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  1. #1
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    cheapest way to lighten an mtb used for commuting?

    my bike must weight 30lbs even though i've a rigid fork on it. a trek 520 feels featherweight in comparison to it. one of those $700 trek road bikes feels lighter than air compared to my bike.


    i think one place to start is the tires. they're over 4lbs of the bike (schwalbe big apples)

    the frame is aluminum but is beefy as can be for cross country. i was thinking of going to a soma groove if i can pull the money together.

    i'm probably going to get a new crankset soon as my is turning to mush.

    the bike uses mostly lx or sram x.7 level or better components and i can't understand why it's so heavy. i'm thinking the cranks, frame and tires are it. would a change in stem, post and bars really make a difference?

  2. #2
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    30lbs is not too bad for a commuter. What do your wheels/tires weigh? (try weighing the bike without wheels) that's usually a good place to start.

    If you're after better performance overall you're probably better off going to a road bike. You'll get a bit better aero position and save some weight.
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  3. #3
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    i was thinking of that, but all the bikes that would be within my range have cruddy wheels, (actually it seems that even the nicer bikes have cruddy wheels), carbon forks (ich. i'm 211lbs), and most other than trek have no rack eyelets. thje trek portland is interesting but out of my price range and it has really crappy wheels. i figure the most i would spend on my mtb is

    $319 for a soma groove frame
    $82 for some schwalbe kojack tires (would lighten the bike by over 2lbs)
    $180 for some sidi shoes and time attack pedals at pricepoint (probably knock off at least a lb. i'm using bmx pedals)
    $50 for headset
    $20 for torque wrench
    i'm guessing $20 for bearing tools
    $10 for phil bearings
    $180 to $230 for new cranks....

    that's comes to $861 to $911.. i may have to cut that down a bit. it's more than i'd like to spend by quite a bit. i guess i'll knock off the frame as i couldn't afford a rack and panniers at that point anyway (rack mounts being the point in the soma groove frame)


    i doubt i could get a reliable road bike for $900.

    without the frame it come to $542 which may be manageable if i'm lucky.

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    I don't think I'd spend much money on trying to lighten a bike that's inherently heavy. As the other post said, 30 pounds isn't that badfor an all around commuter/beater/everyday bike, and you can sink a lot into it without making a very big difference. I commute on an old steel Bridgestone mountain bike that probably weighs 30 pounds or so, and I just think of it as a little extra exercise.
    The Big Apples are heavy tires, and there are dozens of light, durable road tires you could use instead. If your roads are like ours, I wouldn't go below 1.4 or 1.5--a skinny tire at high pressure will beat you up. Major component swaps just aren't worth the time or money. If you have to replace the crankset anyway, you could save a few ounces there, but do you really need to do that? What do you mean by "turning to mush"? Could new bottom bracket bearings be all you need? If you have a bike that's worth $250 and you put $400 into it, you still have a $250 bike.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Akadis's Avatar
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    Change steel parts for alloy. Are your cranks steel? If they are black then check them with a magnet. Stem, bars and seat post they all adds up. I use Continental SportContact tyres on my converted mountain bike - 1 year of daily commute and no puncture; 26"x1.6 at 65psi max they are just right.http://picasaweb.google.com/Faasta/B...96191168053138
    Last edited by Akadis; 04-19-08 at 12:06 AM.

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    actually this bike already has close to a grand in it. it's a decent bike parts wise. it's just so heavy. and the cranks are square taper and bottomed out because i didn't use a torque wrench. they're wonky and they creek now. i was thinking of using truvative stylo 3.3 cranks as they're only $177 for 820grams. i probably will replace the cranks and tires anyway, and i figure it's about time i finally went clipless. i figure this change up will drop me 5lbs at least (tires, pedals, cranks, shoes).

    if only i could mount a rack to this frame. sigh.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    " that's comes to $861 to $911.."

    So how much is that per pound?

  8. #8
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    IMO, 30 lb is not really that heavy.
    My Trek 520 tips the scale at 29 lb.
    Without a lot of crazy part shuffling-
    get a lighter fork- a steel fork.
    Try some Schwalbe Supreme tires- in 50x559 size they are light
    and will give you the shock absorbency for commuting.
    OR
    with the $900 in your projections build up a new bike-
    like a CrossCheck.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfishin View Post
    i was thinking of that, but all the bikes that would be within my range have cruddy wheels, (actually it seems that even the nicer bikes have cruddy wheels), carbon forks (ich. i'm 211lbs), and most other than trek have no rack eyelets. thje trek portland is interesting but out of my price range and it has really crappy wheels. i figure the most i would spend on my mtb is

