Scratching a few grams on the scale is becoming an increasingly common obsession among cyclists and bikers. Especially among the latter, for whom 300 grams of more or less in the combined weight seems a reason more than enough to buy one model or another of bicycle.
Certainly the lighter components offer an advantage when it comes to riding in terms of weight, flex, stiffness and comfort. However, they also require a greater effort for our pocket. For example, the difference between opting for a carbon frame or an aluminum frame on the same bike model comes to difference money?
Can I buy an aluminum bike or a carbon bike?
Before buying a mountain bike you should know that you can save a few kilograms of weight and many hundreds of euros if instead of investing the money in a carbon frame you invest it in a good set of wheels.
Wheels are one of the most important elements to lighten the weight of a bicycle. In addition, they have a direct impact on handling, acceleration, braking and absorption of uneven terrain.
Those difference money that may exist between a mountain bike with an aluminum frame and the same version with a carbon frame, you can dedicate to a good set of wheels. You will have money left over, the overall weight of the bike will be less and its performance will be greater.
How to choose the right wheels:
Here are some details that you should take into account when choosing the wheel-bike combination that will help you lighten the weight and improve performance.
The first key point is the thickness. A wider wheel offers better traction, while a narrower wheel allows you to roll faster. Typically, a thicker tire is used on the front rim and narrower on the rear. To improve your performance on the bike, look for the combination of tires that best suits your riding style.
This is related to the second key point when choosing MTB wheels: the use you are going to do with your bike. It is not the same to practice endure than to ride on dusty tracks. Nor is it the same to take long routes through muddy terrain than to go out on arid trails.
There is no tire that works equally well on all types of surfaces, so you should find the wheel that best suits your type of use within mountain biking. If you practice endure or downhill, you will need a wheel that offers more grip. And if you do marathon or XC, you should opt for a tire with a higher rolling capacity.
To choose a lightweight tire, make sure they have a Kevlar rim instead of steel. They are easy to distinguish, because steel hoop covers always maintain their original circumference, while Kevlar hoop covers can be easily folded. In addition, they are also easier to mount on the rim precisely because of their greater flexibility.
Start by lightening the exterior:
If the wheel-bike combination is important to lighten the overall weight of your MTB, so is the tire-tire combination to improve handling. It’s very simple: the set of the rim, tube (or tubeless) and tires have a direct influence on acceleration, braking and pedaling.
The less inertia this set has, the faster you can change direction and speed. To reduce the inertia of the wheels, you must lighten these components from the outside in. In other words, the order of influence of these elements begins with the tire. Choose a cover that is as light as possible. The difference in weight of the tire is more important than that of the hub, since the former is located on the outermost part and the latter on the innermost.
The more weight there is on the outside of the wheels, the more effort you will need to pedal and turn them.
The advantages of carbon wheels:
The main advantage of carbon wheels is obvious: their weight. Some models drop below 1,300 grams. The lower the weight, the less force you have to do to advance more meters.
But it is not just a question of scale. Carbon mountain bike wheels also offer a higher degree of stiffness per unit of weight than aluminum wheels and promote a smoother ride by absorbing uneven terrain more flexibly.
In short, if you want to put your bike on a diet, before opting for a carbon frame you should consider the option of buying a set of carbon wheels. You will be able to reduce the overall weight, increase the performance of your bike and save money.