It’s no secret that when it comes to touring bikes, weight is key. The less your bike weighs, the easier it will be to pedal and manoeuvre. So, it’s good to make your touring bike lighter.
That’s why many companies are constantly looking for new ways to make their bikes lighter without sacrificing durability or functionality.
So, how to make a touring bike light? Let’s take a look.
What Is The Average Weight of a Touring Bike?
Touring bikes are designed for long-distance riding, and as a result, they tend to be heavier than other types of bicycles.
The exact weight of a touring bike will vary depending on the materials used in its construction and the size of the frame. However, most touring bikes weigh between 25 and 30 pounds.
This extra weight can make it more difficult to ride uphill and make sudden turns. However, the excess weight also provides greater stability when riding on rough roads or in high winds.
In addition, the increased weight makes it easier to carry heavy loads, making touring bikes an ideal choice for riders who plan to travel with all their belongings.
How Heavy Is a Fully Loaded Touring Bike?
The importance of a fully loaded bike’s weight is far greater than the unladen weight. A fully equipped touring bike with camping gear, bags, food, water, clothes, tools and other personal belongings generally weighs between 55 and 110 pounds (25 – 50 kg).
Keep in mind that your weight, as well as the bike’s, will fluctuate. For example, it is not uncommon to overload your bicycle with two or three pounds more after a grocery run or big meal than on an empty stomach.
How to Check the Weight of Your Touring Bike?
There are a few different ways to check the weight of your touring bike.
One option is to take it to a bike shop and use their specialised scales to give you an accurate measurement.
Another option is to weigh yourself on a normal household scale and then weigh yourself while holding the bike. Subtract your weight from the combined weight to get the bike’s weight.
You can also buy a portable scale for bikes, which attaches to your bicycle’s wheels and gives you an accurate measurement.
Ways to Make your Touring Bike Lighter
Several ways how to make your touring bike lighter or weigh less and make your riding safe and comfortable. Some quick tips are here:
1. Use a lighter frame material: The material your bike’s frame is made of can greatly affect its weight. Aluminium and carbon fibre are popular options significantly lighter than steel frames while still durable enough for long-distance touring.
2. Choose lightweight components: From wheels to handlebars to pedals, the parts of your bike add up. Look for lightweight options that still offer the necessary strength and durability.
3. Reduce excess weight: Look at all the extras on your bike and consider what you need. Do you have extra water bottle cages or unnecessary accessories? Removing these items can help shave off some extra weight.
4. Lighten your load: One of the easiest ways to make your touring bike lighter is to pack less. Pare down your belongings and only bring what you truly need.
5. Use a trailer or panniers instead of a rack and handlebar bags: This can distribute weight more evenly, making it easier to ride.
How To Reduce The Weight Of Your Touring Bike
In addition to reducing the weight of your bike itself, it is also important to ensure you are not overloading it with unnecessary items. While you can plan and pack only what is necessary for each trip, there are other things you can do to reduce the weight of your touring bike.
Buy latex inner tubes.
Latex is much lighter than traditional rubber, so it can help reduce your bike’s overall weight. In addition, latex inner tubes are more resistant to punctures, so you’ll spend less time fixing flats.
Of course, latex inner tubes are also more expensive than rubber ones. But if you’re serious about reducing the weight of your bike, they’re definitely worth the investment.
Use lightweight tyres
Tyres are one of the largest components on a bike, and even a small reduction in weight can make a significant difference. Lightweight tyres offer other benefits, such as improved acceleration and easier handling.
They can help to improve your fuel economy, which is always welcome on a long ride. So if you’re looking to reduce the weight of your touring bike, consider using lightweight tyres. You’ll be glad you did.
Use lightweight bar tape.
For those not in the know, bar tape is the padded material that goes around the handlebars of a road bicycle. It comes in various colours and thicknesses and can be made from different materials, including cork, foam, and cloth. When choosing bar tape, it’s important to consider appearance, weight, and durability.
For example, cork bar tape is lightweight but can easily damage. Foam bar tape is slightly heavier but is much more resistant to wear and tear. Ultimately, the best choice of bar tape depends on your personal preferences and bike-riding habits.
However, if you’re looking for a balance of weight and durability, I recommend using lightweight bar tape.
Any wheel that is lighter in weight will help to reduce the weight of your touring cycle. Often, people will switch out their stock wheels for lighter aftermarket ones.
But even switching from a steel wheel to an aluminium one can help reduce your bike’s weight.
Rotating weight is especially important when touring because you’ll be pedalling all day long, and even a few extra pounds can make a big difference.
Paint can weigh down the frame and make the bike more difficult. Additionally, paint can chip and flake off over time, leaving your bike susceptible to rust and corrosion. Using a paint-free bike can avoid these issues and make your ride lighter and more comfortable.
Paint-free bikes also tend to be more durable, as they are less likely to suffer from paint damage.
Regarding the handlebars, stem, and Seatpost, go for lightweight materials such as aluminium or carbon fibre.
Additionally, consider removing any unnecessary accessories from the handlebars, such as bike computers or lights. These may be convenient daily, but they can add extra weight you don’t need on a touring trip.
Change your cassette
The cassette is the set of gears on the rear wheel of your bike. A lighter cassette can improve pedalling efficiency and reduce motor strain, making it easier to ride for longer distances.
When shopping for a new cassette, remember that lower gear ratios (such as 11-32) will be lighter than higher gear ratios (such as 11-42).
Also, consider using a single chainring in the front instead of multiple chainrings. This simplifies the drivetrain and reduces weight even further.
How to Distribute Weight on a Touring Bicycle?
To distribute weight evenly on a touring bicycle, pack heavy items close to the bike’s centre of gravity and secure them with straps.
Furthermore, attempt to keep equal weight in both panniers or bags.
To avoid discomfort and strain on your bicycle, take regular breaks to adjust the weight distribution by wearing gear on your body or transferring items from one bag to another.
How Much Does Your Touring Bicycle Weigh?
The weight of a touring bicycle will vary based on the materials used, the size and type of bike, and any added accessories. On average, a fully-loaded touring bicycle can weigh anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds (11 to 18 kilograms). However, carefully planning and choosing lightweight components makes it possible to reduce the weight and make a touring bike lighter significantly.