25 February 2011

Shaving off weight

What is the most cost-effective way to lower the total weight of your bike? This is a question I asked myself and perhaps some other members would like to contribute as well.

So let's start with two examples. Two of the components where most of the weight of a racing bike is concentrated is the frame and the wheels. 

A typical Cervelo S1 frameset retails in Germany for 126.000 Yen and weights 1.460g (size 56) without fork, head set and other components. Bare frame. The Cervelo S3 frame retails for the equivalent of 470.000 Yen and weights only 1.080g in the same frame size. Thus one get 380g of weight saving for 344.000 Yen of additional cost. Or one pays 905 Yen for every g lost.

Now let's take a look at wheels. A good standard wheel set are the Campagnolo Zondas which I have been using for years. In Germany they are sold for 45.000 Yen and they weight about 1.550g without quick release, rim tape and rear cassette. If you have the courage (and the body weight) to use them, Mavic R Sys SL provide a lighter alternative at 1.295g for 172.000 Yen. So 255g for 127.000 Yen. Or 498 Yen for every g less.

I am aware that all calculation depend on the starting point (which frame, wheel etc. is your benchmark) and how far you will go. The first g less will cost much less than the last one as well.

But I wonder, is there any component that would stick out? Quick release? Tires? Tubes?

Michelin Airstop Air 1 tube with 40mm Presta valve. 93g for 569 Yen. Continental Race Supersonic Tube with Presta 36 mm valve. 45g for 1034 Yen. Less than 10 Yen per g reduced. Well, but it is hard to shave off more than 100g from the total weight by using different tubes. Or no tubes?

Any contributions?

1 comment:

David L. said...

MOB: A useful exercise to go through just to show how silly some efforts are. The weightweenies site used to include lots of actual measurements, but it does not seem to have newer components -- maybe is no longer fully maintained?

And it is a difficult challenge because weight is only one of many factors in choosing a component. The S3 frame is not only lighter, it is a different material and has different ride characteristics. And I can shave off weight at no additional cost if I buy a 28 spoke wheel with thin gauge spokes, instead of 32 or 36 with thicker spokes. But spokes may break wheel and the wheel may not last very long with me riding ... I love my 2007 Cervelo R3 SL ... but I never would have sprung for the "SL" if the shop had had a regular R3 in my size in stock, or if they had not offered a discount.

The cost/ performance of bicycle weight reduction does quickly fall to a level of absurdity if you try to shave those last few grams by component choice. ... especially when compared with rider weight differences.