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Vintage MTB weight weenies - pics and discussion

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Vintage MTB weight weenies - pics and discussion

Old 05-01-13, 02:35 AM
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Vintage MTB weight weenies - pics and discussion

Over in the drop bar conversion thread, there's been a lot of talk about dropping weight from mtbs to get them in the same range as road bikes. Since weight weenieism isn't not exclusive to drop bar conversions, I thought maybe we could move some of the discussion to a new thread

When dealing with vintage mtbs, "weight weenie" is a relative term to me, anything under 30 lbs is "respectable" and under 25 is impressive.



So.. my most recent pick up is a Diamondback Ascent EX, which has double butted crmo tubes with a tange crmo fork. When I first got it home, it was tipping the scales at 32 lbs, but it was sporting a rack and two bottle cages on a handlebar mount. Removing the accessories dropped it to just over 30.

Just now I pulled the tires and tubes and weighed them.. over 5 lbs! I have some Kenda 838 tires laying around which I don't consider light.. when I pulled them from the Univega and put on the Compass tires, I shed about 1.5 lbs.. well, the difference between the original tires/tybes and these Kenda 838 with different tubes is about 1.5. The Ascent should be under 29 lbs, even with heavy tires.

I'm planning on converting it to a single speed so a lot more weight will be shed, but it's amazing how much weight is in the wheels.. with a heavy set of tires it can approach/exceed half the weight of the bike it seems like!
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Old 05-01-13, 05:15 AM
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Frantik, Lighter wheels, tires and tubes are where a rider can actually feel a difference in performance. Have fun.

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Old 05-01-13, 05:23 AM
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I weighed a couple of Diamond Back framesets recently, one an Apex, the other an Ascent. Both were almost 10 freakin' pounds! I need to weigh them when I get back to the workshop, as I also have a light weight Cannondale MTB frameset. Should be an interesting comparison.

Light wheels, tires, tubes, saddle, and pedals were the only changes I made to get my 30 pound Cimmaron down to 25 1/2 pounds. If I started with a lighter frameset, like my wife's Paramount 70, I think I could get under 23 pounds.

Pedals alone can save you 1/2 pound or more! I ordered a lighter weight set to see if I could nudge that Cimmaron down under 25 lbs. It will be close.

Up to now, I just used stuff I had laying around.

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Old 05-01-13, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
I weighed a couple of Diamond Back framesets recently, one an Apex, the other an Ascent. Both were almost 10 freakin' pounds! I need to weigh them when I get back to the workshop, as I also have a light weight Cannondale MTB frameset. Should be an interesting comparison.
Just tore down the 1988 20" Ascent EX and it weighed 8.6 lbs with frame, fork, headset, BB and seatpost binder bolt. Definitely feels heavier than the Jamis I've been working on, but the Jamis is Tange Prestige and the DB is Tange MTB. Diamondback Ascents (non-EX) usually have plain gauge stays and heavier fork but the Apex should at least be Tange MTB

Bill what pedals did you order? I suspect the pedals on my Univega are a source of easy weight loss. I have some XT pedals coming that are going on the Jamis, and the pedals from the Jamis will go onto the Univega
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Old 05-01-13, 06:17 AM
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Wheels are the easiest way to lose weight. If you don't need period correct parts, there is a lot of new tires which can save a lot of weight. pair of 300g tires=600g, and pair of 200g tubes=400g. It weights 1000g which means that you can save 1250g! The other parts where you can lose a lot of weight are crankset, cassete(!), bar, stem, seatpost and seat. Single speed will also help you a lot, RD, FD, shifters, cassete with 7/8 speed, 3 front chainrings add you around 800-900g!
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Old 05-01-13, 06:22 AM
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and i thought that vintage mtbs were immune from the weight weenie virus. When I bought my 1988 stumpjumper comp from CL, all I did was to overhaul the bike and replace the cables and chain and tire; bike works great and it (the bike that is) would be totally bummed if i put it on a diet so I am not going to do it. Oh yeah, I added some really heavy pedals that I could use with boots:

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Old 05-01-13, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
and i thought that vintage mtbs were immune from the weight weenie virus.
hah! you would think.. but no I'm not sure why, but I prefer to ride 26" wheeled bikes. I ride mostly on pavement, so I tend to turn my mtbs into "road bikes" or "hybrids". But road bikes tend to be lighter than mtbs.. a 28 pound road bike in the 80s would not be considered light at all, while for an mtb that's not too bad

The Ascent EX had a steel handlebar.. if it doesn't get drops, an alloy one will definitely be installed. If I do keep the flat bars, period correct Shimano Deore/XT brake levers are like 100 grams per lever heavier than tektro cheapies.. that's a fair amount of weight savings

Shimano thumb shifters can also be pretty heavy (compared to downtube shifters especially) Most of my mtbs are welded and have OS down tubes but it would be cool to try out a downtube shifter band on a lugged frame.. though that would make more sense for drop bar conversions i suppose
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Old 05-01-13, 11:44 AM
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I have two MTB's, this one is about 25 lbs. It has a titanium handlebar, didn't know that when I got it. Also the street cassette that may save a few ounces and the 26X1.50 street tires. I rode it 30 miles on the street last weekend, as the other recent road bike acquisition had a few issues.


