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How To Drop Pounds For Climbing
Please see Total Climbing Weight: Reduction in Ascent Time For Steep Climbs for why total weight has a large influence on ascent time.
Ways to reduce total riding weight
Weight savings can be expensive or not so expensive:
- The cheapest way to reduce total riding weight is to lose body fat.
- The most expensive way to reduce riding weight is to get a lighter bike or wheels.
- The clothing, shoes and stuff you carry can be lightened cost-effectively in most cases.
- Rotating weight carries a double penalty: its static weight as well as rotating weight. Lighter wheels feel great and make the most difference of any weight savings.
- Tires and tubes can save quite a bit of rotating weight at reasonable cost.
Let’s look at where we might save weight for faster ascents. I’ll use myself as an example with the table below.
One thing should be clear: shedding body fat is the #1 priority.
Gains of perhaps 2-3 pounds might accrue with careful attention to clothing, helmet, shoes, etc. But for most riders, the bike and wheels offer ripe areas for weight reduction, though at considerable expense.
|Body fat||192||178||14 pounds||Reduce body weight from 192 pounds to 178 pounds, stretch goal of 172 pounds|
|Bike/seat/pedals||?||I configured my bike superbly from the start, but possible to drop 3-4 pounds for many bicycles|
|Shoes (pair)||802g||507g||295g||Savings of 2/3 pound!|
|Wheels||1000g||1000g||0||Most riders can save at least a pound with a quality wheelset|
|Tires||400g||360g||40g||Most riders can save several hundred grams on tires and tubes|
|Helmet||351g||265g||86g||A lighter helmet always feels better. Lazer Genesis to Lazer Helium|
|Water bottles (2)||170 (2)||64g||106g||Evian bottles instead of standard biking bottles, save aa whopping 106 (1/4 pound) plus bonus of better taste and more capacity.|
|Gloves||20g||Keep 'em light|
|Clothing||?||Keep it minimal, skip the jacket|
|Socks||38g||30g||8g||Skip the ankle coverage|
|Pump||I use a mini pump of about 60 g instead of a full size pump|
|Spare tire||50g||I carry a pre-glued Veloflex Record tubular tire|
|Phone and car keys||196g||Stash 'em, don't carry them|
Total potential non-body reduction: 1007 grams, or about 2.1 pounds.
Most riders can save much more if they haven’t yet studied the options.