For those of you who don't want to take out another car loan, there's a smarter (and cheaper) way to make your bike a little lighter. Check out these six cost-effective ways to save weight on the bike so you can be faster on the road.
Tires/Inner tubes1 of 8
In terms of performance, upgrading a stock wheelset will save you a ton of weight and provide the most benefits. On the downside, wheelsets are the most expensive upgrade other than buying an entirely new bike--often ranging between $1,000 and $3,000.
A cheaper alternative is to shed grams from your tires and inner tubes. While this will affect durability during training, latex tubes and a high-quality racing tire will save you around 220 grams for only $100.
Water Bottle2 of 8
Water weighs more than you might think, and this additional weight can make a big difference when the gradient steepens. For racing or training rides that have some climbing on the menu, keep the 24- and 28-ounce bottles at home.
Instead, opt for a smaller, standardized 21-ounce bottle. This will save you about 10 to 15 ounces in the weight of the plastic, and the decrease in water will help you save another 100 to 120 grams per bottle. As an added benefit, the smaller bottles will cost less, too. Just remember, you'll have to refill your bottles more frequently--especially on hot days.
Pedals3 of 8
A basic pair of Shimano R540 SPD-SL pedals cost around $55 and weigh 330 grams. For $89, you can save over 200 grams in weight with the Look Keo Plus (129 grams).
There are even lighter alternatives available, but know your float and platform preference when selecting the right option for you. For up to 15 degrees of float, the Speedplay Zero Cromoly pedals (220 grams) are another excellent option that will still save you 100 grams for $129.
Saddle4 of 8
The comfort of your saddle should be your number one priority. But once you've found a model you like and determined your preferred width, most companies will offer similar shapes but lower the overall weight by using carbon fiber or titanium rails.
And while this will bump the price, it's still one of the more cost-effective ways to save weight. The classic Fi'zi:k Arione saddle costs $130 and weighs 242 grams. By opting for the same saddle with carbon rails (Arione R3 Carbon Braided at 165 grams), you'll save nearly 80 grams for less than $100 difference in price.
Handlebar Tape5 of 8
When it comes to weight, bar tape is probably the last thing you think about. But what you wrap your bars with makes a difference--and it could save you lots of money in the process.
A plush option like the Lizard Skins DSP 3.2 will cost you a whopping $45 and weighs 112 grams for a set (2 rolls). While we can vouch that the quality of the Lizard Skins is top notch and does a great job at dampening vibration over rough terrain, the Deda Elementi foam tape is an excellent option, too. It's comfortable, durable and extremely lightweight at just 40 grams (2 rolls). Factor in the $12 price point, and this one is a no-brainer.
Diet6 of 8
While we can't promise it'll be easy, losing a few pounds is definitely the cheapest way to save weight on the bike. When you consider the thousands of dollars in upgrades that could end up saving you two or three pounds, the cost of losing five pounds off your midsection will be much cheaper.
All you'll need to do is ride more, include more fruits and vegetables in your diet and steer clear of empty calories. And the more weight you lose, the faster you'll be able to go--and the healthier you'll feel.