How Much Do Tour De France Bikes Weigh?


With the 2022 Tour De France coming up, many of us will be looking at the riders and their bikes with a bit of jealousy. After spending far too long looking at the bikes from previous years, I thought it would be interesting to take a deeper look into the Tour De France bikes themselves, specifically how much Tour De France weigh?

In general, Tour De France bikes weigh between 6.8kg and 7.2kg depending on the individual components chosen for the bike on that specific day of the event, however, some bikes have previously weighed up to 8kg. Bike weights in the Tour De France are controlled by the minimum weight requirement set by the UCL of 6.8kg.

So, most Tour De France bikes weigh between 6.8kg and 7.2kg. But given there are so many different teams in the event, why do all the bikes weigh such a similar amount? I take a look into this, as well as the weights of the Tour De France bike frames in the rest of this article.

How much does a Tour De France bike weigh?

The weight of the bikes used in the Tour De France will actually vary depending on the day of the event. While all the bikes have a similar baseline weight made up of components such as their bike frame, the other parts of the bike such as the wheels, brakes, and gears will change depending on the type of terrain that the cyclists will be tackling that day.

Based on the individual components chosen for the bike, this means that most bikes fluctuate between 6.8kg and 7.2kg. However, some bikes weigh up to 8kg if they are using a combination of heavier components (for example disk brakes or other more durable components).

Minimum weight limits

But some of you will be wondering why the Tour De France bikes weigh as much as this? Certainly, it is possible to buy a bike that weighs less than these weights even as a member of the general public.

The reason for this is that Tour De France bikes have a minimum weight restriction that is set by the rules of the tournament. In fact, all professional bike racing events run by the Union Cycliste Internationale (the world governing body for sports cycling around the world), have a minimum weight requirement of 6.8kg. But why is this?

Between 1999 and 2000 the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCL) was concerned about the structural integrity of racing bikes. Particularly they were concerned that racing teams were taking steps such as drilling holes in bike frames that might make them prone to cracking or breaking as they were being ridden.

As a way of dealing with this, they set the minimum weight limit of a bike as 6.8kg, hoping that this would mean teams no longer looked to take extreme measures to reduce bike weight. Initially, this was meant to be a short-term measure, that would increase rider safety while they designed a method of more accurately testing the structural strength of the bikes. However, they are still currently using the weight requirement as their main tool for this.

Given there are no safety concerns for a heavier bike, and no apparent advantages to a bike that weighs more, there are no limitations on the maximum weight of a bike.

So why do bikes weigh more than the minimum limit?

So, we’ve established that the bikes in the Tour De France could weigh less than they do, but the minimum weight requirements mean that they all have to weigh more than 6.8kg. But if this is the case, why do some bikes weigh up to 8kg.

Bikes need to weigh more than 6.8kg, and the tournament organizers are very strict about this, with bikes weighing even 1g less than this being banned from the event.

This means that teams have to add some leeway to the weight of their bikes. Team mechanics have to ensure that even if the UCL scale is a couple of grams out from the team scale, the bike will still be legal. This can account for up to 100g extra on the bikes.

On top of this, bikes have to keep certain components the same between the days of the race. For example, the bike frames themselves. This means that the same bike frame that weighs 6.8kg with its lightest components also needs to be used with the heaviest components. As such, when the more heavy components are used, this often brings the weight of the bike over the minimum level and up to the higher weights we see on some days of the event.

Will the bike weight limit change in the future?

At the time that the UCL set the weight limit in 2000, 6.8kg was considered a very low weight for bikes. However in recent years, many are wondering whether this number is now becoming outdated. This is because since then, bike technology has massively improved, to the point that even the general public can buy a bike that weighs less than this now.

It has even gotten to the point that some teams are required to add extra weights to their bikes to bring them up to the minimum required weight. For example, putting small metal weights into the bottle holders or bike tubes.

This current weight limit means that teams often add other accessories such as power meters to their bikes, that previously would have been unavailable to them.

Whether or not you agree with this, the UCL has been asked many times if they plan to change the current weight limit, however, so far they seem to be happy with the current value. 

How much do Tour De France bike frames weigh?

Taking a look at the 2021 Tour De France bike frame weights, you can see that the average bike frame weight was 795g. This makes up a very small proportion of the overall weight of the bikes, and you can see why some bikes have to have extra weights added to meet the minimum requirements.

The lightest frame was 641g and the heaviest bike frame was 900g. While these bike frames weighed quite different amounts they both also weighed between the 6.8kg and 7.2kg on most days of the event.

What are Tour De France bikes made of?

In recent years, every bike that has been used in the Tour De France has been made of carbon fiber. Even a lot of the components, for example, wheels and seat posts have also been made of carbon fiber.

This is because carbon fiber bikes tend to be more lightweight than other materials such as steel or aluminum. On top of this, carbon fiber is also good at being molded into aerodynamic shapes that help with speed and is also very efficient at transferring the power you put into the pedal through to the wheels.

For more information on the benefits of carbon fiber bikes, take a look at my article on using carbon fiber bikes for bikepacking which can be found here.

Another advantage of carbon fiber bikes, in particular those carbon fiber road bikes, is their frame shape. Due to the aerodynamic shape of an endurance or road bike, the frame shape is well suited for attaching bikepacking bags such as a frame bag and allows you to use larger frame bags of these than other types of bikes such as mountain bikes. 

Power transfer

Finally, carbon fiber bikes will give vastly improved power transfer when you compare them to alternatives. It is for this reason that these types of bikes are used for road or racing bikes so frequently.

Overall

As you can see, Tour De France bikes appear to be as light as they are going to get, at least until the UCL decides to change the rules to allow lighter bikes to take part in the event.

If you’re interested in the weight of bikes, take a look at my article on the weight of different bike frame materials which goes into this topic in a lot more detail. You can find that article here.

Mark Holmes

30-year-old doctor with an interest in cycling, bikepacking, and statistics.

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