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BUYER'S GUIDE

Lightest road bikes 2024 — fantastically featherweight rides that barely tip the road.cc scales of truth

From UCI weight limit-bothering carbon rides to metal superbikes, and even gravel machines, here's our pick of the lightest bikes we've reviewed recently regardless of price

This article contains links to retailers. Purchases made after clicking on those links may help support road.cc by earning us a commission but all of our reviews are fully independent. Find out more about road.cc buyer's guides.

A few years back, riders in the professional peloton were sticking weights on their frames to bring the bikes up to the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg (15lbs); and while the adoption of disc brakes and electronic groupsets have reduced the need for that, there are still some very light road bikes available on the market... as long as you have the funds, because shedding weight often doesn't come cheap! 


If you are a frequent reader of our bike reviews you'll know that a bike's weight isn't the be-all and end-all, often being trumped by aerodynamics or comfort in the real world. That doesn't stop us all wanting the lightest machine we can afford though, especially if you live in a hilly area. Plus we all know that at some point someone (even a non-cyclist) is going to do the 'car park pick up test' so that they can gauge just how light a modern road bike is, and you won't want to be embarrassed.

As a general trend, bikes have got a little heavier over recent years with the inclusion of disc brakes and derailleur motors on bikes with electronic gears, but on the whole road bikes are still very light. In fact, some of the models below aren't even anywhere near top-of-the-range, but still tip the scales at less than 8kg.

As you'll see from our list, carbon fibre is king. When it comes to reducing weight other materials often struggle to compete, especially when trying to balance stiffness and longevity too. 

How we review road bikes 

We take bike reviews seriously here at road.cc (although we have a lot of fun riding them) and make sure reviewers have full access to their test bikes for at least a month, ideally longer, to ensure they can come up with detailed and thorough observations about their experience. 

We'll never publish a full review based off a test ride or two in an exotic location, preferring to allow reviewers to ride test bikes in their usual riding environment. The test report asks reviewers to assess quality, comfort, stiffness, value and numerous other metrics, before asking for a final score. 

In the case of light road bikes, if a bike is marketed as lightweight we'll look to compare it to other light bikes on the market vs how it performs and how it's priced, factoring this information into the overall score. 

Why you can trust us

All our reviewers are experienced cyclists, especially so when it comes to bike reviews. We think it takes a bit more know-how to properly review a bike compared to a pair of socks, so most of our bike reviewing gets done by our most experienced staff members and freelance contributors. We also have a rule that we only dish out review products to reviewers who would actually consider buying the item in question; we'll never give an aero road bike to a reviewer who only ever rides gravel, basically!

Also, we only ever recommend bikes that fared well in reviews in our buyer's guides, so you're not just seeing a list we've plucked from our backsides. We might recommend a different spec to the exact bike we've reviewed, but where this is necessary we'll only do so if we're familiar with alternative parts used on the other model. 

A disclaimer...

It's worth noting that our top picks are not necessarily the lightest bikes full-stop, we're well aware of that before you tell us in the comments! This guide is a selection of fully built light bikes that are available to buy, mostly off-the-peg and, crucially, bikes that we've reviewed ourselves so we can recommend them to you.

If you're an extreme weight weenie and would rather build a bike yourself with the lightest bike frames and components in the world, check out this feature instead. If you want to drop some weight off your current bike, see our article on how to make your bike lighter. There's also some more info on how to buy or build a super lightweight custom bike in the FAQ section towards the bottom of this page. 

We've selected our top six light road bikes first that you can find in the quick links, and there are plenty more recommendations further down the page. 

The best lightweight road bikes: our top picks

Specialized Aethos Pro

Specialized Aethos Pro

9
If you want the lightest off-the-peg bike available (and the UCI limit doesn't apply to you)
Buy now for £8000 from Sigma Sports
Incredible ride
Excellent stiffness
Perfect handling
Gets most of the tech from the S-Works
Expensive

The Aethos Pro Ultegra Di2 is one of the lightest road bikes we have ever reviewed on road.cc at just 6.66kg. Specialized's S-Works model goes even lighter, with a 56cm frame weighing just 585g!

If you are not overly bothered about aerodynamics and just want minimal weight then Liam described this Aethos as the gold standard for general road bikes.

