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  1. #1
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    Your thoughts on weight weenies.

    So, I have noticed on the forums every now and again this hate or disgruntlement toward weight weenies or people buying expensive parts. Here are my thoughts.
    If you don’t have the time and don’t revolve your life around MTB’ing why not compensate your lack of physical stamina with less weight to pull around on the trails?

    I ride single track XC trails here in the pacific northwest and am currently training for my first race (a 30mile XC). I weigh 160lbs and do not huck at all. Largest drop I see is maybe 2ft once or twice a year so light weight parts need not worry about abuse from me.
    I can only afford to go out about once a week for a 2-4hr ride due to work, commitment to the navy reserves, what seems like never ending yard work projects and family (wife and 2 kids).
    I have the money and want that 2-4hrs to be as enjoyable as possible and still want to somewhat keep up with the people I ride with.

    I have spent about $1500 in the last 3 weeks on weight reduction parts for my 2009 Pivot mach 4 with XT/XO group set. My bike currently weighs 26.21lbs before I add the following parts next week.

    Stans crest 26” wheel set
    SRAM XO XG-999 cassette
    Forte Carve SPD pedals
    Alligator serration rotors
    Sella itallia SLR XP slow
    Shimano XTR M980 chain
    Professional bike fitting ($150)
    And some new shoes, Diadora escape 2

    All were on sale.

    The old adage goes “don’t upgrade, go up a grade”. This is very true but if your lifestyle does not permit or MTB’g is not the highest priority but you still want to enjoy it to its fullest with your current lifestyle and obligations…wheres the crime?

    Would like your thoughts on this.
    Last edited by gks333; 04-11-2013 at 09:00 AM.
    2009 Mach 4 XT/XO group. Some carbon upgrades w/crank bros. cobalt wheel set.

  2. #2
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    I'll never begrudge anyone willing to drop serious coin on their bike(s). People who complain about it generally come across as insecure. On top of the upgrader/weight weenie getting the parts s/he enjoys, the take-offs feed the used market. It also motivates component manufacturers to invest more in R&D, which ultimately means better/lighter parts for mid-grade users like me. Everyone wins.

  3. #3
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    I do watch the weight of the parts I have on my bikes, other than the road bike since I dont race that. I'm a light weight, I dont make a lot of power, so I need to haul around the lightest bikes I can afford. Plus, I like doing the research and building/riding the bikes!

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't mind racing a 20lb bike if I could afford it but since I currently can't and will probably not be able to, I do with what I have.
    25lb alu hardtail isn't too shabby either considering that it's a sub $2000 bike.

    I watch the weight of the parts that I replace but I will not spend $100 for a 100g upgrade. I'd rather lose few pounds myself first and once I can't lose no more I'll start looking into slimming down the bike.

  5. #5
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    I think most riders are only irritated by 'weight weenies' who spend a fortune on their bike and just ride it to the coffee shop to show it off. I've always felt that you should train as much as you can, and spend what you can to get your bike light too, within reason.
    My unprofessional opinion is that most riders would be better served by finding just a little more time to train, even two 30 min sessions on the trainer midweek in addition to your 2-4 hour weekend rides would give you huge benefits over just one ride a week.

  6. #6
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    In Ned Overend's book Mountain Bike Like A Pro, written way back when, he lists 24 pounds as a target weight for your XC race bike. It seems to be a pretty good rule of thumb. I personally want mine as light as possible and am willing to pay 100 bucks for 100 grams, but that's just because I love racing and having a sweet ride keeps me motivated.

  7. #7
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    Well, seeing as Ned races a 29er that weighs less than 24lbs now, more than a decade on, I think that is pretty outdated.

    There are plenty of 17-18lb bikes in World Cup racing; my bike is hardly pushing the envelope and it's sub 20 and pretty damn tough. My wheels will outlive anything made of aluminum, and there is nothing on it that I wouldn't swap over to an AM bike, minus the tires, because they wouldn't be much fun.

