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  1. #1
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    Why make a bike as light as possible?

    Im being completely serious here. Ive never had a really light bike. Theyve all been around 25 lbs. Ive been racing and riding since 96 and have always been FACINATED by the lengths people will go to to have a lighter bike. I mean were talking GRAMS.
    I do, however, have the compulsion to strive for a reasonable weight for my bike. Sometimes my imagination and creativity get the better of me and I spend more time thinking about it than I know to be neccessary. Usually, I snap out of it and am none the worse for wear, but I do feel it. Its like this thing out there that woos me into thinking that lighter is better. I weigh about 175 and I ride hard. That doesnt mean that I bash my rims, or wreck horribly all the time, I just wear on my stuff. I also live in Jersey and the terrain is rocky and rough. This is why I havent succumed completely to the allure of "lighter is better" , but am I missing out on something? Who is riding all these sicko light bikes? 21lbs? are you kiddingme? If anyone can offer some enlightening viewpoints on the subject, I would really like to read them.

  2. #2
    ballbuster
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    There are some weight weenie...

    ... imporvements that you can make to a bike with no durability (we're talking XC here, not crazy DH Freeride 20 foot hucks) issues whatsoever. In fact, there are some improvements that are even downright cheeeep.

    I say, why haul around the extra weight if you don't have to?

    Personally, I like the way a light bike feels. You can toss it around more easily, you go faster usinng less energy, feels snappier on accelleration, etc.

    It also depends on your riding style. If you are the type that plows into stuff to get over it, rocks, ruts whatever, then a weight weenie wheelset is probably not for you. You might find yourself truing your wheels after every ride. That said, you can get a pretty durable wheelset that is not stupid light that would take a pounding.
    Last edited by pimpbot; 02-23-2006 at 09:21 PM.

  3. #3
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    Why drag extra weight up a hill when you don't have to?

    I enjoy the challenge of making my bike lighter but no less durable.

  4. #4
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    good question

    Quote Originally Posted by rryyddeerr
    Im being completely serious here. Ive never had a really light bike. Theyve all been around 25 lbs. Ive been racing and riding since 96 and have always been FACINATED by the lengths people will go to to have a lighter bike. I mean were talking GRAMS.
    I do, however, have the compulsion to strive for a reasonable weight for my bike. Sometimes my imagination and creativity get the better of me and I spend more time thinking about it than I know to be neccessary. Usually, I snap out of it and am none the worse for wear, but I do feel it. Its like this thing out there that woos me into thinking that lighter is better. I weigh about 175 and I ride hard. That doesnt mean that I bash my rims, or wreck horribly all the time, I just wear on my stuff. I also live in Jersey and the terrain is rocky and rough. This is why I havent succumed completely to the allure of "lighter is better" , but am I missing out on something? Who is riding all these sicko light bikes? 21lbs? are you kiddingme? If anyone can offer some enlightening viewpoints on the subject, I would really like to read them.
    this is a good guestion. i think for racing the biggest benefit is mental. knowing that you have done your training, and you have a very light rig is a big bonus. i have ridden a trek 9.8 that was stock with LX/XT around 22 lbs with race tires and i loved squashing the guys who "tuned" every part they could, all carbon, all XTR. no light weight bike can overcome good training and the WILL to race/win.

    a light bike does handle very different as well though. if you get the chance to ride a 21 lb bike for a day some time, do. you may be surprised how much more you can throw it around.

    just a side note, i was at the LBS yesterday and they had some new 05 giant XTCs in on a blow out. a basic bob allum XTC was just over 24 lbs on their digital scale, with a DUKE XC. pedals and LX/XT and it was cheap. You could probably get 1-2 lbs off for another $500.

    They also had a XTC C2 that was just under 22 lbs with a FOX fork and lots of room to loose weight. That would be an easy bike to get down to 20 lbs. Sweet carbon finish as well.

  5. #5
    your ankles are fat
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    I think the original poster had the sub 16lb(or whatever tinkerers are tuning/drilling bikes down too)hardtail/full-squish bikes in mind...
    correct me if I'm wrong...

