Help Me Lighten Up! (My Bike)

Posted by on May 25, 2010 in Bike | 15 Comments

I like my mountain bike. It’s feisty, nimble, and dead sexy. But it’s a little heavy. The primary culprit right now are a pair of 700g—each!— tires. I have solutions to that problem on order, and they will be arriving shortly. But I’d like to explore the various options of shedding grams here and there on some of the other parts. I’ve never been much of weight weenie, and so I do not know all the trade secrets of gram shaving. Only that it’s usually associated with budget busting irrationality. Isn’t it?

So, here is the game: Take a look at my build, posted below, and help me identify parts that could be reasonably upgraded. And by reasonable, I mean that I have no intention of spending $1,500 to save 100 grams… In fact, let’s put my budget between $500-800. Also keep in mind that I am not exactly a featherweight… I need durable parts.

And… Go!

gary fisher mountain bike


  1. gregclimbs
    May 25, 2010

    I would start with the consumables – things you would have to change out anyway – and things that can be reused after racing season…

    cheap cassettes are pigs.

    tires can be pigs.

    tubes should be latex (added benefit of lowering Crr).

    excesses should be removed – got headset spacers? get a stem that puts the bar in the same place without them (+/-rise) and get rid of the spacers and extra steering tube.

    same goes with excess seatpost. measure and lop off what is buried in the frame unused.

    shimano skewers also tend to be really heavy and a cheap way to save weight.

    that is a start…


  2. Bob
    May 25, 2010

    eat less bratwursts

  3. Kyle
    May 25, 2010

    Grip Shifters. XX or X.0 brakes. 990 or 999 cassette, You could drop a lot of weight with lighter wheels. The problem with Bontrager wheels is that they are kinda sorta light, but then there’s that heavy tubeless rimstrip that adds 60+ grams per wheel. Getting some no tubes wheels with either alpine, crest, or 355 rims will save a quarter to a half pound of wheel weight. You can get them with their house brand hubs (ZTR) for about $450 retail.

  4. Bob
    May 25, 2010

    Ok, for real,

    thomspon masterpiece seatpost 153-193 grams 150 bucks retail

    Crank Bros 11 pedals 174 grams 425 bucks retail

    There that is over 250 grams right there, better parts as well.

  5. Aaron
    May 25, 2010

    Shaving your beard will save at least 2 lbs.

  6. mark
    May 25, 2010

    What Bob said.

    But if you insist on spending money, see this:

    You don’t mention what cassette you’re running, but that could be a place to start. I’d also look at swapping cranks, because I’m guessing the weight you have listed is crank only and not crank + bottom bracket. A new crank will save weight and improve your shifting.

    You could drop about 100 grams for about $100 with a new saddle. That massive GPS on your stem isn’t doing you any favors, either. All you really need to know about your speed is how far ahead of you the guy up the trail is. If you can’t see him, pedal faster.

    You could also swap frames and get a hardtail.

    • Grizzly Adam
      May 25, 2010

      The crank weight includes the BB. I need to take a look at my cassette… not sure what I’ve got on there.

      And yes… fewer brats. But that won’t change the bike. 😉

      • Grizzly Adam
        May 25, 2010

        “Of course, assumptions are the same: you’re working with a frame you like; you’re not fat; and you don’t care what brand a part is so long as it works.”

        I think I can operate under those assumptions. I really like my frame, and I’m not too brand specific. So I meet ALL the assumptions you talk about. ALL of them! Right?

        • mark
          May 26, 2010

          All of them. At least as well as I do. 🙂

  7. KanyonKris
    May 25, 2010

    A mountain unicycle would weigh a LOT less.

    (Any ideas I had were already covered so I fell back to snark.)

  8. Rick S.
    May 25, 2010

    Dump your gears and run a single. Seriously.

    • Grizzly Adam
      May 25, 2010

      I’ve considered that. But my SS right now is heavier than my FS gearie.

  9. Thom P.
    May 27, 2010

    “Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades.” – Eddy Merckx

    That said…
    attack the stuff that counts, rotational mass — rims and tires. You’ll feel it.
    I’ve found the Bonty stuff to have a great durability to weight ratio, I ride them racing and trail riding and they hold up wicked well. Of course a “race only” set of No-Tubes ZTR rims or American Classics (best cost-to-weight ratio around) will get you rolling a lot faster. Tires are too personal and anything I would recommend might not work nearly as well in its 26″ incarnation.


  10. Aaron
    May 28, 2010

    By the way, I’ve been meaning to post a non-snarky comment. SLR saddle will save you some grams – weighs 135g. I bought mine on ebay for $60.

    What everyone else said about notubes wheelset. Get the lightest hoops you’re comfortable with. I’m still not sure if my ZTR race wheels will self destruct or not, but so far so good. American Classic hubs may not be as sexy as orange Chris Kings, but they’re uber light. Check out the notubes 26 inch tires for your back tire. I bet they’re light too. Kenda Karma up front is light, but sounds like you’ve found a light set already.

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