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Cold weekend; Bike repair shop updates; Bike on a diet.

Monday, February 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I normally like riding in the cold, but it was a little too cold for my liking over the weekend. Yesterday morning it was 29 degrees (F) and windy. I knew that under the thick canopy of trees in the forest it would feel even colder, so all my cardio the past two days was done in my home gym. With cold snaps like the one we had over the weekend fairly rare here in Florida, I’ve never bothered to invest in winter riding clothing. I really wanted to ride yesterday, too.

New shelving for parts, helmets, gloves, pads, etc. added to the right of main work area; New tools; New hanging digital bike/parts weighing station.

New shelving for parts, helmets, gloves, pads, etc. added to the right of main work area; New tools; New hanging digital bike/parts weighing station.

After my cardio I was really in the mood to do something bike-related, and so I decided to do some much-needed work to my garage bike repair shop.

Back in August when I completed the initial design of my bike repair shop (blog/video/pictures here) I was very happy with how everything came out. Over the past few months, however, more and more items (tools, helmets, gloves, pads, parts) seemed to be accumulating on my workbench and on the floor. It was getting to the point where things were feeling cluttered, and so yesterday I decided to build some more shelving to take care of that problem.

I love working in the garage when it’s cold. During the summer months is really miserable being out there, so doing projects like the one I tackled yesterday are a lot of fun when I’m not sweating my butt off the whole time!

The new shelving along with a second small parts organizer have made a world of difference out there. It’s so nice to have a clear workspace on my bench again!

My Trek Fuel EX 8 is on a diet. This was her starting weight.

My Trek Fuel EX 8 is on a diet. This was her starting weight.

By the way, I’m constantly updating my garage bike repair shop article whenever I add new tools or make any other changes. The list of tools is always 100% up-to-date, and I also will continue to add new photos whenever significant changes are made.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I’m planning to get into cross-country mountain bike racing. Obviously when racing every gram you’re hauling around counts, and so I’ve decided to put my Trek Fuel EX 8 on a diet.

At just over 30 pounds, my (mostly) stock Fuel EX 8 (with Shimano PD-M647 pedals, Odi Rouge grips and WTB Velociraptor front/rear tires) is fairly light for a full suspension trail bike, but there is a lot of room for improvement.

The first few weight saving measures I’ve taken are fairly minor, but they resulted in almost a full pound of weight reduction…

First, the chain that came with the bike is pretty heavy, and it was due for a replacement. I decided to go with the KMC X10SL Bicycle Chain (10-Speed, 116L, Silver), which is about 80 grams lighter than stock chain. The new chain is not only light, it is smooth and quiet. It should also wear less quickly than the stock chain did.

My new Shimano PD-M540 Clipless Pedals.

My new Shimano PD-M540 Clipless Pedals.

The next thing I did was replace my clipless pedals. Some of you may recall that when I made the switch from flat pedals to clipless pedals I decided to go with a caged platform pedal (the Shimano PD-M647). The PD-M647s were great for learning how to ride clipless because they allowed me to unclip and use the platforms when I needed to (mainly when riding through technical areas). Now that I’m very comfortable being clipped in, the cage around the binding mechanism is needless weight.

I decided to replace the M647s with the fairly light weight (yet strong) Shimano PD-M540 clipless pedals. My old M647 pedals weighed in at a hefty 568g per pair; at just 352 grams, the new PD-M540s are saving me more than 200 grams of weight–and that’s rotational weight.

She's already down almost a full pound with just a pedal and chain swap, and a couple other minor tweaks. Goal weight is between 25 and 26 pounds.

She's already down almost a full pound with just a pedal and chain swap, and a couple other minor tweaks. Goal weight is between 25 and 26 pounds.

As you can see in the photograph to the left, after just a few minor and inexpensive tweaks my bike is already down almost a full pound. I’m still planning to replace the stock Shimano 3×10 drivetrain (bottom bracket, crankset, front/rear derailleurs, shifters and cassette) with SRAM 2×10 XO carbon parts, swap out the stock handlebars for the Truvativ Noir T40 carbon handlebars, convert to tubeless tires and move to a lightweight saddle with Titanium rails. I feel that an additional weight savings of 3-4 pounds is possible, which would put my bike at a fairly svelte 25-26 pounds.

