The debate around bike weight is still one of the hottest issues in the world of cycling. Many say, including me, that weight is directly related to bike performance.
There’s some truth to this as durability, speed, and handling are important factors. But this isn’t always the case as the weight ratio between the bike and the cyclist is also a huge factor.
What I usually do is lift the bike first before purchasing it. Isn’t this what most of you also do?
Well, that’s completely normal because weight is important for us, cyclists, especially for professional racers who mainly depend on performance and speed.
Bike Weight and User Intent
Most people believe that lighter bikes equate to better performance because they are easier to handle and require less energy to pedal.
While these might be true, it’s also important to note that the importance you put on a bike’s weight depends on how you intend to use the bike.
Will you be running a cross-country race or joining the Tour de France? Or will you shred the trails on a downhill track?
Perhaps use your bike for commuting and going to school or you it’s just a way to relax and enjoy your day. Whichever the case is, you need to consider a bike’s weight for performance, efficiency, and safety.
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It also doesn’t mean that heavier bikes are necessarily cheaper and have lower quality than lighter bikes. It depends on their material construction, purpose, bike brand, and many other factors.
Does the bike’s weight matter?
Frankly speaking, yes. But it’s not as simple as that.
Take the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), the governing body of cyclists around the world, as an example.
The organization has a 6.8-kilogram minimum bike weight limit for participants of Tour de France. If you’re joining that race, then yes — bike weight really does matter. (1)
Also, know your level of experience and difficulty level you want to get for you to know if weight really is a factor.
As technology in the cycling industry progresses, so does the weight, level of quality, and performance of the bikes. Bicycle companies are now making lighter bikes and selling them for higher prices.
It’s because they now use different kinds of materials, carbon fiber being one of the most popular.
And that isn’t limited to just bicycle frames, because seat posts, handlebars, stems, and even hubs and rims are also made from carbon too!
Why is this the trend? It’s because carbon is lighter than the aluminum and steel, which are the kind of material most bike frames and components are made of.
If you’re really into cycling and you’re a professional athlete, then yes, weight does matter (a lot). But weight isn’t much of a big deal if you just want to bike for health and fitness.
In simpler words, weight is for those who want to compete.
But that doesn’t always have to be the case. Either because you also need to consider the kind of bike you’re buying or where you want to use it for. If you’re a road biker, you should get a lightweight bike because you’re always going to pedal.
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The same goes for cross-country mountain bikes as you’re likely to bike your way up the hills. A lighter bike will also come in handy if you’ll use it for transport or going to work. You don’t want to arrive at your office sweaty and catching your breath.
But it’s a different case for downhill and enduro bikes. While most will still prefer lighter bikes for gravity-oriented disciplines, weight still comes in handy sometimes.
Heavier bikes tend to have better traction and handling when racing downhill, shredding through rough terrain, or sending big jumps.
It’s also better if you consider your weight first before getting too picky with your bike’s weight. The usual case is that the lighter your bike is, the more expensive it gets.
So instead of immediately buying a new carbon seat post worth a hundred dollars, why not try shedding some belly fat first? Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be fitter and healthier.
Weight of the Different Types of Bikes
Average Road Bike Weight
Most road bikes weigh around 18 lbs. This includes their water bottle cage and pedals. These are the lightest type of bike because they are designed for riding on flat terrain and paved roads, making road bike weights lightweight.
They also have thin tires so that you can ride faster and pedal them easily.
Weight isn’t the main factor if you’re looking for a simple bike that you can just use for commuting and exercise. A heavier bike is even better if you’d want to lose weight because it gives you more training.
But it’s a completely different story if you’re a racer because you need to get the lightest road bike possible that has the lightest components.
Even a few grams of your bike can make a big difference and give you an advantage, especially if you’re on a race because you’re on a whole different level! (2)
Average Mountain Bike Weight
Mountain bikes are all-around machines because they can be ridden everywhere, be it on paved roads or the roughest terrains imaginable. These bikes greatly vary in weight because there are different types of mountain bikes.
If you check out the mountain bikes on the Diamondback bikes review article, you’ll notice a lot of different types and models.
But generally speaking, mountain bike weights are around 20 to 35 lbs. The lightest ones are the cross-country bikes, which are designed to cover huge distances and go uphill faster and easier.
Their average weight is around 20 to 23 lbs, and are usually made from carbon fiber. They also usually have a hardtail frame build.
This means that there are no extra shocks at the rear and no linkages, unlike the heavier full-suspension bikes. Then there are the all-mountain and enduro bikes that weigh around 23 to 30 lbs. This is the current average weight of a mountain bike.
They are heavier because of the extra components and materials needed for durability. They are also full-suspension bikes that have a rear shock at the back for better comfort and handling.
They can still be pedaled easily on uphills and go down faster on rocky downhill terrains with ease.
On the other end of the spectrum are downhill bikes that have an average weight of 27 to 35 lbs.
They are also full-suspension bikes and have bigger dual-crown forks that measure 200 mm. In length and 40 mm. in diameter, compared to the 120mm to 170mm length single crown-forks of a cross country and enduro bike.
Assess yourself and know your level of progression. If you’re into uphills, then go for cross country bikes. On the other hand, if you’re more of an aggressive guy and you want to pump your adrenaline level, then you should go for enduro and downhill bikes.
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Average Single-speed Bikes Weight
Most single-speed bikes, like the 6KU track bike, weigh approximately 20 lbs. They are light because of their simplified drivetrain mechanism.
