The most cost-effective weight saving upgrades

Everyone likes to save weight off their bike. No one likes to spend lots of money doing so. So we’ve worked out which are the best bits to upgrade on your bike with the maximum gram-per-buck ratio.

bike wheel weighing

We’ve split this into two categories: road and MTB.

We’ve tried to make it as realistic and accurate as possible but everyone’s bike will be different – as will their upgrade budget – so you’ll need to bear this in mind when examining the comparison tables. We’ve also mostly used manufacturer’s stated weights (which are sometimes slightly inaccurate).

Regardless though this info should be really useful, not to mention rather surprising, for all cyclists interested in shaving some grams off their bike in the most effective ways.

How to read the comparison tables

The ‘From‘ column is intended to represent an equivalent sort of thing that you’d find as OEM on a mid-range off-the-peg complete bike.

The ‘To‘ column is the suggested component to upgrade to.

The ‘Merlin price‘ column is the cost of the upgrade item from us. We’ve gone with this (as opposed to RRP prices) because it better reflects the real world result.

Road bike components comparison

Component From To Weight saved Merlin price Gram per £ ratio
Chainset Shimano Sora 844g Shimano 105 737g 107g £69.95 1.53g per £
Chain Shimano Tiagra 277g KMC X10 SL 240g 37g 14.95 2.47g per £
Cassette Shimano Tiagra 11-25T 216g Shimano Dura Ace 11-23T 163g 53g 94.99 0.56g per £
Rear mech Shimano Tiagra 275g Shimano Dura Ace 7900 166g 109g £109.99 1g per £
Handlebar Deda RHM Zero 100 248g 3T Rotunda Team Carbon 192g 56g £145.00 0.39g per £
Saddle Forza Stratos 329g Forza Cirrus Pro Carbon 178g 151g £43.99 3.43g per £
Seatpost Deda Zero 295g Easton EC90 200g 95g £129.95 0.73g per £
Pedals Shimano R540 SPD-SL 330g Time Xpresso 6 205g 125g £59.95 2.09g per £
Wheelset Shimano WH-501 1884g Zipp 30 Alloy 1655g 229g £239.40 0.96g per £
Tyre x 2 Continental Ultra Sport 2 wire 640g Continental GP 4000S II 430g 210g £55.00 3.81g per £


So what does this tell us?

In order, tyres, saddle, pedals, chain and chainset are the most cost-effective things to upgrade.

Wheels are a good weight saving (especially because it’s rotating mass) but they will always have a relatively high price tag.

Handlebars and seatposts should be a bit further down your weight-weenie list than you might have expected.

MTB components comparison

Component From To Weight saved Merlin price Gram per £ ratio
Chainset Shimano Deore triple 975g Shimano XT double 740g 235g £89.99 2.61g per £
Chain Shimano HG54 276g KMC X10 SL 240g 37g £33.95 1.09g per £
Cassette Shimano Deore 360g Shimano XT 264g 96g £27.95 3.43g per £
Rear mech Shimano Deore 286g Shimano XTR 10sp 214g 72g £109.99 0.65g per £
Disc brake x 2 Shimano M615 564g Shimano XT M8000 508g 56g £129.00 0.43g per £
Suspension fork Rockshox 30 Silver TK 2180g Rockshox Revelation RCT3 1636g 544g £474.95 1.15g per £
Handlebars Easton EA50 riser 300g RaceFace Next SL 3/4 riser 155g 145g £76.19 1.9g per £
Saddle Forza Stratos 329g SDG Bel-Air Rl2.0 Ti-Alloy 225g 104g £62.99 1.65g per £
Wheelset Shimano MT15 2282g Crank Bros Iodine 2 1850g 432g £239.99 1.8g per £


So what does this tell us?

In order, cassette, chainset, handlebars, wheels and saddle are the most cost-effective things to upgrade.

Upgrading to a better suspension fork is a good weight saving (and it’ll improve your bike’s handling) but a good fork will never be cheap.

Somewhat surprisingly, upgrading disc brakes won’t save you much weight. You’re much better off upgrading all your drivetrain bits first.

NB: we’ve not included tyres in the MTB comparison. This is because OEM tyres on MTBs are often light/skimpy affairs and as such any aftermarket tyre purchase will end up being the same weight (or even slightly heavier sometimes).

What about clothing?

Good question. Shoes and helmets can offer some surprising weight savings. So can winter jackets. So can hydration packs.

But we’re not going to go into that this time. Maybe we’ll do a blog about weight-saving with apparel and accessories in the near future.

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One Comment
  1. I think the Tiagra road cassette weight should have read 261grammes and not 216. Also, possibly would have seen better Gramme per pound ratios by going for ultegra rather than dura ace for road cassette and rear mech and XT rather than XTR for mtb rear mech. This would get most of the weight saving at about half the cost. What about inner tubes and tubeless compounds? For road tyres, most of the weight saving is to be had by going for Kevlar (folding) rather than wire beads and there are far cheaper options than GP4000’s, admittedly not as high performance. Interesting article though!

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