Lightest racing bicycle
April 11, 2007 3:45 PM   Subscribe

What is the lightest weight racing bicycle?

I don't know all the intriciacies of the sport but I am curious about the weight. I'm referring to something that Lance Armstrong (for example) would race with. So to be fair, I want specs on a full-sized adult bike, not necessarily a folding bike or any other oddities.

I'm just wondering what the lightest carbon fiber (or other lightweight) based racing bicycle is right now.
posted by jtoth to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's surprisingly hard to get an answer to this question - there's a lot of FUD thrown around.

The last time I looked into it, the best answer I found was that a time-trial bike like the one that Lance uses (generally considered to be the lightest bike around) weighs "about five and a half pounds" without pedals. I do not know why the standard way of doing this seems to be without pedals, but that is how they do it. Maybe it's because pedals are considered part of the rider's uniform since each rider chooses which ones he likes to use?
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:59 PM on April 11, 2007

I can't find any data on teh Google, but my dad was looking into buying a carbon fiber bike a while back. It was so light that you could easily lift it with your little finger.

We would have guests "try" to lift it. They would inevitably use both hands, and would almost throw it across the room.
Great fun.
posted by niles at 3:59 PM on April 11, 2007

The Trek Madone is usually listed under 16 pounds.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 3:59 PM on April 11, 2007

Weight Weenies

Light Bikes

The lightest road bike on is this 7.84 lb Litespeed Ghisallo.

Lance Armstrong uses something like a Madone SSL.
posted by unSane at 3:59 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

The lightest bike Lance Armstrong would race with would be 6.8kg, because that's the lightest weight allowed by the UCI (the international governing body for cycling).

Much lighter bikes are attainable. The Litespeed Ghisallo (drool) mentioned by unSane is easily obtainable if you've got the cash.

The 6.8kg limit is a pretty arbitrary number imposed to keep the playing field level and to prevent bike manufactures from producing bikes that are "stupid light" (that is, to use so little material in the frame and components as to constitute a safety hazard).

There's a lot of cyclists calling to lower the UCI weight limit, as it's clearly possible to make a very safe 9lb bike.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:04 PM on April 11, 2007

I forgot to add: a lot of teams will need to add weights to the bike to bring it up to the limit.

I think Team CSC needed to add weight (by suspending a chain in the seat tube) to their R2.5 models in the 2004 Tour de France.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:11 PM on April 11, 2007

The lightest bicycle I've ever seen was the Crumpton Carbon, which weighed (according to Crumpton) 7.2lbs with pedals.

It's the second one on this page.

(Max rider weight of 140lbs, which is a bit out of my weight range.)

I saw it at the North American Handmade Bike Show in March, and it was eerily light.
posted by Coda at 4:11 PM on April 11, 2007

You see the results of 'stupid light' mountain bikes on all the time... snapped forks, snapped frames, snapped handlebars, tacoed wheels.

For most recreational riders, the easiest place to lose weight on a bike is the rider (by far).

On the other hand, some weight savings make a dramatic difference to the handling of the bike. Light wheels, and in particular light rims and tires, make a massive difference in the feel and fun of the bike.
posted by unSane at 4:14 PM on April 11, 2007

spikeleeetcetc is correct. Lance Armstrong's bike -- as well as the bike of every other pro cyclist -- would have weighed 6.8 kilos.

Rule here:
posted by afx237vi at 4:24 PM on April 11, 2007

I saw the Crumpton at the NAHBS too. It was ridiculous - picking it up felt like you were going to accidentally launch it into the ceiling.

A discussion of weight savings / cost ratios usually ends up at the conclusion that selling your kidney and buying carbon parts with the proceeds is the best solution. Selling your kidney is the key, not the carbon.
posted by kcm at 4:25 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

More on the UCI weight requirements.. I have a full-carbon Look 461 and at 17 lbs and change (with pedals and a 20sp DA drivetrain), it's more than light enough for any non-professional rider.
posted by kcm at 4:29 PM on April 11, 2007

Also note a minor mistake in ikkyu2's answer (I never thought I'd see that from one of the best answerers in AskMe):

Time trial bikes (those weird-looking bikes with odd shapes) are actually generally not particularly light. They are often aerodynamic at the expense of weight, and will often weight more than the UCI minimum. They sure do look cool, though.
posted by JMOZ at 5:12 PM on April 11, 2007

The Crumpton Carbon, as pictured, is a fixie. Add brakes and gears and build something similar but as a road bike and you'd probably add add three or four pounds. Still super-light for a road bike. Back when I were a lad getting into road biking, anything under twenty pounds was considered exotic stuff-of-dreams... kids these days... /getoffmylawn

Stupid-light is a realistic concern. The pros have expert mechanics on-call and a perpetual supply of kit from sponsors. If it breaks, get another one out the van. We lesser mortals are probably better served enduring some weight gain for durability.

Weight is also much cheaper to lose from the waistline.
posted by normy at 7:21 PM on April 11, 2007

Weight lost from the waistline also has a big aerodynamic benefit. :) Time savings over 40km of 3kg decrease in body mass, 19s.
posted by Chuckles at 8:13 PM on April 11, 2007

There was a 10.7lb Ruegamer (Rue Sports) at NAHBS as well that was even more eerie, as it was fully geared. The frame alone weighed 600gm.

The Crumpton felt like a toy.
posted by fet at 2:29 PM on April 12, 2007

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