Magazine

Back To Blog

A weight-weenie's guide to lightweight parts

By Bruce Lin

Published

Tour de France King of the Mountains lightweight road bike components and partsNot everyone can be King of the Mountains, but anyone can build a KOM worthy bike. Photo: ASO/Pauline Ballet.

When browsing road bikes, a devilish little weight weenie often appears on my shoulder and whispers, “How much does it weigh?” Weight isn’t the most important thing for average riders, but bike geeks like me always obsess over every gram. While I could lose a few pounds myself, it’s always fun to optimize your gear.

Watching the pros attack the Tour de France’s brutal climbs on featherweight bikes inspired me to look at some pro-level components that can slim down my own bike. If you’re ready to put your bike on a diet, here’s a guide to some of the lightest upgrades you’ll find at The Pro’s Closet.

Wheels

Lightweight carbon road bike wheels for saleWheels are the best place to drop grams. They make the biggest difference in your climbing performance. That’s why top Tour de France teams swap to lighter wheels for tough climbing stages.

Carbon wheels are the ideal choice because they can be made much lighter than aluminum wheels while maintaining stiffness. Wheels under 1,500 grams are great, and wheels under 1,400 grams are exceptional. If you want to go all-out, few can match the Lightweight Meilenstein Tubulars at 1,180 grams.

Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL - $1,259.99, 1,445g
Reynolds Attack - $1,349.99, 1,470g
Bontrager Aeolus XXX2 - $1,799.99, 1,360g
ENVE SES 2.2 - $2,299.99, 1,360g
Lightweight Meilenstein Tubular - $4,199.99, 1,180g

Compare to an aluminum HED Belgium Plus wheelset - $1,099.99, 1,700g

SHOP ALL ROAD WHEELS

Drivetrain

Lightweight road bike cranksets and cassettes for sale Cranksets

The crankset is the heaviest drivetrain component. Swapping to carbon cranks like the Easton EC90SL or THM Clavicula can shed 100-200 grams compared to standard aluminum cranks. If you prefer aluminum, the Cannondale Hollowgram cranks are the most competitive.

Easton EC90 SL - $219.99, 344g
Cannondale Hollowgram SiSl2 - $436.99, 380g
THM Clavicula SE Road - $734.99, 311g

Compare to an aluminum Dura-Ace R9100 crankset - $341.99, 491g

If you already have carbon SRAM Red or Force cranks, don’t be fooled! They are only 20-30 grams heavier than Easton and THM.

SHOP ALL CRANKSETS

Cassettes

After cranks, the cassette is the easiest place to trim some extra fat. SRAM XG cassettes are machined out of a single piece of steel to create a lightweight hollow dome structure. Shimano Dura-Ace cassettes cut weight by using five titanium cogs mounted to a carbon fiber carrier.

SRAM Red XG-1190 - $317.99, 195g (11-30t)
SRAM Red XG-1290 - $349.99, 212g (10-33t)
Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 - $292.99, 211g (11-30t)

Compare to an all steel Ultegra R8000 cassette - $74.99, 269g

SHOP ALL CASSETTES

Parts and Accessories

Lightweight road bike carbon handlebars, seatposts, saddles, bottle cages, and tubes for saleCarbon handlebars

Carbon handlebars can save over 100 grams compared to an alloy bar. As a bonus, they also provide vibration damping for extra comfort.

ENVE Standard Road - $349.99, 205g
ENVE Compact Road - $349.99, 205g
3T Ergosum Team - $125.99, 204g

Compare to an aluminum FSA Gossamer handlebar - $62.00, 310g

SHOP ALL HANDLEBARS

Seatposts

Carbon seatposts are 80-100 grams lighter than aluminum posts, and like handlebars, they can also afford some comfort through vibration dampening. The heavily machined aluminum Thomson Masterpiece is one of the few exceptions.

Zipp SL Speed - $159.99, 175g
ENVE Twin Bolt - $274.99, 205g
Thomson Masterpiece - $69.99, 195g

Compare to an aluminum Thomson Elite seatpost - $51.99, 282g

SHOP ALL SEATPOSTS

Saddles

A saddle with carbon rails will be lighter than one with standard alloy or steel rails. Make sure your seatpost is compatible with thicker 7x9mm carbon rails though.

