There has been a lot of talk on the forums recently about ways to shave weight from your mountain bike but unfortunately most tips involve spending green (and often lots of it). Sure, you could change out all your bolts to titanium or upgrade to carbon fiber bars but who has the cash to do that these days?
Nope, there are a few ways you can shave grams off the weight of your new bike without spending a dime – and all it takes is a little elbow grease.
1. Ditch the reflectors. Even high-end mountain bikes are required by law to ship with reflectors but unless you plan on riding your bike on the road between dusk and dawn you can probably do without them. Most bikes have reflectors on the spokes – just be careful not to bend your spokes during the removal process. Check the front and rear of your bike for reflectors as well – these will usually remove themselves after a nasty crash anyway 🙂
2. Trim your seat post. This tip will probably give you the biggest bang for your buck and all you need is a hacksaw and a ruler to get it going. First, get your seat height dialed in and mark your post where it meets the frame. Remove your seatpost and measure the minimum insertion length (usually marked on the seat post – mine is 4 inches).
Then, measure down from your mark by the minimum insertion length (4-inches) and cut off the excess with a hacksaw. The old adage “measure twice, cut once” definitely applies here – there’s no turning back once you start to cut! If you’re still growing (taller) you may not want to try this trick just yet – you’ll need that extra seat post length down the road.
3. Cut your handlebar width. Most of us don’t need full-width handlebars and in many cases you will be doing yourself a favor by narrowing the cockpit. Many handlebar setups have helpful markings underneath the hand grips to show you where to cut to keep things even on both sides. I recommend taking a little off at a time and seeing how it feels. I don’t, however, recommend trimming your bars just to save weight – make sure there’s another reason as well (like you keep clipping trees or your bars feel too wide for your arms).
4. Toss your pie plate. You know that plastic disc that’s mounted on your rear wheel behind the cassette? It’s pretty much worthless. Sure the pie plate may keep your chain from getting stuck between the cassette and your spokes but as long as your derailleur is dialed in this shouldn’t be an issue.
Removing the pie plate can be tricky for newbs but I’ll give you two ways to attack it. If you have a cassette tool, remove your cassette and the pie plate will basically slide right off. If you don’t, get a heavy duty pair or scissors or tin snips and start hacking away. I used the latter method many years ago and I don’t recommend it unless you’re really desperate – borrow the correct tools if you can.
While these tips may not shave pounds off your rig it’s important to note that every little bit counts – and you can’t beat the cost!