound difference when lifting the bike off the ground, so there must be a difference in long ride energy used with small weight differences.

    The question is price per weight saved. Look for a frame that fits well, is relatively light and high quality. Components can be upgraded later with lighter weight versions as they wear out or you can afford to.

    Rim and tire weight difference is the most noticeable while riding. A lighter good quality wheel set should also be considered when buying a new bike. Often you can buy a lower spec component model bike and the shop will upgrade wheels for their cost when you buy. Wheels are very expensive to replace. Other components are less expensive and less weight to replace later.

  4. #4
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    It's real important to the bottom line of the companys who sell to weight weenies!
    Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save

  5. #5
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    Bike weight isn't as important to me as I thought it was once. I don't race, though, so no need to go crazy for that advantage.... but I do use as lightweight a component as I can if it does everything I want it to do. At 200 lbs I'm sure 4 lbs on my bike mean less to me than someone weighing a buck twenty...
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  6. #6
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    Remember, there is sprung and unsprung mass i.e. your wheels is a 6:1 ratio. So 1 lbs off the wheels will feel like 6 lbs off the bike/rider. Mathematically when you're dealing with only sprung weight it doesn't matter where the weight is performance wise - but geometrically it does. By having the weight higher or lower you drastically will change the center of gravity (CG) and moment arm (MA) of the bike - which is why those 3 LBS batteries seem to make a huge difference, they were below the CG of the bike changing the MA.

    Add in the secondary factor that the human isn't directly connected to the bike and he/she needs to control the bike, adding weight while not changing leverage will increase the force required by the rider to change directions (once again, a factor for those batteries).

  7. #7
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    Where I see a real gain in the weight issue is when a guy (or girl) goes from a Big Box Battletank bike to a real Mountain Bike. Even my 13 year old son likes his new GT much better than the Huffy he used to ride.

    As for shaving one or two pounds here or there for a recreational rider, IMHO it really doesn't matter as much as quality of construction in the bike and it's components. I'd rather have a bike that weighed 10 pounds more than a super sleek high end, lightweight racer. That is if I knew the heavier bike would require less maintenance and last longer.

    I see this happening with bikes like it does with high performance cars...high performance = high maintenance! And high maintenance = high cost of ownership.

    And do not misunderstand, if I were on a circuit or into competing as the lions share of my riding, I'd have the best I could afford and then some!
    Remember when we were kids and our Mom's said we could not play in the mud? I'm making up for it now!!

  8. #8
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    I think the whole bike weight think is way overblown for everything but racing. I weigh 150 lbs. soaking wet and ride a 37 lb. Knolly Delirium as my do-it-all bike and I run with a fast crowd all on light 6" bikes. I used to ride a 26 lb. Moto-lite and a 33 lb. El Guapo. As the bikes got heavier I got faster. I think the reason for this is because the bigger slacker bike fit my aggressive riding style better. Sure I had to work a little harder on the uphills but I'm able to more than make up for it on the downhills and technical sections.

  9. #9
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    if you can reduce weight and lose no function or durability- great! do it. Drivetrain parts are like that.
    if you're trading weight for function or durability... think really hard about how worthwhile it is.

    I'm a much faster climber on my XC bike than my AM bike, but there's only a 1lb difference between them. The XC bike has better geometry for climbing and it's rigid. The XC bike was cheap.
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  10. #10
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    What type of riding are ya gonna be doing??
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  11. #11
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    What dogonfr said...this conversation is irrelevant without knowing the type of riding you're talking about.

    If you've got some time to read check out this thread from way back. Pay particular attention to the posts by knollybikes.com, some good info there.

  12. #12
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    Bike weight is over hyped kind-a. Light weight wheels can make a big differance to how responsive a bike is, I find its more a matter of suspension versus pedaling responsiveness that makes a bike feel heavy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppew
    It seems people are willing to pay big bucks for shaving off pounds on a bike. I will see a 10% decrese in weight costing 2X more. What is the big benefit? I weigh 200lbs. How much difference will I feel between a 33lb bike and a 29lb bike? I assume it is not one to one, but could I possibly loose 10lbs and make up for the 4 lb loss in bike weight? Is bike weight less important for bigger people as it constitutes a smaller percentage of total weight?