What this means is that it only has one cog instead of the 8 to 12 cogs in present in other drivetrain cassettes (the circular discs found near the rear wheel).
You don’t have to shift and change gears when you’re on a single speed or fixed gear bike.
Pedaling efficiency is also higher in single-speed bikes because of its straight chain line. It also has only one chainring, and there’s no chain drag.
However, it still depends on how you intend to use your bike and how you’re going to bring it with you. Are you going to pedal it uphills? If so, for how long and how much are willing to pay for it?
Furthermore, there are also single-speed bikes that weigh as little as 12 lbs. Take, for example, the Trek Madone and the Karate Monkey. But be prepared to spend more because their lighter weight comes at a price for the high-end material used.
Average Hybrid Bikes Weight
The average hybrid bike weight is around 24 lbs. to 28 lbs, depending on the material used. Their weight also depends on the kind of components used in the bike and their level of quality.
Some hybrids have suspension forks, while others have rigid forks. The ones that have rigid forks are lighter, but comfort and pedaling efficiency are sacrificed, especially if you’re using it on bumpy and uphill roads.
Average BMX Bikes Weight
BMX is an abbreviation for bicycle motocross. These are designed for stunt riding and racing. This is why they’re smaller than your average bicycle.
They are certainly not the lightest, though! So, how much do they weigh? BMX bikes weigh around 25 to 28 lbs.
They’re mainly used to show off tricks such as jumping on stairways and making fancy bunny hops and skids. This is why most BMX bike manufacturers make sure they aren’t too light to ensure safety.
Weight isn’t also the best friend of a BMX biker because light bikes feel flimsy and are harder to maneuver for tricks. They also aren’t after speed. Because like what I said, they’re for showing off tricks and stunts, instead of focusing on speed!
What are the factors that determine bike weight?
The frame is the heaviest part of your bike, as well as the most important. You need a durable frame so that you’ll stay safe. It shouldn’t break easily because this is what holds your bike together.
The current trend is that lighter frames are more expensive because they are made from higher quality material such as carbon fiber.
Many also say that a lighter frame gives you more speed. But that isn’t always the case as there are cheap carbon and quality carbon. (3)
The weight difference is not that big with the two. Instead, their difference lies in longevity. Cheap carbon frames might be light but are dangerous because they can break easily.
Several alloy frames are as light as carbon ones. Steel frames are the heaviest and aren’t any more recommended, especially if you’re planning on getting a proper bike.
There are also titanium frames but aren’t very popular because of their expensive price.
Wheels also have a significant factor on the weight of your bike. Carbon wheels are the lightest type in the market now.
However, a number of studies say that they’re not yet very strong and durable, except for a few mountain bike top brand rims such as Santa Cruz, Enve, and Mavic.
So how much are they? They cost a lot, though, as they’re around $1,000. Better stick with alloy rims if you can’t afford them.
There are a lot of high-quality level alloy rims out there that are durable and can ensure your safety. The lightest type of wheels is those for road bikes, as they’re specifically designed for pedaling efficiency.
Tires also play a huge weight factor. A typical mountain bike tire has a weight of around 1.3 lbs. to 2. Lbs.
Road bike and commuter tires have a lesser weight because they don’t need much traction knowing that they’re only going to be used on paved roads.
It’s a different case for mountain bike tires because traction is needed to keep balance and ensure easy maneuverability, especially on tight corners and single tracks.
The suspension has a significant factor on your bike’s weight because they are made of complicated mechanisms. But the more suspension you have, the more comfortable your ride will be when it comes to riding through bumpy roads or rocky trails.
Just be sure you have enough energy to exert in pedaling because pedaling efficiency lowers as suspension increases. Take, for example, suspension forks like Fox 36 and RockShox Lyrik that weigh approximately 4.5 lbs.
These forks are designed for the roughest trails. Meanwhile, lighter suspension forks such as Fox 32 weighs only 2.9 lbs.
Take note that the suspensions, as mentioned above, are air forks, which means that they are air-sprung instead of coil-sprung.
Coil fork suspensions are already phased out now except for rear shocks (suspension found at the rear end of bikes). Air rear shocks such as the Fox Float DPX2 weigh around 1 lb.
Compare that to the heavier but more aggressive Fox DHX2 coil rear shock weighing at 1.6 lbs.
What about the cyclist’s body weight?
The weight of your bicycle is important to consider. (4) However, it would also be wise for you to consider your body weight as well. Your carbon race bike would be useless if you’re fat.
In this case, you are better off with an aluminum bike.
The same goes if you’re perfectly fit and slim but you’ve got a heavy steel bike.
Always make sure that your body weight corresponds to your bike weight. Your weight affects your riding efficiency because the heavier you are, the harder it is for you to cycle.
What do you think of the article? I hope you find a clear answer to the question: How Much Does a Bike Weigh?
Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.
Ride safe, fellow bikers!
- UCI, Clarification Guide of the Technical Regulation, retrieved from https://www.uci.org/docs/default-source/equipment/clarificationguideoftheucitechnicalregulation-2018-05-02-eng_english.pdf?sfvrsn=fd56e265_70
- Inventor Gary G. Klein, Lightweight bicycle with improved chainstay structure and method, retrieved from https://patents.google.com/patent/US4621827?oq=patents+bike+weight
- How does a bike’s weight affect the overall experience of owning it? Retrieved from https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/7133/how-does-a-bikes-weight-affect-the-overall-experience-of-owning-it
- Wellness Institute and Research Center, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529-0196, retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8133740