How light is light enough?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
eyedrop
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Location: Prescott, AZ

by eyedrop

How light is light enough?

Im not necessarily talking about cost and if its worth it. I want to know from a pure feeling, responsiveness, and performance perspective.

For example, I find going from a 25lb+ bike to a bike under 20lbs, there is a hugely noticeable difference in response and acceleration. Between 25 and 20 is kinda a grey area.

Going from 25lbs to 22 lbs doesn't feel like much.

Then once you cross under that 16lbs threshold, things are starting to become the "next level" so to speak, feeling more modern and efficient for sure. Albeit, its less of a noticeable than going from 25+ to under 20, but still noticeable for sure...

To be honest, everything from 17-20lbs feels more or less the same to me. Once you get into the 15's though, the bike just leaps when you press on the pedals.

Ive never owned a bike under 16lbs, so I was wondering at what weight would be the next major breakthrough? Should I just aim for 6.8KG and call it a day? Or does a 14lb bike really feel dramatically different from 15lbs?

Finally, what is it like to ride the super exotic 10-12lb bikes vs. the more standard 14-16 lb bikes? What am I missing in terms of performance and feel?
Last edited by eyedrop on Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

by Weenie


justkeepedaling
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by justkeepedaling

1 lb for the bike system is light enough ;)

AJS914
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I think the analysis is a bit flawed because all things aren't equal and the difference isn't just weight.

When you go from 25 to 20 to 17 to 15 pounds, you are getting a better, higher performing bike at every level. Going from say 105 to Dura Ace probably makes small overall difference in function but going from a $100 wheelset to an $800 one will make a much larger difference in feel. Going from the frameset on the 25 pound bike to the carbon frameset you get on the 15 pound bike is also likely to be a dramatic difference.

I want to know from a pure feeling, responsiveness, and performance perspective.


Personally, this is what I want to achieve. It doesn't always correlate with lighter weight. You can get too light on wheels and frame such that you have a lot of flex and you don't feel confident forward acceleration when you stomp on the pedals, or do an out of the saddle attack on a climb.

For me that is a relatively high end bike but maybe not the highest end with carefully chosen off the shelf parts.

kode54
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 9:39 pm

by kode54

the cost to shave weight increases as you get closer to the 12 lb threshold. there's a point of diminishing returns.
- AX Lightness Vial EVO D + DA9150 + Enve SES 3.4 carbon hubs
- Parlee Altum + DA9150 + Enve SES 4.5 carbon hubs
- Parlee ESX + DA9150 + THM SRM PM + Enve SES 6.7 CK hubs
- Independent Fabrication Ti FLW + DA9100 + Enve 3.4 CK hubs

uraz
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Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:48 pm

by uraz

The truth is it's never light enough :)

mattr
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Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

The single weight reduction step that takes you into "not being able to complete the ride" is when you've gone too far ;)

So stop just before that........

MoPho
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:48 pm
Location: NorCal/SoCal

by MoPho

mattr wrote:The single weight reduction step that takes you into "not being able to complete the ride" is when you've gone too far ;)

So stop just before that........



That would be the Colin Chapman view of lightweight engineering (car guys might get this reference)



.

morrisond
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 8:34 pm

by morrisond

You can go too light.

Personally instead of going all out to get really light - around the 12-13 lb area I tend to prefer bikes in the 14-15lb range that are a little more solid and have mechanical parts that don't make any sacrifices in terms of function - especially in the Shifting and drivetrain area.

Stock Dura Ace or Super Record Shifters/Cranks/RD/FD/Cassette tend to work the best.

Some of the lightweight brakes out there (EE) work so good that's an easy one to replace and not give up function.

Some of the cranks/rings out there work great as well - I have had great luck with an SiSL2 and KMC Coated chains and saved a bunch of weight. THM cranks are great but when you go that light then you might as well go light weight rings and then performance can suffer.

What really sucks is going up hill on a 12lb bike and the shifting is subpar due to Crappy lightweight cables or Super light cranks with Super Light Rings/cassettes.

Or coming down on wheels that have braking surfaces that aren't that great. I would take the extra 100 grams or so for a Bora Ultra over a Lightweight any day of the week to get the better braking and far superior hubs.

Personally I will also take the weight penalty for Clinchers over Tub's - which when you really analyze it isn't that big of a weight difference these days anyways - especially if you do long rides and end up carrying a spare tub.

