Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #12: No Compression plug

Portland reader, Doug M. submits this cheap weight tip:

"Carbon steerer tubes: Just remove the compression plug! Once your stem height is set at its' final position, use the compression plug to set... headset bearing tension, then torque the stem bolts properly. You are now ready to remove the compression plug, and replace it with a light rubber or plastic plug!

Aluminum/steel steerer tubes: Use a compression plug instead of setting a star nut. Follow instructions above.

Sorry I have no pictures, but I have no camera, nor a gram scale.

Doug M.,
Portland, OR"

I have seen people replace their topcap with simple things like beer bottle caps, or you can do as I did and fabricate a carbon top cap (like the photo above).

Some people will say that a stem will crush your carbon steerer tube, check with the manufacturer before you do this one. I've never had a problem with it. But your results may vary. I was able to save about 14 grams if you're using a starnut and more if you are using a compression plug.

If you have a cheap weight dropping tip email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #11: Flip and Chop

This tip comes from Joshua F:

"Cycling is a vain sport. This tip will work if you can get over that....

Measure your current position. Now, remove some spacers and flip your stem over so it is angled up instead of down and put your handlebar is in the original position. Now you are free to cut off the excess steerer and save those spacers for your next bike.

On my current bike I figure I saved 10-15mm on a -6 degree 120mm stem. Weight savings can vary because of the materials. Carbon is a bit lighter than aluminum for spacers but they're close enough to say that it's .5 grams for every millimeter. I'm not quite sure the weight of steerer tube per millimeter but I imagine about the same for carbon, a bit more for aluminum."

Other people sent this tip in, but none put it as perfectly as Joshua did. He especially hit it on the head with his first sentence, "Cycling is a vain sport, this tip will work if you can get over that." This tip will not get used by most people, because most people like the look of the stem horizontal to the ground.

If you have a weight tip email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com

The Cyclocross Magazine is coming...

Cyclocross Magazine is now taking subscription orders for the first 4 issues of their mag. I already subscribed and am getting the free Tshirt that comes for early subscribers.

The guys over at Cyclocross Magazine approached me a few months ago to write an article for them for the inaugural issue. So you'll see that in there too.

Sweet! Go subscribe.

Cheap Weight Tip #10: Superglue your computer magnet

The next cheap weight tip comes from Jim in Portland: Buy a tiny rare earth magnet and superglue it to your spokes instead of using the bulky magnet that comes with most bike computers. Keep reading for the details...

Jim must be an avid reader of Plus One Lap, because I featured this as a weight tip back in February of last year.

There, I figured that this would save you 12.9 grams of weight and would only cost a buck or two.

You can buy these Rare Earth magnets from your local Radioshack for like $2 for two of them.

Then, you just epoxy them on your spoke where your normal magnet usually is. Something like superglue or jb weld will probably work well.

If you have a weight tip email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com to enter the contest.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lightweight Cyclocross Bike #34: Jordan's Specialized

Another Specialized Tricross for the lightweight gallery. This one comes in at 17.88 pounds. The Tricross frame is a pretty light; my 56c weighed 1413 grams Click below to continue reading...

"Frame: 2007 Specialized S-Works Tricross 54cm
Fork: Stock Specialized Tricross w/ alu. steerer
Brakes: Origin8 cantilevers
Wheels: Roval Pave SL
Tires: Maxxis Mimo CX
Stem: Kore Race stem
Hbar: Specialized Pro Bar
Tape: Cervelo foam tape
Shifters: Sram Rival
Brake Levers: Sram Rival
Cables: Sram
Cassette: Sram 12-26
Seatpost: Specialized Pavé, FACT carbon w/ Zertz insert
Saddle: Specialized Toupe
Cranks: Sram Rival
Ring: Sram Rival 50-34 (for now)
Chain: Sram PC1090R
Pedals: Time ATAC alu.
Cages: Blackburn Chicane

weight: 17.88lbs

Right now using for mostly commuting until I have time to race. Come Race time, I can definitely shave some weight.



If you have a sub 18 pound cyclocross bike or a custom built one, email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #9: Custom Arione Saddle

Ryan sent me in this next tip which shows how to customize your Arione saddle. Ryan said he did it primarily so that the saddle wouldn't catch his shorts on a remount, but it has the added benefit of cutting some weight off.

Click below to see what Ryan did...

You simply peel back the leather cover, it comes off pretty easy as it is only glued along the edges. It also helps if the saddle is used and if you use a lot of chamois cream. I used a bandsaw to cut the tail off. There is a vertical extension on the shell of the saddle (I believe it had a sticker or logo on it) that I used as a cutting guide. I used several cuts to get the shape close then I used a Dremel with a sanding drum to radius the remaining shell and foam padding. Gluing the cover on is just like gluing up a tubular. I used Weldwood contact cement found at most hardware stores. Apply one layer on the plastic shell and a layer on the leather where it meets the shell. Start by stretching the leather over the back then work outwards wrapping the leather over the foam and sticking it to the plastic shell. Use something hard to press the leather onto the shell, I used a wide flat-blade screwdriver. Continue wrapping the leather over the shell, in my case I curled the leather over the vertical extension. You could always stop it short and trim off the excess leather."