He found it to be a climber's dream with the way it floated up any sort of incline, and Specialized have also nailed the handling for when you are coming back down the hill, although the handling could be considered quite twitchy for some.

So, the price is high, but if you want one of the lightest mass-produced bikes on the market then the Aethos pretty much has you covered. As already mentioned, we reviewed the Pro version but you can go even lighter (under 6kg) if you have deeper pockets by getting the S-Works model, yours for £12,000 at the time of writing.  

Van Rysel EDR CF Ultegra

Van Rysel EDR CF Ultegra

8
One for the rim brake fans (on a budget)
Buy now for £2800 from Decathlon
Well-balanced steering
Impressive stiffness levels
Competitive pricing
Entry-level wheels blunt performance

As this is our lightweight bikes guide, it would be rude not to include at least one bike with good old rim brakes! Our option is not only light, but it's pretty affordable too compared to others in this list.

We've gone for the Ultegra model rather than the 105, disc brake-equipped version we reviewed in 2021, because it weighs just 7.28kg overall with lighter wheels and groupset than the bike we reviewed. The frame and fork is largely the same, that we described as stiff and providing plenty of feedback without road vibration or harshness muting the signals. Our reviewer also found the geometry to be easy to live with, allowing you to get in an efficient, aero position when required; and this is largely replicated on the rim brake model. 

The wheels are Fulcrum's high-end alloy Racing Zero, and if you switched to even lighter carbon wheels this bike could get close to troubling the UCI weight limit. At under three grand (before your wheel upgrade if you want to do that) this is a very tempting lightweight ride. 

Scott Foil RC Pro

Scott Foil RC Pro

8
Best lightweight aero road bike
Buy now for £8899 from Primera Sports
Super-fast in all situations
Great climbing efficiency
Stellar handling
Light
No power meter included
Standard Vittoria Corsa Control tyres are not the best option

Aero bikes aren't renowned for their low weight, built even with its oversized tubing, electronic groupset and deep section wheels, this model is less than half a kilo over the UCI weight limit at just 7.35kg.

When Aaron recently reviewed this bike he described it as possibly one of the best all-round aero road bikes that are available right now due to it being ridiculously fast yet super-easy to live with as an everyday bike. The highlights being a very stiff frame which also passes on plenty in terms of feedback to the rider, while the front end geometry gives fun and direct handling in the bends.

It may not be the top-end bike in the Foil line-up, but this Pro model still comes equipped with the latest Dura Ace Di2 groupset, fully integrated carbon fibre handlebar and stem, plus Shimano's C50 deep section wheels.

If aero is your thing but you don't want a weight penalty, then this offering from Scott does tick a lot of the boxes when it comes to performance.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8

9
You want aero and low weight
Buy now for £12000 from Tredz
It really is stupidly light!
Excellent geometry
It's a proper do-it-all race bike
The price...

Specialized has shed even more weight from its flagship do-it-all road racing frame, coming in 120g lighter than the SL7 at an impressive 680g. It meant our top-of-the-range test bike came in just over the UCI weight limit with mid-depth aero wheels, so there's scope to cut the weight even further. 

Other than the weight reduction, the SL8 has also seen a big change at the front, namely the 'speed sniffer' headtube which is said to improve aerodynamics. Elsewhere, Specialized says the SL8 is faster and more compliant (they would, wouldn't they?) but our reviewer was also very impressed with the stiffness, considering the bottom bracket area has been slimmed down. 

With top-end Roval wheels in depths of 51mm at the front and 60mm at the rear plus SRAM eTap AXS 12-speed shifting, the S-Works SL8 is a no compromise racing machine suitable for elite riders, but with comfort and lightness that will appeal to all. If money is no object, this is one superbike that won't disappoint.  

Cervelo R5 Force eTap AXS

Cervelo R5

8
A great lightweight all-round road bike
Buy now for £8300 from Sigma Sports
Excellent handling
Super comfortable
No detectable flex
Easily adjustable cockpit
Expensive

We found Cervelo's R5 to be an excellent all-rounder with its aero touches providing the benefits on the flat, while its stiffness makes it a flattering companion on the climbs. It's also supremely comfortable too making it ideal for those longer rides when you have the time.