Fizik Antares VS Evo R1 - $199.00, 179g
Fizik Vento Argo R1 - $224.99, 179g
Fizik Antares VS Evo R1 Adaptive - $299.00, 174g

Compare to an alloy rail Fizik Vento Argo R3 - $149.99, 213g

SHOP ALL SADDLES

Bottle cages

Bottle cages are an easy place to cut a few grams. The glass fiber Tacx Ciro won’t break the bank, but if you want something blingy, carbon Arundel and titanium Silca cages are popular options.

Tacx Ciro - $24.99, 29g
Arundel Mandible - $78.95, 28g
Silca Sicuro - $70.00, 30g

Compare to an aluminum Lezyne Power bottle cage - $9.99, 66g

SHOP ALL BOTTLE CAGES

Inner tubes

You should always carry a spare tube but it doesn’t need to weigh you down. New thermoplastic polyurethane tubes are super light and take up less space.

Tubolito Road S-Tubo - $39.99, 34g
Schwalbe Aerothan - $35.88, 50g

Compare to a Continental tube - $5.24, 105g

SHOP ALL PARTS AND ACCESSORIES

 

Our Ride Guides love helping people find the right bike and gear. If you have any questions, give us a call at 1-866-401-9636 and we'll help you out!

Shop all bike components

Disclaimer: We meticulously (and independently) pick every product, and if you purchase through our links we may earn a commission.


11 comments


  • Weight Weenies’ site is the Holy Grail for weight savings info.
    Weight Weenies’ site is the Holy Grail for weight savings info.
    https://weightweenies.starbike.com/

    Ronald Driver on

  • Recon Al cassettes are a great weenie option, but I’ve used them only for hillclimbs, since they wear quickly (1500 mile life, I think). But that can be a LOT of hillclimbs. I also think “handbuilt” Al wheels are great deals for reasonably light wheels: 1400 gram range isn’t hard. I use a Lightning crank, which is very light, and has a nice bottom bracket selection. Al handlebars used to be in the 230-240 gram range before they made the standards tougher. Even switching from steel to Al or Ti bolts helps. Making bikes light is about saving weight wherever you can: it adds up.

    Dan Connelly on

  • Great information keep it coming

    Greg on

  • I’d like to see an article about weight saving components for bigger riders. I’ve looked at ultra light wheels but I’m not confident they’d last under 240 lbs of system weight and they usually save weight by using low spoke counts but I’ve noticed significant differences in power transfer between a 24 or 28 spoke rear wheel and a 32 or 36 spoke wheel, especially on hills.

    Xaztec on

  • You need to keep this web page up and running forever, maybe more. If you don’t I will sue for a trillion dollars!

    Alan James White on

  • I don’t know about previous SRAM Red or Force crank arms, but the AXS versions weigh in at 330 grams and 465 grams, respectively.

    Chris on

  • Losing weight won’t take anything off the weight of the bike. However, if you ride the bike, then combined rider/bike weight is relevant and losing body weight (within reason as some weight loss may reduce your power and endurance) is by far the most cost-effective method of bringing down weight of the combo.
    That said, who doesn’t love having a superlight, super-expensive component on their bike?

    Phil Ganderton on

  • Built a set of wheels at 1425grams for $280, light and durable, still riding them after 3 years and the spokes don’t cost $8+ dollars a piece to replace. Mind you, I work at a bike fab company and get whole sale prices on parts. The rims are aluminum, they can be light and strong.

    Leo on

  • Good article! Had Easton EC90SL crankset for maybe 1-1/2 years. So light you can feel it spinning up easily. But. Over time it developed a creak that after trying a lot of things am pretty sure caused by partial failure of the aluminum spindle / carbon arm connection. Maybe would have stayed together, but really annoying, especially in echoing Blue Ridge Parkway tunnels. Done w/ hybrid material cranks, have been happy since w/ White R30 crank. Medium light, bulletproof, and creak-free.

    Dave Wright on

  • Best route to a lighter bike is to loose 5-10lbs of body fat!

    James Bednark on

  • Recon cassette is half the weight of dura ace and half the cost.

    Edgardo Reyes on


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Newsletter Sign Up