  6. #6
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    wha?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaddyH
    I think the original poster had the sub 16lb(or whatever tinkerers are tuning/drilling bikes down too)hardtail/full-squish bikes in mind...
    correct me if I'm wrong...
    paddy, shouldn't you be out "not" training? i guess the shop doesn't open for another half hour either.

    the only thing weight references i saw in the original post was that he rides 25 lb bikes and he made mention of super light 21 lb bikes. did i miss something? but 25 lb bikes are not all that light by today's ht XC standards (as you well know). not sure what our poster is riding (ht or fs)?

    i didn't see any mention of drilling, tuning, dremels etc. i would agree that a sub 16 lb bike is a little nuts as well (ht and specially fs).

    either way, does it matter what he ment? he was asking about why so light? he wanted view points. paddy, why not offer him your view, we know you like light bikes?

  7. #7
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    thanks for your responses so far.

    yeah, you know, i was really talking about all of it. the tuning, the blingy light stuff that you KNOW is really weak. I did see the racer x "commuter". i just had to scratch my head and wonder what the point was. It just seems ludicrous for anyone over 120lbs to do so much as ride over expasion joints on a sidewalk with it. But, i know looks can be decieving. im riding a 29er now. from what I can tell, their just always going to be just a bit heavier and thats alright with me. Im interested in what sort of applications people are putting on their "light" bikes. These are 22lbs or less, i guess. What do these folks weigh? Do they ride rocks? Are these race onlyl bikes? Im just interested in whats out there and how much of a beating can it really take.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    In fact, there are some improvements that are even downright cheeeep.
    Please elaborate. I like cheap mods.

    Ian

  9. #9
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    For me, #1- I'm a tinker-er. I dig cool stuff, and am seriously infected with upgrade-itis. Right now my Blur is 25lb ~ 25lb 5oz depending on tires, grips, and tubes I'm running at the time. I goal is to get down to around 23lbs, and being a nearly 200lb guy, I think that's plenty good for me, and yes, I do ride over rough terrain, very rocky, jagged rocky, so my tires are very important to resist sidewall cuts. For example, Hutchinson Air Lights, Maxxis eXception, Michelin XCR, all fell prey to sidewall cuts. The Maxxis tires were the worst, 5 slices in one ride. Only God knows how I made it home, because I didn't notice any of them 'till that night with my bike on the stand. IRC's so far have been the most durable.
    "I've come to believe that common sense is not that common" - Matt Timmerman

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rryyddeerr
    yeah, you know, i was really talking about all of it. the tuning, the blingy light stuff that you KNOW is really weak. I did see the racer x "commuter". i just had to scratch my head and wonder what the point was. It just seems ludicrous for anyone over 120lbs to do so much as ride over expasion joints on a sidewalk with it. But, i know looks can be decieving. im riding a 29er now. from what I can tell, their just always going to be just a bit heavier and thats alright with me. Im interested in what sort of applications people are putting on their "light" bikes. These are 22lbs or less, i guess. What do these folks weigh? Do they ride rocks? Are these race onlyl bikes? Im just interested in whats out there and how much of a beating can it really take.

    You are right about the "show bikes". I think it is more of a hobby/passion/illness. Yeah, most of those true crazy light bikes would not hold up. It is just the same as fixing or tuning up a car. People just do it for kicks, the "bling" factor I guess. I like light and durable as well, but I also like how light feels and climbs (considering my bike isn't under 22 lbs). I generally ride parts til they wear out, then buy for value, taking performance, weight and cost into consideration.

    i think a 20-22 lb hard tail race bike can still handle a lot, as long as key components are strong enough. a light frame, fork, wheels, tires, vbrakes, saddle, cranks... as long as you don't go too nuts on the fit parts that tend to break, like bars, posts and stems.

    the 22 lb giant XTC c2 I mentioned has this components list... these are not crazy light parts, i would actually call some a little beefy (wtb seat for example).

    fork FOX FRL, 80mm travel
    headset FSA Orbit ACB
    derailleur Front: Shimano XT, Rear: Shimano XT
    shifters Shimano XT
    cassette SRAM PG 970 11-34T, 9-speed
    cranks Race Face Evolve XC X-Type 22/32/44T
    handlebar Race Face Evolve XC
    stem Race Face Evolve XC
    brakes Avid Single Digit 7, direct pull cantilever
    levers Avid FR5
    saddle WTB Rocket V
    seatpost Race Face Evolve XC, 350x30.9
    rims Mavic XC 717
    hubs DT Cerit disc
    tires Hutchinson Python AirLight, folding 26x2.0
    spokes DT Competition 14/15G
    pedals Time ATAC Alium

    A sub 22 FS might be getting a little too fragile.