The Sram Force AXS eTap build we reviewed tipped the scales at 7.3kg which is half a kilo over the UCI's weight limit, but it's based around a feather light frame of 703g (claimed) for a size 56cm, that's 103g lighter than the previous version, so there is definitely some scope there for a very light bike indeed.

Anne-Marie found the geometry numbers to be a little different to those used by many other manufacturers for a bike of this type and size. Most notably the slightly slacker seat tube angle, and you get quite a short reach measurement too, but she found that as a complete package everything worked very well which is what gives the R5 those excellent all-rounder qualities.

Factor O2 VAM

Factor O2 VAM

9
Best lightweight road bike for climbing
Buy now for £9999 from Vires Velo
Light and stiff
A good climber
Comfortable ride
Top-line finishing kit
External seatpost looks a bit bulky

"A master of climbing" according to our reviewer, the Factor O2 VAM we had in for reviewed weighed in at 6.99kg with a SRAM Force groupset, so there's scope to drop the weight even lower. 

Fast and light, the O2 VAM has no twitchiness about it and can be chucked into corners or sped up on the flats as aggressively as an aero road bike. 

Everything is fully integrated and you get some top-end finishing kit such as Black Inc cockpit and wheels. The ride quality is excellent, and Factor has done a great job of creating a frame that feels very planted and joyous to ride. 

The best of the rest: more lightweight road bike recommendations

Giant Defy Advanced SL 0

Giant Defy Advanced SL 0

9
Buy now for £10349 from Cyclestore
Excellent frameset
Comfortable
Light
High-end spec
Not many people will spend this amount
Tweaked geometry won't suit all

Weighing 7.2kg and offering supreme comfort, the Defy should be high on your wishlist if comfort over long distances is your priority. There are much less expensive build options of course, if your budget doesn't stretch to £11,500!

Our reviewer praised the lovely amount of flex from the D-Fuse technology, and the chunky 32mm tubeless tyres increasing comfort further. It's a very smooth ride, and the tweaked geometry offering a slightly shorter head tube than the previous version makes the Defy a touch racier. With full internal cable routing and semi-aero wheels, there's no need to swerve the Defy if you want to go fast. 

While expensive even for a superbike, the Defy does everything it says it will do and is surprisingly lively for an endurance bike. You'll get most of the benefits of this hero model further down the range, too. 

Wilier Filante SLR

Wilier Filante SLR

8
Buy now for £7999 from Spokes Bikes
Beautifully reactive
Lightweight
Aero claims
Could do with a power meter

Italian brand Wilier do know how to make a stunning looking machine, and the Filante SLR is testament to that, especially in the stunning red colourway of our review model.

At a few grams over 7kg its weight impressive for a bike with relatively chunky aero tubing and the addition of deep section wheels - and that's in a XL size too. Wilier claim a frame and fork weight of just 870g and 360g respectively.

Wilier have focused heavily on the aerodynamics on the Filante, not just when it comes to tube shapes but also the way they have hidden every cable and hose for a super smooth look.

The biggest highlight was just how comfortable the Wilier was though according to Mat. The Filante uses Zero SLR: HUS-Mod carbon fibre and liquid crystal polymer blend. They are tight-lipped about the actual composition, but they say that the liquid crystal polymer helps improve the absorption of vibration.

However it works, Mat did think that the ride quality was pretty sublime. 

Merida Scultura Team

Merida Scultura Team

9
Buy now for £8000 from Tredz
Great ride quality
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 works like a dream
Precise handling
Integrated cockpit limits adjustability

This Team model uses the fifth generation of the Scultura frameset, which shares the geometry of Merida's aero race bike, the Reacto and shares some of the wind cheating design.

It's ridden at the top level by the Bahrain Victorious ProTour team, which means that there is a huge amount of stiffness throughout for coping with a professional's explosive leg power, while the handling is fast, and very precise indeed.

Although we did find the top half of the frame and the fork to give a very comfortable ride too, which wiped out any road buzz without muting the feedback.

At 7.1kg this build feels impressively quick when accelerating, or maintaining speed on the flat, and for a bike with decent amounts of aero styling it climbs well too. It also looks the business with its smooth lines thanks to full internal cable and hose routing, plus the integrated seatpost clamp.

