Riding This Week


Chainbuster MTB Racing Series - Georgia's friendliest MTB racing. 6 & 9 Hour Endurance racing for solo or teams.

Dirty Spokes - Duathlon and Trail running series. Love these guys. First class events.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weight Weenies Unite! ...and the Super Bowl

I guess I had better describe what a weight weenie is before I declare my allegiance. After all there may be newbies reading this and I don't want to...wait...should I define "newbie"? Forget it. A weight weenie is a roadie or mountain biker who obsesses over the weight of their bike. More specifically they obsess over the individual parts that make up the bike. Like the frame, fork, components, saddle, wheels, etc. I myself have never obsessed over the weight of anything accept myself so that means I am not by definition a weight weenie. However I have many friends who are and my wife has an opinion I shall not share.

GIANT Anthem 29er with American Classic wheelset
Back in the old days before carbon fiber and even before titanium a weight weenie would do crazy things like drill holes in their stems to shave weight. Now-a-days it only takes one thing to reduce the weight of your ride...money. Trust me folks, it takes a lot of money to play the weight weenie game today. That's because so many components are made from titanium and carbon and those two materials are expensive. But it's not always hard to reduce weight. You could do something as simple as replacing the bolts on your handlebar stem with titanium ones for around $20.00. That's good for about 8 grams. But the big payoff in weight savings comes by replacing larger items like the wheelset or frameset. You can cut 2 pounds off a mountain bike with the right wheels.

GIANT Advanced SL Carbon with Ksyrium SL w/ Ceramic Bearings
Which brings me to my latest purchase and it's consequence. I bought a brand new Park Tool Scale so that I might better understand if certain choices I make are worth while. I soon began to realize that knowing how much everything in my shop weighs, weighs on me. I'd weigh my bike with one set of wheels and the other. Then I'd weigh the wheels. Then I weighed the cassette. It was getting out of hand. So to put things in a little better perspective I started weighing things in pounds. The differences don't seem as drastic that way and then I don't stress as much.

GIANT Advanced SL with Zipp 404 Tubulars
This picture helps me illustrate the disease of weight weeniedom. A weight weenie would desperately try to find the item he needs to replace that will save him that 5 ounces. He'll barter his way to replacing the aluminum stem for a carbon one so he can see that 15 change to a 14. Me...I'd just take the pedals off the bike. It was interesting to note that there's almost a pound difference between my Ksyriums and my Zipp tubulars. And the Ksyriums have ceramic bearings with a SRAM Red 11/28 one piece cassette compared to the Zipps with steel bearings and standard SRAM 11/25. Mind blowing!

OK. Not really.

Here's the thing. I could have the lightest bike on planet earth but without the legs to push it...I'm just another roadie. It's like having a $4,000 rifle and being cross-eyed. Obviously you don't own the gun to shoot it, you just like owning a really nice gun. It's great to show off to your friends. It's fun to tinker around with. You can add a scope or maybe a nice camouflage finish. And I think that's quite alright. It's just not me. If I'm going to spend money on something then by golly I'm going to use it. Heck, I'm going to use it up. That's probably why, unlike a typical roadie, I don't have a basement full of bikes. I mean I've had a lot of bikes but never at one time. When asked "How many bikes do you need?", the typical roadie will say "One more than what I have right now!" But I'm not that way. Not really.

OK maybe just a little. But not nearly as bad as some people.

Embacher Bike Collection
So I'm glad I bought the scale. It's fun to play with. After racing on the all the different bikes and wheels in my possession I know whether or not a pound makes any difference. And in most cases it doesn't. It's all about the legs and lungs and heart. The scale just confirms it.

So to my weight weenie friends I say...keep it up if it makes you happy...and I'll buy your old stuff. :)


When I was a freshman in high school I invited all my friends over to my house on Super Bowl Sunday to play Two Hand Tackle and then watch the game. The only rules: No girls and no booze. That was 24 years ago. Since that time we've moved the game to the Jackson County High School football field and just in the past two years started bringing the kids. My Dad can't believe it! We never know who will show up. But whoever does is treated to some great fun.

For three hours we played this year. No score is kept. No penalties are called. Just trash talking, laugh till you cry, out of breath hands on your knees type of football. When we finally thought to take a group picture some had already gone. It was a great day with great people. I can't wait to do it again next year.

This weekend it's the Ride to Helen 'n Back! Join us for a NO DROP RIDE as we tackle the mountains again. Pun intended.

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes


  1. Cervelo R3 with secret custom prototype carbon tubulars = 13.8lbs


  2. Might I add that our daughter, Molly, was the ONLY girl playing football with all of the guys. She also made several nice receptions, and she outran all the boys her age for a touchdown. That's my girl!!