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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Bike weight

Old 08-21-14, 10:01 PM
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Bike weight

So I weighed my bicycle. Using a bathroom scale and me, with and without the bike, I calculate the weight to be between 32 and 35 pounds as I ride it, with lights, handlebar bag (with a little stuff) and saddle bag (with tools, tubes, and assorted odds and ends), and a rear rack.

Now I'm at 249 pounds right now (on the same scale, so plus or minus) so I've assumed the bike weight wasn't really important. But I'm starting to wonder if it would make a difference if the bike could lose some weight too. I'm pretty sure I can get rid of a pound or two by not carrying the bags or so much of my stuff.

Beyond that, maybe I could replace the b17 with a lighter saddle, give up the rack, mount a lighter set of tires.

I guess what I'd like to ask is what weight bikes are people out there riding? And have you found it useful to leave your tools at home, and do you get over the nervousness of not having everything that you might need?

Also, anyone know an accurate and inexpensive way to weigh a bike to maybe one pound accuracy?
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Old 08-21-14, 10:05 PM
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I weigh my bike with a fish scale... I think it's about 17 lbs without water bottles, lights or saddle bag. Honestly, I don't care what the water bottles nor saddle bag weighs because I'm not going riding without either of them. I can just about rebuild my bike with my multitool and I have enough spare parts to change 2 flats and patch about 10 more.

The bike weight really isn't that important - it matters more how responsive the bike is. (if that makes sense)
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Old 08-21-14, 11:21 PM
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I agree with Trojan Horse that for most of us >160 lb riders, five or even 10 pounds of static weight doesn't matter much. The weight of my road bike "stripped down" plus its rider (no, I don't strip down) is about 200 pounds. Even if I carry 10 pounds of water and junk, that's a 5% increase -- not a deal breaker.

The weight of dynamic components (wheels, cranks, etc.) matters a bit more. That's what affects how "responsive" a bike is (to use TH's term).

Carry what you need to make yourself a self-sufficient rider. Nothing slows down a ride like a flat with no spare (or patch kit or pump). And you only need to run out of water on a ride ONCE.
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Old 08-22-14, 02:26 AM
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The bike weight is pretty much as important, or unimportant, as yours. The power required to move you along is determined by the total weight - yours plus the bikes - and wind resistance. The latter is actually more important than weight on a flat course.

It sounds as if you could dump some stuff without detriment. How many tools? Do you need them all? I generally carry just tube, stick-on patches, tyre levers and a multi-tool, they're pretty light. Do you really need both bar bag and saddle bag? If you're comfortable on the B17, I certainly wouldn't start there in my search for weight savings, your comfort is worth much more than a half-pound or so.

As for tyres, it depends what you're riding now. If they're very stiff and heavy you'd notice the difference puuting good 25 or 28mm tyres on.

But don't obsess about bike weight. I have bikes that weigh dramatically different amounts, from a 17lb road bike through to a 36lb tourer - and that'ns without water etc. they're all fun to ride in different ways and I can get just as good a workout on all of them.
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Old 08-22-14, 05:23 AM
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What "tools" are you carrying on what types of rides? I do some unsupported touring. My "tools" consist of tire levers, a Road Morph G pump, spoke wrench, a set of hex wrenches and sometimes a chain tool.

And I can tell you that 5-10 lbs. most certainly makes a noticeable difference, even when carrying all the other stuff that I do. For example, the tent I currently tour with is 3.25 lbs. I have a base camp tent that weighs at least 13 lbs. Substitute the latter for the former and you will notice a big difference. Even several lbs. of groceries and adult beverages is noticeable over any appreciable distance.

With that said, I wouldn't leave behind flat changing necessities, hex wrenches and a spoke wrench (weighs about as much as a fart) for the sake of reducing weight.
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Old 08-22-14, 07:12 AM
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I would not sweat those few pounds :-).....if we are cutting weight we can lose 1% or maybe a little more each week, if there was a benefit in weight reduction on a bike the greatest one would be rotating weight in the wheels.

A lighter bike and rider helps climbing....but the combined weight of the two is what matters, and there is a trade off in frame stiffness, the bike is less efficient if the frame is not as stiff. I probably have an extra 10 lbs on my bike (it weighs around 30 without water bottles) and an extra 88 on me......I actually SAVE money each week reducing my weight (I eat less)...when I hit 150 I guess I could keep losing combined weight for 4 more weeks (2.5 lbs a week) by getting a 10 lb lighter bike :-).

I also carry a spare tube, two co2 fills, plain old combination allen wrench set (not a multi tool), a "normal" steel allen wrench that fits the seat clamp and pedals, tire levers, patch kit....and at times a 28 oz and a 24 oz water bottle heading out.
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Old 08-22-14, 07:53 AM
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We weigh far more than anything on our bikes. Best to work on reducing yourself.
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Old 08-22-14, 08:33 AM
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IF you are riding longer distances, I feel every pound you can lighten the bike will make a noticeable distance.
As much as we like to think of ourselves as 'machines" as the miles unwind, we are constantly accelerating/decelerating as we ride due to wind direction and slopes varying.
It takes energy to accelerate and over the course of a long ride, those little "snippets of energy" you waste add up at the end of the day.

Tires/tubes and then wheels are where you want to place your effort for the best bang for the buck.
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Old 08-22-14, 08:42 AM
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I think you're close on the weight. I've stepped on my bathroom scale, then the same with bike and done the math. This compared with what my LBS got when he weighed my bike on his bike specific scales.

I don't worry about the bike weight as long as I'm 30 lbs over weight. I do work on core strength and flexibility so I can ride low. This seems to pay the biggest dividends the quickest. However, if I ever crack 170 I'm building a weight weeny bike
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Old 08-22-14, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
The bike weight really isn't that important
WHATTT

Actually a lighter bike is much easier to load on the rack than a very heavy one
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Old 08-22-14, 09:04 AM
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Weight makes a difference, but not as much as you might think on flat ground. You can play with the Kreuzotter calculator if you want to see how much of a difference weight changes make.

That said, I ride light bikes. My road bike is around 17lbs without water bottles, my touring bike is 23lbs and my full-suspension mountain bike is around 25 or 26lbs I think. I don't notice much difference between the road bike and the touring bike on flat ground, but when I start climbing the difference is noticeable! That's one of the reasons that the touring bike and mountain bike are geared much lower than the road bike.
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Old 08-22-14, 09:22 AM
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Weight only really matters when you're climbing: (PE= Mgh) On the flats, additional weight affects rolling resistence somewhat but , from a cost/benefit viewpoint, it's better to take the weight off yourself than trying to take it off the bike.

Me: 250
Bike:22

So it I drop my weight to 228 it'll be equivalent of the bike weighing nothing.
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Old 08-22-14, 09:36 AM
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People seem to forget that yes mass resists acceleration it also resists deceleration.

Interesting that people speak only about the cost, but neglect the nearly offsetting gain.
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Old 08-22-14, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Null66
People seem to forget that yes mass resists acceleration it also resists deceleration.

Interesting that people speak only about the cost, but neglect the nearly offsetting gain.
I'm sure my Trek 7200 has very heavy wheels, tires, and tubes compared to the road bike I will buy in October, this is flywheel weight.......and rotating weight takes a lot more energy to accelerate than static weight, on a race car there are all kinds of formulas used, something like a 4:1 benefit ratio to lowering rotating weight vs static weight.

Test riding road bikes the rotating weight difference is VERY apparent...they wind up to speed quicker, and also bleed speed off quicker if you coast.

My typical rides have around 100 feet ascent/descent in 20-30 miles, so static bike/rider weight is probably not a huge factor.....there are a few short 10% grade hills of about 30 feet, but they are over quickly, there is a descent in front of them too BUT it has a fairly blind 2 way stop at the bottom and with the corn up it would be ill advised to carry that momentum through that stop sign :-).

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Old 08-22-14, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Willbird
I'm sure my Trek 7200 has very heavy wheels, tires, and tubes compared to the road bike I will buy in October, this is flywheel weight.......and rotating weight takes a lot more energy to accelerate than static weight, on a race car there are all kinds of formulas used, something like a 4:1 benefit ratio to lowering rotating weight vs static weight.

Test riding road bikes the rotating weight difference is VERY apparent...they wind up to speed quicker, and also bleed speed off quicker if you coast.

My typical rides have around 100 feet ascent/descent in 20-30 miles, so static bike/rider weight is probably not a huge factor.....there are a few short 10% grade hills of about 30 feet, but they are over quickly, there is a descent in front of them too BUT it has a fairly blind 2 way stop at the bottom and with the corn up it would be ill advised to carry that momentum through that stop sign :-).

Bill
Yeah, I hear that. My rear tire is 990 grams new. But it will ride through scrap metal, as, well, it has.

One way home from work was through a neighborhood a run through something like 10 - 15 short blocks and like 10-20 ft climbs and a stop sign on bottom of each... Can't run the stop signs. A lot of traffic.

But short hills, it's a flywheel.
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Old 08-22-14, 12:49 PM
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One of THEM recommended your bike weigh about 12% of your body. (Sorry, can't remember who THEY are right now.) 30 pounds is 12% of 250, but since you're carrying things to keep the bike working and to make it useful, I'd suggest you pedal and enjoy the ride.
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Old 08-26-14, 10:09 PM
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I like light bikes, there I said it. I don't care that I'm fat I like light bikes. My weight is all over the map from 190-280 in the last two years. I'm on a downward trend right now with the goal of hitting 175 by my 45th birthday in 2016. My bike however will stay the same. With how I ride it minus the water in the bottles it comes in at 16.13lbs, minus the water and bottles it comes in at 14.95lbs and I love it, I have heavier bikes but none feel like my Parlee. Now saying that it's better to have a light body.
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Old 08-26-14, 10:31 PM
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One one hand bike weight and rider weight are just about the same, after all a pound is a pound and compared to 250#s GVW it can't mean that much. But anybody whose ridden light and heavier bikes side by side can tell you that it seems like a big difference.

That difference in feel is real, and might cause a placebo effect helping you to climb better, and making the bike faster, or it might actually do so. Bike and rider weight are different because the bike moves under you. It moves side to side with pedaling motion, especially when you're working hard and it takes energy to do that. Also the bike doesn't move at constant speed. It accelerates and slows down very slightly with every pedal stroke, especially as your cadence drops on climbs. You can hear this as rhythmic changes in the tire sound.

IMO, the slightly differences in bike weight and motion don't add up to much in physics terms, but they do affect your perceptions and that can be equally important.

Am I saying that it's worth spendin big dough to save 1#, of course not. But if you can dump some ballast for free, and maybe shave a few pounds for small dough, you'll be glad you did.
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