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2

8
Buy now for £6199 from Canyon UK
Well-balanced speed, handling and comfort
Spec is perfect
Loads of easy position adjustability
Not the bargain that it once was

Canyon was always renowned for its value for money and direct-to-consumer pricing; and while the brand might have lost some of that edge, this Ultimate CF SLX is still a lot of bike for the money coming in at one of the least expensive on this list. In fact the RRP has dropped since we reviewed it. 

You're getting a semi-aero frameset, an Ultegra Di2 groupset including a power meter, and deep section DT Swiss wheels which weighs in at 7.27kg. The same frameset built up with a Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, and even fancier DT Swiss wheels nudges that down to 6.8kg if you are willing to splash the cash.

We were impressed overall with how the Ultimate rides with Liam highlighting the stiffness thanks to a solid platform, while there is enough compliance in the frame and fork to stop you getting battered around on rougher roads.

The geometry is long and low a sit's designed for racing which is worth bearing in mind if you aren't the most flexible. 

Chapter2 Toa

Chapter2 Toa frameset

9
Buy now for £3039 from Chapter2
Excellent riding position
Impressive stiffness throughout the frameset
Creates a light build
Plenty of stem/handlebar size options
The frame isn't superlight on paper

Chapter2's Toa frameset isn't necessarily superlight on paper, but that doesn't stop it from being built up into a lightweight race bike that'll take 32mm tyres with ease.

The model we reviewed was built up with a Dura Ace mechanical groupset, deep section wheels and various carbon fibre pieces of finishing kit which weighed in at 7.4kg.

As for the ride, well it really can't be faulted with sweet handling and geometry that puts you into an aggressive position for riding hard against opponents or just on your own.

Comfort is great too, for such a stiff bike.

Chapter2 offer the Toa as a frameset which includes the seatpost and integrated cockpit, plus the paint colours are made in small runs giving a bit of a custom finish to each batch.   

Ribble Endurance SL R Disc - Pro

Ribble Endurance SL R Disc - Pro

8
Buy now for £4499 from Ribble
Great ride quality
Impressive spec for the money
Not as endurance as its name suggests

It's been a few years since we reviewed Ribble's Endurance SL R Disc road bike, but it is still in their line-up and compared to a lot of models in this list, is on the budget side of things - well kind of.

Despite its name David found the Ribble to be anything but the relaxed riding machine the Endurance name would have you believe. The angles are still steep and it definitely focuses on performance.

The Endurance SL R Disc is available in three builds (or you can use Ribble's own Bikebuilder) starting with the Sport running Shimano's 105 Di2 and Level carbon fibre wheels for £4,499.

The Enthusiast model is £5,299 with Ultegra Di2 and the same wheels, while the Hero model comes with Dura Ace Di2 and Enve Foundation 45 carbon fibre wheels for £7,499 at the time of writing.

All three models come with the same carbon integrated handlebar and stem cockpit set-up. It's a lot of bike for the money. 

Specialized S-Works Crux

Specialized S-Works Crux

9
Buy now for £11700 from Specialized
Very light
Fast on the road
Fast off the road
Comfortable
Might not be 'gravel' enough for some

Okay, so it's not technically a road bike, but the S-Works Crux is described as "the lightest gravel bike in the world" and it also works very well on the road too.

The geometry allows for a low-slung position for speed work, while a slightly longer wheelbase than most road bikes gives it that extra stability off-road. In his review Liam said that he was very impressed with the handling meaning that the Crux copes well with technical descents and it's a prolific climber too. 

It's definitely not cheap at its current price of £11,700, but you are getting some very top end kit with a Sram RED eTap groupset, Roval Terra CLX wheels, and S-Works finishing kit throughout. There are also less expensive models in the range. 

Basically, if you want to ride as fast off of the road as you do on it, then the S-Works Crux should be on your shopping list.

Reilly Fusion

Reilly Fusion

9
Buy now for £7499 from Reilly Cycleworks
Excellent finish quality
Great stiffness throughout
Comfort isn't sacrificed
Choice of logo options
It's a big ticket build

As you can see from the bikes in the list above, carbon pretty much rules when it comes to keeping the weight down. That's not to say that the various metal alloys can't compete.

Kinesis' aluminium Aithein Disc frameset could be built into a lightweight bike, as could the rim braked version which could easily smash the UCI weight limit with some lightweight off-the-shelf components fitted - unfortunately both of these models have now been dropped from the line-up.

> Best titanium road bikes - are they worth it?