    $319 for a soma groove frame
    $82 for some schwalbe kojack tires (would lighten the bike by over 2lbs)
    $180 for some sidi shoes and time attack pedals at pricepoint (probably knock off at least a lb. i'm using bmx pedals)
    $50 for headset
    $20 for torque wrench
    i'm guessing $20 for bearing tools
    $10 for phil bearings
    $180 to $230 for new cranks....

    that's comes to $861 to $911.. i may have to cut that down a bit. it's more than i'd like to spend by quite a bit. i guess i'll knock off the frame as i couldn't afford a rack and panniers at that point anyway (rack mounts being the point in the soma groove frame)


    i doubt i could get a reliable road bike for $900.

    without the frame it come to $542 which may be manageable if i'm lucky.
    You've got the disease! Just do it. Whether it makes economic sense or not, nothing else is going to make you happy. 10 years from now 500 or 600 dollars more or less isn't going to have mattered but the process will have affected your personality.

  10. #10
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    Wheels and tires make a huge difference. Especially tires. Switching to lighter tires is probably the cheapest and most effective improvement you can make. Go to lightweight tubes (or tubeless, e.g. Stan's, if you're so inclined) for some extra weight savings.

    The Big Apples are cushy but they're really bigger than you need for a commute bike. I'd go with something like Kenda Kwest slicks in the 26x1.5 size. Get the high pressure version for the rear wheel (I'm a Clyde too and I prefer a firm rear tire). Your bike will feel 10 lbs. lighter!

  11. #11
    Senior Member City_Smasher's Avatar
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    What size are your tires? Also, how light are you trying to get? If your tires are 2.0" knobbies or larger, your greatest gain will come from changing tires. Besides saving weight, narrow tires are going to make you faster by reducing rolling resistance.

    Shaving grams can get very expensive. I personally wouldn't go beyond getting a lighter, narrower set of tires and if you're still not satisfied, I would buy a new bike. As others have already pointed out, 30 lbs is about average for a commuter. Changing tires should give you a sub 30 lb bike.

    You're planning to spend between $850.00-$900.00 to shave grams on your bike. For that kind of money, you could buy a second bike under 25 lbs, and you could have two bikes.
    You might also consider going to a single speed. These bikes with a set of narrow tires are lightweight due to a lack of shifters, shifter cables, a cassette, a second/third chainring, rear de-raileur, and front de-raileur. They are also much quieter. Instead of replacing parts on your old bike, buy a new bike that's stripped of all the above parts, and you'll save some weight.
    Last edited by City_Smasher; 04-19-08 at 09:31 AM.
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  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martianone View Post
    IMO, 30 lb is not really that heavy.
    My Trek 520 tips the scale at 29 lb.
    Without a lot of crazy part shuffling-
    get a lighter fork- a steel fork.
    Try some Schwalbe Supreme tires- in 50x559 size they are light
    and will give you the shock absorbency for commuting.
    OR
    with the $900 in your projections build up a new bike-
    like a CrossCheck.
    Just to stir the waters a little, 30 lb for any bike is heavy! Even my dual suspension mountain bike doesn't weigh 30 lb! My touring bike, with racks, only goes 27 lb about the same as the dually.

    However, taking a tank and turning it into a gazelle is a fool's errand. Better to start fresh.
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    so what bike would you buy? it seems like i basically want a fast touring bike. the problem is i don't see many. the trek portland would be great but the wheels are just junk and it's way over priced (for my budget and for the cruddy wheels they put on it).


    any recomendations for a road type bike that will fit wider tires, is light (that counts out the surly LHT. i don't care for the hubs on the cross check and i think a stock one weighs about 25lbs.), and has rack mounts (i really want some rack mounts!) for about $850 or less? i want at least 105 level shifting and cranks and the same level of hubs. i'd rather stay away from carbon fiber. forks should be steel. frames can be aluminum or steel.

    any ideas?

    all the jamisis seem to have tiagra hubs no matter how good the rest of the bike is.
    trek uses crud wheels on everything.

    know anywhere good to get a cannondale touring 2 for about $500 off?
    nevermind. it has tiagra shifters and an octalink bb. the trouing 1 would be perfect but it's twice my budget.

    single speed is out due to wind
    Last edited by goldfishin; 04-19-08 at 11:17 AM.

  14. #14
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    What is wrong with tiagra hubs? I ran a set on a pair of wheels for my touring bike to about 10,000. Worked just fine.

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    i've already got better than tiagra (lx). $542 (and maybe less) would lighten the bike by at least 4lbs from my calculations. i need new tires and cranks anyway, i would like to finally go clipless ($100 of that is for shoes, not the bike). i really don't see any bike out there that i would want other than the canondale touring 1 (that bike is amazing. i wonder why i don't see more of them. it's pretty much perfect in its build).... i don't see any better options. i could go with a cross check, but then i'd probably end up with a bike that weighs the same and i wouldn't have clipless pedals to go with it and it would cost me $400 more than just upgrading my bike. if it weight 21lbs i would consider the crosscheck, but it weighs about 25lbs from what ive read.

