Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 38
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: KevinGT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    832

    What happened to "light"?

    I started mountain biking in the late 80s, when steel frames, rigid forks, and toe clips were the norm. I was an early adopter of Rapidfire shifting, suspension forks, 21 speeds, and clipless pedals (may my Onza elastomer pedals rest in peace!).

    The main reason AGAINST these new technologies was simply weight. Few mountain bikers at that time were willing to add the small additional weight to their bikes that these early technologies represented.

    Back then, mountain biking primarily consisted of XC style riding and racing so while roadies and tri-geeks obsessed over aerodynamics, mountain bikers obsessed over weight. Sub-25 lbs. mountain bikes were common.

    As technology improved, most was not widely adopted until other technologies (aluminum, carbon fiber, CNC machining, etc.) could allow the total bike weight to stay under that 25 lbs. threshold. Change a fork from rigid to a RockShox Mag21 and gain a pound and a half. But replace your bolts with titanium and switch to an aluminum frame and you're back under 25 lbs.

    I quit riding for a decade and then came back to find things have changed dramatically. The trails I'm riding today haven't changed much, if at all. But the bikes have changed and it seems bike weight is irrelevant. I see guys riding the same trails I rode in the 80s on bikes that are a full 10 lbs. heavier.

    How did bike weight go from being the most important bike spec to nearly ignored? Even my beloved Yeti is making heavier and heavier bikes. My ASR-5 is right at 25 lbs. but Yeti discontinued that bike for newer and heavier models. 7 pound frames? 30 lbs. trail bikes?

    Is the lift-served market bleeding into the "climb what you descend" market? Are riders just so strong now that riding a 35 lbs. all-mountain bike on a XC trail is effortless? Are trails so rough that 7" of suspension is needed for every root and rock?

    The massive wheel-size debate is the best example of this. Proponents have spent thousands convincing people of the advantage of slightly better rolling while ignoring the fact that they added significant weight to the absolute worst place on a vehicle to add weight.

    When did weight stop mattering?
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

  2. #2
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    3,623

    What happened to "light"?

    I don't agree that it stopped mattering. I think the change vector is in the other direction, in fact.

    I think you have to compare like to like. I don't know what my 1987 Ascent EX weighed, but it wasn't light. And a XC hardtail would be much lighter these days. What you are getting is more and more capability for less weight.

    I don't think many people enjoy riding 35-lb AM bike around on XC trails. I don't, and would like a lighter XC bike for those duties.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  3. #3
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    3,623

    What happened to "light"?

    I would add that some people care about it more than others. I value durability more, for example. And then there's the weight weenies forum, where some people take obsessing about weight to extremes.

    Currently, some people argue against things like dropper posts because of the added weight. And reduced weight is one of the benefits of 1x drivetrains.

    I was riding back then too, and I don't remember weight being the primary argument against new technologies, any more than it is today (e.g. dropper posts). Like dropper posts, many arguments against were the same then as now: cost, complexity, reliability, "I don't need it / what I have works fine."
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: dbhammercycle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,044
    My guess is that those guys are riding more bike than the trail calls for, but it's super cool to have as much suspension as possible. I think the additional weight is the linkages and shocks associated with down hill, freeride or all mountain (to an extent) disciplines. Those bikes probably should not be used for XC, but if you can afford one bike and you want it to be as badass as possible, most go for the FS with a dropper post. It's a guy a thing and no man wants to be associated with spandex or be called a weenie. That said there are plenty of frames and components made with materials, notably carbon fiber, that hope to be the lightest and greatest possible. So, weight does matter, but it depends on the discipline one chooses to follow. Who cares how heavy the bike is if you ride the lift to the top? As far as the wheel size debate, it seems we are still arguing and the jury is out. I think you find a bike that fits, regardless of wheel size, and go ride it.
    No fuss with the MUSS

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: otis24's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,356
    I have a 2010 Turner 5.Spot that's built to about 26 pounds. It has a 6" travel fork in the front with 5.5 inches in the rear. Ten years ago I'd bet this bike would weigh at least 35 pounds. So lighter does matter. Personally I would not have bought it if it were that heavy. My previous bike, a 2003 Turner Burner - 4" fork, 3.9" rear wheel travel, was 29 pounds. 3 pounds heavier with not just less travel, but poorer quality travel as well.

    I also have an 18 pound cross bike that I frequently ride on trails that I also ride the 5.spot on. The difference is that I can ride about 10X faster and can hit jumps, take drops and do all kinds of stuff I am unable to do on the cross bike.
    I like to ride bikes.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    81
    Sorry I disagree, maybe you were involved in the racing crowd, which was more concerned with weight. However, what I saw in the 90's were people wanting to bling out their bike with flashy parts, which addeded weight. Then once full suspension caught on more people were willing to sacrifice weight for the benefit of having a full suspension bike. While I loved my first generation Heckler, it was far from light.

