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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here are some of my favorite budget-friendly lightweight components. I'm eager to hear your thoughts and favorite recommendations as well!

Btw, I have no idea what inspired this post but I just thought it might be helpful to somebody.

HANDLEBARS
I'll respect your right to complain about smashing out some teeth, but I'm going to recommend chiner carbon bars. Don't overtighten anything mounted to your bars and you will be just fine. I have them on all my bikes and have intentionally abused them, but they handle up just fine. Avoid FCFB and knockoffs.

IMG_7477 - Copy.JPG
Price: $15
Weight: 135-145g (31.6mm 720mm)
Link: AliExpress

There just isn't anything else in the budget category. Yes, these things can break, but not often. Boutique carbon handlebars break too even though they cost 10x more.

If you're a fan of integrated handlebars, you may fancy this -17-degree Hixon-like and very lightweight offbrand product:

IMG_5697 - Copy.JPG
Price: $49 (cheaper on Alibaba from Winow Sports)
Weight: 255g for 800mm version
Link: AliExpress
Review: MTBR


STEMS
Kalloy Uno stems off eBay rule. I use them on every bike.
10-min.jpg
Price: ~$25
Weight: 84g+
Just look on eBay

If you're looking for a good carbon stem, and don't care for the crappy logos stickered onto most AliExpress stuff, I recommend this stem which I have used and liked:

IMG_5644.JPG
Price: $22
Weight: 120g+
Link: AliExpress


SEATPOSTS
I always use off-brand carbon seatposts from AliExpress. They are generally trouble-free, super-stiff, and affordable. You can get the classic set-back seatpost or a newer and "skyline" ultralight model. These seatposts will work just fine with oval carbon saddle rails, despite the fact that manufacturers typically recommend against that. Don't overtighten the bolts.

seatpost1.jpg
Weight: 151g (31.6mm x 400mm), includes all mounting hardware
Price: $28
Link: AliExpress

NOTE: I snapped one of these Ti bolts on an impact, and shortly thereafter bent the alloy bar which passes through the carbon post. While exerting an intentional force not unlike a riding impact on the bent alloy bar it completely cracked. Despite trips to the hardware store to try and rebuild the seatpost the mechanism remained flimsy.


seatpost2.jpg
Weight: 217g (31.6mm x 400mm), includes all mounting hardware
Price: $20
Link: AliExpress


SEATPOST CLAMPS
Stock alloy clamps tend to be quite heavy (20-35g), so you can save a little over a gram per dollar here. The most popular option is to go all-carbon, but it turns out there are even lighter alloy versions available too (thanks to _ja_ for the suggestion!). I use the carbon clamps on all my bikes, but may just try the alloy clamp soon!

seatclamp2.jpg
Weight: 14g (incl. bolts)
Price: $9
Link: AliExpress

seatclamp1.jpg
Weight: 7.6g (w/o bolts, ~8.5g w/ bolts). Jumbotron reports 14g.
Price: $7.29 shipped
Link: AliExpress

ROTORS

Ashima AI2 rotors are the go-to for weight-weenies, and I use them on all my bikes. They work really well and do not eat up brake pads, contrary to popular legend.

8-min.jpg
Weight: 67g (160mm)
Price: ~$15 ea.
Link: eBay, sellers are authentic, best prices on eBay

Just recently I noticed a similar unbranded option from China at half price. It looks like it's built well and reviews are positive, but I haven't tested it yet
rotor1.jpg
Weight: 68g (160mm)
Price:
$14/pair
Link: AliExpress


GRIPS
Although Extralite Hypergrips and Ritchey Superlogic grips are "affordable", they tend to rotate on bars unless properly secured with glue, and smush down over time. It's important to get to grips with personal preferences here. My favorites are the eBay version of ESI chunkies, but they aren't quite so chunky and are 3x lighter and 10x cheaper. I choose them for every build due to superior comfort, secure mounting to any bar, and longevity.

11-min.jpg
Weight: 24-28g (incl. bar end caps)
Price: $0.99-$1.50
Link: eBay


SADDLES
Hardcore weight weenies will opt for raw carbon saddles, but most riders will prefer a little padding. I much prefer a raw carbon saddle as I can slide and rotate without any stress to my skin, basically eliminating saddle sores. I've tried a few, but the Rockbros full-carbon saddle has checked all the boxes for me:

IMG_1478.JPG
Weight: 89g
Price: $28.50
Link: AliExpress

A saddle I've used a lot with great success (albeit slightly more saddle sores) is a real hit with a lot of folks and friends of mine, and comfortable if you don't rub much. It has carbon rails epoxied to a carbon shell, a microfiber cover and hard foam injected between the shell and cover for comfort.