    Thanks for the help.

    Wojtek
    I never notice a pound or two on the bike. I definitely notice a pound of tire/rim/tube weight.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by other aardvark
    Bike weight is over hyped kind-a. Light weight wheels can make a big differance to how responsive a bike is, I find its more a matter of suspension versus pedaling responsiveness that makes a bike feel heavy.
    What about hardtails? I'm not saying you're wrong, I actually agree with your comments. But it would be interesting to do an experiment to see how weight alone affects a bike's performance.

    Take this scenario:

    Two hardtails, same model frame, same size, same wheels and tires/tubes...but Bike A is built with heavy components and Bike B with light ones so there is a five pound weight difference.

    Any guesses on how they would compare?

  15. #15
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC
    What about hardtails? I'm not saying you're wrong, I actually agree with your comments. But it would be interesting to do an experiment to see how weight alone affects a bike's performance.

    Take this scenario:

    Two hardtails, same model frame, same size, same wheels and tires/tubes...but Bike A is built with heavy components and Bike B with light ones so there is a five pound weight difference.

    Any guesses on how they would compare?
    It is an easy experiment. If you have to water bottle holders, ride it with them empty, and then stick a 32 oz bottle in each. OK, thats 4 pounds, but close enough.

    I've done this with a 80mm HT SS. I noticed a little difference, but more in the way the bike handled than in the effort to pedal.

    It really all depends on how much of the weight gain is in the wheels. When I got my wheels rebuilt with rims weighing 150g more a piece, I did notice that (though it was slight and well worth it). Everything else was the same on the bike, including hubs, tubes, tires, even the type of spokes. I recently switched my front tire to one with slightly less rolling resistance, but 200g heavier. I notice that as well. Not a huge difference but it is there. Throw a full 24 oz water bottle on the bike.....can't tell.

  16. #16
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    I don't think bike weight is overhyped or the importance can be over-emphasized. People try to make up for bike weight with lots of things, like propedal, lockouts, air-shocks (to give a firmer ride) SPV, and so on. In the end, these don't really help all that much because the rider is just not capable of lugging a bike that weighs that much, and now you're lugging around the weight for an even poorer reason, because you've decreased the suspension performance with these "aids", whereas with a lesser-travel bike that is lighter you may not need them as much. If you really want to go faster, get a light 29er FS bike, a light hardtail, or light 29er hardtail. The difference on level ground and on the uphills is huge, due to the bigger wheels and lighter weight. Lots of people try to convince themselves they can pedal around a heavy bike all day long, and these bikes sell, but I don't think nearly as many people are really suited-for them as they would like to believe, that and the fact that a lot of these 6" or more trail bikes may not even perform as good as a 5" travel bike with coil springs on each end that weighs the same. In other words, there are often sacrifices to make that 6" bike "do-able" all day long or whatever. I'd rather have a good 5" travel bike with coil springs than a 6" one with air on both sides, at least excluding the DW/maestro bikes that seem to allow you have your cake and eat it too (they have a very light compression tune due to the suspension forces).

    The difference between a rider on a 34lb bike with a coil shock and a rider with an air shock on a 33lb bike is probably going to be nowhere near as big as with either compared against a 28lb bike IMO, and it really doesn't matter if that 28lb bike has propedal, lockout, or anything at all in that regard IMO, a lighter bike is easier to ride all day long, even if it does bob some.

    Bottom line IMO is don't choose the bike unless you are comfortable riding something that heavy all day long (or on the rides that you are thinking of). Don't think that propedal or lockouts are going to make a huge difference here, they simply don't make much difference off-road, not nearly as much as the weight would.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  17. #17
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    It's perception. Our body is finely tuned to our current weight and will notice if we put just 2 lbs in our pockets and walk around. It will feel like it's a lot when in fact it isn't. i.e. If you lose 10 lbs over a week you won't notice. If you ride your 33 lbs bike and then your buddy's 27 lbs bike you probably will even though it's only have of your weight loss.

