How important is bike weight?

Bikemagic Bikemagic




Park Tool’s Digital Scales ready for action

We’re not weight weenies here at Bikemagic (long gone are the days of drilling holes in chainrings and stems) but we do like to keep an eye on the weight of the test bikes passing through the office.

However, while weight is an important criteria, it’s not one near the top of the list of our priorities when assessing a bike on its individual merits. That said, very often the first question posed by people when viewing a new bike for the first time, whether in the office or out on the trail is “how much does it weigh?”

Today mountain bikes are lighter than ever before, with advances in materials and better construction processes making the latest crop of bikes and far cry from those we used to ride 10- to 15-years ago, when bikes were steel and rigid. Back then we could never imagine sub-25lb 140mm full-sussers. Today such bikes are commonplace.

It’s easy to obsess about weight. Just look around the internet, do a search in google or look at Weight Weenies. But it’s worth bearing in mind that weight shoudn’t be the most important factor when choosing a new bike or building one up from scratch. There are far more important considerations to mull over when drawing up a shortlist of potenial new bikes.

Above all is fit. This should be right at the top of your list. Getting properly sized up on a bike is still the most important aspect when buying a new bike, if you’re not on the right size bike you won’t be comfortable and you won’t get the most of your riding. Get the size right, the right length stem and width handlebars and reach, and you’ll be comfortable and able to get the most of your bike and riding.

Over areas we would place above weight in a list of priorities would be geometry, handling suitability for your style of riding, mechanical condition and so on. Even the tyre choice, which directly affects how fast a bike ‘feels’ with various levels of rolling resistance is far more important than the overall weight of the bike.

Of course you still have to pedal the bike and the heavier your bike, the higher your power output needs to be to propel it along at a decent lick of speed. A heavy bike is harder to ride up hills, harder to accelerate through singletrack.

So it’s still good to know how much a bike weighs then. The office scales that we used to rely on, having put in a long stint here on Bikemagic and sister site Roadcyclinguk, died a while back. I had to replace them, so a quick call to Madison and a couple of days later the Park Tool Digital Scale DS-1, pictured above, arrived on my desk.

What do you think? How important is the weight of your mountain bike to you?

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