One of the lightest metal bikes we've recently reviewed is this Reilly Fusion, at 8.27kg including the electronic groupset and deep section wheels, so you could still cut some grams if you wished.

Apart from weight the other reason it is on this list is thanks to the ride quality - a blend of stiffness and comfort which easily matches that of a sorted carbon fibre frame.  

Ridley Falcn RS

Ridley Falcn RS

8
Buy now for £7379 from Merlin Cycles
Frameset gives an involving ride
Good tyre clearance
Light & aero wheels boost performance
No power meter, unlike similarly priced competition

While not the lightest bike available at 7.4kg, Ridley's Falcn RS has aero wheels and Shimano's Ultegra Di2 groupset, so could easily go under 7kg with some lighter components and finishing kit. 

The Falcn is very much an all-rounder, with a fast and light frameset that is capable of taking up to 34mm tyres. Our reviewer said the frame offered an involving and responsive ride, and bang in the middle of fast and comfortable. 

The Falcn looks modern with very neat integration, and is well worthy of your consideration if you want a do-it-all road bike. 

How to choose from the best lightweight road bikes

faq-icon
Is a lighter road bike better?

On the whole, the lighter a bike is, the more enjoyable it'll be to ride. Not only will it climb better, but it'll be more responsive to your inputs, so acceleration will feel quicker and pulling away from a standing start will become less of a chore on your legs. 

It also comes down to what kind of riding you do too. If you live somewhere hilly, or you like to head off and spend time scaling mountain passes then every gram you can drop will be a bonus.

For those of us who ride on the flat or rolling terrain, though, having a more aerodynamic bike can be more efficient even if it is carrying a kilo or so extra, especially when you are up to speed.

As you can see from our list though, many of the latest aero or do-it-all bikes are also pretty light too.

faq-icon
What is the lightest bike available?

Often touted as the lightest road bike is a creation by Gunter Mai using custom made parts including the carbon fibre frameset back in 2008, weighing around 3kg. It was then rebuilt by a new owner who managed to get that weight down to an incredible 2.7kg.

AX Lightness famously hit the cycling headlines back in 2015 with their Vial Evo Ultra, a production ready rim-braked road bike that was equipped with many of AX Lightness' own components to tickle the scales at a mere 4.4kg.

AX Lightness Vial Evo Ultra  - 9

The AX Lightness Vial Evo Ultra, just 4.4kg

The UK's hill climb season isn't governed by the UCI, which often makes it a breeding ground for the pros and amateurs to tweak their off-the-shelf-bikes in weight weeny, gravity-defying machines. When we took a look around Andrew Feather's British National Hill Climb-winning Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi Mod back in November 2022, the full bike weighed just 5.39kg. It was based around a 2019 rim braked version of the SuperSix Evo and was fitted exotica like Hunt's Hill Climb wheels at under 1,000g and a Schmolke saddle that weighed a svelte 63g.

By 2023 Feather had upgraded to the SuperSix Evo LAB71 frame with disc brakes for a slight weight penalty but - according to experts he'd consulted - a worthwhile aero benefit, much to the horror of many rim brake fans. While this is our guide to the lightest road bikes, we're happy to admit that bike weight isn't everything, and Feather's choice to switch to a 'heavier' bike is a great example; especially since he comfortably defended his title. 

faq-icon
What is the UCI weight limit, and why?

The UCI brought in a weight limit back at the turn of the century of 6.8kg (15lbs) for a couple of reasons, with the main one being safety concerns over the reliability and durability of bike framesets and their components in the never-ending quest for dropping weight. 

Newer materials in bike building were becoming more commonplace too, like aluminium alloy and carbon fibre. Both could see catastrophic failures if not manufactured into frames, forks and components properly. 

Another reason was that it created a kind of level playing field. Riders riding for big budget teams on the lightest, most expensive bikes had a big advantage over smaller budget teams, especially those from outside of Europe or the USA, and the idea was that the weight limit would level this out.

With today's manufacturing techniques and tolerances failures are rare (when crashes aren't involved) so there have been many calls for the UCI to lower or scrap the limit altogether.

It's worth bearing in mind that if you aren't riding in UCI-sanctioned events then the weight limit won't apply to you. 

faq-icon
What's the best way to lighten my bike?

