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Rethinking the weight penalty...

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Rethinking the weight penalty...

Old 04-16-20, 05:36 AM
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Rethinking the weight penalty...

I know a lot of roadies (including myself) are conscious about loading-up our steeds with ďtoo muchĒ weight. Many carry a rather minimalist tool kit, usually consisting of a few patches, an inflator with 1-2 cartridges, 1-2 levers, and a tube. This allows the ďhideousĒ saddlebag to be forgone, and keeps the weight down.

About a week ago I thought to myself ďWhat what I do if I had a mechanical that couldnít be repaired on the road?Ē. With everything thatís going on, the ďcall of shameĒ seems like a rather risky proposal.

Now I DO carry a small saddle bag, inside is 1 tube, 2 levers, 2 16oz cartridges, inflator head, 2 pairs of nitrile gloves, a Park multitool, and a glue less patch kit. I thought this would ďprobablyĒ be okay, and didnít give it too much more thought.

So far forward to last night... I was half-way through my ride (quite far from home, and in bad part of town), when I heard the ďhiss of deathĒ emanating from the rear tire. Fixed it. Happened again. However, the second time, through user error, I ended up wasting too much C02 to adequately fill my tire. It was BAD, but I managed to limp the bike home. No idea how I didnít get a pinch-flat on the way back, pure luck!

So I got to thinking, and I decided that itís silly for me to worry about a little bit more weight, so I ordered a nice carbon frame pump, and immediately threw my chain-breaker into my saddle bag. I also ordered more patches and tubes, tweezers,and likely add more in the future (suggestions are welcomed!).

Has anyone else given thought to how prepared they are for potential mechanical issues?
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Old 04-16-20, 06:07 AM
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I guess I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I carry a very small pump and a multi tool. That’s all. Since I went tubeless about 10,000 miles ago I’ve had only one flat that wouldn’t seal completely. As it was I limped 3 miles home. If I’d have had the pump at that time there would have been no problem at all.

Admittedly though, I’m rarely more than 15 miles from home and the call of shame doesn’t bother me at all since my wife is usually at home.

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Old 04-16-20, 06:19 AM
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If I can't fix it with a patch kit, frame pump, multi-tool, and 1 spare tube, it ain't getting fixed. (I have a quick-link in my patch kit.)

I'd be interested to hear otherwise, but I suspect most or all chain failures happen to those who put their chains together by way of a chain tool. I've never had a chain fail since I started using quick-links.
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Old 04-16-20, 06:32 AM
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I just don't always carry a saddle bag due to struggling to get around to buying the parts necessary to do so. My gravel bike and my mtb both have a spare tube, multi-tool, co2, and patch kits. Road bike has had that at times but kits get lost and current one doesn't have one. Problem for me is that they tend to cost close to hundred each with everything that goes in them and with 5 people riding upwards of 15 different bikes it can be a lot.
When we toured last year we had a trunk bag dedicated to just this. 4 different sized wheels meant a minimum of 8 tubes and I brought 16 co2 cartridges, large patch kit, multiple spokes, full set of Allen wrenches, and more.
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Old 04-16-20, 06:49 AM
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It's partly the reason why I don't wear spds because and it has happened where the tire was too badly damaged to hold enough air that I've had to hike and bike back home 20km. At least if you have normal shoes on it's easier to carry and walk the bike home.

I guess the main thing you can do is preventive maintenance to try and avoid bigger failures.

Your only other option is to buy solid tires in which case you don't need the pump, levers, co2 or patches. The heavier tires may be offset by the lack of repair kit. Then you only need a spare link, chain tool and multi tool (unless it's included in the multi tool)

Or get tires with puncture resistant insert.

Make sure you tires are properly inflated to avoid pinch flats.

I'm not going to be changing a cassette by the side of the road for instance and a wheel will normally survive a broken spoke or 2 allowing you to limp home.
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Old 04-16-20, 06:59 AM
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My philosophy is you can't prepare for everything but prepare for something. If you have a way to get home if something goes wrong I'd go light. But if you're on your own I'd be well prepared.
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Old 04-16-20, 07:28 AM
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For some people not being able to ride at 22 mph and be forced to creep along at 21 mph is a big deal. Several years ago I read a story by two women who rode across the country and had a great time. At one point they had an opportunity to weigh their bikes which came in at about 70 and 85 pounds. They were experienced and fit cyclists consistently riding 70 miles daily with several centuries in the mix. For most of us the lesson is to find the pace that can be maintained, whatever it might be. This mind set will give the most enjoyment of a ride.
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Old 04-16-20, 07:59 AM
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I mostly commute, and I carry my office clothes, so having extra weight is not a real issue for me. On the weekends when I take my road bike out I carry a tube, levers, patch kit, mini-tool set and mini-frame pump. But even with all that, the relative lightness compared to my main commuter makes me happy.
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Old 04-16-20, 08:12 AM
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When I go for longer rides I take a keg that fits in a water bottle cage. It contains:
Patch kit, multi tool (has chain breaker on it), levers, quick link, CO2 inflator.