  8. #8
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    My old race bike, back in '91/92 was a Kona Explosif, with a bunch of control tech parts I got it down to just under 27pounds! I took all the parts off it for the next bike and the frame alone weighed 6.75 pounds (21"). That was a very good handling bike. Konas got much lighter in the mid '90s. My current Kona Kula dlx 2-9 weighs about 24.5 (lg/xl).
    Spending money on lightweight wheels/tires should be the top priority, my Kona has a pretty light wheelset, as does my old/vintage race bike, both ride very nicely.
    My cx bike is just under 20 pounds, I really notice it on hard hills, when I stand up and pedal hard the bike just about leaps forward, 5 pounds is very noticeable. A 20 pound race mtb would be beneficial. The guy who usually beats me in xc has a 21-ish pound fs bike, but I'm going to beat him more regularly...
    It's funny that you can find old higher end Stumpjumper 26er hardtails or Homegrowns that are pretty darn light, 23-25# for pretty cheap, -still good old race bikes. If I did not have an old Litespeed, I'd be on the lookout for an old Sworks or Homey.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    finding just a little more time to train, even two 30 min sessions on the trainer midweek in addition to your 2-4 hour weekend rides would give you huge benefits over just one ride a week.
    I agree, I am in the process of doing a mini workout during my lunch breaks. As for a "trainer" or any stationary machine...forget it!!! 10 mins on a bike/elliptical/rower/treadmill, whatever and shoot me. Tried TV, Magazine, cute women in gym as a ditraction from the boredom and none work. Another reason why I MTB. I lift weights 3X/week and MTB'g is my only form of cardio.
    2009 Mach 4 XT/XO group. Some carbon upgrades w/crank bros. cobalt wheel set.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
    I wouldn't mind racing a 20lb bike if I could afford it but since I currently can't and will probably not be able to, I do with what I have.
    25lb alu hardtail isn't too shabby either considering that it's a sub $2000 bike.

    I watch the weight of the parts that I replace but I will not spend $100 for a 100g upgrade. I'd rather lose few pounds myself first and once I can't lose no more I'll start looking into slimming down the bike.
    I agree on $ per gram. I was lookin at my stock seatpost and couldn't see saving 30 grams for $100. Now, my seat at about a 100g savings @ $60 was a no-brainer for me

  11. #11
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    Cross post from my response of the same question you asked on the WW Forum, this one seems to get more traffic though, and I quote (myself):

    You always get arguments from both sides. I think you summed it up with "...enjoy it to it's fullest...", the argument your going to get is that the lighter parts don't make the experience any more enjoyable. Of course that is subjective and pertains to what your goal is. Do you want to be fast? Enjoy the outdoors? Keep up with your friends? Get into better shape?

    All things being equal, a lighter bike is faster.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd spend the money on a) a coach b) a road bike and some rollers for the garage or c) somebody to mow my lawns.

    I personally spend my extra 'upgrade' cash on my coach and a road bike to train on. But YMMV!

  12. #12
    zrm
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    If I had unlimited financial resources I'd have the lightest bike possible. My stock S-Works Epic is pretty light and since I've been riding a light bike, I don't think I'd care to go back.

    That said, there's something to be said for the admonishment to "loose a few pounds off your gut before you worry about loosing a pound or two on your bike"