If your budget doesn't stretch to buying a range-topping lightweight model straight away, you can easily and relatively cheaply remove weight from a bike that sits lower down the range, or from your existing bike.

> How to make your bike lighter

Usually the quickest way to drop the grams is to swap out the wheelset, as even mid-range road bikes tend to come with hoops that sit a few rungs down the lightweight ladder than the frame probably deserves.

> Find the best road bike wheels whatever your budget

For six or seven hundred quid you could easily shed 300 to 400g from your wheelset, and an upgrade to some race tyres can also drop another 100g or so from each wheel.

You could drop weight by upgrading your groupset too by another few hundred grams as parts wear out. For instance, the difference between Shimano 105 Di2 and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 is around 500g, with Ultegra Di2 sitting in the middle; although top-of-the-range groupsets are expensive, so a groupset upgrade is nowhere near the most affordable way to shed weight. 

You can also upgrade aluminium components (think seatpost, handlebar etc.)  for carbon although the gains will be minimal.

Of course, your other option is to lighten yourself... but that's a whole other subject! 

> Cycling and weight loss — Top tips for pedalling away the pounds

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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18 comments

Avatar
levestane | 1 month ago
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john_smith replied to levestane | 1 month ago
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To be fair, they're a lot better in other ways too. Would you really want to go back to 6 gears, downtube shifters, tyres that puncture every week and need to be glued on,, and bendy bars and stem?

Avatar
rdaddict | 1 month ago
2 likes

Am I the only one who thinks the prices for these bikes is utterly ridiculous? For an item with not that many components compared to a motorbike with infinately more, the value for money is atrocious, cue comments re. manufacturing costs, supply and demand etc but however you look at it, it just doesn't add up.

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Ride On replied to rdaddict | 1 month ago
0 likes

Anything over £3k should have "expensive' as one of the cons. Just ridiculous prices.

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john_smith replied to rdaddict | 1 month ago
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How much would a MotoGP bike cost? Presumably quite a lot too. 

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Cugel | 2 months ago
1 like

Is it still 2003?  Has no one told you about the fact that reducing bike weight by teeny amounts is nothing but a marketing scam?  Have y'all been a-boo-boos for 20 years? Have a read of this and wake up:

https://www.cyclingabout.com/why-we-should-stop-our-obsession-with-bike-...

Carrying 5kg (11lb) on a 15.37km Circuit with 276m Climbing
Run 1: 39:55
Run 2: 39:25
Average: 39:40

Carrying 15kg (33lb) on a 15.37km Circuit with 276m Climbing
Run 1: 41:26
Run 2: 41:22
Average: 41:24 (+1:44 with 10kg extra)

Carrying 25kg (55lb) on a 15.37km Circuit with 276m Climbing
Run 1: 42:40
Run 2: 42:24
Average: 42:32 (+2:52 with 20kg extra)

The numbers from my test are a little abstract, so let’s extrapolate them out to 100km to see how closely they match Bike Calculator’s prediction of 78 seconds per extra kilogram.

Extrapolated Data: 100km (62mi) with 1796m (5892ft) elevation gain
5kg Load: 4 hours, 18 minutes, 4 seconds
15kg Load: 4 hours, 29 minutes, 17 seconds – 67 seconds per extra kilogram (+11:13)
25kg Load: 4 hours, 36 minutes, 47 seconds – 56 seconds per extra kilogram (+18:43)

The data is quite clear; bike weight is not as important as you think!

My real-world testing, along with the numbers from the mathematical models, suggests that a kilogram extra weight will likely add one or two minutes on a hilly 100km bike ride. And on a flat route, a kilogram is likely worth 10 or 20 seconds over 100km.

This is worth thinking about if you find yourself obsessing over bike and gear weight.

Avatar
john_smith replied to Cugel | 2 months ago
3 likes

Your times suggest that even a few hundred grammes could make a significant difference in a race. Anyway, a lighter bike feels nicer.

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quiff replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
2 likes

Agree re: feel. Admittedly I don't have two otherwise identical bikes of different weights to make a truly fair test, but my lightest bike (c. 7.5kg, so not a total weight weenie) feels nicest.

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john_smith replied to quiff | 2 months ago
3 likes

The difference is particularly noticeable if you have to carry the bike upstairs after a long ride.