    For climbing, it makes no difference if the extra weight is on the bike or our gut. Most of us should lose 10+ lbs off our gut before getting nuts about bike weight. Plus it's free.

    Otherwise where the suspension is working that's a whole different story. Given 40ish lbs DH bikes I doubt that matters either.

    So my point, bike weight is not that important unless you're at the high end of conditioning or competition. 40+ lbs DH bike? Sure but the geo will be different too. 30 lbs +/- a couple pounds and most of will be fine and comfortable after a little while.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razorfish
    It's perception. Our body is finely tuned to our current weight and will notice if we put just 2 lbs in our pockets and walk around. It will feel like it's a lot when in fact it isn't. i.e. If you lose 10 lbs over a week you won't notice. If you ride your 33 lbs bike and then your buddy's 27 lbs bike you probably will even though it's only have of your weight loss.

    For climbing, it makes no difference if the extra weight is on the bike or our gut. Most of us should lose 10+ lbs off our gut before getting nuts about bike weight. Plus it's free.

    Otherwise where the suspension is working that's a whole different story. Given 40ish lbs DH bikes I doubt that matters either.

    So my point, bike weight is not that important unless you're at the high end of conditioning or competition. 40+ lbs DH bike? Sure but the geo will be different too. 30 lbs +/- a couple pounds and most of will be fine and comfortable after a little while.
    Well put. I think of a buddy of mine who has a real light bike but his Camelbak weighs close to 10lbs more than mine. He also carries about 20 extra pounds on his frame that he could stand to lose. This guy is not a fast rider...

    I remember the first time I had to upgrade my frame to something much heavier because I broke the lighter one. I was completely freaked out that I was going to have to pedal a 6" bike that was 3 lbs. heavier and that I would never be able to keep up with my buddies. I was pleasantly surprised that not only could I keep up but I was able to go faster because the beefier bike handled the gnarl better. Instead of putting energy into dealing with obstacles I was powering over them. So at the end of the day I was a faster rider and less tired. This of course is terrain specific. You put my 37 lb. bike vs. my buddies 27 lb. going uphill on a fireroad for 2 hours and there will be a difference. Thank God we don't have that type of riding around here!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razorfish
    For climbing, it makes no difference if the extra weight is on the bike or our gut. Most of us should lose 10+ lbs off our gut before getting nuts about bike weight. Plus it's free.
    I disagree, every pedal-stroke is an acceleration, the more weight you are trying to accelerate that is distant from your center of mass=harder to accelerate. The closer it is to your center of mass=better. Center of mass for this doesn't necessarily mean the middle of your body, but the idea is that a bike is constantly accelerating in all sorts of directions on a ride. That takes a pretty big tool.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodyak
    Well put. I think of a buddy of mine who has a real light bike but his Camelbak weighs close to 10lbs more than mine. He also carries about 20 extra pounds on his frame that he could stand to lose. This guy is not a fast rider...