  13. #13
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    My old race bike, back in '91/92 was a Kona Explosif, with a bunch of control tech parts I got it down to just under 27pounds! I took all the parts off it for the next bike and the frame alone weighed 6.75 pounds (21"). That was a very good handling bike. Konas got much lighter in the mid '90s. My current Kona Kula dlx 2-9 weighs about 24.5 (lg/xl).
    Spending money on lightweight wheels/tires should be the top priority, my Kona has a pretty light wheelset, as does my old/vintage race bike, both ride very nicely.
    My cx bike is just under 20 pounds, I really notice it on hard hills, when I stand up and pedal hard the bike just about leaps forward, 5 pounds is very noticeable. A 20 pound race mtb would be beneficial. The guy who usually beats me in xc has a 21-ish pound fs bike, but I'm going to beat him more regularly...
    It's funny that you can find old higher end Stumpjumper 26er hardtails or Homegrowns that are pretty darn light, 23-25# for pretty cheap, -still good old race bikes. If I did not have an old Litespeed, I'd be on the lookout for an old Sworks or Homey.
    I would have the homegrown if it didn't flex much. A friend just sold a homegrown 21 pounds 1x9 for 600 counting shipping. You can't beat that price for the weight. Sid fork, carbon post, etc. etc. I wish that would've been my first bike, but I had no idea then.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  14. #14
    Rod
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    Simply put, it's your money and I or anyone else here can tell you how to spend it. Would I do that? I'm unsure about your financial situation. As someone else mentioned, money for a road bike would be a huge factore in your speed. A road bike has helped me even though I hate being out on the road. I know it serves its purpose. It's hard to get in base training on the mtb. The trails shouldn't be ridden so I don't ride or I have to go up a forest service road. Lastly, I could ride my mtb on the road and that doesn't work. I rambled a little there, but what I'm saying is you can train on the road when you can't on the bike. You may want to look into that next.

    I have a fairly light bike too and it makes a big difference, epsecially in the wheels. You don't need to justify it to us man. Do your thing, go out, and ride. As long as you can afford it and you're happy, I don't see a problem. Rock on
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  15. #15
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    I raced one race in my local series last year on my 33lbs AM HT because I didn't want to ruin everything on my carbon bike, the course was like a small river, literally and I was hours from being able to clean and lubricate everything properly. I ride and race because when i started it was cool to do and fun.

    I also started mtb'ing when I was 12 and I'm 35 now. So I'm a little old school in why I race and mtb. I'm not really into the road rider scene that I've seen emerge at the mtb races. I still wear baggies and if I feel like it I wear my Osprey pack. Mountain biking has such a different vibe to it then it did years ago and right or wrong I sometimes see the weight weenie aspect as a part of that. I understand wanting a light bike though, so I'm not slamming that completely.

    BTW - not slamming people who wear lycra instead of baggies or use a water bottle (because I do too, depending on the race).
    Last edited by qdawgg; 04-11-2013 at 08:30 PM.
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  16. #16
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    One thing I have learned over the years is bike weight isn't as important as most people think it is.

    I have two bikes right now, one a 19lb 26inch hardtail, the other a 23.5lb 26inch trail bike. With same tires on the bikes are pretty close on climbs, on a smooth climb the hardtail is faster and on a rough climb the dually is quite a bit faster.

    Of course the bikes are also shocking close on the descents. The dually seems way faster but when I actually compare times it isn't a lot faster.

    Now, tires on the other hand, make a difference.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  17. #17
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    I think bike racing should be a sport available to everyone and it will suck when the day comes that you have to spend 10k to be competitive in a sport race. I have raced with people who will lay down 5k on a bike and not donate a dime or an hour to their local trail building org. That's lame. I would rather buy a 4k bike and give 1k to the local trail org because i feel the quality and distance of the trail has a much greater impact on my enjoyment than the quality of my bike.

    That said, bike tech is really freaking cool, and i think bike companies have done an amazing marketing job by releasing high dollar models that make "mid range" buyers think 3k is a sane amount to spend on a bike. I personally own a freeride, trail, xc, and road because i find a moderately priced bike built for a specific type of riding is better than an expensive do it all bike. I guess if i spent all that money on a single bike i would be one of those guys with a really freaking expensive bike.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by qdawgg View Post
    I raced one race in my local series last year on my 33lbs AM HT because I didn't want to ruin everything on my carbon bike, the course was like a small river, literally and I was hours from being able to clean and lubricate everything properly. I ride and race because when i started it was cool to do and fun.

    I also started mtb'ing when I was 12 and I'm 35 now. So I'm a little old school in why I race and mtb. I'm not really into the road rider scene that I've seen emerge at the mtb races. I still wear baggies and if I feel like it I wear my Osprey pack. Mountain biking has such a different vibe to it then it did years ago and right or wrong I sometimes see the weight weenie aspect as a part of that. I understand wanting a light bike though, so I'm not slamming that completely.