    Just recently I had a 2004 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR which was great for XC riding and was a blast to ride. However, last year I purchased a Pivot Mach 5.7, with Pike, dropper seatpost, and Flow wheels. My Pivot handles everything my Stumpjumper did and more, without feeling like I added any weight. The amount of bike you can get for the same weight has dramatically increased.

    Just look at the forums today and you will see people are very much concerned and wonder if the additional travel/part, etc is worth the penalty. Just look at all the threads dedicated to buying a bike, such as Bronson vs 5010, Anthem vs Trance, weight weenies forum, etc. Back then you had riders that wanted the lightest bike possible, and others that were willing to have a heavier bike.

    In Salt Lake the majority of riders are still on light weight XC bikes, and it isn't the norm to see people on heavier bikes. It seems that you are just focusing on the all mountain/enduro or whatever you want to call it aspect of the sport thinking everyone is doing that. But there is still the opposite end of the sport which is very well alive and kicking. The problem is that manufacturers are marketing biking that way and makes people think everyone is extreme and riding those types of bikes.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    46
    18lb XC? Sheesh.....my epic is 27lbs. not sure what would happen to my riding at 18lbs but no doubt i'd be fast.

  8. #8
    Robtre
    Reputation: robtre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    480
    Quote Originally Posted by jlockie View Post
    18lb XC? Sheesh.....my epic is 27lbs. not sure what would happen to my riding at 18lbs but no doubt i'd be fast.
    He said 18lb cross bike or CX bike which is fairly common.
    -rides bikes for fun.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    300

    What happened to "light"?

    There is a weight weenies forum right here on this very interwebsite with 11K + topics. So "light" just got its own category, thats all.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: SlowPokePete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    1,516
    I definitely like a light bike.


    SPP
    Rigid.

  11. #11
    Dirt Junkie
    Reputation: Rock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    431
    I think you have had an influx of riders who are not racers, like me. Weight is a factor, but definitely not #1 in my viewpoint.

    This happens when a sport becomes popular or more accessible, it changes. Technology changes.

    You can be as "old school, we used to do it this way" as you want. There's plenty of room for everybody. Nobody is doing it wrong.
    How can anyone who's been riding as long as I have, be so slow???

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    87
    I remember looking at the 1st rockshox forks at the 1990 Durango World championships and saying, that will never catch on.... to heavy. i dont think i have been that wrong on anything as that.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    153
    Back in the day, I rode a Specialized Hardrock and a Giant Cadence with Carbon frame. Both were *fully rigid* and around 27 lbs with mid-range components. Now I ride a Santa Cruz Superlight 29er with 4+ inches of travel at both ends, disc brakes, etc. With mid-range components this weighs in at about 28.5 lbs. I ride rockier trails now than I did back then, at greater speed and with greater comfort. Seems like progress to me.

    I think the profusion of heavier bikes is driven by media showing lots of hucking and jumps. If you ride that stuff on your local trails, you probably want a beefier bike. If you race then you probably want the lightest bike you can afford. Most of us are probably somewhere in between.

  14. #14
    The White Jeff W
    Reputation: jeffw-13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,654

    Re: What happened to "light"?

    I'm 6'3" and weigh between 195 and 205 depending on the time of year. I really couldn't care less whether my bike weighs 28lbs or 30lbs. I do weigh them because I like to know and people ask, but after a few years of building 5 or 6 bikes I've come to the conclusion that I like a stout build over a lightweight noodle
    No moss...

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cbrossman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,133
    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    ...
    Back then, mountain biking primarily consisted of XC style riding and racing ...

    ... I see guys riding the same trails I rode in the 80s on bikes that are a full 10 lbs. heavier.

    How did bike weight go from being the most important bike spec to nearly ignored? [/I].

    When did weight stop mattering?
    IMO, you answered the question yourself. XC riding and racing were important, so weight was usually important. Now, I suspect, the majority of people ride for fun, which is clearly different than racing. So there are different aspects of the bike that are important, which may not necessarily be weight.
    I for one am not caught up in the weight game, and I ride in an area that arguably has some of the hardest climbs in the country. If I climb slower than others because of the weight of my bike, I still have fun, I still get exercise and I still get the same paycheck ... every week.
    I guess I am on the other side of the fence than you. Within reason, I really don't care about the weight of the bike at all.
    Craig, Durango CO
    "Lighten up PAL" ... King Cage

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: J.B. Weld's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,322
    Quote Originally Posted by cbrossman View Post
    IMO, you answered the question yourself. XC riding and racing were important, so weight was usually important. Now, I suspect, the majority of people ride for fun, which is clearly different than racing.

    I have always been an xc kind of guy and it has never been about anything else but fun.

    Weight is still important or we would all be riding 45 pound sleds. A 28 pound full suspension bike with 5 inches of travel is no big deal today, 20 years ago?

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 8iking VIIking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    829
    Go to the weight weenies sub forum and tell me no one cares about weight...

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    101

    Re: What happened to "light"?

    Weight hasn't been forgotten, it's just one of many factors, and three are more factors now than ever.

    Back in the day, how many brake choices did you have? Rear suspension designs? Fork travel? Drivetrains? Materials?

