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How light is too light?(11 posts)

How light is too light?ralph wiggum
Aug 5, 2001 12:55 PM
At what point, if any, does a light bike become too light? Just wondering because I recently upgraded everything on my bike and went from 20.4 pounds to just below 18. The bike now handles VERY differently as would be expected, but sometimes it is almost too lively and difficult to control in windy conditions. Anybody else have thoughts on this topic?
re: How light is too light?Mike K
Aug 5, 2001 1:19 PM
A difference of 2 pounds will not make it handle differently - but different components will.
If you change your wheels and go to something that is a bit more susceptible to cross winds than your earlier set up (most aero and bladed spoke and/or deep dish wheels are a bit more squirmy in the wind - the more surface area they present to the side the more they will squirm under you when you catch a side draft).
Other changes such as stems, bars, forks, tires, etc will make the bike feel differently. Too many variables in all of this - since we don't have a list of the changes its really impossible to guess......
The only way a bike can really be "too light" is according to UCI which states that it has to be 7 kilos (I think) - not something most of us will ever have to worry about anyway..
Just carry an extra water bottle to add necessary weight.Side-Show- Bob
Aug 5, 2001 1:33 PM
Aug 5, 2001 1:33 PM
Unless you changed out the fork and got one with a lot more rake, which would make the steering quicker, or put on deep dish carbon fiber rims that catch the wind, handling shouldn't change. Any handling quirks caused by these items has nothing to do with weight.

Minor lightening as you describe won't affect how the bike handles. Think about it. 2-1/2 pounds is less than a 2 percent reduction in the combined bike and rider weight. I assume that the reduction is spread among parts like the saddle, bars, stem, pedals and wheels. There should be no noticeable change in weight distribution.

Did you put on a straight up seatpost like a Thomson, which may move the saddle far forward and maybe a longer stem to compensate? This could change weight distribution a little, but an extra pound or two on the front might improve handling.

My bike weighs around 16 pounds, and I only weigh 135. I have no handling problems in the wind, that I didn't also have with a 20 lb steel framed bike.
When you saddle up, the frame bends ;-> (nm)Car Magnet
Aug 5, 2001 3:35 PM
When you saddle up, the frame bends ;-> (nm)bear
Aug 5, 2001 3:49 PM
when I stared running my new rims I felt the same way,,they are deep and catch the wind and I am always having to worry about wind now,,nedless to say my next wheeles will have the normal ( shallow)rims.
Have you considered....HamSammy
Aug 5, 2001 6:58 PM
...eating about forty dollars in nickels before your race ? This will usually add three pounds or so to your weight, and as you ride your body will sweat the nickels out gradually...
What did you change?Bruno S
Aug 5, 2001 8:06 PM
A human can vary in weight 2 pounds during the day. Probably it has more to do with the design of the new components.
<15 pounds?Dog
Aug 6, 2001 5:45 AM
Under 15 pounds starts to feel a little flimsey. A 16 pounder can still feel Porsche 911 solid. Unless you have some flimsey wheels, 18 pounds is still in the Mercedes E Class category. You are not 300 pounds or anything like that are you? That could make any bike feel "too light."

Light wheelsBipedZed
Aug 6, 2001 6:15 AM
My bike is probably right around 16lbs (never officially weighed it), but it is extremely light. The most noticeable difference though occurs with the wheels.

I've been racing on a set of Zipp carbon 303s this season and after my last race this weekend I think they may be too light for anything other than hill climbs. I really don't like descending (long, fast mountains descents) with them due to the carbon braking surface and the tendency to move a lot on bumpy surfaces. I'm just not as confident on the 303s when I'm normally a fearless descender. They are great for criteriums with good road surfaces (typically office park loops) but this past weekend I did a city crit where the surfaces where bumpy and managed to slide/skip my rear wheel in several of the corners - I didn't go down, but I scared the sh!t out of the guys behind me I'm sure.

So as far as wheels go, I think you can go too light for general purpose all around use.
it is not the weightcyclopathic
Aug 6, 2001 7:39 AM
Zips are noodles, they have very low side deflection has more to do with build then with weight