  16. #16
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    4lbs is not worth $542 IMHO.

    But if you are eager to part with your cash then go ahead.
    You sound picky. Perhaps you should go the same route I am taking with my next commuter and build up a frame. No way in heck will I save any cash but it will have everything I want on it.

  17. #17
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    but what frame? they all cost so much? that cannondale touring frame and fork are ideal. and i agree, $542 isn't cheap, but it's a better bang for the buck (with my budget limits) than the alternatives.

  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Just to stir the waters a little, 30 lb for any bike is heavy! Even my dual suspension mountain bike doesn't weigh 30 lb! My touring bike, with racks, only goes 27 lb about the same as the dually.

    However, taking a tank and turning it into a gazelle is a fool's errand. Better to start fresh.
    +1

    Lighter tyres will help- Then wheels and then?----You will be stuck

    The money spent trying to lighten a heavier bike is better spent going towards a lighter bike.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member City_Smasher's Avatar
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    From the title of this thread, I was under the impression that you're looking to lighten your MTB, for commuting purposes. For commuting or short tours with a light load, a hybrid would suit your needs.


    If you're interested in an all out touring model, you should visit the touring forums to get some good advice on prices/weights.
    Last edited by City_Smasher; 04-19-08 at 01:16 PM.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfishin View Post
    but what frame? they all cost so much? that cannondale touring frame and fork are ideal. and i agree, $542 isn't cheap, but it's a better bang for the buck (with my budget limits) than the alternatives.
    I say save up for another bike.

    Technically the cheapest method is to do nothing and work on the engine.
    The second cheapest would be to convert it to a SS or FG.
    The third cheapest would be to purchase a hybrid or MTB of some sort.
    I suppose you could upgrade and upgrade but at the level you are looking to go a new bike makes more sense then to spend $500+ to lighten up by 4 lbs.
    However, if it was a $3000 bike and spending $500 to loose a pound the response would be different. Go figure...

  21. #21
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfishin View Post
    so what bike would you buy? it seems like i basically want a fast touring bike. the problem is i don't see many. the trek portland would be great but the wheels are just junk and it's way over priced (for my budget and for the cruddy wheels they put on it).


    any recomendations for a road type bike that will fit wider tires, is light (that counts out the surly LHT. i don't care for the hubs on the cross check and i think a stock one weighs about 25lbs.), and has rack mounts (i really want some rack mounts!) for about $850 or less? i want at least 105 level shifting and cranks and the same level of hubs. i'd rather stay away from carbon fiber. forks should be steel. frames can be aluminum or steel.

    any ideas?

    all the jamisis seem to have tiagra hubs no matter how good the rest of the bike is.
    trek uses crud wheels on everything.

    know anywhere good to get a cannondale touring 2 for about $500 off?
    nevermind. it has tiagra shifters and an octalink bb. the trouing 1 would be perfect but it's twice my budget.

    single speed is out due to wind
    My REI has 2 T800 (same as the T2) for $1100 for a small and $1000 for a large. That's at the Denver Flagship store.

    As for the stuff you hang off the frame...wheels, drivetrain, etc...I always go with a mix of components. My T800 came stock with good stuff but I swapped everything out because that's what I do. I didn't do it for lightness but for durability. I have kept the Tiagra shifters and they work just fine and have for several thousand miles now. I also kept the Tiagra front derailer because it's a better triple derailer than the higher level stuff.

    For wheels, I went crazy and got Phil's. I don't need them ... a set of XTs would work just as well... but I wanted them. If you want good wheels, learn how to build them yourself. Except the wheels that come stock on my bikes, every set of wheels I've used for the last 20 have been ones I built. But stock wheels, even with fairly cheap hubs, can still run smoothly if they are adjusted properly.

    And there's nothing wrong with octalink. I have it on 3 or 4 bikes in my garage and have no complaints with it. Same with ISIS. External bearing would be the way to go but I have to get some wear on the other cranks first.
    Stuart Black
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  22. #22
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    man, the t2000 is 24lbs? i guess i am wanting a road bike. they don't make fast tourer's anymore do they....

  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfishin View Post
    man, the t2000 is 24lbs? i guess i am wanting a road bike. they don't make fast tourer's anymore do they....
    Every bike has three weights:

    What the manufacturer says that it weighs.
    What the owner thinks that it weighs.
    What my scale says that it weighs.

    Guess which one is generally heaviest.

  24. #24
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    well, then it's new cranks for now, new tires later when these wear out, and maybe i'll go clipless,a nd maybe i'll get a new frame when i can afford it and the corresponding panniers and rack.

    all these new bikes suck.

  25. #25
    mauve avenger cheeva's Avatar
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    make it SS or FG
    it will make it much lighter

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