Lighten up this year

How to make your bike ride lighter and faster without spending a fortune on carbon fibre wheels or expensive upgrades

1. Declutter

When bike builders order disc brakes, the hoses come in preset lengths — they’re almost always going to be too long, so trim them and clean your bars. Neither SRAM nor Shimano brakes should need re-bleeding after this; pull off the lever housing where the cable joins, unscrew the hose, snip it to fit, screw on a fresh barb, olive and rejoin.

Avids need bleeding? Watch the video above.

Your dropper post can also have its cabling trimmed and bled too.

Chances are you can ditch a load from your bike, too: old light mounts, the pie dish from your rear wheel, indicator windows from your shifter pods, that old Garmin mount…

Weight saving: 10-300g

2. Silicon grips

Lock-on grips are easy, but silicone grips weigh less and do a great job at dampening trail buzz. Don’t glue them, just clean the bar and ease them on. Maybe use some alcohol (isopropyl!) to make things easier.

Weight saving: 100-300g

3. Mud plugs and guards

It might seem daft adding extra weight to your bike, but keeping heavy mud off your body and frame will keep the bike light in winter conditions.

The most important step is to fit something between the fork crown and the brace, and block the mud at its first entry point.

Weight saving: £1.3kg

4. Drop a ring

Switching to a 1x set-up used to cost a ton of cash, with a dedicated SRAM or Shimano complete drivetrain system the only option. And then you needed to run a chain device as well. These days you can just get a budget narrow-wide chainring and you’re away.

Weight saving: 300-600g

5. Cut your steerer

A fork steerer that’s too long weighs you down. If you’re comfortable with your riding position, hack it off. Measure how much steerer you need, and perhaps allow room for one spacer, in case you want to fit a different stem at a later date. Then measure again! Remove the brake calliper, take the fork out, get it into a guide and  then saw off the end with a hacksaw.

Weight saving: 25-50g

6. Go minimalist

Whether you’re going to go the whole enduro hog and ditching riding with a backpack or you’re just interesting in removing excess weight from your carried-kit, you should definitely stop pondering about it and just do it. For all but the most epic or remote rides a modest compact kit is all you’ll need. Save weight, ride faster, ride further.

Weight saving: up to 4kg