# Bike Weight: It's All Relative

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by gntlmn, Oct 30, 2003.

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## What is your Bike Weight divided by Ideal Body Weight

0 vote(s)
0.0%

10 vote(s)
7.3%

62 vote(s)
45.3%

41 vote(s)
29.9%

18 vote(s)
13.1%

4 vote(s)
2.9%

2 vote(s)
1.5%
1. ### gntlmn New Member

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I got this idea from reading through another thread and noting that I had no idea how big the riders are that are riding these bike weights they were listing, and only very rarely did they mention the frame size. This thread addresses the idea that it's all relative. I am going to ignore frame size for now (although that would be an interesting topic for another thread: frame size versus bicycle weight). Instead, I want to know how much bicycle weight people are lugging around out there as a function of how big you, the rider, are.

I have a few bikes, but two I ride regularly. One is my Cannondale roadbike: 22 lbs. The other is my Mongoose full suspension mountain bike (a tank which I bought for riding on the ice): 43 lbs with studded tires for the ice.

Dividing these bike weights by my own ideal body weight, I get the following: Cannondale 22/143 = 15.4%
Mongoose 43/143 = 30%

What is your bike weight divided by your ideal body weight? Am I high, low or about ballpark? Does this change your opinion about how light or heavy your bike is compared to the other guy? If you have a few extra pounds on your body, like many of us do, divide your bike weight by your IDEAL body weight. This will give you a more realistic comparison based on your heart/lung capacity. After all, if you gain weight, your heart and lungs don't get any bigger even though your body weighs more. So you shouldn't think that if you are 50 lbs over weight, and your bike weight percentage is lower that that is good. Adjust the body weight out first, then take the comparison.

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2. ### Duckwah New Member

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This is probably more relevant than pure bike weight but there is another major issue in the bike weight versus fitness idea

as bodyweight goes up relative strength goes down which makes heavier people less efficient no matter what

for the record i'm 93kg and my road bike is 10kg so i'm carrying

10.7% of my bodyweight uphills etc

3. ### gntlmn New Member

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I edited my original post for this thread to focus on ideal body weight. That way, it won't seem to be an advantage on these percentages to be overweight. For example, my weight is 155 lbs, but I used 143 lbs to calculate my relative bike weight. My ideal riding weight is lower than my current weight.

4. ### Bikesoiler New Member

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Commuter = 15%
MTB = 20%

5. ### gene d New Member

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I only weigh 105 lbs so my road bike would be somehwere around 21%

6. ### 2LAP New Member

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60kg with a 20lb bike = 15.1%

Gutted, where is that titanium dealer.

7. ### gntlmn New Member

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I saw a titanium bike on the web which weighs 10.5 lbs. I bet you'd like to see what it's like to push 10% of your body weight instead of 20%+. One thing I am also taking issue with is the UCI regulation putting a lower limit on bike weight for racing. It seems like it discriminates against the lightweight rider. I think the limit is 6.8 kg, just a hair under 15 lbs.

8. ### Memphmann New Member

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Why ideal weight and not true weight? This is what you ride with. If you are overweight, that should count toward slowness on the bike. How about, what you and bike weight together?

I would be at 10% with true weight. My old racing weight which was at 6% bodyfat would be 12%. So the higher the %, the better?

Memph

9. ### gntlmn New Member

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I was trying to set us on even ground to make our results comparable. If you use ideal body weight, it gives you an approximation of your motor (heart and lungs). Your motor doesn't get stronger if you get overweight. In fact, if you are overweight, it is probably an indication you are not in top form, which means your motor is out of tune. If you train, the weight goes back to ideal, and your motor gets the tune up it needed.

If you leave the bike weight the same, and vary your body weight, the higher the %, the better, until you get to your ideal body weight. If you go lower than that, you will lose strength more than you will gain speed. That might be considered your ideal body weight for cycling: the bodyweight where if you gained a lb, you would be slower because you didn't get enough more power to keep up with the weight gain and also the bodyweight where if you lost a lb., you would lose more power than you would save from not having to carry that other pound around. You probably have a really good idea of what your ideal riding weight is, whereas many of us have not been in formal competitions and would need to guess.

But to answer your question another way, if you keep your body weight at the ideal, and the % increases, this can only mean that the bicycle weighs more. You changed bikes. This is not good because you are now carrying more compared to your ideal bodyweight.

Let's say that with this same example, you first buy the heavier bike, and then you gain 50 lbs later. First you would show a higher % due to the heavier bike (this is not good: you still have the identical bodyweight, but you are pushing heavier equipment), but then the % would decline because you gained weight. Clearly, if you gain weight, you are worse off for cycling. That's why I said to use ideal body weight. Your heart and lungs didn't get stronger with the weight gain, they probably got weaker. To say you are pedaling 8% of your bodyweight without disclosing you are 50 lbs overweight would be a distortion. It would sound like your situation improved, but it actually got worse.

Actually, a good measure for those of us who are trying to minimize overall excess weight, bike plus body, might want to use a different measure yet: add EXCESS body weight plus bike weight and divide the total by ideal body weight. For me now this would be: 155 lbs (my current weight) minus 143 lbs (my ideal weight) plus 22 lbs (the weight of my cannnondale road bike) and divide the total by 143 lbs, my ideal body weight.

((155 - 143) + 22)/143 = 34/143 = 23.8%

If I lose the excess weight and buy that 10.5 lb titanium bike, the equation then becomes:

((143 - 143) + 10.5) /143 = 7.3%

I think I would not only gain an advantage by losing the weight, but the improvement in my aerobic conditioning would give me quite a bit more power to push so much less weight. It would be sweet indeed. I'm glad you asked that question. It gives me something to shoot for to improve my longest ride, which I think is very weight sensitive.

