How to lighten a road bike: 4 components worth investing in
How to lighten a road bike? In fact, this is one of the most important needs for every cyclist. Little by little, month by month, gram by gram… It can often become a real obsession.
The arrival of disc brakes has increased this attention, taking into account that a bicycle of this type weighs on average 500 grams more than a traditional one.
Often it is just a habit, other times it is something mental: having a lighter bike makes us feel stronger. Forgetting that the best thing would be to lose those two or three extra kilos, instead of obsessing about making the weight of the bike lighter.
Completely different for professionals, where even a few grams can make a difference.
However, if we make an objective speech, without pretending to speak scientifically, we can say that 500 grams means about 1 minute more in an hour of 6-7% rise.
A lot? A little? It depends on your point of view.
So, how to lighten a road bike? We assume that every gram lost, in every component, has its effect. But if we have a limited budget, it’s normal to have to make some wise decisions. So, let’s see which ones have the best cost/benefit ratio.
The wheels are the component that has the most impact on the performance of the bike. The rim, above all, being a rotating mass, plays a decisive role.
Lightening 100 grams of a rim is much more useful than removing 50 or 100 grams of “static” components such as a saddle, stem or handlebar.
In addition, a nicer wheel will also mount higher quality bushings and bearings.
It is definitely the most expensive upgrade, but consider that going from a pair of entry-level wheels (often found on mid-range bikes) to a high quality one can mean saving almost 500 or 600 grams in weight.
Often you don’t think about the importance of tyres, but saving grams placed on the outermost part of the rim is something fundamental.
All this, at a decidedly acceptable economic figure, compared to what must be endured to change other components.
Between a road tyre for the same size you can save between 25 and 40 grams per tyre, which translates into 50/80 grams per pair. From one section to another, for example between 25 and 28, there are another 20/30 grams of rubber.
The difference between the inner tube tyre and tubeless ready is also important: it can be up to 80 grams (so tubeless ready only makes sense in the tubeless configuration, otherwise you would have to add the weight of the inner tube).
The real difference between a high-end cassette and a low-end one is only on weight rather than functionality. And that goes for every brand. If you want to lighten your bike, choosing the right cassette is crucial.
An example? Between a Shimano Dura Ace cassette and a 105 there is about 100 grams of difference in weight, compared to an economic difference of about 150 euros.
SADDLE OR SEAT POST?
Absolutely seat post! Why is simple: when choosing a saddle, it is much more important to consider comfort than lightness. You save 100 grams on the saddle, what’s the point if it causes comfort problems later?
On the other hand, a better seat post can save more than 100 grams and allows for greater flexing and therefore better absorption of bumps and bumps.
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