  11. #11
    Woz
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    For me it's an issue of how far can I go and not have it break. Manufacturers, make things for the lowest common denominator, that's the 220 lbs guy with no bike handling skills. So obviously things can be modified for those that don't fit the mold.

    Fortunately for me, I weigh 125lbs and after 20 years of bmx and trials riding, I have a fairly smooth style. So I can get away with using things that most guys can't

    However there is nothing better than taking a 140gram set of shifters, and with only a couple of hours of work, having them weigh under 100 grams, still be sealed and work like they weren't modified. Go around and look at your bike, if you could take weight off of most of the parts for free and have them still work as well, why not? I guess it's just fortunate for me, that I get paid to see what will work and what won't.

    Of course you have to tune with a sense of safety in mind. It would be quite silly to take material off of a stem. If that fails, it really hurts, but to take material from a brake for example is fine. If it fails, at worst you may have to walk home. But then you know what doesn't work and you start again.

    I've got my trials bike tuned to 16lbs and I have no reservations about doing a 6 foot drop over and over again on it. My road bike is at 13lbs with clinchers, and I don't have a problem jumping it off the same 4-stepper everyday on my way to work.

  12. #12
    your ankles are fat
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbikemad
    paddy, shouldn't you be out "not" training? i guess the shop doesn't open for another half hour either.

    the only thing weight references i saw in the original post was that he rides 25 lb bikes and he made mention of super light 21 lb bikes. did i miss something? but 25 lb bikes are not all that light by today's ht XC standards (as you well know). not sure what our poster is riding (ht or fs)?

    i didn't see any mention of drilling, tuning, dremels etc. i would agree that a sub 16 lb bike is a little nuts as well (ht and specially fs).

    either way, does it matter what he ment? he was asking about why so light? he wanted view points. paddy, why not offer him your view, we know you like light bikes?
    Kev,

    whoa...first, I rode first thing this am. Second, I work at 1pm(as the shop is open till 9pm)
    Third, yes I like my bikes light...and durable..part of the reason I ride and race singlespeeds and fixies is for this reason. It's pretty easy to make a bike light when you take the drivetrain and(in some cases)the rr brake away. As well I agree that it's pretty easy to make a HT or a Full-squish bike reasonably light by using light parts, in all cases as light as your budget will allow. But when cat's starting "tuning"/drilling out the parts I question not only the durablilty of the part, but the ridablilty of the bikes for their intended purpose and the safety...that said I didn't start this thread, just observing the direction it was going, sorry for using 16lbs as a weight of reference...not trying to stir **** up too much...

  13. #13
    Unicycles are for clowns
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    I think everyone likes to upgrade their bikes, computers, cars, etc. But for me I do it to my race only bike, and I don't go really bonkers, ie drilling. It needs to be reliable in all types of weather and terrain. Unless you have lots of disposable income, it is pointless to buy a light weight chain, cassette, cables, chainrings, when these have to be replaced throughout the year. I think it's pointless to make a light bike if a person could loose body weight. Loosing 5 lbs on your body is more effective then 5 lbs off your bike. I think were you live and ride also determines what you can get away with. If I lived and rode in a farily moderate climate, and/or not as mountainous region, I would be able to shave more weight off the bike. A 20-22 pound hardtail is pretty reasonable these days, as is a 22-23 pound FX XC bike.

  14. #14
    your ankles are fat
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuna
    I think everyone likes to upgrade their bikes, computers, cars, etc. But for me I do it to my race only bike, and I don't go really bonkers, ie drilling. It needs to be reliable in all types of weather and terrain. Unless you have lots of disposable income, it is pointless to buy a light weight chain, cassette, cables, chainrings, when these have to be replaced throughout the year. I think it's pointless to make a light bike if a person could loose body weight. Loosing 5 lbs on your body is more effective then 5 lbs off your bike. I think were you live and ride also determines what you can get away with. If I lived and rode in a farily moderate climate, and/or not as mountainous region, I would be able to shave more weight off the bike. A 20-22 pound hardtail is pretty reasonable these days, as is a 22-23 pound FX XC bike.

    agreed!