    When we have to choose rim vs. Disk vs. Hydro, the weight savings aren't worth the performance loss. When you have to choose between 9 grand for carbon, or 6 grand for alloy, the extra cash isn't worth the pound or two you save (to most of us anyway). When you have to choose between a light rigid fork and a Pike that weighs five times as much, you already know what's going in the head tube.

    Weight still matters, there is just more to consider.

  19. #19
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
    Reputation: scrublover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    8,406
    My heaviest two bikes (a fat bike and a 7" travel big bike) are *slightly* heavier than my first all steel, rigid, 7-speed MTB - a mid-range model from 1991.

    Those two bikes, and the other two (a 5.5" forked hardtail and a 5" travel trail bike) which are both considerably lighter than that first bike - spank the **** out of it in pretty much every way.

    C'est la vie.

    Yeah, light weight is nice, but good geometry and pedaling/suspension characteristics trump that IMO. If it doesn't suit my riding and fit preferences, or pedals and handles like crap, well, I don't care how light it is.

    Point being: I'm riding way more difficult trails, riding them faster, and in an entirely different way than when I got that first MTB back in 1991...
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: seat_boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,631
    I think this is a healthy thing: people are more focused on capability, reliability (yep, that AMP B5 sure was light...), comfort and fun instead of trying to save a few meaningless pounds. And if you think a pound or two makes a significant difference, you don't understand math.

    It's kind of funny that the road world is also getting the message, but very slowly: slightly fatter tires and higher bars are becoming a bit more accepted, which happened years ago in the mtb world.
    WTB: Specialized AWOL frameset, XL

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,384
    Been mtnbiking for 23yrs and have never exceeded 4" of travel or 30lbs on any bike. lol

    Had a blast on all of them but today's technology and the increased use of CF keeps me smiling and feeling less OLD.

    All things equal.....less weight pedals easier. Right ?

  22. #22
    The White Jeff W
    Reputation: jeffw-13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,654
    I lost 4 pounds during a 2.5 hour ride today. My bike was harder to pedal the lighter I got. Whats up with that?

    Seriously though, seems like the industry is trending towards a 'bigger is better' mentality. More travel, tapered headtubes, bigger stanchions on the forks, 15 and 20 mm axles up front, 142x12 out back, wide rims, wide bars, big brakes, fat bikes, 29er, 27.5 and on & on. Im guessing that it will eventually trend back the other way as people get tired of moving all that weight around, or jump on the next big thing bandwagon.
    No moss...

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    101

    Re: What happened to "light"?

    Yes, all things equal, lighter does pedal better. Problem is, lighter equipment is not equal to heavier equipment.

    Whether it's lighter (and flexier) rims, lighter (and less aggressive/durable) tires, lighter and less comfortable saddles, or a lighter and more expensive carbon part. There is always a trade off.

    There are a lot of times where a 28lb 5" trail bike will be faster and more fun than a 18lb weight weenie ridgid, and vice versa.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    117
    I like this. Got back into riding after almost 10 years out of the loop. I see many guys at my local trails who carpool to the top of runs, with masive FS bikes (heavy), who look pretty out of shape, and ride down, then carpool back up. Not my style, but I'm not really that into style (maybe a little). I think the cutting edge stuff just drives people who have to get the latest and greatest. My new Marin HT is 28 lbs (after replacing tires, tubes and handle bars). If I upgrade the fork I can get it down to 26'ish. My old Marin (12 years old) was only like 24 lbs. I can feel the difference, but it's what I could aford. Ride on!

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    I lost 4 pounds during a 2.5 hour ride today. My bike was harder to pedal the lighter I got. Whats up with that?

    Seriously though, seems like the industry is trending towards a 'bigger is better' mentality. More travel, tapered headtubes, bigger stanchions on the forks, 15 and 20 mm axles up front, 142x12 out back, wide rims, wide bars, big brakes, fat bikes, 29er, 27.5 and on & on. Im guessing that it will eventually trend back the other way as people get tired of moving all that weight around, or jump on the next big thing bandwagon.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    983
    My back thanks me for using 6" of travel. At 235lbs, my bike is 14% of my body weight. I also like my parts to last, as I favor strength and durability. I ride small, big and giant rocks, sometimes all jumbled together. Good luck with your rigid carbon fiber ride, YRMV.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. What happened to Rip-Tv's "Drop In" series?
    By Whipray in forum Videos and POV Cameras
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-18-2013, 09:24 PM
  2. Light "click" or "snap" or "clunk" when pressing down hard on pedals
    By VFXterra in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 06-14-2013, 07:08 PM
  3. What happened to the "What" thread?
    By Rod in forum Off Camber (off topic)
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-19-2012, 08:07 AM
  4. What happened to the "Hot mountain biker chick passion" thread?
    By 99mikegt in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-30-2012, 04:58 AM
  5. What happened to poster "meph"?
    By Raja in forum Colorado - Front Range
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-01-2011, 09:16 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •