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Bike Weight

Old 06-03-08, 04:41 PM
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tldga3
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Bike Weight

Where in the build up of a bike does weight come into play?

If one owns a bike with alloy frame and fork already, it seems the only way to significantly reduce the weight of the whole bike is to swap out the frame and or fork. Do commuter bikers do things to reduce the weight of their bikes or is that for the roadie-only guys (and gals)?

Bob
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Old 06-03-08, 05:02 PM
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why bother? If I wanted to commute to work on my lightweight road bike, I'd ride my road bike instead of trying to shave down weight of a commuter/tourer/CX bike.
You want the commuter to be reliable and maintenance free as much as possible. Also in some cases, unattractive as possible for potential thieves.
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Old 06-03-08, 05:03 PM
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I can't vouch for others but for me weight wasn't a huge consideration, granted, my dad in cleaning out his garage found the bike I am using and just gave it to me, so I didn't pay for it. But, in all reality, I'm not trying to win a race, I'm only trying to better myself and ditch the car for some trips here and there or to work. Yeah, I'd love to drop a few pounds off of it, but I doubt that I'd notice, especially when you consider I use it for grocery shopping and bike + goods can weigh up to 60-70+lbs, not including my far butt.

In short, sure it does, but I personally don't feel that the little bit that I could save by spending quite a bit more money is worth it.
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Old 06-03-08, 05:05 PM
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For commuting, I don't think bike weight matters much when you're carrying a 5 pound lock and a 15 pound pannier.
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Old 06-03-08, 05:06 PM
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Not really. I have a 17.5lb race bike but the bike I call my commuter is an older steel roadie. Still light at 20 lbs but as others have said, it's about reliability. That means stout 32 spoke wheels, wider tires, fenders and lights when needed.
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Old 06-03-08, 06:39 PM
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light, strong, or cheap. Pick two. You can reduce the weight of components, tires, wheels, bars, saddle, pedals, cranks, etc. an awful lot. Lighter things can take pounds off the bike. At some point you start lessening strength and reliability, and you start having to spend more. The lightest frame and fork out there is under two pounds. Heavier frames and forks like a decent steel frame may only weigh 4 to 5 pounds. The rest is made up of the components.
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Old 06-03-08, 07:10 PM
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If your commute is mostly urban and/or flat, I wouldn't be too worried about weight. I've commuted on a heavy steel touring bike, a lightweight fixed gear and in-between road bike. My average time from home ot the office has been essentially the same across each of those rides.

On any given day, headwinds/tailwinds and luck with stop lights have more to do with how quick my commute may be.

To that end, if you want to go faster on the commute, either figure out how to make you and your bike more aerodynamic or learn to spin at faster cadences or higher gears.
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Old 06-03-08, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tldga3 View Post
Where in the build up of a bike does weight come into play?

Bob
Here:

You can spend big bucks lightening up your bike at purchase, but if you have even as little as 5 pounds extra on you body, you should lose that before you consider spending more on a light bike.

As a commuter, speed and lightness are not very important, unless you plan on racing someone on the way to work. More important than weight is proper gear range, in my opinion.

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Old 06-03-08, 08:47 PM
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I have 2 regular commuter bikes. One is heavy 30+ pounds with racks, baskets, and fenders. One has nothing on it at all, and is about 17 pounds. I ride the light bike in fair weather, and the heavy bike in wet weather, or to carry heavy stuff. Weight makes a difference, both bikes are single speeds, and the lightrer bike is much easier to climb my commute hill.
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Old 06-03-08, 08:53 PM
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For me a big part of my enjoyment comes from the "feel" that the bike has. That sort of "feel" comes from a number of things and is a combination of the steering and body geometries, weight and how the frame flexes to return my efforts or not.

My two favourite bikes are a steel 22 lb single speed road bike and a 25 lb mountain bike. I've also got a 20 lb "budget" roadie and I don't like it as much as my single speed for a variety of reasons.

So I would say that up to a point weight is important but even a light bike isn't going to have that feel if it's the wrong shape. I'd say rider fit geometry is more important than 3 or 4 lbs of extra metal and rubber. But if you start getting up to 8 or 9 lbs of extra metal and rubber then the bike itself had better fit you REALLY well....
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Old 06-03-08, 09:00 PM
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You can save enough weight to feel the difference if you get light foldable tires, with kevlar belt for flat protection. If you have steel handle bars and seat post you can save some weight with al ones, but may only notice it on steep hills. More weight can be saved by keeping lock, work shoes, towel, shampoo and work pants at work.
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Old 06-03-08, 09:06 PM
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I looked into cost::weight savings on my bike. If I swapped out over $1500 of new parts, I could shave approximately 2.1 pounds off my bike. Still less than 7% weight savings, and at a cost of $300 more than I spent on my whole bike.
If I want a light bike and I find myself at a $1500 surplus, I'll buy a CF road bike instead of trying to shave a couple pounds off my 30 pound commuter.
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Old 06-03-08, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan View Post
You can spend big bucks lightening up your bike at purchase, but if you have even as little as 5 pounds extra on you body, you should lose that before you consider spending more on a light bike.

As a commuter, speed and lightness are not very important, unless you plan on racing someone on the way to work. More important than weight is proper gear range, in my opinion.

+1

Proper gear and comfort are the #1 concern...

That, and the engine is the cheapest area for lightening your bike!
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Old 06-03-08, 09:09 PM
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I don't know. I have a 20lb (or was it 22lb?) steel road bike right now and it is a hell of a lot faster than the old, much heavier steel mountain bike I used to have. I can't explain why... but it was worth every penny to drop the pounds, even though I commute on it.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:12 PM
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It depends on the bike. In many cases a lot of the weight comes from the components and the wheels/tires. You can reduce weight by replacing that stuff but it gets expensive fast.

We have an old steel road bike that my wife rides. The frame actually isn't too bad but it came with steel handlebars, a heavy seat post, heavy wheels and steel chain rings. By going through the used part sections at some nearby bike shops and by watching craigslist I've been able to knock a few pounds off it.

Probably the biggest impact would be lighter wheels. Lighter wheels aren't necessarily weaker but good ones aren't cheap.

This summer I'm riding a road bike that's about 5 lbs lighter than the one I was riding last year. It's a different bike so I can't attribute it all to weight but there's one hill I'm able to accelerate up that I used to struggle a bit with last summer. Hills are where you notice the weight the most.

Sure, I'm commuting so I'm lugging about 10 to 15 lbs. extra with me in my messenger bag, but the bike is still 5 lbs. lighter than it was last year and it does make a difference. Five extra lbs. on my person seems to make less difference than 5 lbs. on the bike. Could be my imagination.

Having a lighter bike also has benefits when you're not riding it. For various reasons I end up picking up my bike all the time. Whether it's turning it around in an elevator, hanging it from my garage ceiling (which I do nightly to save room), throwing it in the car, or carrying it in the house, -lighter is nicer.

For the record, it's not like I have some ultra-light. It's a tad over 20 lbs.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:16 PM
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Also of note: rotating mass of a wheel is not equivalent to your beer belly or your change of clothes. Reducing rotating mass adds up quick. Car racers equate 1lb or rotating mass to 10lbs of normal mass.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:26 PM
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Having a lighter bike means I can get up to my top speed faster. I'm able to ride in traffic and keep up pretty well, taking the lane whenever I need to. If I wanted to race people, I'd get gears or something.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:29 PM
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weight

Originally Posted by tldga3 View Post
Where in the build up of a bike does weight come into play?

If one owns a bike with alloy frame and fork already, it seems the only way to significantly reduce the weight of the whole bike is to swap out the frame and or fork. Do commuter bikers do things to reduce the weight of their bikes or is that for the roadie-only guys (and gals)?

Bob
Wheels are where to spend money and good 32-36 spoke (depending on your weight) will make the most difference. True running wheels with good tires and hubs are a real performance gain. Other than that, there isn't much difference between a 16 pound bike and a 20 pound bike. Heck there isn't that much difference between them and a 30 pound bike if your commute isn't very hilly.
Overall bike weight when you consider the riders weight in the equation amounts to about 2% difference between an uber light and a normal weight quality bike. If you are at 5% bodyfat and a top ranking pro, a three pound lighter bike might mean the difference of a few tenths in a sprint or a few seconds in a long road race.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tldga3 View Post
Do commuter bikers do things to reduce the weight of their bikes or is that for the roadie-only guys (and gals)?
With a body weight of 130 pounds and a 24-26 mile round trip, (with hills) bike weight does make a noticable diference to me. Instead of buying or building a super lightweight bike, and then adding 5-20 pounds of cargo, my strategy is to just minimize what I have to carry on the bike. I usually drive one or two days a week anyway, so I just carry my supplies in then. My foul weather bike (with fenders and rack) is 30 pounds, fair weather unit is 24. I usually carry nothing but water.
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Old 06-03-08, 11:03 PM
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Today's commuter: Was probably pushing 40 pounds of bike and gear (the bike weighs 26 pounds).



Tomorrow's commuter: I figure she weighs 25-26 pounds with gear (the bike weighs 22 pounds).



I rode the Peugeot more than 7000 km last year and after that many clicks, you really appreciate riding a bike that weighs less but is still amazingly tough.

The Kuwahara has been my winter / utility / commuter for three years and is also bombproof.

They are both fixed gears.
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Old 06-04-08, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tldga3 View Post
Where in the build up of a bike does weight come into play?

If one owns a bike with alloy frame and fork already, it seems the only way to significantly reduce the weight of the whole bike is to swap out the frame and or fork. Do commuter bikers do things to reduce the weight of their bikes or is that for the roadie-only guys (and gals)?

Bob
+1

this is the reason why i am seriously thinking about getting a used bike of higher quality for commute instead of a new bike of the same price and want to stick with road bike to deter thieves. most thieves don't like road bike because pawn shops don't want to pay much if any for them because the owners are much more likely look for them and potential pawn shop buyer are much likely want them; mtn and bmx are the name of the game in the rob-n-shop bike business.
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Old 06-04-08, 06:39 AM
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sixtyfever,

nice bikes. i have one question though. why do today's commuters carry so much weight. doesn't it defeat the purpose of having a bike as it would make the commute cumbersome and may even be dangerous due to too much weight that reduce maneuverability?
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Old 06-04-08, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
It depends on the bike. In many cases a lot of the weight comes from the components and the wheels/tires. You can reduce weight by replacing that stuff but it gets expensive fast.
wheels and components are very expensive when purposed separately. i looked at lighter wheels for my bmx and were shocked that they go for $150 each. i wanted a separated set for winter/on-road riding.
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Old 06-04-08, 06:52 AM
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Even roadies, unless they are serious racers or generally lacking in common sense, know that the only real benefit of a lightweight bike is that it's easier to lift when moving it around in your garage or apartment.

The weight of a bicycle is the least important variable in determining performance. Everything else being equal, the speed difference between a 25 pound bike and a 17 pound bike is about 15 seconds over 20 miles. In other words, spending thousands of dollars on a super light bike will shave about 14 seconds off of my commute.
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Old 06-04-08, 07:05 AM
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If you have a heavy bike to begin with, there isn't much you can do. You can shave off some grams here and there (at considerable expense!), but you will still have a heavy bike.

If you have a decent road bike that comes in at 25 lbs or under (that's without added accessories like racks, etc.), unless you have to race, there isn't much to be gained by lightening it. You weigh so much more than the bike that 4-5 lbs isn't going to make much of a difference.
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