10. ### less'go New Member

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As you can see, only 1 person tops 30%, that would be me... 18k divided by 54k. I ride a water buffalo!

Sara

11. ### gntlmn New Member

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Sounds like that water buffalo could easily haul 3 of you. lol.

12. ### stevenaleach New Member

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Now the question is how do you know what the heck your ideal weight is?

I just figured that it had to be about 10 lbs less than what I weigh.

Lets see, I'm 5'7":

Freshman in High School - 200 lbs.
Dropped out of College - 126 lbs.
Joined the Army - 136 lbs.
Most of the time in the Army - 150 lbs.
Left the Army, Back in college -158 lbs.

Should I just take an average or something ?

13. ### gntlmn New Member

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Wow! You have quite a range. By ideal weight, I meant the best weight for riding. This is going to be a lower weight than your ideal weight for playing football or for bodybuilding. Experienced racers would know to a very narrow range what their ideal weight would be for riding, but if you haven't focused much on how fast you can ride in the hills at various weights, you will just have to guess.

Even if you weren't riding when you weighed much less, you will probably have some idea whether your aerobic ability at carrying your own weight was better or worse than it is now. If it was better at the lower weight, pick the lower weight.

14. ### Feanor New Member

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You can't discriminate against the lightweight rider, they already have a very distinct advantage built in!!!

Look at the world class climbers, they are these dimunitive fellows but in many cases can put out the same wattage as their more "portly" sprinter and flatland counterparts...

15. ### gntlmn New Member

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What you're saying is that if you're a stronger rider, you deserve to carry saddle bags because the other riders are not as good as you. Therefore, you deserve a handicap. This doesn't make much sense and sounds a little like communism to me.

I wasn't talking about the "portly" riders (sprinters and time trialists). I'm talking about the taller riders. The advantage is given to the taller riders rather than the shorter ones.

Look at Richard Virenque, whose height and weight is listed as 5'10" and 143 lbs, equivalent in metric to 178 cm and 65 kg. Indurain was listed at 6'2 and 176 lbs or 188 cm and 80 kg. Marco Pantani, on the other hand, was listed at 5' 7" and 123 lbs or 172 cm and 56 kg.

If Virenque rode the minimum weight bike, he would be pushing about 11% of body weight. If Indurain did (when he was riding), he would be pushing 8.5%. Finally, if Pantani rode the minimum weight, he would be pushing about 12%. These are huge differences in the mountains when you consider that riders dream about dropping a half a kg in body weight and wondering how much better they would do as a result. If Pantani pushed 8.5% instead of 12%, he would be dropping 3.5% body weight or 4.3 lbs, same as 2 kg. He was carrying 4 extra full water bottles in this scenario.

A short rider might put out enormous wattage, but it's not because he's short, it's in spite of it. Why give the advantage to the taller riders in the mountains? If you are very tall, and also very slim with narrow or ectomorphic bone structure, this seems to be the ideal formula given the lower weight limit on the bicycle because you can still be slim as a rail without bumping heavily into the lower weight limit on your ideal bicycle.

I realize that the tallest riders who weigh more will need to ride a heavier bike than the minimum, but as the materials become stronger, this weight becomes lower. Thus, the advantage increases for the taller rider at the expense of the shorter.

How many saddle bags do you want the shorter rider to carry?

16. ### Telegram Sam New Member

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Man- I haven't been anywhere near the weight most of you are at since 6th grade...I figure the ideal weight for someone my height is probably pretty low (I am 5'6") But I can't go by that because I am from a race of people that are totally square. Let me see- I have wrestled competatively (no, I ain't gonna be a bike racer...but I'm like wrestling a tree stump ) for years, and my lowest was 175lbs (6 th grade). In college, I grew a lot (I know- little late) and ended up with a 39" waist, 46" chest ...Hell, I bet my thighs are as big around as some of your wastes (26") and I have been between 195 and 220 with these dimensions. Back down to 205 (thanks bike) I figure my ideal weight is about 195 (A weight I feel I will never obtain as long as beer is legal). So... that gives us 195/23 lbs which is roughly 11%. Considering my size, I have gotten pretty low by selecting components that I knew I could mash the crap out of (which are often heavy!)
Anyway- I think Ti is next- seems pretty solid (more so then Carbon Fiber).
As for Sara- Jesus!!! Your riding around on a 39 pound bike? Wow...if you ever get something lighter your gonna feel like your flying!
Cheers

17. ### Snuffleupagus New Member

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Aincent Raleigh SuperCourse=26lbs
97 GT Karakoram=26.5lbs

Me @ 212lbs (10-11% bodyfat, high level of overall fitness, super huge legs - 26" quads, 18" calves)

Figure 'ideal' weight for my naturally large build is 195. Provided I could shrink my utterly massive legs...Thanks gi-normous Norse ancestors

So roadie: 12.3% of current weight. 13.3% of ideal weight
MTB: 12.5% of current weight. 13.6% of ideal weight.

I don't think I need so much to go lighter with the bike overall, just get better wheels. Rotating mass is the real killer on the Raleigh right now.

18. ### donhix1 New Member

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They originally put the provision in for saftey. Riders used to drill everything out to get lightness and compromise components. I think that with today's technology bikes can be safe and light. On the other hand as long as everyone is racing on 6.8 kg bikes it makes it fair. THey probably save time and money by using a weight limit rather than having to prove wether a bike is too light to be safe.

19. ### donhix1 New Member

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At 195 pounds it makes it more difficult to get wheels that are light and strong. Some wheels come with warnings saying that they are intended for riders 175 lb and lower.
Saving weight at the wheels makes the most difference as you are dealing with centrifigual force and can theoretically change speed faster with lighter wheels.

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