Monday, August 04, 2014

Equipment - Bike Weight (Red Tsunami)

After reading some stuff about bike weights online I got curious about my own bike's weight. For the EVEN Hotel Fun Ride I brought a bunch of bike mechanic stuff to the hotel that I don't normally touch. This included packing the bike tool box (which has my big digital scale in it, meaning the scale for weighing stuff over 1000 grams) as well as the repair stand (which is perfect for holding the previously mentioned scale). After the ride I unloaded the stuff into the garage and it hasn't moved since. My race wheels sit there as well.

I realized that I had everything I needed to weigh my bike in its various iterations.

So I did.

My main focus was to see the delta in the weights for the wheels. I mean, okay, the ultimate weight is nice to see, but I wanted to see if there was any objective data to back up my very subjective opinions and such. I didn't put the SRM PCV (computer head) on the bike, it's about the only thing missing in terms of "always on the bike". The tail lights (I use two), saddle bag full of stuff, and pump, they go on for training rides but not for races. Bottle - since I usually ditch my bottle before the finish I figured keeping it off was fine.

My bike, after the Nutmeg State Games 2014. Stinger 7/9 wheels.
Weight = 16.2 lbs without bottle and SRM head.

The results below:

Red Tsunami bike, no pump, no bottle, no SRM head, no tail lights, no saddle bag with stuff in it. I train on the bike with the Jets right now.

Bike with Jet 6 front and Jet 9 rear wheels: 8.62 kg, 18.98 lbs.

Note that all the HED wheels, except the Stinger 7/9 combo, use the same model hubs and spokes. Even the Stinger 7/9 use very similar weight hubs. Therefore the majority of the weight differences are in the tire/tubes, rims, cassette, and a minor difference due to small variations in spoke count.

On the clinchers I'm using Maxxis ReFuse training tires, Bontrager tubes, and Velox rim strips. On the tubulars I have either Vittoria EVO tires (one of them is a Tech rain tire and the rest are regular CXs) or the Bontrager XXXLite tires. Weights for the tubular tires are virtually identical.

2010 HED Jet aero clinchers (with stock HED front skewer and trainer rear skewer)

Jet 6 front wheel, 1.71 kg / 3.77 lbs
Jet 9 rear wheel, 1.97 kg / 4.33 lbs (with 11-25 steel Campy Centaur? cassette)

2010 HED Bastogne clinchers (with stock HED front skewer and trainer rear skewer)

Bastogne front wheel, 1.16 kg / 2.55 lbs
Bastogne rear wheel, 1.62 kg / 3.57 lbs (with 11-25 steel Miche or BBB cassette)

2011-2012 HED Stinger 7/9 aero tubulars (with stock HED skewers)

Stinger 7 front wheel, 1.10 kg / 2.42 lbs
Stinger 9 rear wheel, 1.31 kg / 2.88 lbs (with 11-23 steel Miche or BBB cassette)

2010 HED Stinger 6 aero tubulars  (with stock HED skewers)

Stinger 6 front wheel, 0.95 kg / 2.09 lbs
Stinger 6 rear wheel, 1.31 kg / 2.88 lbs (with 11-21 ti/steel Campy Record cassette)

Bike weights with clinchers

With Bastognes, 7.72 kg / 17.0 lbs
With Jets, 8.62 kg / 18.98 lbs

Bike weights with tubulars

With the Stinger 7/9 setup weighs 7.35 kg or 16.19 lbs.
With the Stinger 6 wheels weighs 7.20 kg or 15.85 lbs.


The first thing is that I thought my bike was much heavier when set up for training. 19 pounds is not a lot for a bike, and to me the bike feels like a tank with the Jet wheels fitted. If I were to guess I'd have said my bike weighed 20-22 pounds so to have a 19 pound bike is pretty surprising. When I started racing a 19 pound bike was super light, and 20-21 pounds was about normal for a race bike. I've taken spins on 12 pound bikes in parking lots and they feel like they're made from styrofoam, they're so light, and my bike is nowhere near that.

