5 upgrades to drop weight from your mountain bike

Shed some grams from your precious shred sled

Chronic weight weenie-ism isn’t a condition solely suffered by roadies, many rad mountain bike shredders are gram counters too — particularly within the fiercely competitive XC racing crowd.

While you’re guaranteed to get a comment from a friend suggesting you "just go to the loo before your ride", that isn’t nearly as fun as buying new, shiny bits and we’ve got some suggestions on how you can make your bike that little bit lighter.

1. Upgrade your wheels

ENVE, purveyor of carbon loveliness produces some very lightweight kit
ENVE, purveyor of carbon loveliness produces some very lightweight kit

While it’s among the most rehashed advice given in cycling, moving to a lighter set of hoops should usually be your first port of call if you’re trying to shed weight from your bike.

Stock wheels rarely cut the mustard and not only will a lighter set of wheels drop weight from your bike, they will also likely make it feel more spritely with less effort being required to spin them up.

Unsure what to look for in a new set of wheels? Check out our buyer's guides below.

2. Go tubeless

Tubeless set up has become much easier with the introduction of products like the Airshot
Tubeless set up has become much easier with the introduction of products like the Airshot

While we’re on the subject of wheels, there’s pretty much no compelling reason to still be running tubes on your mountain bike wheels in to 2017.

While ditching tubes will save something in the region of 225g per wheel it will also allow you to run significantly lower pressures and tubeless set ups are far less prone to punctures.

Unsure how to go tubeless? Check out our guide below.

3. Go 1x

OneUp is one of a host of manufactures bringing 1x set ups to the market
OneUp is one of a host of manufactures bringing 1x set ups to the market

Although many bikes are now designed around 1x drivetrains, converting an older 2x or 3x bike to a single ring set up is guaranteed to drop some weight, reduce maintenance and make for a cleaner looking bike.

As well as the surplus chainrings you’ll lose a shifter, mech and cables, so the weight savings quickly add up.

Find out how to convert your bike to a 1x set up in our article below.

4. Go rigid

The Orbea Alma forgoes suspension in favour of a lightweight set up for 2017
The Orbea Alma forgoes suspension in favour of a lightweight set up for 2017

If you’re looking to drop a tonne of weight or just want to spice up your riding a little, you could consider going old school and converting your hardtail into a rigid speed weapon.

Suspension forks are becoming astonishingly light, but nothing will match a fully rigid fork with the lightest examples coming in around 560g.

Although rigid forks require sharp handling they will make even the most boring trail more interesting and are well worth a go.

Check out our rigid fork reviews below.

5. Go full weight weenie

This... This is weight weenieism
This... This is weight weenieism

A browse through any XC bike check will provoke a combination of both awe and alarm in most — missing rotor bolts? Thread like seat clamps? Insane custom stems? Brutal carbon saddles? We’ve seen it all and the lengths mechanics go to save precious grams never ceases to astonish us.

Check out our pro-bike galleries below for more lightweight insanity.

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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