12-min.jpg
Weight: 134g
Price: $29
Link: AliExpress

If you're looking for a shorter saddle or a bit more butt comfort without too much weight penalty, there's this familiar-looking unbranded option (thanks to Suns_PSD for the suggestion):
saddle.jpg
Weight: 160g
Price: $35
Link: AliExpress

I don't have experience with this $23 115g saddle (AliExpress), and I'm not a fan of knock-offs.

REAR AXLE
There are a lot of options here, and it will differ depending on your bike, but it's easy to find an axle for your bike around 40 grams for $25 or less. I recommend Maxles off eBay since they're really light and come in every flavor. Pay attention to thread pitch, thread pitch length, overall axle length, and don't get Syntace axles unless you have a Syntace dropout.


CHAIN
Of the 11-speed chains, PYC SP1101 is the lightest and cheapest and still strong enough to rival any other manufacturer's high-end models.

Weight: 225g (116 links)
Price: $32
Link: eBay

I deliberately left off titanium bolts, carbon top caps, derailleur pulleys, and ultralight cheap bottle cages. These are not cost-effective ways to save weight even though many people try them. Titanium bolts are expensive relative to weight saved, carbon top caps don't save weight, and ultralight cheap bottle cages tend to break and set you back in the long term.
 

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These are some pretty critical areas to be saving weight. If a saddle, seatpost, stem or bars break it's quite a bit worse than busting a crank, pedal or wheel.

Are there any tests done on the bars for example?
 

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It's the axle
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Funny you'd post this. I'm all over these items. I got the stem that could very well be the same manufacturer for Thompson. I've found some of these companies are selling the same exact products that are rebranded and sold for a ton in the US.
 

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Ride Fast Take Chances :)
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Nice list and quality for price and weight seems reasonable. Most should hold up to smooth single track and fire-trail riding on XC or hardtail bikes.
Intended use makes a big difference in even considering some of these parts. I'm almost 200lb and ride tough trails so none of these components would hold up, but they would be a great way to shave weight on my kids bikes.
Shimano rotor for life. Hate the feel and lack of thermal mass those tiny rotors give.
 

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I was just looking at saddles on ebay/aliexpress before coming here today, a friend just got one of those padded ones like you show above for $29, it's looks quite good in person, although I would prefer one without perforations which would be likely to collect sand etc. I feel similarly about the logo'd knock offs, but that $23 one has a good looking shape.
 

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Fun post, although several of those components I would not trust.

I run an Alibaba copy of a $300 Specialized Power seat (which I also have) and I actually really prefer the Alibaba version. Just as light, while providing significantly more padding which I needed.

I do use the CF seat clamp.
 

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Are these components really tested and used in the XC weight weenie world? Currently, I am mainly only interested in the bars as I am looking to move to a flat bar, but I am concerned of the durability with these things only being less than $30? That'd save 80 grams over my current bars. I am 170lb or lower depending on day :)
 

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Just bought these bars for my wife’s build they look just like bars made by loaded I’ve run before on Ellsworth. Bought the stem it looks and weight resembles ibis stem on my mojo from years ago. Probably the same products just not rebranding and 10x price. They look really high quality.
 

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I have the "San Marco" saddle posted here, is ok lightweight and medium comfortable. I used on 100 km rides and fell good


Enviado desde mi moto x4 mediante Tapatalk
 

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Ride Fast Take Chances :)
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Just bought these bars for my wife’s build they look just like bars made by loaded I’ve run before on Ellsworth. Bought the stem it looks and weight resembles ibis stem on my mojo from years ago. Probably the same products just not rebranding and 10x price. They look really high quality.
If was look like a duck doesn't mean it a duck. Quality control costs money and that's the first thing they cut. Also it you looked close it's not the same and uses different raw materials.
 

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Ride Fast Take Chances :)
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Are these components really tested and used in the XC weight weenie world? Currently, I am mainly only interested in the bars as I am looking to move to a flat bar, but I am concerned of the durability with these things only being less than $30? That'd save 80 grams over my current bars. I am 170lb or lower depending on day :)
Some people do. Depends how challenging your tails are, how much you weigh and how much you value you teeth. There is zero testing or QC done on those bars.
 

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I may try a carbon seat post. I want to move my Cannondale Save post to my road bike, and this would be a good replacement for it.
 
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