Not 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Compare to an all steel Ultegra R8000 cassette - $74.99, 269g
Parts and Accessories
Carbon handlebars can save over 100 grams compared to an alloy bar. As a bonus, they also provide vibration damping for extra comfort.
Compare to an aluminum FSA Gossamer handlebar - $62.00, 310g
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.
Compare to an aluminum Thomson Elite seatpost - $51.99, 282g
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.
Compare to an alloy rail Fizik Vento Argo R3 - $149.99, 213g
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.
Compare to an aluminum Lezyne Power bottle cage - $9.99, 66g
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.
Compare to a Continental tube - $5.24, 105g
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