Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It All Adds Up

If there were ever two things that should not mix, it is probably randonneuring & gram counting (aka being a "weight weenie").

But, on a recent e-shopping spree I bought a Park digital scale. And once I got it, I started weighing everything! Better or worse, I wanted to know where my bikes/components stand against the 15 lbs carbon wonders of today, or the 40+ lb beasts of yesteryear.

Some component weights:

  • Surly Pacer: 11.95 kg (26 lbs) - this is with full Honjo fenders, dynohub, front rack (e.g. everything except for water & the Ostrich handlebar bag)

  • Fully loaded Pacer: 15.6 kg (34.4 lbs! Now I'm hoping the scale is wrong.. this was with full H2O bottles, fully loaded bar bag, etc. Jesus, that's heavy! The worst part about it is that I have to carry it up/down four flights of stairs like that!)

  • Ciocc COM 12.5: 9.55 kg (21 lbs) - with Mavic Ksyrium wheels, Easton EA70 stem/bars, no fenders, and Brooks Swift saddle

  • Two full water bottles: 1.67 kg (3.68 lbs)

  • Plastic grocery bag full of bike clothes: 1.37 kg (3.02 lbs) (simulating what I might carry on say a 600k)

  • Bag o' tools: 370 g (.82 lbs) (includes chain tool, allen wrenches, etc)

  • Zefal HPX frame pump: 250 g (.55 lbs)
  • Ostrich handlebar bag: 920 g (2.03 lbs)

  • Carradice Cape Roll: 190 g (.42 lbs)

  • Carradice Junior: 480 g (1.06 lbs)

  • Honjo fenders: 220g (.49 lbs, no mounting hardware, 35mm alu model)

  • Me: I suppose it's only fair to add myself to the list, as a crucial part of the bike setup. The last time I weighed myself I was around 155 lbs (70 kg). Could I lose 5 lbs off the gut? You betcha, and this is actually one of my goals for 2009.

I certainly don't plan on spending any kind of big $$$ on losing any of the above weight, but it is something I'll be paying attention to! (Although buying a custom lightweight steel frame for "only" $1,000 is kind of tempting right now.. I could have the best of both worlds, in theory: a bike that didn't feel like a noodle, that also fit fenders!

Weight: Theory & Practice

Bicycle Quarterly (Vol 5. No 1) has proven long ago that weight should be prioritized behind aero-efficiency, in terms of saving energy/time.

According to the article, you'll save maybe 4 seconds (up a 2km climb 5% grade at 250 watts) switching from a 15kg bike (33 lbs) to a 14kg (30 lbs). Or by switching to a 10kg bike (~22 lbs), they would only save 18 seconds.

(Although as many randonneurs know, sometimes every second counts on a brevet. And climbs can last 20 miles (32 km) or more. Extrapolating a bit here, said rider could save 3.2 minutes up a big pass on the 10kg bike, unless my math is off.)

My Theory About Weight & Performance

I can't argue with the numbers above, but I can say that my Ciocc rides way better than the Pacer, especially when climbing. And that has more to do with frame stiffness, which seems to have some correlation to frame weight.

Of course, nobody wants to ride on a completely-stiff 2x4, so frame builders have to strike a balance. And so do cyclists - we all want to land somewhere between a weight weenie and a tank driver I suppose.

My plan is to carry everything I need, but nothing more. The hard part is figuring out exactly what you need or don't need - and even what "need' means sometimes.

So How Much Does My "Grouppo" Weigh?

Here is a list of component weights for Campy, Shimano, and SRAM components.


Duncan Watson said...

I have been tempted to know what my ride weight load is. One of these days I will get one of those scales.

matt m said...

I forgot to mention that most bike shops can weigh your rig for you, just so you can get a rough idea and won't have to spring for the scale.