Here are 10 ways to make your road bike lighter. Some of these weight savings will be expensive and others are incredibly cheap. Do them all and you will have one extremely light road bike. We’ve broken them down into most expensive upgrades, least expensive upgrades, and value upgrades that land somewhere in between.
Most Expensive Ways To Make Your Road Bike Lighter
- Upgrade to Carbon Fiber Wheels – This change might be the most expensive one on the list. Carbon fiber wheels can cost in excess of $1,000. What you gain will be stiffness and 300-400 gram of weight savings over their aluminum counterparts.
- Replace Parts With Carbon – Most bikes have a stem, and on the headset are spacers. Replacing your stem and headset spacers with carbon parts can save you over 50 grams. Add in a carbon bottle cage and the weight savings start piling up.
- Change Your Saddle – You can save almost 200 grams by changing your saddle. For example, the Bontrager Sport Saddle weighs 350 grams. Upgrade to the Bontrager Verse Pro at 190 grams and you just saved 160 grams.
- Switch To Lighter Pedals – One quick and easy way to save weight is upgrading pedals. For example, a Deore XT SPD pedals weigh 430 grams. Upgrading to an Ultegra SPD-SL pedal, which weighs just under 250 grams, will save you over 180 grams. Cost on Ultegra SPD-SL Pedals is close to $200.
Best Value Ways To Save Weight On Your Road Bike
- Upgrade Tires – If you are looking for the lightest set of tires for your road bike try a time trial tire. A performance tires Pirelli P Zero is light, and could save you 50 grams over heavier, albeit more durable, competitors. If you are at the point where 50 grams matters, carrying a separate set of race tires will allow you to train on something more durable, but gain the weight savings on race day. This upgrade costs around $120. (Check Current Price on Amazon)
- Change to Latex Innertubes – Latex innertubes can weigh over 50+ grams lighter than Butyl Rubber tubes. The weight savings over a thorn resistant tube can be even more significant. You trade less weight for potentially gaining more flats. A latex tube costs around $15 on Amazon. (Check Current Price on Amazon Here)
- Upgrading to Lighter Quick Release Skewers or a Lighter Thru Axle – Believe it or not, but the QR skewers and thru axles bikes come with aren’t the lightest. Replacing them with a light weight set will save you 70+ grams.
- Replace Cables and Housings with Lighter – Upgrading to hydraulic disc brakes from mechanical brakes will save a few grams. So will replacing your cables and housings with lighter options. At a certain point you are better off buying a new bike than continuing to invest in weight savings.
Free Ways To Make Your Road Bike Lighter
- Remove Your Bar Tape – A full wrap of handlebar tape can weigh up to 300 grams. Removing your bar tape will cost you comfort and grip, and it looks better on. However, if you have a one off event you’ve been training for and want to do great its an option. You can remove the bar tape before your event then put it back on when your done, or cut it and reduce how much of the bars you cover. Also lighter bar tape is an option, as well as only wrapping certain portions of the handlebar and leaving the rest unwrapped.
- Remove Excess Parts – Take your dork disk off to save some extra grams. Keep in mind it is rotational weight so the weight savings aren’t the same as removing dead weight. In addition, valve caps, mounting screws, and the filler rubber pieces in unused mountain locations all add weight.
In conclusion, there are many different ways to save weight on your road bike. Buying upgrades is usually not the way to save weight. Buying a new bike is a great way to save weight. Or, you could simply accept your riding ability for what it is, quit worrying about weight savings, and enjoy cycling again.
If you are looking for a cheap bike worth making upgrades to then read: Trek FX 2 Review