I like a bike that you can really stomp on and give up no function. That seems to be in about the 14lb range these days.

Still nice and light - more functional and probably a bunch more durable.

Just my 2c.

trimenc
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Location: North Carolina

by trimenc

THM cranks with Praxis chainrings do not suffer any performance loss what so ever when compared to stock, IMO.

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madcow
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by madcow

As others have said it's a relative question. It's relative to the rider, their size and their needs. I've found that for myself at 135-140 pounds, a daily rider with tubulars is pretty ideal at around 10-11 pounds. Going lighter than that does seem to have some drawbacks in terms of ride quality. Most of my bikes with clinchers end up at around 11-12 pounds. That's going for light stuff that still stands up to daily rider requirements. Thm, Enve, Carbon-ti, EE, etc...

eyedrop
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Location: Prescott, AZ

by eyedrop

madcow wrote:As others have said it's a relative question. It's relative to the rider, their size and their needs. I've found that for myself at 135-140 pounds, a daily rider with tubulars is pretty ideal at around 10-11 pounds. Going lighter than that does seem to have some drawbacks in terms of ride quality. Most of my bikes with clinchers end up at around 11-12 pounds. That's going for light stuff that still stands up to daily rider requirements. Thm, Enve, Carbon-ti, EE, etc...


Would you say that going from 15 lbs to 12 lbs is a noticeable improvement, all major things considered equal? For example, leave the frame and wheels the same on a 15lb bike, but upgrade to light carbon bars, light saddle, chain, lighter fastners, finishing kit, etc...

Im 5'2" 105lbs and live in Prescott AZ next to mingus mountain and whitespar, so I like to do alot of climbing. My new bike is coming any day now and should be just shy of 16 lbs without pedals. I plan on making a trip down to Tuscon for a bike fitting. Maybe Ill drop by the shop and say hello!

And a side question for you, who is considered the best bike fitter in AZ? I keep hearing people say Tim at CycleFit Solutions. Is he pretty reputable?

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madcow
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by madcow

I think going from 15 to 12 is very noticeable. Smaller riders seem to notice changes in bike weight more than bigger riders.

I don't know who the best fitter in Tucson is but I think picking the top 3 is pretty easy. Tim is one of them. The other two would be Maxim who works for us and Kurt Rosenquist from Fitworks. If you're coming after Feb 1st which it sounds like you are, Fit Works will have closed their current location and re-opened inside our warehouse location (working with us, but not for us, inside the same building.) That's the building you want to visit as it's the one with the special showroom and where all the cool stuff lives (our retail store is great, but it's a pretty standard shop filled with Trek and Specialized bikes). If you're interested in getting a fit from Kurt just let me know and I can put you in touch with him.

If you don't want to travel as far, Paraic in Scottsdale is one of the best as well.

AJS914
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

Would you say that going from 15 lbs to 12 lbs is a noticeable improvement, all major things considered equal? For example, leave the frame and wheels the same on a 15lb bike, but upgrade to light carbon bars, light saddle, chain, lighter fastners, finishing kit, etc...


Except I don't think you are going to drop 3 pounds with just that kind of stuff. You probably have to get some really light wheels.

When I look my total weight (bike + me + clothes + shoes + water + tools/extra tube), I'm probably looking at 235lbs. Shaving 2-3 pounds off the package seems inconsequential.

rideintospace
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by rideintospace

I think there is a lot that affects the ride feel. My road bike is 13.5lb and that is the lightest I have ridden. I have another road bike that is 16lb and a cyclocross bike that is 17. All 3 have come down in weight over time so I have had the chance to compare parts and weights for all 3. The carbon frame made the biggest difference. Better power transfer with a sturdy bottom bracket area, and switching to carbon seatpost/handlebars absorbed more road vibration than I was anticipating. Lightweight wheels vs 808s vs alloy also make a big difference. The lightweights slice the air and counterintuitively do noticeably better in crosswinds than the non-carbon spoked rims I have, even shallow section alloy rims. Maybe it all comes down to the weight but I think a lot can be said for the other qualities of the parts that make a bike light.

by Weenie


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BRM
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by BRM

And there is Always the psychological factor. Expensive bikes and equipment ride better.
Has to do with higher budget > expectations > the longing of the human mind to confirmation

:wink:

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