A mountain bike’s weight depends on 3 variables:
- The materials used for the frame and components (carbon fiber, aluminum or steel bikes).
- The type of suspension on the bike (full suspension versus hardtail bikes).
- The type of terrain the bike is meant for (downhill-specific bikes will weigh more than cross-country style bikes).
In many ways the weight of your mountain bike can make or break your riding experience. Learn how these three variables affect the weight of mountain bikes, and, in turn, how weight affects mountain bike performance. This knowledge can help you make an informed decision when purchasing a mountain bike.
How much does a mountain bike weigh?
Here are some examples of popular mountain bike models and their weights. As you can see, there is a wide variety in weight and price, depending on the three variables: Materials, suspension, and type of bike.
|Make ; Model||Weight||Price|
|Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1||32.0 lbs||$599.00|
|Trek Marlin 5||30.8 lbs||$719.99|
|Giant Talon 29 2||30.5 lbs||$750.00|
|Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29||32.6 lbs||$1,000.00|
|Santa Cruz Blur||27.0 lbs||$4,199.00|
|Santa Cruz V-10 (High-end downhill race bike)||35.0 lbs||$6,699.00|
|Specialized S-Works Epic AXS HT (High-end XC race bike)||19.0 lbs||$10,000.00|
How to find out the weight of your bike online
Most mountain bike manufacturers will list the weight of their bike on their websites. This weight will usually be of a medium sized frame, without pedals. If you have a specific bike in mind, you can also ask a local bike shop to weigh the bike for you.
How much does a mountain bike weigh? The three variables:
The materials used for the frame and components:
There are three common materials used for frames and components of mountain bikes. Aluminum, steel and carbon fiber:
- Aluminum is probably the most common material used for bikes. It is known for being lightweight, affordable, and is not prone to rust.
- Carbon fiber is the most expensive material used in mountain bikes. It is generally used on higher-end bike frames because of its high strength-to-weight ratio. These bikes are very stiff and lightweight, however, if cracked the damage is usually irreparable.
- Steel is found both in lower-end bike frames (such as those found in department stores) and in higher-end frames. It is prized for its strength and smooth ride characteristics. It is also easier to repair than aluminum or carbon fiber. However, department store frames are very heavy due to the type of steel used.
These materials all have their pros and cons, but one important thing to consider is their weight. Steel will weigh more than aluminum, and aluminum will weigh more than carbon fiber.
The material of the wheels will also contribute to how much a mountain bike weighs. This is because the “rotational” weight of rolling wheels is very noticeable when riding your bike. Carbon fiber or lightweight aluminum wheels will make a big difference in the feel of the bike. If you are going to upgrade your bike to make it weigh less, lighter-weight wheels are the best place to start.
The type of suspension on the bike:
There are two types of suspension used on mountain bikes: full suspension and hardtail. Fully rigid mountain bikes are rare and not commonly used because they have very rough handling.
- Full suspension mountain bikes have a fork in the front and a shock in the rear that provide a supportive cushion over rugged terrain.
- Hardtail bikes only have a fork in the front and are rigid in the rear. These bikes are nimble and quick but lack the cushion and stability of a rear shock.
Full-suspension bikes will weigh more than hardtail bikes due to the weight of the rear shock itself and the additional material on the frame required to accommodate a rear shock.
The type of terrain the mountain bike is meant for:
Modern mountain bikes have evolved to be specialized for a particular type of terrain. While many mountain bikes can handle a wide variety of off-road situations, some will be better than others at climbing and some will be better at descending. Mountain bikes that are built for climbing (hardtails and cross-country bikes) will be lighter than those built for descending (enduro and downhill bikes).
How much does a mountain bike weigh for racing?
Some mountain bikes are also built specifically for racing. These are usually more expensive than other mountain bikes but some are surprisingly affordable. These bikes, especially cross-country racing bikes, will usually be very light. In world-class bike racing, bikes are actually required to be heavier than 15.5 lbs, otherwise they would be dangerously fragile.
How much does a mountain bike weigh, and how much will it cost?
Now for the bad news … unfortunately, there is a direct correlation between how much does a mountain bike weigh and how much it costs. For example, carbon fiber is known as the lightest frame and wheel material, however it is also the most expensive. A full-suspension bike costs more than a hardtail bike because of the rear shock and increased complexity of the bike.
Notice in the table above, the least expensive, entry-level mountain bike (the Co-op DRT 1.1) costs $599.00 but weighs 32 lbs. This bike is an aluminum hardtail and meant for general purpose use. The most expensive bike, the Specialized S-Works Epic, is a carbon fiber, hardtail, cross-country race machine. This bike costs $10,000 but only 19 lbs!
How much does a mountain bike weigh, and how will that affect performance?
The weight of a mountain bike has a direct affect on performance. Lighter bikes are more responsive and will be easier to pedal uphill. The heavier the bike, the more inertia it will have. Remember that saying, “A body at rest tends to stay at rest, a body in motion tends to stay in motion”? Acceleration will be slower and braking will take more effort with a heavier bike.
There is also a big performance difference with lightweight wheels. Rotational mass drastically affects the effort needed to roll forwards and maneuver your bike. Plus, heavier wheels adds rolling resistance to the tires.
There are times when it’s not always bad to have a heavier bike. Mountain bikes meant for downhill riding are heavier than other kinds because they will go fast downhill (remember our old friend, inertia!). Well built, heavier bikes are more sturdy and can be well suited for bikepacking or other adventures where fragile, light bikes would struggle.
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