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  1. #1
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    Why is my San Jose so heavy?

    I weighed my Bianchi San Jose... ~25 lbs stock. I'm curious whether it is sensible to try to make this bike lighter, or whether a light bike starts with a lighter frame from the get go. In other words, if I only want to spend about $300--

    a) sell this bike to fund an aluminum replacement— how much lighter would it really be?

    b) new wheels— how much lighter would it really be?

    c) new cranks, fork, etc.— how much lighter would it really be?

    d) suck it up because of course it's going to be heavy— it's made out of metal!

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    You'll never get around the fact that the frame and fork are (by today's standards) heavy.

    A pair of well-built light wheels is never a waste of money IMHO. Check out the Williams System 19.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak99654 View Post
    I weighed my Bianchi San Jose... ~25 lbs stock. I'm curious whether it is sensible to try to make this bike lighter, or whether a light bike starts with a lighter frame from the get go. In other words, if I only want to spend about $300--

    a) sell this bike to fund an aluminum replacement— how much lighter would it really be?

    b) new wheels— how much lighter would it really be?

    c) new cranks, fork, etc.— how much lighter would it really be?

    d) suck it up because of course it's going to be heavy— it's made out of metal!

    Thanks
    The first question in these sorts of threads should really be, "Is losing a couple pounds on the bike going to make any difference whatsoever in the way I ride?"
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  4. #4
    TXHC amillhench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    The first question in these sorts of threads should really be, "Is losing a couple pounds on the bike going to make any difference whatsoever in the way I ride?"
    No, but it can be fun. With that said, $300 dollars isn't going to lighten much. Maybe a new carbon fork? My Ritchey WCS cross fork weighs 425g. That could shave a pound or so off if you had a steel fork. If you want to go light, start with a different frame.
    Wheels are also a good place to start, but unless you just love the frame, start over for light weight.

    Whatever you do, do not go to weight weenies or buy a digital kitchen scale unless you are wealthy.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    I would estimate that at most, switching (same components) to a compable priced alu frame would probably save no more that 2.0#. The rest of the parts that this is built from must be really, really heavy. Steel is an entirely competitive frame material in the hands of a good framebuilder. I would work on upgrading your heavy components first, you can always re-use the new components on another frame if you are dissatisfield with the end-results with the SanJose.

  6. #6
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Do you know the weigh to San Jose?
    I've been away so long. I may go wrong and lose my way.
    Do you know the weigh to San Jose?

    (Sorry.)

    Anyway... be careful when trying to tweak a bike for weight. The components that offer the "best" combination of low weight and low cost are often the worst available in other ways. Do you want wheels that lose power during sprints because they're not rigid enough? Fork judder? Piles? Bicycle cooties?

    If you want to spend money sensibly on performance then the place to start on a crosser is usually the tyres.

    (I confess I have no idea how much my crosser weighs. It feels like almost nothing to me, but I weigh 230lbs and my handweights weigh more than most bicycles. Something I remind myself of whenever I got overtaken on a hill by some guy with arms like pipecleaners.)

  7. #7
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    I would estimate that at most, switching (same components) to a compable priced alu frame would probably save no more that 2.0#. The rest of the parts that this is built from must be really, really heavy.
    Most "heavy" bikes are heavy all over. The really-worth-lightening exceptions are very rare and exotic - I knew someone who had the original Kona Hei Hei (a titanium version of the Lava Dome, the first production bike to combine a sloping downtube, straight forks, etc to create the classic modern hardtail.) He managed to get the thing down to 17lbs as a singlespeed - then had to add weight back on, because the bike was too light to be stable off road.

  8. #8
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    just add drillium
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    B17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak99654 View Post
    I weighed my Bianchi San Jose... ~25 lbs stock. I'm curious whether it is sensible to try to make this bike lighter, or whether a light bike starts with a lighter frame from the get go. In other words, if I only want to spend about $300--

    a) sell this bike to fund an aluminum replacement— how much lighter would it really be?

    b) new wheels— how much lighter would it really be?

    c) new cranks, fork, etc.— how much lighter would it really be?

    d) suck it up because of course it's going to be heavy— it's made out of metal!

    Thanks
    If you have the disc frameset, that fork is heavy even for steel. I have that frameset (not yet built up) and will use a much lighter Tange steel fork that I already own because the non-tapered blades on the original look cheap. I like the tapered blades of the Tange, Kelly and Vicious forks (I don't mind including aesthetics in my list of reasons to build a bike up a certain way) and wasn't ever going to use the disc option. Without weighing, I'd estimate I saved at least 1.5#, and I was less than halfway to your $ limit. I wanted a steel frame and fork, but you could probably find a cheaper carbon fork for less than the $120 or so I paid for the Tange.

    All that said, $300 won't lose you a lot of weight, and yeah, wheels are the best place to start anyhow.

  10. #10
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    Thanks all

    To the first question, yes, it would make a bit of a difference; I ride it about 5 days a week and raced it a few times during cross season. I had a Kona Jake that was stolen; acceleration was more fun on the lighter bike. Nobody's pointed out an obvious major upgrade, though, so I think I'll just leave it as it is. Learn to be thankful for what I've got, right?

  11. #11
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak99654 View Post
    To the first question, yes, it would make a bit of a difference; I ride it about 5 days a week and raced it a few times during cross season. I had a Kona Jake that was stolen; acceleration was more fun on the lighter bike.
    I agree with you on this point. Whenever this comes up, everyone seems to point out that measurable performance difference are negligible. That's probably true, but there's no question that you can feel the difference with a lighter bike and it feels better.

    Light wheels are definitely something you can feel. I've found that forks and handlebars are often disproportionately heavy and cheap fixes.

  12. #12
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    If they used any common sense in component selection, it shouldnt be 25#. From looking on the net, the San Jose came in several different configurations over several years. THe heaviest specificaiton I saw anywhere for one was in the 21-23# range which makes more sense for a fixie.
    Try getting an accurate weight before you are too down on your Bianchi-SJ. From what I have read, it has a butted Chrome-Molly frame. The bare frame weight is probably right around 5-6# which still leaves majority of the weight due to components and plenty of room for improvements. Post some pictures of the existing components for advice on upgrading.
    Last edited by GrayJay; 04-11-11 at 03:16 PM.

  13. #13
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    Whats the real weight? bathroom scale even?
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  14. #14
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    Turns out my cheapo bathroom scale is off by 4 or 5 lbs. The bike does feel heavier than my geared aluminum cross bike (stolen), but looking at weights and prices, it doesn't look like any realistic improvement is going to materialize without spending a lot of money. A Kona Major One is only a couple pounds lighter, and that's with a scandium frame and carbon fork. Add me— 195 lb. 6'2" —a bike lock, etc., and the full on race bike is only 2% lighter. Thanks for the good advice; I'll keep it in mind if component replacements become necessities. For now, I'm pretty happy.

  15. #15
    M_S
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    I raced my Volpe (close to the same frame) as a singlespeed. I had an OEM carbon fork from another bike I used for a while which dropped about a pound even though it was a heavyish itself having an aluminum crown and steerer. I used wheels that were maybe lighter than the really heavy Alexes that come stock on the San Jose, but not by much. Now that it's the off season I built some lighter wheels and it absolutely improves the feel of the bike way more than the fork change.

    Sounds like you got a little dose of realism though. The San Jose is a fun bike, might as well enjoy it for what it is.

  16. #16
    sic transit gloria mundi rfomenko's Avatar
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    First tires then wheels. Everything else matters very little unless you race in the mountains. The rotational weight is where well over 90% of the savings reside.
    Merlin Titanium Classic / Campagnolo Record 10 Speed
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