Blog 10-06-23

Turf Zone – Suttieslea

Riding the single speed Harley Quinn has been a delight, it’s smooth, light, fast and as quiet as a mouse. My only regret is wishing I done this years ago. The overall build went well, other than one final issue and that was an intermittent clicking/knocking noise from the rear. Some detective work revealed it to be the Shimano freewheel, actually a new part but one that been in the shed for about 10-years. Not sure if it’s had a fault since new or been damaged when I dismantled it to add some grease. Will probably never know. A new one sorted the problem.

The bike weighs in at 12.20kg, and I’d like to see if I can get that down to 10.00kg or less. And having spent some considerable time looking at various bike components and their weights, this is indeed possible. The main issue is the overall cost and what I’m prepared to pay to save that weight. I started looking at the larger components, first on the list, the tyres. Perhaps the easiest component to replace and save a chunk of weight. And be cost effective at the same time.

The tyres I’m using at the moment are Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour, 700 x 35 which hit the scales at 900g each, 1800g in total. They were bought for their superior puncture protection which, of course, adds weight and with little thought towards weight at the time. They also have a fairly deep tread depth for a road tyre. There are plenty other tyres out there that weigh far less but most have less puncture protection built-in.

One tyre, the Schwalbe Marathon Racer, 700 x 30, caught my eye and comes in at 395g each. This would bring the overall weight down to 11.40 kg. And that’s a fair way towards my 10.00kg goal. You will note I’ve gone for a smaller 30mm tyres; this is to allow me to fit mudguards (400g) when the weather turn poor again. With the 35mm tyres, I’ve only a few millimetres clearance which will soon get clogged with debris.

Still looking at the wheels, I came across something of interest, TPU inner tubes. Rather than butyl or latex, these are made from thermoplastic polyurethane and offer a number of advantages over traditional inner tubes. First is weight. Compared to my current tubes Continental tubes which weigh 168g each, these only weight about 40g (Turbolito Road 700c), that’s a total saving of 256g, and if you include the spare inner tube I always carry, make that 388g saving. For comparison, a large four-fingered Kit-Kat weighs 41.5g. This brings the bike weight down to about 11.10 kg. One snag is cost, around £26.00 each, about 3 or 4 times the cost of standard tubes. TPU tubes also have less rolling resistance, better puncture protection, use less materials in manufacture and can be recycled.

And that’s about as far as I’m going at the moment, I don’t see the point, for example, of spending another £80.00 on carbon fibre handlebars to save 50g over my current Race Face Ride £30.00 aluminium bars. I could also reduce the overall weight by another 1kg with a set of carbon fibre wheels but that’s in the range of £1000.00. No, I think not.

To finish, I’ll just say the point of all this weight saving isn’t to go faster and do better times, it’s simply to help avoid any visits from the Trapped-nerve-in-the-back Goblin, who after visits if I do turf sessions where I have to carry the bike up steps or the like, or on off-road trails like Roslin Glen or Dalhousie Castle. More soon.

Copyright ©2023 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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