Mountain bikes have an average weight between 28lbs and 30lbs, but they can be as heavy as 40lbs depending on the type of mountain bike you are looking at.
As a cyclist of many years, and an ex-semi professional rider, I am someone who has worked in bike shops. I have spent a lot of time around bikes and know a lot about them. Mountain biking is one of my favorite things to do, and when I'm not riding, I'm usually working on bikes.
In this article, we are going to speak about the different types, average weight, why mountain bikes are so heavy, if the weight matters, how to make your bike lighter and the best upgrades for your bike.
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Modern mountain bikes have the average weight of a mountain bike is 28lbs to 30lbs. This is what you will find when you go into a shop and look at all-round hardtail and full suspension bikes. They offer a weight that most users can pick up and carry, and it means that they will be capable of going on the majority of off road trails.
Mountain bikes which are cheaper are generally heavier. This is because of the components on the bike. For example, suspension, and a cheap set of forks will have a travel rebound of 130mm, and so will be an expensive set. The costlier forks will be much lighter and rebound better. The more you spend on mountain biking, you can either get a more lightweight bike or a bike with better ability.
Mountain bikes are heavy for a few reasons. The first is that they need more capability compared to a road bike, for example, as they have to deal with more challenging terrain, such as jumps and going over obstacles such as tree routes and rocks. The second is that they have to take more abuse. They get thrown around and rattled by bumps while other bikes don't. You will also find that mountain bikes crash more often than other bikes. You need to be able to cope with this as it happens to all riders. They require more robustness and have more support for the rider. Lastly, they are not always built to be fast. They are made for control and to get around a trail safely and not just quickly.
In my opinion, it depends on who is riding the bike. Some riders need a bike to be lighter, faster, and more agile. For professional riders, I feel it matters greatly. The difference between 2lbs on the bike could be the difference of 30 seconds over a race, which could be the difference between 1st place and 10th place. When riders are racing to earn money, and it comes down to finishing position, the bike being light is essential. Everything they can do to get to the finish first, they will.
If you are planning a quiet ride with some friends or family, I feel mountain bike weight doesn't matter so much. You are not racing to finish first, and if it takes you a little longer to get up that climb or down the trail, 30 seconds is irrelevant. If anything, the rider with the heavier bike might have to work a little harder, but overall, the difference will be minimal.
There are many ways you can make your mountain bike lighter. Many riders do this to improve performance or to make riding a little easier. Here are the best ways to lighten your mountain bike:
It may seem obvious, but this is what many riders tend to do. When they decide they want to upgrade to a newer model or feel the need to be faster, they upgrade to a lighter bike and get rid of their older bike. It's the most expensive way to get a light bike but it does keep you up to date with technology.
The components of the bike come together to make your overall working bike weight. We often upgrade components to lighter parts to give the bike a lower overall weight. You have to be careful as this can affect the bike's performance. We will talk more about the various components you can upgrade to later in this article.
Mountain bikes typically come with a lot of parts. Not all are fundamental working parts of the bike, and these can be removed to make the bike lighter. There are parts such as reflectors, valve caps, lighting, and you can even remove parts of the gearing. We wouldn't recommend these removals as they improve your safety and the experience of mountain biking, however, some riders may still do so.
Standard Mountain bike components are some of the heaviest. By upgrading, you can make your bike much lighter. Unfortunately, the bike can lose its performance by making a part lighter, for example swapping out suspension forks for rigid forks. You have to be careful about what to upgrade, and here's what you need to know.
Mountain bike frames typically come in three different materials. You have carbon fiber, aluminum, and steel. Carbon fiber is the lightest, though it is very fragile. Aluminum is lightweight but not as much as carbon fiber. It is very rugged though. Steel is the heaviest but also the most flexible and the strongest. Upgrading a frame isn't cheap, and you have to check that the parts from your old bike will fit.
Upgrading your wheels makes a considerable amount of difference. Standard mountain bike wheels are built not for speed but strength. If you are looking to upgrade, going for a lighter aluminum set or a carbon set will make your bike much faster.
Suspension on mountain bikes is heavy, as it has an essential job. Upgrading your suspension is one of the priciest ways to go, but it will make your bike lighter, and the suspension will work more efficiently. It's a great way to save weight but does come at a hefty price tag. High-end suspension will require more servicing. You also need to check that it has the same travel as taking a 170mm suspension set, and replacing it with a 130mm suspension set will make your bike a lot less capable.
You can swap out many parts on a mountain bike to make it lighter, such as handlebars, stem, seat post, skewers, saddle, grips, and even bolts. Replacing these will save a minimal amount of weight but put a lot of upgrades together, and you will find that it makes a difference. The main thing to think about is whether replacing the part will be worthwhile and if it gets the job done. An example being lighter handlebars. You could change from alloy to carbon fiber. Providing it fits and still does the same job, it's a good upgrade.
The average mountain bike comes in various shapes and sizes. This is because they are built for different purposes. In this next section, I'm going to tell you a little bit about the four main types of mountain bikes.
Before we start talking about the different types of bikes, the first thing you need to think about when it comes to mountain bikes is hardtail or full suspension. The difference is that hardtail bikes have suspension on the front and full suspension mountain bikes have suspension on the front and the rear. Hardtail bikes are generally lighter bike than a full suspension bike.
Cross Country mountain bikes are the lightest mountain bikes you will find on the market. They are built to be fast and take on lighter off road terrain. They will typically be hardtails, but you might find some full suspension mountain bikes at this level too. The suspension travel will only go to about 120mm maximum. They are made for speed and comfort as cross country races can be very short or very long.
All mountain bikes typically come in both hardtail and as a full suspension bike. They are made for more rugged terrain compared to cross country mountain bikes, and they will generally have suspension that will go to 150mm travel. They are heavier than cross country bikes, which comes down to the extra components for off road ability.
Enduro bikes are typically a full-suspension mountain bike and made for aggressive climbing and descending. They will have suspension capabilities of 170mm travel and are much heavier than all mountain and cross country bikes. These are the ultimate trail riding bike.
Downhill mountain bikes are the heaviest mountain you will find on the market. They are a capable full suspension mountain bike and are not built for going up hills. They are purely made to go downhill fast. Weight doesn't matter as much on these bikes, as they can go up to 40lbs. This weight can sometimes be an advantage. The suspension forks will travel up to 210mm, and a downhill mountain bike is the most capable mountain bike on the market.
The average weight of a mountain bike is 28lbs to 30lbs, but they can go as high as 40lbs. The type of mountain bike you purchase and what the bike is designed to do will make a difference. You will also find the price you pay will make a difference to the overall weight.
You can make a mountain bike lighter by upgrading it, but make sure that you're not removing the bike's capabilities and sacrificing its abilities. Having a more lightweight bike will make the work a little easier, but the difference between losing a couple of pounds of your bike is minimal.