To this I may add (if I have a bag):
Pump, spare tube.

If on my FG, which is an older bike, I'll add:
Small adjustable wrench.

For bike tours I'll add:
Spare derailer and brake cable, spare M5 bolt, small roll of duct tape, pair of nitril gloves

I don't think chain failures have anything to do with using a chain tool. I've used one for many years and never had a failure as a result. They are almost always from old worn out chain that snap due to metal fatigue or wearing away of material. A chain in good condition s pretty tough. While I do carry a chain breaker as part of my multi tool, I think the better strategy is to look at the chain once in a while and replace when it gets worn.
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Old 04-16-20, 08:38 AM
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As far as I'm concerned, there is no point bothering about weight differences that are less than a bottle of water. Which is also close to difference in your own weight before and after relieving yourself.
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Old 04-16-20, 08:42 AM
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This is one of my Acorn bags tool rolls
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Old 04-16-20, 08:44 AM
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I could never be a weight weanie. I use Tuffy tire liners and have not had a flat for at least 20,000 miles. So I do not carry anything but a wallet and flip phone.
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Old 04-16-20, 08:50 AM
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With the exception of riding a loaded down iron pipe bike, I find the argument over weight rather hilarious. Often times is comes down to arguing over ounces and grams. But how about looking at the rider. Is he or she carrying extra POUNDS. How about drinking excessive water? Grams and ounces on the bike pale compared to these things.

BTW I remember back in the 80s when racers all of a sudden decided to drill holes in nearly all the components to save grams. The result was component failure and a DNF for the race. They soon quit that nonsense.

Last edited by rydabent; 04-19-20 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 04-16-20, 08:50 AM
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On my road bike I carry a small frame pump and a saddle bag containing a tube, a patch kit, a CO2 cartridge, and a mini tool. Also a phone.
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Old 04-16-20, 08:54 AM
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Y'all are nuts.

Spare tube and co2 or pump. Teeny tiny Allen wrench set. Done. Chain tool and spare link for gravel.

Learn how to do maintenance at home. Do it, give your bike a once over before you start. Replace things before they break. Done.

Fwiw, Krieg, a rock climbing chalk bag maker, has the most aesthetically pleasing small seat bag I've seen. I have 2 of them.
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Old 04-16-20, 09:06 AM
Cogs in back, right?
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All I know is my long rides are down from 100+ miles to 50 during the emergency, and that I'm not stopping anywhere so I don't have to carry a couple pounds of locks on my rides.

And I love my big damn saddle bag.
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Old 04-16-20, 09:29 AM
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I carry a few quick links and a chain tool .... if a chain actually breaks, I need to knock out the twisted bits and replace them (and I have had it happen.) I carry a pump because C)2 is easier but necessarily a lot lighter, and not reusable. (Last flat I had, I stopped repeatedly to re-inflate because I was loaded down with gear in the panniers and didn't want he hassle of changing the tube right then.)

Also .... if people have someone at home who is always ready and willing to rescue, great, but I think that is rare. My wife works still, and does other stuff, and does it whenever she wants to. If I could only ride when I knew she would be home for a few hours, I would never ride. On top of that, i don't always bring my phone (after all day on the phone, computer, or both simultaneously, getting away is part of the benefit.)

I do carry a saddle bag on every bike, but I only make sure the bikes I ride most arr ready to go. Also, a few bikes have slide-mounted clip-on bags, which I can swap from bike to bike

I consider a gel at least, and maybe a Powerbar, a multi-tool, extra links, two tubes, a tire boot,, and a set of levers to be essential, and usually have some glueless patches in case.

Weight is never really a concern .... I am not a pro racer who needs every edge to gain every tenth of a second to put food on the table. if I finish a route 15 seconds slower than some other day, I simply don't care. And since I am not stuffing a saddle bag with depleted uranium or something .... Fashion is also not a concern. yes, bikes look better with no bag .... and with no water bottles, no pump, no lights (and in my personal situation, with no rider. ) I don't ride the bike to look good. I ride the bike to feel good. And I have yet to feel good carrying home a broken bike.
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Old 04-16-20, 09:30 AM
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I had a very easy to repair flat the other day. Two cars stopped and asked if they could help. Of course I turned them down.

I don't know if they did that to ease their minds or if they really wanted to give me a ride home.
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Old 04-16-20, 09:36 AM
Cogs in back, right?
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
I had a very easy to repair flat the other day. Two cars stopped and asked if they could help. Of course I turned them down.

I don't know if they did that to ease their minds or if they really wanted to give me a ride home.

Same here. I was extremely glad that I didn't feel the slightest need to consider their kind but probably ill-advised offers.
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Old 04-16-20, 09:42 AM
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A half pound of tools and spares won't slow you down much...But a problem that leaves you stranded, well, that really will slow you down.
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Old 04-16-20, 09:43 AM
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Walking is a good form of exercise.
Walking and pushing is a good form of exercise.
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Old 04-16-20, 10:03 AM
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Heh. I ride a ~70 lb velomobile half the year. I don't even notice the couple spare tubes, pump, multi-tool, patches, etc.

