What Every Part of A Mountain Bike Weighs: A Complete Autopsy

You already know what your mountain bike weighs, but do you know how it got to that number? The total weight of your bike is, of course, the sum of all its components. Now, who in their right mind would tear apart his beloved bike just to find out what everything weighs? The Mountain Bike Action wrecking crew would.
    We headed to the garage with a Gary Fisher Procaliper (now Trek Bikes), our Feedback Sports’ Alpine Scale, a Pelouze postal scale, a laptop computer with a spreadsheet program, and a six-pack of Mountain Dew Code Red. A few hours later, the Procaliper was totally disassembled, our weight notes were carefully entered into the computer, and we still had a few cans of Code Red left over.

IMPORTANT NOTE
    When you go down the list of components, don’t get hung up on the individual weights. The more telling number is the percentage each part represents of the total weight of the bike. This shows you where a weight reduction will have to most impact on your total bike’s weight. Example: Reducing weight on the wheels (over 30% of the weight of your bike) will make a bigger impact than reducing the weight of all the hardware combined).


THE FISHER PROCALIPER PARTED OUT  
Percentage of total weight…Component…Weight
18.49%…Wheel (rear)…4 pounds, 7.5 ounces
15.11%…Wheel (front)…3 pounds, 10.4 ounces
14.85%…Fork…3 pounds, 9.4 ounces
11.38%…Frame triangle…2 pounds, 12 ounces
4.6%…Swingarm…1 pound, 1.8 ounces
4.45%…Crankarm (right) …1 pound, 1.2 ounces
2.97%…Pedals (pair…11.5 ounces
2.48%…Chain…9.6 ounces
2.38%…Brake (rear) …9.2 ounces
2.17%…Seatpost…8.4 ounces
2.17%…Shock…8.4 ounces
1.99%…Brake (front) …7.7 ounces
1.94%…Saddle…7.5 ounces
1.86%…Crankarm (left)…7.2 ounces
1.78%…Derailleur (rear)…6.9 ounces
1.60%…Handlebar (with plugs)…6.2 ounces
1.35%…Derailleur (front) …5.2 ounces
1.11%…Swinglink…4.3 ounces
1.06%…Stem…4.1 ounces
1.06%…Shifter (front…4.1 ounces
.98%…Shifter (rear)…3.8 ounces
.83%…Bottom bracket…3.2 ounces
.80%…Seatstay (right)…3.1 ounces
.80%…SeatStay (left)…3.1 ounces
.59%…Headset…2.3 ounces
.39%…Derailleur Cable/House (rear)…1.5 ounces
.21%…Derailleur Cable/House (front)…0.8 ounces
.18%…Seatpost clamp…0.7 ounces
.18%…Grips (pair)…0.7 ounces
.16%…Derailleur hanger…0.6 ounces
.05%…Derailleur cable guide…0.2 ounces
Total bike weight: 24 pounds, 3 ounces.

PARTS OF THE PARTS: A FURTHER BREAKDOWN

We took some of the larger components and broke them down further to help you identify the heaviest parts of the heaviest parts.

FRONT WHEEL
Percentage of total weight…Component…Pounds and ounces
37%…Tire…1 pound, 5.7 ounces
26%…Rim…15.2 ounces
10%…Hub…5.6 ounces
8%…Tube…4.6 ounces
8%…Spokes (28)…4.5 ounces
6%…Brake disc…3.7 ounces
3%…Quick-release skewer…1.7 ounces
1%…Rim strip…0.8 ounces
1%…Spoke nipples (28)…0.4 ounces
1%…Brake disc hardware…0.4 ounces
Front wheel total weight: Three pounds, 10.4 ounces

REAR WHEEL
Percentage of total weight…Component…Pounds and ounces
31%…Tire…1 pound, 5.9 ounces
21%…Rim…15.2 ounces
15%…Hub…10.5 ounces
11%…9-speed cog set…7.8 ounces
6%…Spokes (28)…4.6 ounces
6%…Tube…4.6 ounces
5%…Brake disc…3.6 ounces
2%…Quick-release skewer…1.7 ounces
1%…Rim strip…0.8 ounces
1%…Spoke nipples (28)…0.4 ounces
1%…Brake disc hardware…0.4 ounces
Rear wheel total weight: Four pounds, 7.5 ounces

CRANKARM (right side)
Percentage of total weight…Component…Pounds and ounces
68%…Crankarm…11.7 ounces
16%…Big chainring…2.8 ounces
9%…Middle chainring…1.5 ounces
4%…Granny gear…0.7 ounces
3%…Hardware…0.5 ounces
Crankarm (right) total weight: One pounds, 1.2 ounces

FRONT BRAKE
Percentage of total weight…Component…Pounds and ounces
45%…Caliper…3.5 ounces
44%…Lever/master cylinder…3.4 ounces
6%…Hardware…0.5 ounces
4%…Hose…0.3 ounces
Front brake total weight: 7.7 ounces

REAR BRAKE
Percentage of totally weight…Component…Pounds and ounces
38%…Caliper…3.5 ounces
37%…Lever/master cylinder…3.4 ounces
11%…Mounting bracket…1 ounce
9%…Hose…0.8 ounces
5%…Hardware…0.5 ounces
Rear brake total weight: 9.2 ounces

WEIGHTY NOTES
>>The hardware and clamping plate account for 34% of the handlebar stem’s total weight.
>>The bearings account for 61% of the headset assembly.
>>The shock’s spacers and mounting hardware account for 8% of the shock’s weight.
>>The seat clamp and hardware (not including the seat tube clamp) of the seatpost account for 21% of the total seatpost weight.
>>The hardware for the suspension swinglink accounts for 26% of the swinglink’s weight.

THE WHAT, WHY AND HOW
    We chose the Fisher Procaliper because the bike is representative of an expensive, competitive, dual-suspension, cross-country race bike. The bike (tested in our June 2008 issue) uses an aluminum frame and conventional fork, shock, wheels and components. While the Procaliper is a tricked-out racer, with its Fisher’s G2 geometry, an asymmetrical carbon fiber swingarm and carbon seat stay struts, it is still more representative of how the weight on a mountain bike is distributed than a bike that uses suspension or components designed by the bike maker (like the Lefty fork on Cannondales or the Future Shock on Specialized bikes). While the dual-suspension bike that you ride might not weigh a paltry 24 pounds three ounces, if you apply the percentages we came up with to your bike’s overall weight, you will come pretty close to the correct numbers.

This story is a reprint from our September 2008 issue. A big thanks goes out to Trek’s Travis Ott who allowed us to take his beautiful bike apart. Don’t subscriber yet? Click here. Or click here for the iPad version.

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