    BTW - not slamming people who wear lycra instead of baggies or use a water bottle (because I do too, depending on the race).
    Uh, just so you know...lycra and water bottles are far more representative of "original" MTB riding and racing than baggies and Osprey packs and dudes on "AM" bikes "schredding the gnar".

  19. #19
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    Your thoughts on weight weenies.

    Completely ignoring weight on parts is insane. Many times the only real way to decide what part is better for your bike is which is lighter. There's so little actual information out there. For instance No one has a test that tells you for sure which handle bar absorbs vibrations better (road bikers care about this kind of thing a lot) and no one you can trust (bike reviews are a hilarious joke) has ridden all the options. So what sets parts apart? Weight.

    Some people seem to really like the idea their bike is burly. I've never had a single problem with my light weight carbon bike, maybe it should be bulkier so I can talk of how burly it is.

    A lot of times the weight weenie forums seem to be the best because people there often have tried multiple things and while some of them only care about weight, most of them just care about best and really seem to pay attention to their bikes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    That said, there's something to be said for the admonishment to "loose a few pounds off your gut before you worry about loosing a pound or two on your bike"
    I agree with that, there's no point in worrying about 100g here and there on the bike when the rider needs to lose 4-5kg off themselves!
    I do find it quite amusing though with the guys who are anal about component spec and weight when they'd be better off avoiding cakes to shave some weight!
    As with everything though, each to their own!

  21. #21
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    Your thoughts on weight weenies.

    Quote Originally Posted by dthomp325 View Post

    That said, bike tech is really freaking cool, and i think bike companies have done an amazing marketing job by releasing high dollar models that make "mid range" buyers think 3k is a sane amount to spend on a bike..
    I was talking to a guy at cervello about why their road bikes don't have disc brakes he said it wasn't an aero thing but that it would cause crashes in the "pro peleton" because riders on disc would outbrake everyone else (not even kidding, makes no sense I know). So I asked "who cares about the pro peleton? What does that have to do with the bikes you actually sell?" Apparently that was a dumb question lol

  22. #22
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    Because the "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday" thing still applies. If you don't think that Trek, Cervelo, BMC, etc have benefitted from people watching pro racers win on their bikes, you're insane.

    And guess what? When people crash out of bike races because their brakes are too powerful, they don't win races, and the company supplying those bikes doesn't sell as many.

  23. #23
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    Your thoughts on weight weenies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Because the "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday" thing still applies. If you don't think that Trek, Cervelo, BMC, etc have benefitted from people watching pro racers win on their bikes, you're insane.

    And guess what? When people crash out of bike races because their brakes are too powerful, they don't win races, and the company supplying those bikes doesn't sell as many.
    Yeah but at the same time the guy who has an advantage under braking makes up time and wins. Plus it would probably be safer if everyone had them and wouldn't it have the add on effect of making road biking safer in general as more consumers would have access to better braking?

    I just thought it was a funny example.

  24. #24
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    I think for the average rider many of the parts people buy to make a bike lighter is going to give them marginal gains if any but if it makes you smile then go for it.

    If you can get the weight off the rotational mass (wheels, tires, etc.) then great but saving a few ounces on a seat post really isn't going to anything.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Uh, just so you know...lycra and water bottles are far more representative of "original" MTB riding and racing than baggies and Osprey packs and dudes on "AM" bikes "schredding the gnar".
    I have an AM bike because that's what I could afford, I use it as a all around trail bike and don't ever ride at DH parks. The only reason I used a water bottle in 1992 when I got my first mtb was because there was no such thing as osprey packs at least to the general bike public. Once there was, everyone who realized the benefit started using them on the trails. At least in the area I grew up, I never rode once with a xc rider who only wore lycra and no shorts but again I've been in the mtb scene since '92 and basing it on my location.
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