It's very liberating to not have to keep an eagle eye out for debris in the road all the time, and the condition of some of the bike lanes around here is a potholed mess, so...
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Old 05-01-13, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by frantik
Bill what pedals did you order? I suspect the pedals on my Univega are a source of easy weight loss. I have some XT pedals coming that are going on the Jamis, and the pedals from the Jamis will go onto the Univega
I ordered a set of Wellgo WR-1 pedals (based on a recommendation from someone else on the forum), the pair weigh a little less than 1/2 pound. I bought them from Taiwan, so they have not showed up yet.

Abaxo has them right now for $28.87 delivered, shipped from the US. I would buy from them next time.

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Old 05-01-13, 12:54 PM
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On my old steel Diamondback, I was shocked at how different it felt with a set of light-weight Kevlar bead 1.9 inch tires. Reducing all that rotating weight way out on the edge of the wheel, so substantial inertia change. In the kind of start/stop urban riding I do, that was a very welcome change.
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Old 05-01-13, 12:58 PM
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I've thought about this often and I always end up with something like the Boulder Brevet in the end; light wt. tubes, 650b's and such.

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Old 05-01-13, 01:40 PM
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My '88 Diamondback Ascent (pretty sure it's straight-gauge chromoly, as there is no mention of butting anywhere on it) weighs about [strike]27 lbs[/strike] without tools, water bottles, or lights. There's no way it would be under 30 lbs if I hadn't converted it to fixed-gear and removed the rear brake.

I've been thinking about removing the rear bottle cage and pump mount, so I can throw on a frame pump when taking it for a ride. Good occasion to re-weigh the thing, since I've also added a rear rack.
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Old 05-01-13, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
My '88 Diamondback Ascent (pretty sure it's straight-gauge chromoly, as there is no mention of butting anywhere on it)
the catalog says "Chromoly three main tubes" which implies hiten stays. fork should be chromoly but not tange. My girlfriend's 86 Ascent has a sticker that says "all tubes chromo" and a tange mtb sticker that says "double butted tubes". The stays are definitely not double butted.. they sound very thick with the "flick test".

Once the Ascent EX was introduced in 87 the Ascent was downgraded
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Old 05-01-13, 05:35 PM
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Chuckk, love the farm implement (Miyata Elevation 3000?) Sent a fella on a round the world tour with one back in the day. His riding partner broke his frame (Schwinn) in Europe and abandoned. By the time he got to Africa he packed it up and returned home. Still rides it to this day! Totally indestructible frame on that thing!
The Ross is one of my favorites of that period. Dig the chrome.
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Old 05-01-13, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
I ordered a set of Wellgo WR-1 pedals (based on a recommendation from someone else on the forum), the pair weigh a little less than 1/2 pound. I bought them from Taiwan, so they have not showed up yet.

Abaxo has them right now for $28.87 delivered, shipped from the US. I would buy from them next time.
I run those pedals on 2 of my mtbs. On my 1994 alpina 5.5 wr1's are on my deore dx cranks
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Old 05-01-13, 08:25 PM
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Swapped out 32 spoke mavic/STX wheels with (light for their day) zmax tires for mavic crossrides and bontrager x0 tires (respectably sized 2.1's) and some light tubes. Dropped 2 lbs of rotating weight right there, and acceleration is much improved.
Next place to look is the fork/headset. If you're lucky enough to have a 1 and 1/8 frame, then you have great options for shedding more weight via fork/stem.
There's weight to be saved with aluminum inner and middle rings (most MTB's have steel rings for those two). If you can find the right combo for a double crankset, even more weight saved vs the triple (and better chain line).
Cassettes can vary in weight significantly, and a little drillium on the more basic ones doesn't hurt. Also, maybe trim a bit off the one size fits most seatpost, and get a lighter saddle.

I was fortunate to be mostly a ground up build, rather than replacing perfectly good parts for slightly lighter ones. However, depending on your starting point, much of what you have lying around could be significantly lighter than the original MTB equipment. I think a lot of it depends on if you're looking for more of a cross bike, or retaining the full on mtb capabilities (especially when considering forks and cranks).

