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How much does bike weight actually matter?(14 posts)

How much does bike weight actually matter?David
Mar 25, 2001 7:07 PM
Just curious if all of these lighter bikes are hype or if they actually boost performance? Is there a difference in say shaving 2lbs off your bike as opposed to losing 2lbs of fat? If not, given the state of the American public, I'd think that many cyclists could gain huge performance gains by losing all the extra fat they have.
it's all relative...biknben
Mar 25, 2001 9:26 PM
I'm sure someone else will respond with mathematical formulas so I'll keep it short.

Yes...if you're 50 pounds overweight it doesn't make sense to be anal about a couple pounds of bike weight.

I think the bike weight is most noticable in a situation like a Crit race with continuous change of speed and direction. A lighter bike will be more agile, allowing for better handling and faster acceleration.
it's all relative...Spoke Wrench
Mar 26, 2001 4:55 AM
I don't think anybody will argue that it isn't better to improve the conditioning of the rider.

I think, however, that almost everyone appreciates a better quality bike. It's easy to focus on weight because that's an objective measurement. Generally, however, higher cost and lighter weight also mean the bike has a higher tech frame, better wheels and smoother operating components. These give it a subjective "feel" of quality that enthusiast riders as well as racers appreciate. Lighter, better bikes are more fun to ride.
and then there's the infrequently-asked flip questionET
Mar 26, 2001 7:01 AM
At what point does a bike become too light for its rider? It's one thing to knock off a couple of extra bike pounds for free (well, $2000), but if the bike is too light for the rider, performance or comfort may be compromised. We've already seen this in the form of excessive frame flex and/or chain rub in titanium and Reynolds 853 for heavier riders. I wonder about other materials as well. For example, will a 5'8" 200-lb rider in general experience a decrease in performance when riding a light bike of whatever material, even aluminum or carbon, as compared to a heavier bike perhaps better suited to handle the increased weight? At the least, maybe some light bikes (company, material, frame design) are better for heavier riders than others.
Like abortion, gun control and religion...Retro
Mar 26, 2001 7:12 AM
...this is one of those things about which objective sense is rarely spoken. Personally, though, I'll take a bike that's two pounds heavier, works right and never breaks over one that floats like a mylar balloon but needs constant fiddling.
Easy for me to say; I weigh 230. But I don't have any idea what any of my bikes weigh, 'cause I never cared enough to check.
Tell ya what...Kreeger
Mar 26, 2001 11:17 AM
I ride a hill and time myself.... recently switched from a 21lb steel bike to a 16.5lb carbon bike and shaved over a minute off my time. The hill is at 16% for 1.3 miles.
Mar 26, 2001 11:41 AM
you think that's due only to that bike? (BTW, where's the picture?)
Run the numbersDog
Mar 26, 2001 1:55 PM

should be 27 seconds fasterDog
Mar 26, 2001 1:59 PM
Roughly, but more time savings if his power is under 250 watts.

Under 250 watts at 16%?DaveG
Mar 26, 2001 3:22 PM
By my calculations 250 watts would get my 180 lb carcass and 23 lb bike up to a whopping rate of less than 4mph at 16% grade. I don't think I can turn the cranks that slow. What numbers did you use to get 27 seconds?
That's probably about rightDog
Mar 26, 2001 3:31 PM
Depends upon gears, you know, but that sounds about right. I ride up a 2 mile long 20% grade near here at 7,000 feet, and I'll drop to around 4-5 mph at times, and I'm 158 pounds with a 16 pound bike. So, that sounds about right.

I used the default numbers, with 16%, 4.5 pound weight reduction, 1.3 mile hill.

my knees hurt just reading that!DaveG
Mar 26, 2001 5:14 PM
That's a serious climb. Unfortunately, the biggest hills here in New Jersey fall about 6000 feet short of that so I don't get to experience that level of joy/pain.
I notice the differenceDuane Gran
Mar 27, 2001 4:41 AM
Weight savings on the bike is important to me, but only because my body fat is about as low as I can get it and be healthy. (About 6% for those of you who are curious)

I wish that I had a few pounds I could lose off my body because that is much more affordable than trying to save weight on the bike. That said, I have test ridden 20 lb bikes and I much prefer my svelt 18 pounder. Furthermore, I can't wait to get my race wheelset so I can shave a pound off for race days.

If I had a gut hanging over my belly then this would all be downright silly. My advice to people is to get their body weight down before putting the bike on diet. ;)
re: How much does bike weight actually matter?Bart
Mar 28, 2001 12:46 PM
In my opinion, I would lose the fat before considering spending lots of money on a lighter ride. If your bike weighs 20 pounds and you are 20 pounds overweight, losing the weight will be equivalent to a bike that weighs nothing.

You should also consider how and when you ride - for exercise, short club rides, serious racer, centuries, etc. If you are overweight and out of shape, the bike will not make a noticable difference except to your bank account.