18 June, 2019

Weight Wise - Pound Foolish

By Scott

There seems at times to be a divide between two sides in the cycling world. No, I'm not talking about flat bar vs drop bar or 650B vs everything else under the sun, but rather those cyclists who weigh everything they put on the bike vs those that just put parts on and don't care.

I'm brought to this thought as a month back I took my rear rack and rack bag off my touring bike. I'd had that rack for all 17 1/2 years that I've owned my bike and I've had the rack top bag for almost 12 years now. I never really gave them a second thought. They were where I put my spare parts/tubes/cell phone/wallet/keys when out on a ride.  However, this past year, my wife has been training for a 1/2 ironman triathlon on a carbon fibre tri bike. On the weekends, we'd go out and do training rides, with her on the tri bike and me on my touring bike. I never really weighed anything until we got Melissa's new-to-her bike and she was curious about it's weight. We weighted it on our industrial scale we use for heavy shipments, and it came out to right around 18lbs.

As Melissa's training for the triathlon increased, the distances and speed increased as well. So in an effort to try and reduce the distance between us, I thought I would take off the rack and bag and start using our Mini-Rando Handlebar Bag instead.  So the net result was that I lost 4 lbs off the bike and I still have the tubes/wrenches that I carry every ride and room for the phone/wallet/keys as well.

What have I learned? Well, perhaps paying attention to weight can be an advantage. I've not caught up to Melissa, but I have cut down the gap between us. I still have all the stuff I need with me should I get a flat or such on the ride, but without the weight penalty. I'm not planning on a tour this summer, so I don't need the rack and bag. I don't really see much else on the bike that can be taken off and replaced or just left off.

Are you a weight obsessed cyclist, weighing the rack and bag to get the lightest possible combination or are you more concerned with the look of it/compatibility of it all and weight be damned? Let us know in the comments.


Anonymous said...

In order, the weight that affects your speed the most for most riding:
The Weight on your Body
The Weight in your Wheels
The Weight in your Bags and Bottles
The Weight of your Bags and Bottles
The Weight of your Bike

Plan and spend your money accordingly.

Big Woods Biker said...

I'm not really concerned about weight or speed. I'm more concerned about the experience of the ride, comfort, and reliability. That said, I do like to keep the overall weight of the bike below 30 lbs and have found that tires/wheels have a huge effect on comfort/effort. I also like to have a nice looking bike that fits my 'style". I've also found that nothing rides like a nice steel frame, although I don't have much experience with carbon.

Mathieu said...

Weight obsessed here.
I live in the Alps and have a couple of tours (with my tent and everything) each year through passes and cols. So weight does matter with a lot of climbs. Plus I like minimalist approach in my gear selection. I have around only 4 kg of supplemental stuff when I'm touring. Experts tell you have to set up a spreadsheet and that it becomes a drug. They're right :-D, I've spent many winters shaving 30 grams here, 20 grams there...

Alexander López said...

I recently learned how weight can be a key factor for riding fun. Last year I bought the bike I dreamed of when I was a teenager: a 10-speed Japanese made Grand Master road bike from 1978.

Unfortunately it felt heavy and sluggish, so I decided to replace the original ARAYA steel rims with a set of 40-years old aluminum ones made by NISI.


It became the agile and smooth bike I have always wanted. So it is true: rotational mass is much more noticeable that the rest.

Unknown said...

I stopped eating a third course at breakfast, and dropped 4 lbs off of me. I've also been thinking about lighter wheels for my touring bike (the Diagnonales are overkill for my riding), but the cost:benefit ratio of losing body weight beats a new wheelset bigtime!

scottg said...

When training for an event, Coach always said
"Train with the heavy bag, kid"

Bob Torres said...

Weight and training will make a difference, that's for sure......when I used to race I was a good 20 pounds lighter and my wheels and bike frame was pretty dam light too...the end result were faster rides...riding the Rando rides this past decade my bike is definitely heavier, I do not trian the same and because I do not pay attention to what what eat I am heavier.....plus my whole approach to riding is different too....at the moment I am enjoying this more relaxed style of riding....who knows I may go back to the lighter ways later on.....