Of course I’m still cutting, and by the time I’m done I expect to be down to the low 170s. Between the lighter bike, the lighter me and the reduced weight I’m carrying with me when I ride that’s going to be around 30 less pounds I’m hauling around on the trails. 🙂

John Stone Fitness Comments

4 Responses to “Cold weekend; Bike repair shop updates; Bike on a diet.”
  1. Well, if you’re committed to cross country racing, the number 1 thing to change out is to get a carbon wheelset built up for you. Commercial carbon wheelsets are quite expensive, like 1-3k expensive. That was out of my price range so I went out and purchased some cheap, chinese carbon rims:


    these are 26er wheels but I ride a 29 so I bought their wide 29er all mountain rims. Laced them up on some Chris King hubs and they have been spectacular.

    #2 change will be to experiment with your tires. Find the lightest, smoothest tires that can still handle the terrain. This is a bit difficult because racing tires wear MUCH faster than regular tires so it’s hard to get a lot of saddle time in on them to adapt to how they behave. Or you can just buy a million sets if you have the cash and then it’s no problem.

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    • I can’t yet claim to be committed to XC racing, I merely stated that I’d like to start to get into it. I’m sure if the racing aspect of mtb grabs me, a great many things will change over time.

      Custom carbon wheelsets are out of the financial question right now. Lower priced carbon rims like the one you linked to would only save me 100g over my current rims (Bontrager Dusters)–not really up there on the price/performance/weight scale compared some of the other upgrades I’m planning.

      Tires are going to be tricky because I ride in a lot of loose/wet/rooty conditions and I need tires that can really hook up. I like my ‘raptors a lot–nothing else I’ve tried even comes close. The Conti Mountain King USTs look good. Craig has a pair of MKs his new bike, but he’s not put any miles on them yet. I’m anxious to hear his thoughts.

      I think for now converting to tubeless will be an inexpensive way to save a good amount of rotational weight while increasing traction and stability.

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  2. Hi, I’m a new JSF member and mountain biker from Finland, I have been following you for a while but newer posted anything before, thanks for a very inspiring blog!

    OK, now to my comment:
    One thing to think about when buying race tires is also the rolling resistance, many of the tires that got very good grip are not that fast and you need more power to get the bike moving.

    I’m currently using Conti X-King RaceSport 2.2 (490g) in front and Conti Race King Supersonic 2.2 (470g) back , with inner tubes weighing 130 it makes a total of about 600-620g each. That is a really good, light and easy rolling setup I think, I don’t think you will get much less weight with tubeless since most of the tubeless UST tires are over 700g, and then you maybe need to add some sealant also (about 50g). I think the reason people goes tubeless is because they want a to ride with a very low tire pressure without getting pinch flats (snake bites). I usually ride with max 30 psi (recommended is 50 psi), but people with UST may ride as low as with 20 psi, lower tire pressure usually means better grip.

    I you like a light, good rolling tire with good grip i would recommend the Conti X-King RaceSport 2.2 for you, it is at least over 200g lighter than your current Velociraptor tire that weighs about 700g.


    Here is a link to a German tire test:

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    • Hi Skeen, and welcome!

      I was on the fence about tubeless. I figured they’d possibly save a little weight, and prevent most of the flats I get (almost all of which are caused by the countless sharp burrs that are everywhere around here). My friend Craig laid out some of the other benefits to going tubeless, and that’s what pushed me over the edge:

      – The sealant in the tire works like a balancing fluid so the wheels run much smoother.
      – No friction between the tire & tube helps give better traction, the tires seem to flow down the trail, and pumping sections of trail for speed seems much easier.
      – Of course less weight, far fewer flats and the ability to run lower tire pressures.

      Here’s the thing about the WTB Velociraptors. I’ve tried lots of different tires, and none of them get me through the sugar sand the way the ‘raptors do. Sugar sand is everywhere out here, and trying to corner or climb in it is pretty much impossible without a very aggressive tire.

      Having a set of tires that allow me ride confidently is worth a little extra weight. 🙂

      I’ve been looking at Conti Mountain King and Trail King, too. They look solid, but I’m not sure how they’ll perform in sandy Florida. I may try both of those as well as the X-King at some point, but for now I’m sticking with the ‘raptors (converted to tubeless).

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