Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 60 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,836 Posts
Beside swapping to a carbon fork(which can be on the pricier side of things), and handle bars(already have); what else can one do to lighten up their steel frame bike?
Replace every other part with something lighter and pay a lot of $$. Within a reasonable range weight is overrated. If you are not racing and not riding something completely ridiculous you'd be far better off worry about tire rolling resistance or your fitness than shaving grams off you bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
381 Posts
Everything on the bike can be replaced with something lighter, so the answer of "how to lighten a steel bike" is to replace components with lighter ones. A carbon fork is probably the best way to lighten the bike, it'll likely save ~1-1.5lbs while also being a bit more compliant and comfortable, and only a couple hundred bucks (look at Carver forks). Everything else on the bike is small, there's only so much weight to be saved. I don't think I would notice a weight savings until it was at least 2 lbs saved, and that would take a lot of money to save 2 lbs in drivetrain components, for example. Wheels will also be a beneficial way to save weight (because it's rotating mass too), but is expensive.

If you want specific answers, let us know what bike you have. If you want to really get into it, start calculating the dollar per gram cost of upgrading components. If a carbon fork will save 600 grams and costs $300, then it's $0.50/g (that's really cheap!). For example, going from aluminum cranks to carbon cranks may save 150g and cost $350 ($2.33/g).
 

·
Not a role model
Joined
·
1,312 Posts
I recommend that carbon fork upgrade. World of difference between it and steel. A rigid bike fork of the most ideal parts to make out of carbon on a bike, short of the frame itself. It's not only lighter and stronger (believe it, at least if it's from an engineering heavy brand), but it will improve handling and confidence quite a bit.

They can be as cheap as $60 from some chinese manufacturer such as BXT. You get what you pay for generally, and this is your gamble, but it's either that or be less of a cheapskate.

I personally prefer the ride of a cro-moly frame (and Ti). Cranks are one of the last things I'd upgrade, if I were looking for weight savings, because having weight low and centered better stabilizes the bike.

Try the fork first, and then enjoy the difference for a while. In the mean while look out for carbon wheel deals, which usually gets the most performance return for money invested.
 

·
Wanna ride bikes?
Joined
·
9,786 Posts
Beside swapping to a carbon fork(which can be on the pricier side of things), and handle bars(already have); what else can one do to lighten up their steel frame bike?
What bike is it? Brand, Model? What kind of steel frame?

Generally a bike frame weighs 4-6 lbs. The weight of a complete bike weighs 25-30 lbs. Meaning that the components comprise the majority of the overall weight. The steel frame is only maybe 1 lb heavier than a similar aluminum frame. Not much.

Unless we're talking about some cheap High Tensile steel bike, it's not the frame that makes it heavy.
 

·
Human Test Subject
Joined
·
1,428 Posts
Seatposts are usually good to look at too. You can also get Kalloy Uno stems for cheap ($30ish) and they usually weigh around 100g vs 150 of most stems. Handlebars don't usually differ all that much in weight from good carbon to cheap aluminum.

Most importantly, Tires. Then tubeless, then rims/wheels.
 

·
EAT MORE GRIME
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Joined
·
7,774 Posts
nitric acid internal frame rinses can remove grams, but creates a multitude of separate issues, some of which may lead to death
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
Sell it on CL and buy a carbon bike.
Carbon is not so pricey anymore.

If you are set on keeping it... replace the fork for ride quality alone.

As for weight, just embrace the weight, deal with it.
If you think it's detracting from performance, then the wheel-set is your single biggest upgrade... reduce rotating mass first.

As far as components go, your just pissing in the wind... but I will offer one more place to look regardless... if you are 1x, checkout your cassette. Lower cost 1x bikes generally come with a massively heavy cassette.
 

·
Snow Dog
Joined
·
3,777 Posts
+ 1 for dieting, improving rolling resistance via tire/wheel choice, and building strength...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Already on a diet. I was just looking to see what other were doing to keep the ride lighten. I have a Soma Wolverine 2.0 and like the ride quality with steel fork. I have WTB 21 rims with Kenda Karma 1.95 running tubless. May keep my eye out for carbon rims and probably go slightly smaller tires next round and a 11-40 cassette.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
Carbon rims and lighter components are icing on the cake.... you don't have cake, you have a large slice of pie. Not better or worse, enjoy it for what it is. (Maybe next time, order the cake.)
 

·
Cycologist
Joined
·
10,081 Posts
Personally, I'd rather have a large piece of pie instead of a piece of cake. Just ride it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Beside swapping to a carbon fork(which can be on the pricier side of things), and handle bars(already have); what else can one do to lighten up their steel frame bike?
also remember the old axiom "light, cheap, strong, pick any 2".

pay for the lightness. Cheap lightness doesn't get you anywhere but back at the store buying it again, or worse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
I was just trying to get a general idea on what people have done to keep their bike lighter besides carbon fork. [/URL]
If you go down this road, pick upgrades that pay multiple dividends.

A lighter wheelset will reduce overall weight, as well as rotating mass and may actually ride better. Don't just focus on the rims, OEM hubs and cassettes are usually worth an upgrade too and DB spokes are just better (lighter and more durable).

A carbon fork will improve ride quality, comfort and reduce a ton of weight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,625 Posts
My rims came with Shimano hubs. I will take a look into DB spokes though thank you. Seeing some titanium one for a really good price.
Shimano hubs are great for serviceability and durability (I have 30+ year old XT's that still feel great with no internal damage), but they can be heavier. At least that weight is at the axle.
I rebuilt my wife's front/rear wheels with only switching to the double butted spokes, and saved 6-8ounces (I can't recall exactly, but was surprised) just by doing that. Ti, triple butted, or even different double butted profiles could save more.

My old Wolvy was 26lbs and I loved it. 2-4lbs lighter would have been doable, and probably nicer, but I was happy with it there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I had to go to my local bike co-op last night as I needed to replace my bad 50t chainring. They had a Sram 2x10 GX long cage RD there, so I took off my Rival RD and installed that too. I also plan to install a Shimano SLX 11-36 cassette so that should help make it feel a little lighter. I will sometime in the near future have TI DB spokes(which I assume will be stronger too?) on order to have a LBS install for me. I am thinking these should at least help improve hill rides and make it feel a hair lighter. Thank you!
 
1 - 20 of 60 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top