Second I knew the Jets were heavy but to weigh about 8 pounds for the pair of wheels (with tires etc) is pretty substantial. The Jets give away about 1.5 kg or over THREE pounds to my tubulars. The front clincher wheels, which are identically set up in terms of hub/spokes/tire/tube/rimstrip, are about half a kilo apart so that's a full pound or more in just the rim. Let me repeat that in bold. The rims make for a full pound difference! The only difference between the two front wheels is the rim so that's where the weight is, directly in the rim area. This is why the wheels feel so hard to spin up, the rims weigh twice as much. They are more aero but I use so much energy getting them up to speed that I'm pretty much exploded by the time I'm able to substantially use the aero benefits.

Third, I was shocked to see that the Stinger 9 and the Stinger 6 rear wheels weigh the same. The 9 even has a heavier cassette and a marginally heavier tire. To see that it weighed the same means that basically it'll be my standard rear racing wheel. The 6 no longer has a function. It's not lighter, a tall rear wheel is always usable, and I'll have a higher top speed for a given power in a sprint. Since the Stinger 6 rim is cracked I may build it out as another 9.

The final thought is that I figured my bike was heavier in general. To be so close to the UCI minimum weight of 6.8 kg / 15 lbs surprised me. My Cannondale 2.8 was, at best, about 17 pounds with extremely light tubular wheels (280g rims, 28H, hubs similar to modern day hubs). This was on a spring-type scale (a fish scale sold through a bike distributor) so the accuracy was questionable at best, but it was a pretty light bike. The Cannondale SystemSix, with the Reynolds tubular DV46 wheels, came in at about 15.5 pounds, on the same digital scale I used to record all the above weights. The Tsunami only gives away a third of a pound compared to the very sweet System Six. It's virtually the same build kit so it's the wheels, the saddle (my carbon railed SLR is light), the fork (my current ENVE 2.0 is light), and the (probably heavier) Steelman stem and FSA Wing bar that are different.

Going Forward

I suppose I could cut some weight off by swapping cassettes between the Stinger 6 and Stinger 9 - the 11-23 ti/steel cassette is noticeably lighter than the 11-23 steel cassette. However the overall result wouldn't be significant. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two, separated by 50 or whatever grams, or 0.05 kg.

I don't have any weight weenie parts per se. Thomson seatpost (the regular one), FSA Wing Compact bar (aluminum), Campy Skeleton brakes (Athena? I bought them used), Crank Bros headset, Specialized Rib Cage bottle cage. I even left two Planet Bike blinky light mounts on, and the bike had the SRM mount (but not the actual computer head).

The light stuff I have on the bike includes the ENVE 2.0 fork, the carbon railed SLR saddle, and… I think that's it. Both are long term items, not wear items. I plan on having them for a long time. I bought some lighter weight tubes (60g vs 90g) but, again, realistically I'm not going to notice that as much as if I move from one wheel set to another. Plus they're thinner and slightly less durable so I'll stick with training on regular tubes for now.

Steelman Bikes stem, it's not light. 257.4 grams unpainted, so 0.57 pounds by itself. I think a typical stem is in the 100-120g range. That's a substantial difference relatively speaking, to double the weight of a part. However fit is absolutely critical so I can't nitpick the weight of the stem.

Tsunami frame, alone, is about 1300g with paint, binder clamp, and barrel adjusters. Unpainted it was 1210g. My frame and fork should weight in the 1650g range (with a 350-ish gram fork). The Cannondale was supposed to be 1150g for the 56 cm so a bit less for the 52 cm I rode. Again fit is first so a little bit of weight is a normal sacrifice for a custom fit, sub-$800 frame.

I do have a light crankset, the Cannondale SI SRM, which is about 675g total, with bottom bracket. I think I've weighed it but I don't know if I ever put the pictures up, and looking through about 20k pictures doesn't appeal to me right now. A typical crankset (Campy Record aluminum with Record BB) will weight 900g or more.

However, for basically no carbon except the rims and the saddle rails, the bike isn't heavy at all.

Realistically it would be easy to drop a little weight in the training wheels, but that's not my goal. In fact I want to keep the bike heavy for training.

For racing I might be able to shed a few grams here and there. However, with my own body weight something like 9000 g / 20 pounds higher than in 2010, spending money to save 40 or 50 grams seems ludicrous. Therefore I'm not going to do anything to the bike.

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