  15. #15
    Woz
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuna
    I think everyone likes to upgrade their bikes, computers, cars, etc. But for me I do it to my race only bike, and I don't go really bonkers, ie drilling. It needs to be reliable in all types of weather and terrain. Unless you have lots of disposable income, it is pointless to buy a light weight chain, cassette, cables, chainrings, when these have to be replaced throughout the year. I think it's pointless to make a light bike if a person could loose body weight. Loosing 5 lbs on your body is more effective then 5 lbs off your bike. I think were you live and ride also determines what you can get away with. If I lived and rode in a farily moderate climate, and/or not as mountainous region, I would be able to shave more weight off the bike. A 20-22 pound hardtail is pretty reasonable these days, as is a 22-23 pound FX XC bike.

    agreed as well, though with some notes. Most of my customers that get these sick light projects, are guys with plenty of disposable income. I think that we all tend to personalize the bikes we see as our own. If I had to pay for my bikes, they certainly wouldn't be anywhere as nice as they are. I wouldn't sacrifice my daughters college fund to save a couple of pounds. But if I had the money that some of these guys have, I would even be taking it a step further.

  16. #16
    JmZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuna
    I think everyone likes to upgrade their bikes, computers, cars, etc. But for me I do it to my race only bike, and I don't go really bonkers, ie drilling. It needs to be reliable in all types of weather and terrain. Unless you have lots of disposable income, it is pointless to buy a light weight chain, cassette, cables, chainrings, when these have to be replaced throughout the year. I think it's pointless to make a light bike if a person could loose body weight. Loosing 5 lbs on your body is more effective then 5 lbs off your bike. I think were you live and ride also determines what you can get away with. If I lived and rode in a farily moderate climate, and/or not as mountainous region, I would be able to shave more weight off the bike. A 20-22 pound hardtail is pretty reasonable these days, as is a 22-23 pound FX XC bike.
    My excuse for keeping a bike that's been through a diet or three...

    Even when I'm not on it enough in the winter... <b>it</b> won't gain weight.

    Everyone has their personal blend of bling, weight savings, and durability. Mine leans a bit more towards the durable side of lightweight, but I still like a light bike.

    A light bike is 1) More flickable, 2) Easier on the body at the end of the day, 3) Easier to smooth and flow, 4) Easier to lift on the roof rack at the end of the ride (jk).

    I did have a 23 pound XC dually bike, but went with a newer and heavier frame, disc brakes, and heavier wheels. I'm now up to 25 and trying to crawl back... It isn't a quick diet, because I didn't hit the powerball yet. So I watch E-Bay, closeouts, and the occasional swap meet for a dropping weight a bit at a time here and there...

    I'll agree I haven't focused on lightweight cables, chains, and housing. I have though bought lighter-weight cassettes (XT) and am seriously considering some lightweight rings when mine go (but the ones I'm thinking of are Boones, and the durability reports are pretty good on those....)

    JmZ
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  17. #17
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    Do your cheapest $/gram first. Seatpost,Seatpost clamp,bars, grips,pedals. Get those mental feelings working.
    Save five pounds .Eat you`r big meal in the morning. No six pack before bed. Don`t eat much during "off" periods. Don`t strenghten you`r upper body.
    Light bikes are handy for acceleration and climbing.
    Weightweenieism is a constant state of hobby.

  18. #18
    ballbuster
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    You know, the usual

    Quote Originally Posted by hallin222
    Please elaborate. I like cheap mods.

    Ian
    3M strapping tape as rim strips - 3-5 grams as opposed to 15-20g for a butyl strip, Cost: :$4 roll for several rims

    Lunar Lite innertubes, saves 50-100 grams per wheel. Cost: $6 each on sale, $10 full pop.

    Sette Edge/Weyless/Forte Team stem, 120-140 grams and still pretty stiff. Cost: $20

    Sette APX seatpost, dual bolt, durable, 240 grams. Cost: $20

    Light tires, saves 100-300 grams per wheel. Cost: $15-40 each

    Remove top cap, saves 10-20g. Cost: Free

    Alu bolts. Can save 50-100 grams for $20-30 worth of bolts in non-critical places.

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