What are the lightest and heaviest bike frame materials? This is a question often asked by both riders and bike manufacturers. Here, I try to answer this question as simply as possible. We’ll also establish the lightest and heaviest bikes ever made, along with the typical weights of the different types of bikes (Road bikes, gravel bikes, etc).
Carbon fibre is the lightest bike frame material. Carbon fibre bikes weigh on average 7.9kg, which is far less than bikes made from other materials. In contrast, the heaviest bike frame material is steel, with bikes made from steel weighing an average of 9.4kg per bike.
When looking into the heaviest and lightest options for a bike frame material, understanding the factors that influence the weight of a bike such as the density of the material or the type of bike you are looking at are very important.
Why is a lightweight bike better?
There are obvious advantages to a lighter bike, such as being able to easily carry and move your bike around, however, the main reason people look to buy a lighter bike, is that people assume a lighter bike will make you faster. Jim Gourley’s book Faster: Demystifying the Science of Triathlon Speed has put this to the test.
In this book written by an aerospace engineer come triathlete, he tests out a range of different bikes in a range of weight brackets to see the actual impact that bike weight has on your speed. While a lighter bike did make the cyclists faster, the difference was not as large as we initially expected.
Even at the steepest gradients, a one-pound difference (450g) between bikes, only improved the cyclist’s speed by 2.5 seconds per mile. While at the extreme end of bike racing, a few seconds can make the difference, for the average person, it’s not worth spending thousands of pounds on a slightly lighter bike frame! When it comes to improving your speed, there are other areas you might want to look into, such as a more aerodynamic frame.
How much does a lightweight bike weigh?
The actual weight of a lightweight bike will depend on the type of bike you are looking at, a road bike will innately weigh less than a mountain bike due to the materials used and the structure of the bike frame itself. We’ve compared the average weights of a range of budget, average, and high-end bikes in each category to help give you a better idea of how much a “lightweight bike” actually weighs.
How much do road bikes weigh?
As you can see, when it comes to road bikes, the more you pay, the lighter weight the bikes become, with the largest drop in weight being found on the “High-end” and most expensive bikes.
The average road bike weighs 10.1kg and so we would suggest that a lightweight road bike weighs less than this.
How much do gravel bikes weigh?
Much like road bikes, gravel bikes also had a lower weight as they become more expensive, however, the difference is not as significant as that seen in road bikes.
The average gravel bike weighs 11kg and so we would suggest that a lightweight gravel bike weighs less than this.
How much do mountain bikes weigh?
When it comes to mountain bikes, the price does not correlate with the weight. This is likely because mountain bikes are often used on more difficult terrain where the strength of the bike frame and the durability of the bike components are more important than the weight.
Mountain bikes are also designed for downhill riding, where the benefits of a lightweight bike are least seen. As you can see, road bikes generally weigh much less than mountain and gravel bikes, so much so that the lightest mountain bike we found was almost as heavy as the heaviest road bike on our list.
The average mountain bike weighs 14.2kg and so we would suggest that a lightweight mountain bike weighs less than this.
What is the weight of the lightest bike?
What is the lightest bike that has ever been made?
The lightest bike ever made is the love child of German engineer Gunter Mai and the American bike shop owner Jason Woznick. However, this custom bike passion project cost around $45,000 to create.
What is the lightest production bike?
The lightest production bike to date is the AX Lightness VIAL Evo Ultra which weighs a mind-blowing 4.4kg. This bike is made by German lightweight specialist AX-Lightness and comes in at just over £10,000.
What is the lightest racing bike?
In the racing world, weight appears to be everything, so much so that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has had to set a minimum bike weight of 6.8kg to ensure that bikes are made in a way that they remain structurally sound, and help keep the racers on a playing field. As a result, the most popular racing bikes all weigh as close to 6.8kg as possible.
What is the heaviest bike frame material?
Steel is the heaviest bike frame material that is still commonly used today, but it’s also one of the most affordable. Steel bikes tend to be heavier than the alternatives due to the density of steel as well as the fact that steel bike frames have to be welded together.
What is the heaviest bike in the world? Antanas Kontrimas holds the Guinness world record for the heaviest rideable bicycle which came in at a whopping 1,385 kg (3050 lb) in 2016. The bike came in at almost 3 meters long and required steel stabilizers to keep the bike from toppling over. The bike came with 2 full metal seats (along with backrests) and concrete wheels to add to the total weight.
How much do different bike frame materials weigh?
The best way to work out the weight of different bike frame materials is to look at 2 key factors, density, and average bike weight.
Firstly we can look at the density of the material in question. Density is the mass per unit volume of any object and so is a measure of how “dense” an object is. The higher the density of an object the heavier a bike frame made out of that material will be.
|Frame Material||Material density (kg/m³)|
Secondly, we can look at the average weight of bikes made from that material. When collecting our data we only used the weight of road bikes to ensure that we are comparing like for like.
We can see the effect that the low density of carbon fibre has on the overall bike weight in the graph above. Carbon fibre bikes were by far the lightest bike frame option of the bikes we surveyed.
As we have seen, road bikes are the lightest type of bicycle and carbon fibre is the lightest bike frame material, making road bikes made from carbon fibre the lightest option out there.
The heaviest types of bikes are mountain bikes, and steel is the heaviest bike frame material. A steel mountain bike is the heaviest bike option for the average person.