My build is now between 22 and 23 lbs (I don't have an exacting scale to use). I could probably shave another half pound by following all the points above, but it's significantly different than the older equipment MTB I have to compare it to.
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Old 05-01-13, 08:27 PM
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And a pic of the result...
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Old 05-01-13, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrome Molly

And a pic of the result...
Want.

Man, that turned out great.

Dan at GP has a couple more of these Croll mtb framesets in the basement.

A guy could likely talk him out of one.
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Old 05-01-13, 08:53 PM
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I was stupid enough to put a Mountain bike together back in the day with a nod towards the light. Some things are just stupid to do if you weigh 225 lbs. As each piece broke I replaced it with quality and durability over weight. Give me a set of Phil Woods over a set of Hi-E's any day.
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Old 05-01-13, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by frantik
the catalog says "Chromoly three main tubes" which implies hiten stays. fork should be chromoly but not tange. My girlfriend's 86 Ascent has a sticker that says "all tubes chromo" and a tange mtb sticker that says "double butted tubes". The stays are definitely not double butted.. they sound very thick with the "flick test".

Once the Ascent EX was introduced in 87 the Ascent was downgraded
Okay, 29.5 lbs as pictured, as promised:



The seat tube and fork blade decals both state "Tange Cr-Mo", and only the tubes in the main triangle sound remotely resonant with the flick test.

P.S. Meanwhile, the rider weighs about 20 lbs more than he ought to.
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Old 05-02-13, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by gomango

Dan at GP has a couple more of these Croll mtb framesets in the basement.

A guy could likely talk him out of one.
You Sir have a gift of gab... Grab your wallet and add to your Crollection. Thx - lets ride once this white stuff melts, again...
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Old 05-02-13, 06:23 AM
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I'm doing the weight weenie thing on my new Hardrock Sport Disc 29 right now. So far with tubeless tires, Crank Brothers seatpost, lightweight skewers, and a few other parts, I've dropped around 2.5-3 pounds from the original weight. Working on getting a Rock Shox fork and a lighter set of wheels right now. My goal is about 25-26 pounds, which is respectable for a 29er hard tail of this trim level these days. It started close to 33, IIRC? The original Suntour forks are about 6.5-7 pounds, and a Rock Shox Reba is about half that. It also still has the super thick walled handlebar and stem. Another source of future weight loss.,,,,BD
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Old 05-02-13, 01:51 PM
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This is my 1994 Univega Alpina 5.5. I just weighed it today and it was 24.6 lbs. I am going to put this already lightweight bike on a diet. Going with lighter tires/tubes, and a 8 speed wheelset. That will drop 1.5lbs or so right there. Also plan on putting on a lighter seat, seatpost, and lightweight skewers. I also will pop on an XT rear derailleur since the LX is not the most lightweight option here. Everything else will remain as is. Hoping to have this bike around 22lbs when Im done....we shall see. The frame is 969 Racelight, the fork is 1.3-.7 Racelite. The tubing is double butted .6 in the middle .9 at the ends for the 3 main tubes and also the stays. This frame with nothing on it is just as light as a Columbus SL road frame....impressive.
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Old 05-02-13, 02:05 PM
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Here are a couple of my 25 lb and under Vintage MTB. The first is a 1993 Barracuda A2T. I changed the Rock Shox Mag 21 for a ridged Tange fork and a new wheelset; weighs in at 25lbs.



The next is not really vintage, it is a 99 Privateer, with an added Marcocchi Super fly, but it is consistent with Bontys of old; weighs in also @ 25lbs



Speaking of the Bontys of old. My only real attempt at a lightened bike. 1993 Superlite frame (OR stickers) single speed with surgically added Surly forkends (Sub 11) and custom fork; with carbon Time ATAC pedals and Bonty seatpost, ti stem, seat, front axle, Kong water bottle cage and hardware and a moderately light Surly wheel set (original Suntour rubber coated braked levers and 987 DiaComp 987 cantis); weighs in at >20lbs..

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Old 05-02-13, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by onespeedbiker
Here are a couple of my 25 lb and under Vintage MTB. The first is a 1993 Barracuda A2T. I changed the Rock Shox Mag 21 for a ridged Tange fork and a new wheelset; weighs in at 25lbs.



The next is not really vintage, it is a 99 Privateer, with an added Marcocchi Super fly, but it is consistent with Bontys of old; weighs in also @ 25lbs



Speaking of the Bontys of old. My only real attempt at a lightened bike. 1993 Superlite frame (OR stickers) single speed with surgically added Surly forkends (Sub 11) and custom fork; with carbon Time ATAC pedals and Bonty seatpost, ti stem, seat, front axle, Kong water bottle cage and hardware and a moderately light Surly wheel set (original Suntour rubber coated braked levers and 987 DiaComp 987 cantis); weighs in at >20lbs..

I love that Bontrager, sub 20 lbs....very nice indeed.
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