Making my Mountain Bike lighter — Part 4
With some very simple modifications, we have managed to drop the weight of the bike down to 12.6 kg, which is over 1.5 kg lighter than the original! That’s still quite heavy for a XC-bike, so we are not finished yet.
When I weighed the bike last winter it was equipped with Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro Performance tires. Great tires in snow and ice, but man are they heavy. When the snow finally melted and I could switch back to my summer tires the amount of weight lost was a whopping 1.2 kg! I like to run Schwalbe Rocket Ron up front and Racing Ralph at the rear. Since I use the Snakeskin version of the tires they both weigh around 600-650 grams. There are lighter tires out there, but compared to the 1 250 gram Ice Spiker Pro’s these are featherweight. Obviously, this showed in the bike’s overall handling and the bike feels much snappier now.
Price: The tires are around 35€ each
Weight lost: over 1 200 grams from the Winter tires.
First off, yes I know this is not exactly a budget upgrade. But I consider it a “budget” upgrade as while I paid 190€ for the wheelset I also managed to sell the original wheelset for 110€. Therefore the wheelset only cost me 80€, which is not bad for a barely used second-hand wheelset. They are Reynold’s wheels, the model is 29er AL. It’s an aluminum wheelset with Reynold’s hubs. The rims are licensed by Stan’s NoTubes and have a lower profile as well as similar kind of bead hook like other NoTube’s rims. Weighing in at around 1 720 grams the wheelset is definitely not the lightest. However, it’s still half a kilogram lighter than the original wheelset. Can’t believe the original Mustang Elite TLR wheelset came in over 2.2 kg with the tubeless rim strips installed!
Honestly, I didn’t even realize how poor quality the original wheelset was until I got to compare it to something else. There was nothing exactly wrong with them per se, but the Reynold’s wheels are just so much stiffer and the hubs freewheel a lot smoother too, let alone the weight. Definitely the best upgrade I did for the bike, no doubt of that.
Weight lost: 500 grams
Since the original Shimano SLX Center lock discs wouldn’t fit Reynold’s hubs I had to get new rotors. Since I was trying to make my bike lighter I decided to try out some lightweight rotors. I ended up going with Ashima ARO-08 160 mm rotors since they were affordable but also relatively lightweight at around 95 grams (including bolts). Compared to the original SLX rotors they were over 110 grams lighter too.
I must admit there were some downsides too. Since there’s more air in the rotors than actual metal the braking performance was drastically reduced. The bike still slows down, but there’s none of that braking power that you used to get from that larger better performing disc. If I lived in a place with larger elevation changes there could be issues with overheating as well, but for my terrain, these rotors work, just barely. At the back the rotor is okay, but for the front, the rotor is not ideal. For now, they will do, once they wear out or bend I might try something else.
Price: around 25€ for two
Weight lost: 110 grams, more or less depending on the rotors
Note: The lighter the rotor the less braking surface it will have, which decreases breaking performance.
These upgrades saved some serious weight, over 1.9 kg! With the addition of removing the 330-gram bar mitts, the weight of the bike drops down to 10.5 kg or 23.1 pounds. Almost 4 kilograms lighter than what it used to be. The bike feels a lot snappier on the trails and acceleration is much quicker. Great upgrades overall, no downsides really.
This is the current state of the bike on June 4th, 2017. It took a long time to get there, but it was definitely worth it. Out of all the upgrades by far the most noticeable was the wheels and tires. Rotational mass matters a lot, although there are things that matter more than that. Since I bought my bike last Fall I have dropped 10 kilograms/22 pounds off myself. That alongside with increased stamina definitely feels more than anything I ever did to the bike. In conclusion: lighter bike might make you a bit faster, but being in shape will definitely make you a lot faster!
Stay tuned for more upgrades in the future, there’s still lots to do!