This time of year most of us are trying to figure out how to shed the five pounds of tenacious baby fat we gained over the holidays.
Instead of depriving himself of home cooking and craft beer, Jason Moeschler decided to put his bike on a diet. “I lost five pounds almost overnight!” proclaimed Moeschler, the chief operating officer of Seattle-based Evil Bikes.
Jason’s project was his spanking new Evil Following MB (‘mo better’). To reach his target, he tracked each component gram by gram on a spreadsheet. The result: a reduction of 2,374 grams, or 5.234 pounds.
His experience re-taught him the lesson all mountain bikers eventually learn: When it comes to speed, handling and ride quality, nothing compares to trimming phat.
“Taking 5 pounds off a bike is like losing 20 pounds off the body,” is how Moeschler puts it.
On his first ride out he set multiple PRs at Tiger Mountain, a rough and tumble trail network 30 miles east of Evil’s headquarters. The new standards came on the downhills as well as the climbs.
And they weren’t even close: On a three-peat climb-and-drop loop he slashed 40 minutes total off his typical times. This is quite a feat but we suspect he took a nap or had a beer on his previous attempts.
So how’d he manage to pull it off? After some prodding from MTBR, Moeschler produced his component breakdown. The big loss, as any weight weenie might predict, came in wheels.
Switching to SRAM Rise cross-country carbon wheels lost 498g — more than a pound. Moving from 2.3 WTB Vigilantes to 2.25 Rangers proved an even greater bonanza — 802g, nearly 2 pounds.
Other significant reductions came from:
- Fork. Going from a Fox 34 140mm to the inverted 120mm RS-1 saved 339g.
- Seat post. Going from a Fox 160 Transfer to BikeYoke 125 Dropper slashed 118g.
- Shock. Losing the air can on the RockShox saved 102g.
And in a place gram-counters often fail to take into consideration, Moeschler saved 212g by using only one scoop of sealant instead of three.
The big chunks add up fast. But Moeschler also sweated the small stuff. He swapped conventional rotor bolts for ti, saving 8 grams. He subbed alloy valves for brass, a 6g reduction. Losing crank booties got him 10g.
But did he go too far? In transforming his bike from a romping trail masher to an XC flyer, Jason risked strength and durability.
Moeschler acknowledges flatting his front tire on a ride over the weekend — a possible penalty for narrow rims paired with XC tires on Tiger Mountain’s infamous gnar. Jason also admits he may want to go with beefier brakes. Either move could cost him half a pound or more.
For the rowdier rides, Moeschler has a plan. An all-mountain wheel set with burly tires, and a plus setup with 2.8s. With those in the arsenal, “I can pretty much make this bike do anything,” Moeschler says.
Analyzing Moeschler’s build, we’ve come up with a few places he could lose even more weight. (Note that these are actual weights from MTBR’s lab, not manufacturer’s listings.)
- Subbing a Selle Italia SLR Carbonio Flow saddle would save him 30 grams.
- An ENVE cockpit would save 50g, mainly on the 91g stem. And he’d gain ENVE’s stiff-but-damped payoff as well.
- Swapping over to 2.25 Nobby Nics might save as much as 100g (or not — tire weights vary wildly). We regularly run Snakeskin Nobbys on those routes without problems.
- Lighter pedals (Crank Brothers Eggbeater 11s at 178g or even Candy 11s at 251g) and grips (ESI Racers Edge at 39g) would weenie his build further.
From what we can tell, that’s about it for bringing down Jason’s numbers. Other than, of course, working on that waistline. Jason is seen here A/B testing with ZERO bike weight.
Perhaps setting all those PRs will burn off some flesh as well. That’s the great thing about a lighter bike. It not only rides mo’ better, it makes you want to go mo’ faster.
And then he quickly adds pounds to the bike as he rides in any weather in Seattle, WA.