Once you get the “less is more” monkey on your back, it’s very hard to shift him. Yes, a lighter bike will help you go faster and ride longer under MOST circumstances. However, weight saving is conditional on a lot of other factors… and since we can’t meet each and every one of you individually we are going to give you what we think is the best “bang for buck”… Plus a few added extras in there for good measure.
Firstly thing to remember with bikes is that you get what you pay for. Read: the lighter your bike is the lighter your wallet becomes.
Stock bikes come with heavier, sturdier, more robust parts. Upgrading them can get expensy.
Secondly, but probably most importantly from a technical standpoint, is that when looking to shed a few hundred grams, remembering that rotating weight should be the primary focus:
OK so this might be a big category because it includes rims, spokes, hubs, nipples and tires, but it’s also going to be the most noticeable and effective upgrade you can make. Not only are more expensive wheels lighter (hopefully), but they will also be stiffer making them more responsive to touch leading to faster acceleration, better climbing and descending.
Most of the time the basic SPDSL pedals are specced on a shop bike. They do the job but have heavy axles and bodies. As a good place to start, look for something with a carbon body and/or titanium axles either new or second hand.
Your cranks can vary wildly in weight depending on the materials involved. Some lower end bikes still run 3 piece cranks and can add more than 700g on a modern two-piece crankset. Your best bet is to search for hollow cranks (makes sense) with carbon being amongst the lightest.
Seems strange at first but your shoes are also rotating weight. Weight you have to push forward and pull up. It’s important to get good shoes that fit you well and you enjoy wearing, why not add lightweight into that? Be careful though, this can get expensive! Easy to get carried away, but look for a carbon sole and a one piece upper as a minimum.
This article wouldn’t be as much fun if we didn’t include a few novelty items, now would it.
Top cap. As hilarious as it sounds, you can actually save up to 10grams and you’ll only need to spend $30!
Skewers. Ditch those steel axles for fancy carbon and alloy – spend up to $300 to save 200g.
Seat. Feel like your tush has enough cush? Seats don’t need padding right!? Get a full carbon, non-padded seat for $400. Reduce weight by 300g!
Handlebars. A whole world of choice here! Depending on the purpose, you have a range of dozens of lighter (primarily carbon) bars. Think 4-figure $$$, but you’ll look like a bad-ass.
Drink Bottle Holders. Your average alloy 70g cage could be holding you back from that KOM. Think about a Tune cage, only 17g and $90 and KOM away!