Bicycle Mechanics - Shedding a few pounds...
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10-23-06, 08:42 AM
I have a 12 year old Trek 800 Antelope Mountain Bike. It has a steel frame and is a great bike. It's got all its original equipment, except for the rear cantilever brakes (the original pair broke).
I really like my Trek 800. It's great bike and a lot of fun to ride. I mostly ride it on paved and gravel roads. Sometimes I take it on some dirt paths to do somepseudo mountain biking. I just recently tuned it up (with some help from this forum) and it works great. However, the bike is a little heavy and I was wondering if it would be possible (and worthwhile) to upgrade some components in an effort to save weight.
Are there some things that I can do to the bike to shed a few pounds from its total weight? Are there any components (wheels, cranks, derailleurs, head set, chainrings and gears) that can be switched out to save a few pounds or would it not be worth the effort? I'm pretty happy with the bike the way it is, but it might be fun to make it a little lighter for those longer, hilly rides.
10-23-06, 10:23 AM
Well, the frame is the limiter, but you can replace the wheels and tires for the biggest bang for your buck.
MTB tires can be very heavy and if you don't really do real mountain biking you can swap out your knobbies for slicks or at least some recessed treads. Not only would it be lighter, but the reduduced rolling resistance would give you a gain of about 3 mph. I have a 1993 Trek 830, very similar to your bike and just changing out the tires for slicks made a huge difference. Everybody seems to be stuck on weight, but it doesn't really make that big of a difference.
For example if the average rider reduces his overall weight by 5kg(a lot of weight! 11lbs!) and rides up a 3% grade for 2000 meters he will gain just over 8 seconds. Essentially nothing for a recreational rider.
But reducing your rolling resistance from knobbies to slicks will give you a gain of ~20% over hills and flats. Clearly just changing out the tires for slicks or semi-slicks will give you a huge gain in efficiency that isn't just limited to hills.
Something like this would work well on the road and be good enough for gravel too.
10-23-06, 11:14 AM
Great minds think alike. I've already got some non-knobby tires on my bike. I have a treaded tire, similar to the one the ones shown on the Bike Nashbar page. This dramatically improved my overall riding experience.
How about the rims/tires? Would switching to a lighter rim help much? I'm not sure if my rims are aluminum or steel. I think they might be aluminum, but they are fairly heavy (and very durable).
PS where in Jersey are you from? I lived in Northern Jersey and went to school in central Jersey. My wife and I used to ride around the Plainsboro/Princeton area. It was a great place to ride.
10-23-06, 12:34 PM
For tires, check Kenda Kozmic light. Very light and good for flat trails and even asphault. As to the wheels and rims, most starter bikes are very heavy. Lighter wheels are not cheap however. Check the advertised weights. Tires and wheels cah shave off 2-3 lbs from a bike. I wouldn't spend a lot on expensive components to shave weight as the cost to make a real difference is right up there with some very adequate complete bikes.
10-23-06, 02:54 PM
Weight won't make a difference, at least as far as bang-for-the-buck is concerned if you're sticking with that frame. If you REALLY want a lighter bike, get a modern road frame. Trying to make that bike light to improve speed on the road would be like trying to strip weight out of a Jeep to improve it's drag strip time. It's just not a drag car!
(Regardless, the biking community (at least some parts of it) are way too concerned about weight, IMHO. I'd challenge anyone spending big bucks to reduce weight with this: Put two water bottle cages on your bike. Have a friend set up 4 identical-looking bottles: Two that are full of water, and two that are empty. Then, go for several rides - in between, have your friend switch randomly from full bottles to empty bottles on your bike without telling you which is on which run. With 24 oz bottles, that's several pounds of weight difference - however, I bet most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference of riding with the full bottles vs. the empty ones.)
If, however, you're only interested in going a bit faster on the mostly smooth surfaces you frequent, do what these guys suggest and get some narrower, smoother, higher-pressure tires.
Rotational mass does make a difference, especially from a stop. Lighter wheels and cranks make the biggest difference if you ask me. If you can find a cheap set of rims that are a couple of pounds lighter at a garage sale or on craigslist, go for it. If not I'd probably start hunting for a road bike.
10-23-06, 03:56 PM
Even several pounds of difference is still likely to be only a few percent of the total weight you're moving (bike plus rider.) Unless someone GIVES you lightweight wheels, I honestly wouldn't bother. You can get a decent, serviceable road bike for well under $100 on eBay or Craigslist these days, if you don't mind riding something that's 20 years old. A 20 year old road bike will be faster than the OP's mountain bike, even if you dropped pounds and pounds of weight from it.
10-23-06, 04:41 PM
Thanks for all of the advice everyone. I don't want to sink a lot of money on my Trek, so I think I'll keep it the way it is. Replacing the knobby tires with smoother ones really helped a lot and that's probably all I need. I have a 20 year old Ross road/touring bike that I will eventually rehabilitate and use that for touring.
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