How Heavy Is Too Heavy for a Mountain Bike?

Mountain biking is a fun activity and is enjoyed by many. When you first start mountain biking, you don’t mind how heavy the bike is. 

But as you progress and dive deep into the different disciplines of mountain biking, this is when you will start getting conscious of your bike components and how they weigh. 

But many people don’t mind the overall weight of their mountain bikes. Especially for people who are more into the aggressive side of mountain biking or gravity biking, bike components are stronger and heavier. 

There are options though, for those who are in the aggressive mountain biking niche, you can always purchase components that are made from carbon fiber to make your bike lighter. The only drawback for this option is that carbon parts are way more expensive than those that are made from high-grade aluminum alloy. 

So how heavy is too heavy for a full-suspension mountain bike or an average mountain bike? The best way to go about this is to get the average weight for each discipline. Stick around as we discover the answer. 

Are light components safe for mountain biking?

If we look at modern mountain biking in general, the average weight for a mountain bike is around 13.2 kgs. For many riders and especially beginners in the sport, riding a heavier bike does not impact their mountain biking experience negatively. 

However, this is a different story when it comes to cross-country riders. Athletes and enthusiasts in this mountain biking discipline tend to maximize pedaling efficiency among all aspects of the sport. 

So in return, component manufacturers spent many years catering to this niche and producing the lightest mountain bikes possible. This was the case until they realized that what they have been doing is not providing the riders with a safe experience. 

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But as mountain bike technology progressed so did bike components. Now mountain bikes have dropper seat posts, disc brakes, wider and larger wheels, which are pretty much heavier rather than lighter. 

How do you know if your bike is heavier than average?

Well, to do so, you must also be aware of how much your full mountain bike set-up weighs. Next is we will find out what the average weight of mountain bikes is. 

We have scoured through all the data from mountain bike manufacturers as well as the major retailers online. In doing so, we were able to get the average weight based on the major brands of mountain bikes. 

The brands that were included in the study include major manufacturers like Trek, Yeti, Cannondale, Santa Cruz, Niner, and Orbea. But do take note that this study was not segregated depending on the riding discipline for each bike. 

But rather, mountain bikes from all disciplines were included and this includes enduro, all-mountain, trail, cross-country, gravity, and downhill mountain bikes. Using the data from this group, we will acquire a better representation of the average weight of mountain bikes. 

Based on this study which included a review of up to 320 different mountain bikes, it was concluded that the average weight is 13.2 kilos or 29 pounds. Do note that many manufacturers do not include the weight of their bikes on the spec sheet unless they are only selling frames. 

However, a large enough sample set was obtained and still could fairly represent the average weight of mountain bikes. To give a few examples, let me show you a list of how much some of the top end bikes weigh:

  • Cannondale Carbon 4 – 10.8 kg
  • Trek Top Fuel 9.9 – 10.3 kg
  • Orbea Alma M30 – 11.8 kg
  • Yeti SB100 Turq – 11.8 kg
  • Intense Tracer = 13.2 kg
  • Santa Cruz Hightower – 13.1 kg
  • Devinci Troy Carbon – 13.9 kg
  • Trek Roscoe – 15,2 kg
  • Trek X Caliber – 13.4 kg
  • Banshee Darkside – 16.6 kg
  • Santa Cruz Megatower R Bike – 14.7 kg

Related: How Much Does a Mountain Bike Weigh?

Does weight matter for each riding discipline?

Well, if you base it on what types of bikes from the list come out as the lightest it is not surprising that they are all cross country bikes. And if you get the average mountain bike weight among XC bikes, the result came out as 11.8 kg. Which is not surprising at all. 

Because if you look at a cross-country mountain bike, it is all about efficiency. This means getting from one place to another with the least effort possible. But then again, modern cross-country bikes do carry heavier and more durable components as compared to the early days of XC racing. 

But if you dwell on some other aspects of how to make your mountain bike more efficient, there are other ways to optimize your bike’s performance without sacrificing your safety due to bike weight savings. 

Tweaking your cross country bike’s geometry and your bike fit can improve your performance dramatically as long as you know what you are doing. You really need to have a lighter bike for cross-country riding, even if these are full suspension mountain bikes.

Once set up properly, any bike can pedal efficiently even on uphills. But then again, it is only on ascents wherein bike weight savings can affect your mountain bike pedaling efficiency. 

The next lightest mountain bike on the list are trail, all-mountain, and enduro bikes. Like cross-country racing, enduro racing also tackles ascents. The only difference is momentum is a big factor when going on quick uphills. 

These kinds of mountain bikes are more capable of going downhill as compared to cross country bikes thus they can gain enough momentum on descents before tackling the uphill sections. These are too heavy for a mountain bike built for cross-country riding. You need to have a lighter bike if you’re into cardio endurance and mileage.

And the heaviest on the list are gravity or downhill bikes. This is not surprising at all since they are built to endure drops, jumps, steep and rough terrain, and technical rock gardens. In the same aspects, heavier bike components are required to make gravity bikes more robust. 

Conclusion

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There is no such thing as going or having a mountain bike that is too heavy. Weight does have its trade-offs and your riding style is also a big factor. 

Even if you are using cross-country bikes that you use on just about any terrain, your setup will eventually become heavier once you bring in bike components that will make your bike more capable on the trails.

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.