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Weight Distribution on Your Bike(8 posts)

Weight Distribution on Your BikePsyDoc
Oct 25, 2001 5:51 AM
I have heard some folks discussing the weight distribution that one has on a bike. A few people at bike shops have commented that most roadies weight distribution is 60% on the rear and 40% on the front, but I have no idea where they are getting their numbers. A bike coach (Kevin Lippert) argues that you should have no more than 55% of your weight on the rear wheel. If you have more than 55%, he recommends moving your saddle about 1cm forward. Apparently, having 50-55% of your weight on the rear wheel and 45-50% on the front wheel will help bike handling. For kicks and giggles, I decided to check my weight distribution on my new bike. With the front wheel on the scale, I put a couple of blocks of wood under the rear wheel so the toptube would be level and recorded the weight on the front wheel. Then, I repeated the process to get the weight on the rear wheel. I added them together and then took a percentage for each wheel and came up with 44% on the front and 56% on the rear. On my other bike with slightly different geometry and setup, my distribution was 41% on the front and 59%. What are your thoughts on the issue of weight distribution? How important do you feel it is for a person to pay attention to their weight distribution on a bike? Should this be a component of fit as well seat height, toptube length, etc.? Do people who have 60-65% of their weight on the rear wheel go through rear tires more quickly?
re: Weight Distribution on Your BikeEd3
Oct 25, 2001 5:59 AM
I would imagine that this is not really an issue for most riders, as they are not fixed rigidly in their riding position. Most experienced riders would shift their weight naturally or unconsciously to optimize handling. In terms of wear, riding/braking style would be the biggest determinant, not weight distribution.

Basically, I wouldn't sweat it...
Weight distribution on your bike depents on riding conditionsCima Coppi
Oct 25, 2001 6:06 AM
For example, when climbing, you'll be sitting back on the seat to power through your pedal stroke, so your weight will be very much over the rear wheel.

Conversely, a good descender will bring their body more forward over the front wheel to maximize aerodynamics (unless you are Urs Zimmerman). In a time trial, the weight distrubution may be more even across both wheels (on a bike with TT geometry).

I fully agree with the poster above. Don't worry about it.

re: Weight Distribution on Your Bikemorey
Oct 25, 2001 6:03 AM
On a car, the closer you get to neutral handling is a 50-50 weight distribution. Even though this would not make much difference on a bike, it could be the difference between losing or winning. Just think what a 1% improvement in a 100 meter race would make. I have always felt that this should be an important component of bike fit. In fact, the most important in respect to racing. Comfort? this is another matter. However, it only makes more sense that the more weight in the rear, the faster the tire would wear.
Tire wear and weight distributionKerry Irons
Oct 26, 2001 4:44 AM
Rear tires wear much faster than front due to power transmission through the tire, not due to weight distribution. My front tires last longer than my wife's rear tires - I weigh 180lb/82kg, she weighs 125 lb/57kg.
re: Weight Distribution on Your Bikenigel
Oct 25, 2001 6:11 AM
For most of us (recreational riders--those who don't compete), I can't see a few percentage points here or there making a huge difference. People tend to set their bikes up for comfort and confidence, and what works for one person may not be correct and/or comfortable for someone else. Flexibility has a decent amount to do with it, as does musculature, age (to some degree), style of riding, and experience/confidence on the bike regarding bunny-hopping, etc. For racers, I can see it making more of a difference, since most ride in the drops a lot of the time during races (or on the hoods, but rarely on the bar tops--except when climbing).

Interesting that you weighed yourself and your bike like that! Kinda funny, but it obviously gave you some neat input.

How much wt should the hands support ?nn23
Oct 25, 2001 4:44 PM
What do you think happens to wt distribution if riding no-hands?

Also if I remember correctly, somewhere on this board I came across that I should not be putting much weight on my hands even when they are on the handle. If I do, it simply means that either a] the bar is too low for me or b] The muscles in my back and guts are not developed enough to support me.

Any inputs on riding style appreciated.


re: Weight Distribution on Your Bikemetonymy3
Oct 25, 2001 8:17 PM
I don't know about the inportance of weight distibution, but I'm pretty sure that you can't really calculate it with the bike alone and no rider. The weight distribution of the bike with no one on it is irrelevant, because I don't know anyone who rides without a person on the bike. I also have no clue how you would calculate this because you're shifting weight all the time on the bike, and with weight distribution, if you move a 1/2inch forward on the saddle, you're affecting the distribution big time. I don't know...