8 Smartest Ways to Reduce Weight on an XC Mountain Bike

8 ways to reduce weight on our cross country racing MTB

The topic of weight for an XC mountain biker is pretty commonplace, as we all want to reduce weight on our XC / Cross Country mountain bike rigs. I have always been a weight weenie, whether I am racing XC, Enduro or DH, I think it always matters.

For further vindication weight matters, just look at the mountain bike rigs at the UCI Worldcup Level. Nino’s Scott full suspension carbon XC mountain racing bike hovers around 20lbs. and many of the carbon DH mountain bikes are in the low 30’s, only a few pounds more than a stealth XC racing rig was not too far back.

It is a simple fact that 2 athletes in the same shape riding similar equipment at similar weights in a race will be hindered by excess bicycle weight, all other things being equal.

I personally have experienced this myself at the national level, and if you keep reading I will discuss the smartest most economical places to begin reducing weight on your XC racing mountain bike.

First, it is all about rotational weight. Things that spin, and move mass like cross country mountain bicycle wheels / tires, XC MTB cranks / pedals are going to yield the biggest results, and the most bang for your buck when making weight savings upgrades.

You will quickly discover that after you make some big weight reductions, it becomes extremely expensive to continue shaving the grams off your XC racing mountain bike.

For instance, once all rotational weight is reduced, you will begin with small non-rotating components, like stems, bars, etc and this becomes a very expensive proposition to shave a few grams here and there.

Weight Reducing Tip: Most XC / Cross Country mountain bike racers don’t stop and consider this huge tip. Your XC MTB shoes, yes shoes are rotating all the time, and you’re pushing them through the air hampered by often 100-300 extra grams of useless weight not found on a more expensive higher quality XC mountain bike shoe. Some riders even opt for road bike shoes to shave even more weight if they are the kind of rider that never comes off their pedals.

Here is our list of components / gear you should address first to reduce those extra grams and turn your overweight XC mountain bike lighter.

8 Smartest Ways to Reduce Weight:

 Biggest bang for the buck

  1. XC Mountain Bike UST Tires (100-400 grams)*
  2. XC Mountain Bike UST Wheelset (200-800 grams)
  3. Cross Country Mountain Bicycle Cransket (100-400 grams)**
  4. XC Racing Mountain Bike Shoes (100-300 grams)
  5. XC Mountain Bike Racing Fork (200-400 grams)
  6. XC mountain bike pedals (100-200 grams)
  7. XC mountain bike saddle (100-250 grams)
  8. XC mountain bike cassette (100-200 grams)

*This is probably the smartest most affordable immediate place to start. If you aren’t running UST, consider a UST conversion kit as well.

**You might want to consider a 1x drive train conversion to reduce weight. If so read our article on 1x vs. 2x vs. 3x mountain bike drive train conversion to see how much more weight you can reduce in the conversion.

Less Bang for the buck

The process of reducing weight on an XC race mountain bike can get expensive fast. Carefully consider whether a complete bicycle upgrade makes the most sense, or if you want to have at it slowly as your budget becomes available then part by part may make the most sense.

Remember if you invest in high quality parts, you can always transfer them over to a future bicycle or frame, thus they are a good future investment as well.

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This page was last updated on 4/13/2018.