    I remember the first time I had to upgrade my frame to something much heavier because I broke the lighter one. I was completely freaked out that I was going to have to pedal a 6" bike that was 3 lbs. heavier and that I would never be able to keep up with my buddies. I was pleasantly surprised that not only could I keep up but I was able to go faster because the beefier bike handled the gnarl better. Instead of putting energy into dealing with obstacles I was powering over them. So at the end of the day I was a faster rider and less tired. This of course is terrain specific. You put my 37 lb. bike vs. my buddies 27 lb. going uphill on a fireroad for 2 hours and there will be a difference. Thank God we don't have that type of riding around here!
    That's a good point too. You can "grow" into the bike and get used to it. You have to work hard though and not have a problem with the fact that you'll often be going slower than your buddies, at least for a while. And it's going to "hurt" for a while as you get stronger. Once again, some people aren't really prepared for this. Some people do ok, but you still gotta know what you're getting into. With time you get faster (stronger).
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    I disagree, every pedal-stroke is an acceleration, the more weight you are trying to accelerate that is distant from your center of mass=harder to accelerate. The closer it is to your center of mass=better. Center of mass for this doesn't necessarily mean the middle of your body, but the idea is that a bike is constantly accelerating in all sorts of directions on a ride. That takes a pretty big tool.
    With all due respect, you're mistaken. What you're saying to not true for linear motion. You're thinking of objects on a circular path.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    That's a good point too. You can "grow" into the bike and get used to it. You have to work hard though and not have a problem with the fact that you'll often be going slower than your buddies, at least for a while. And it's going to "hurt" for a while as you get stronger. Once again, some people aren't really prepared for this. Some people do ok, but you still gotta know what you're getting into. With time you get faster (stronger).
    I do think terrain plays a big part in this as well. My 85% consists of lots of highly technical riding with lots of large obstacles of various sizes and shapes. Our climbs and downhills are very short, steep, and techy. Drops and steep rollers abound! With my light bike I get bounced all over the place and have a hard time controlling my bike. Towards the end of the ride I adapt and pick better lines but it takes a lot of effort to maintain speed in this type of environment. With my big bike I can pick my own lines and my energy is used towards flowing the bike. The majority of the better faster riders around here have beefier 5" to 6"+ bikes.

    Now when I go pure XC riding that's a different story. The XC trails I ride have some long sustained climbs with some real steep sections. I'm sure a lighter bike would get me up the hill faster but I'm usually out front anyway so I don't need to go that much faster. I prefer my heavier bike on these trails as well because the downhills are so ridiculously fast and flowy that I get sketched out on my light bike.

    Overall I have no problem pushing my overweight bike on 30+ mile epics day after day, but I am very used to this bike and wouldn't trade it for anything. Now if I were at the back of the pack all the time I'd probably change my tune...

  23. #23
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    Since you have posted this in all mountain and are asking about weight lets first look at the generally accepted definition of all mountain.

    The all mountain category consists mostly of bikes with about 4 to 6 inches (100 to 160 millimeters) of travel. While they are designed to climb hills very efficiently, they are generally heavier and a bit more stout than the typical cross county mountain bike. They can handle a lot rougher terrain as well.

    So then here is my list of how important things are, starting with the most important… to achieve the maximum speed and performance.

    1. skill, yours.
    2. strength and endurance, yours.
    3. weight, yours.
    4. your bikes handling characteristics.
    5. your bikes weight.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC
    What about hardtails? I'm not saying you're wrong, I actually agree with your comments. But it would be interesting to do an experiment to see how weight alone affects a bike's performance.

    Take this scenario:

    Two hardtails, same model frame, same size, same wheels and tires/tubes...but Bike A is built with heavy components and Bike B with light ones so there is a five pound weight difference.

    Any guesses on how they would compare?
    Definitely would feel a difference but I think if would be difficult to pick weather it was 2 pounds or 5 pounds if the wheels had the same weight.

  25. #25
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    i agree with WorldWind

    P.S. sorry for my english, i'm a french canadian

    Since a few days, I read on the forum of mtbr and I noted that the weight of the bicycles and the parts is often discussed…

    First, IMO I believe the most important point is to have fun when you ride. After that, if you want to be more performant, the first point is not only to look at the weight bike, but look at you!

    Someone with a good physical condition will be more powerful even if is bike has a higher weight of 5 lbs. The body can easily adapt itself about anything, so 5 lbs heavier... All the theories of mathematics which we can apply, IMO this is not the biggest concern... the person who is on the bike will do all the difference… even in competition, the bikes are very similar. The psychological and physical aspect which make the biggest difference between the first and the last…

    You want to be more enduring, go in a gym and do a training to improve yourself for that!
    You want to have more power "torque", go in a gym and do a training to improve yourself for that !
    You want to have fun without worried about your performance, jump on a bike no matter what years, size, weight, components, quality, etc, and just ride the ******* bike!

    FreakKit

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