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cyclisto replied to quiff | 2 months ago
2 likes

I had done something sort of comparison, when I started carrying my D-Lock on a bike mount and the bike seemed to be obviously slower to change direction. When put in a belt holster, the bike felt again light and sometimes I think I have forgotten it home, despite having the same overall bike and rider weight.

So a lighter bike is indeed more fun when riden, but to be honest for many riders it would be better for their wallet and the environment to try get thinner instead of becoming weight weenies.

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john_smith replied to cyclisto | 2 months ago
1 like

The effect is even clearer if you hang a couple of bags of shopping on the ends of your handlebars.

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cyclisto replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
1 like

True indeed, have done lots of shopping like that!

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Chris RideFar replied to Cugel | 2 months ago
0 likes

I did some completey independent, mathematical modelling on this topic. I also found that the difference on a course involving moderately rolling terrain was about 1 minute for 1 extra kg per 100 km ridden. I would like to take a poll to know what an average cyclists expects the difference to be, becuase I'd guess they would think 5 or 10 times the real value.

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john_smith replied to Chris RideFar | 2 months ago
1 like

Are you sure your model is giving the "real" value?

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Cugel replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
1 like

Naturally we who have been duped into spending hundreds or thousands on a bike part or three to reduce the weight by 491 grams will feel some mental resistance to the data revealed by the experiments mentioned, particularly when the real world experiment is backed up by use of a mathemeatical model giving the same results. No one likes to admit they've been fooled by nothing more than some advert lies.

The mathematical model used in the experiment to add weight ('scuse pun) to the real world results was Bikecalculator.

http://bikecalculator.com/

The article also allows that there are some situations in which a lighter bike has advantages. Some quotes:

1. You do actually race (be honest).
The difference between winning and losing is sometimes measured in millimetres. One kilogram less is going to help here, and the benefits of that weight saving only increase the longer and more mountainous your race.

2. To improve bike handling and feel.
Heavy bikes don’t feel as snappy or responsive when accelerating or cornering, making them feel a little less inspiring to ride

3. To use a bike that isn’t designed to carry heavy loads.
Touring bikes are stiffer, and are built with a slew of overbuilt components (stronger wheels!) specifically to handle high luggage weights.

4. To make lifting your bike and luggage easier.
There are many instances where you might need to carry your bike. For example, I’m often carrying my bike on hike-a-bike sections of trail, as well as up and down stairs in apartment blocks, hotels, and train stations.

5. To make flying cheaper.
A few extra kilograms can really add up when you get to the airport. Make sure to keep your bike light enough so that you don’t get caught out with crazy fees!

Personally I ride bikes of various weights, determined largely by their functional design parameters. It's now around ten years since I bought any improving component based on its weight, since every worthwhile improvement (in comfort, reliability, fixability, mechanical efficiency and even speed-per-effort) tends to require a slightly heavier component.

Does a lighter bike feel nicer?  Not if the weight reduction has compromised the functional performance by making the thing too flexy, fragile or inclined to generate mechanicals on a regular basis. My best-feeling bike weighs 13.5 kg. Mind, it has an electric motor, which does add greatly to the pleasures of the ride (at the cost of +5kg over the umotored version).

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It's astonishing how much misinformation has been generated & swallowed in the efforts of business to make us buy stuff we really don't need or benefit from.

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john_smith replied to Cugel | 2 months ago
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Which "experiments mentioned"? A mathematical model isn't an experiment. It's a model someone has dreamt up.

You might feel you are the victim of some big deception or fraud, but you shouldn't draw conclusions from that about other people. 

 

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Cugel replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
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Read the article that the link in the first post provides. It contains details of "the experiment" as well as the mention that many mathematical models constructed to estimate various effects and their relationships whilst cycling agree with the results of the experiment.

We're all victims of all sorts of marketing scams.  Just because you want to pretend that you made a fully-informed and free choice to buy something based on misinformation and a dollop of glamour in yer eye doesn't make you any less of a victim in practice. 

Still, if you insist on sticking to daft beliefs about lightweight bike parts being somehow able to magically make your cycling significantly faster, who am I to deny you your wee delusions.   1

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john_smith replied to Cugel | 2 months ago
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Your assumptions about my "beliefs" must also based on the results of your mathematical models. I've never bought bike parts because of what they weigh.