My camelback is 48 oz, and I'm damn well not going to ride without that, although I don't always fill it before every ride. I almost never leave without the Kryptonite lock, which is at least 2 lbs.

My tires are Marathon+s (all three) with tire liners.

So yeah, not a weight weenie.
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Old 04-16-20, 10:47 AM
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I've never had a mechanical problem in over forty years of cycling. I've had flats, of course, but nothing else. I carry a small under-the- saddle bag which contains two tire levers, a patch kit, a tube, and a mini pump. Over the last few years I've moved to heavier, puncture resistant tires, so I don't really ever have to fix flats on the road. I'll bet the bag and the stuff in it weigh less than a pound. I don't feel I'm carrying a lot of extra weight.
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Old 04-16-20, 11:39 AM
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For many years, I carried two tubes, two CO2 cartridges and a shortened quick stick tire tool, all in a zip lock sandwich bag, that went into one of my jersey pockets. I also carry a small coin purse in a jersey pocket that has a spare quick link, a copy of my driver's license, a little money, a small screwdriver, two nitrile gloves, 3-4-5mm hex wrenches and a T25 wrench. That will fix or adjust just about anything on my bike. I recently got a small seat bag that just barely holds the sandwich bag items, so I don't forget to take it. I have turned around a few times, because I left without the tire repair stuff.

I've ridden 6500 miles recently and never had a flat, but only because the county seems to do a good job of keeping goat heads off the rural mountain roads where I ride.
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Old 04-16-20, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Ross520 View Post
Has anyone else given thought to how prepared they are for potential mechanical issues?
Yea, you might say so

I carry this with me on most every ride...whether that is around town or across the country. I also have a couple of items not shown here like a frame pump, a bundle of zip ties, and a shock pump if Iím off-roading it. I may also remove some items if Iím doing a road tour. Each of these items has been used out of necessarily at some point.

Tools: The multitool kit is a Fix-it Sticks with a chain tool (least used tool of my entire kit), extra bits, and tire levers. I carry a FiberFix spoke for broken spokes. The flat wrench is an aluminum wrench for car pressure systems that has been filed to a 15mm (for the spring adjustment on my Paul cantilever and Motolite brakes). I also have a Wolf Tooth quick link plier with storage for extra links. I also carry a spoke wrench for square spoke nipples and one for splined (I have both on various wheels). And a tool for adjusting the tension bolt on an external bottom bracket crank.

Tire stuff: I carry a 26Ē mountain bike tube and a 700C (usually 18/23mm). If Iím off-roaring in a remote area or off-road touring, Iíll carry two or 3 tubes. If Iím road touring, I carry two to 3 tubes for 700C tires. The US Mail envelope is a piece of Tyvek for booting tires if necessary. It weighs nothing and, as long as you donít mail it, itís free from the Post Office. I also carry a Rema TipTop patch kit which is the only one anyone should carry. I have two different size patches in it as the large F1 patches donít work as well on narrow tubes, so I carry F0 patches. I do carry a carbon dioxide inflator for fixing flats at night but I leave it at home when I tour. I also wouldnít depend on it in any off-road situation.

Miscellaneous (but very important) stuff: I carry extra rack and bottle cage bolts...and Iíve had to use them. I carry extra chainring bolts...and had to use them. I carry zip ties for various uses. I havenít had to put together a broken frame but I know how to do it in principle. I have duct tape wrapped around a piece of carbon fiber...ícause itís carbon fiber...for various uses. And some toe straps and Velcro tie downs. I also carry a small bottle of White Lightning chain lube.

Toe straps are useless for pedals but they come in handy for all kinds of other applications. I recently rode the RTD Lightrail to start a ride and the rules require bicycles to stand at the front or rear of the car and hold their bikes up. Itís difficult to hang on to the bike when the train stops and starts. Itís even harder on the metal plate in bike shoes so I fished out my toe strap and tied the handlebar to the handrail.

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

It was a lot easier to hang on to the train after that.

Very important miscellaneous stuff: Three things that I never leave home without, especially if Iím going into the woods, are the fire starter and cotton balls covered in Vaseline.

and a small flashlight

I usually have two flashlights because I also have one on my vehicle key chain and I take my keys with me when I drive to a starting point. I learned a very hard lesson many years ago when my daughter and I did what came to be called Gilliganís Tour. We were doing a shuttle for a 30 mile downhill on Hermosa Creek near Durango. It was only supposed to last 3 hours. It took about 12. We took a wrong turn at a very confusing Forest Service sign post and went 5 miles uphill in the wrong direction...making the ride a 40 mile ride...and it was harder than I thought it would be (Iíd been up the trial once before). We didnít have fire making equipment nor a flashlight. As darkness was starting to fall, my daughter remembered that she had a squeeze light on her keychain. The light lasted an amazing 2 hours but squeezing a light for 2 hours is very painful.

Since that time, I carry a flashlight. My daughter carries a flashlight. My wife carries a flashlight and I often carry another one just for good measure.

So, yeah, I thought about this a lot.
Stuart Black
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