Ask a Mechanic | How to Lighten Your Bike For Little Money

Question: What parts I can change to lighten my bike affordably? From: Alex

Answer: Although you asked specifically about lightening the bike, it’s always important to remember that the cheapest weight savings come from avoiding overeating. If you do this it has the great side benefit of saving money that you can then invest in the bike parts and accessories you’ve been dreaming about.

The most bang for the buck you’ll get on lightening your bike are with some lightweight tires and tubes, especially since this is rotating weight. For example, a Conti Race Light road tube is 77g while their standard Race tubes are 103g. So you could drop 52g of rotating weight just by changing your tubes. A Vittoria Rubino III Road tire is 321 grams while the lighter folding bead equipped Vittoria Rubino Pro III is 234 grams. So you could drop 174 grams of rotating weight by changing tires. Lighter tires typically have the added benefit of being equipped with a suppler casing that offers a smoother ride.

An aspect of the weight game that lots of riders overlook is their accessories and how they carry them. Your choice of emergency inflation device is great way to save weight for little money. For example: the Birzman Velocity frame pump weights 105 grams, which is less than what two small CO2 cartridges weighs without any fitting to get the CO2 into your tire; and a mini pump can be used over and over again.

Rather than using a saddlebag, you can carry your spare tube and other odds and ends in your jersey pocket. This eliminates the weight of the bag while also lightening the pendulum at the top of the bike that you are throwing back and forth when pedaling out of the saddle.

Which brings me to the next place you can save weight, your saddle and seatpost. Many stock seatposts and saddles are unnecessarily heavy. There are a number of relatively cheap and lightweight replacement options to be had here. Again, dropping weight on a saddle and seatpost will pay dividends when climbing out of the saddle or when sprinting because there is less weight to move side to side as the bike sways with each pedal stroke.

Handlebar tape gets changed pretty frequently and the lightweight options often don’t cost any more than the heavy ones. For example, Cinelli Cork Tape is 56 grams while Cannondale Pro Grip is 94 grams.

If you are buying a new frame or components that have an option to choose between painted, anodized, or raw carbon finishes, always avoid the painted option because paint adds weight and choosing the unpainted version typically doesn’t cost any more than the painted one.

There are plenty more ways to drop weight for little money; far more than I can cover in one video. If you have any weight saving ideas that you’d like to share, let our viewers know in the comments section.

Welcome to our Ask a Mechanic column where our expert mechanics Daniel Slusser and Greg O’Keeffe answer your bike maintenance questions. If you have a question for us, please post it on the Art’s Cyclery Facebook Wall or e-mail Daniel directly at To see more great how to videos click on the highlighted link to subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay up to date on each episode of the Art’s Cyclery/VeloNews Ask a Mechanic Series.