Are lighter bikes always faster? We find out

BikeRadar does some science and the results may surprise you

Is lighter always better? BikeRadar's Seb Stott aims to find out

Lighter is always better, right? One of the first questions we always ask when a new bike or component shows up is: how much does it weigh? Weight is the easiest performance indicator to measure and it's natural to assume that lighter automatically means faster, but is that really true? 

There's no question that riding uphill is harder the heavier your bike is - that's simple physics, but does that mean a lighter bike is better in every situation? Would a heavier bike actually push you down a hill faster? And what about suspension - does it perform better or worse on a heavier bike? 

Our resident physicist and bike tester extraordinaire Seb Stott has set out to answer all these questions with a little help from suspension guru Chris Porter, the good people of Bike Park Wales, and a load of lead weights and duct tape. 

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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