A little before and after action:

That looks so pro. Great work. Those dual purpose weight tips are the best. They have a functional component as well as a lighter weight component.

If you have a weight loss tip for cyclocross, email it to me for a chance to win a Plus One Lap T-shirt and of course the envy of all your friends.

Lightweight Cyclocross Bike #33: Anthony's Fort

The first Fort frame to the Plus One Lap lightweight gallery is Anthony's sky blue (or is it eggshell?) bike.

Here's what Anthony says about his bike:

"JB--Here is my proud contribution the the sub 18 gallery.

I just got around to weighing it and was stoked to come in at 18lbs with race wheels. I really treid to build a solid, reliable race machine without any stupid lightness or bling. I think it turned out great, solid parts and hit the bench mark for weight!

Fort Cross Max with Ritchey WCS fork
FSA cross headset with integrated cable hanger (see below)
Ultegra 9s STI
Paul Neo Retro on the front and Touring Canti rear
DA 7700 crank and BB with 39 (or 42) single ring, salsa gaurd, Deda Dog fang.
DA rear D, SRAM 9s cassette.
Eggbeater SLs
Thompson post and X2 stem, WCS alu bar.
Selle San Marco Strada saddle with matching Selle San Marco bar tape.

Tufo Elites on older DA hubs with Mavic 330s for fast, dry Colorado rocky days.
Rhinos on same older DA Hubs with Mavic G4 (r)/Matrix ISO (f) for "good" conditions!

Now if I can get fast enough to we worthy!

-Anthony in CO"

Finally a guy that uses retro rims like me. Matrix ISO's are some pretty cool rims that are crazy light, but strong and you can find them cheap.

Also, someone thats actually using that integrated FSA headset pictured below. I thought it was vaporware.

If you have a sub 18 pound cyclocross bike or a handmade cross rig, email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com and I will post it to the gallery for all to envy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vanilla Speedvagen Lust

Was scanning Flickr earlier, and came upon some Vanilla Speedvagen pics. The stuff Sacha is doing over there will be talked about decades from now. Check out the application for getting a Speedvagen. Also some pics of a virgin 1 of 30 bike just out of the wrapper.

Check out the pics by clicking "continue reading this article"

Thanks to the folks whom posted these photos for all of us cross fans to drool over. Much appreciated!


Cheap Weight Tip #8: Pam Cooking Spray

This one wont help the dry cyclocrossers, sorry NorCal better luck tomorrow?

But for all of those that race in the mud, Pam cooking spray is a method to reduce mud sticking to your bike. Mud is heavy and it gunks up the drivetrain.

Make sure to keep your spraying off (keep reading by clicking below) of the rims or any area your going to grab for lifting your bike. Otherwise spray it down.

This tip was sent from Mack M. If you have a tip to drop some easy weight off your cross bike drop me an email at plusonelap at gmail dot com

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #7: Cut the excess cables and housing

A few people sent this one in: trim those excess cable housings down. Cable housing is braided steel with a liner (typically) and the exterior plastic housing. And it weighs something. By trimming this down to the right length, you can save some weight and the bike will have a much cleaner look.

Notice, I said the "right" length. This tip doesnt mean that you cut your housing down too far. There is such a thing as too short. Too short is when you turn your handlebars, your rear brakes touch the rim.

Too long:

Photo from Park Tools site

If you have a weight loss tip email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #6: Drill it

Bruno from Davis sent this one in: Pull out the drill and drill stuff is another easy cheap weight trick.

You'd be surprised how little weight you will actually save with this trick. But it will help you with a few grams.

Things to drill:

seatpost clamps

Think non-structual things mostly. Things that if they broke wouldn't kill you are always a good place to start.

Begin conservatively.

This is also a good time to say that if done wrong, you could seriously injure yourself and maybe others. The practice of drilling things will definetly void your warranty. Plus One Lap and its affiliates are not responsible for any of this.

Thanks to Ray Dobbins for the above picture of his drilled out chainring.

If you have a tip for the weight loss contest, email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cross Crusade: Alpenrose; 1087 racers!

Went out to Alpenrose Dairy, site of the first Cross Crusade of 2007 today. I had fun watching the NW Crossers tear it up under cloudy but dry skies.

Most impressive was Erik Tonkin. The man raced fixed gear in the singlespeed race and then raced in the A's and got second.

The best costume award might go to the guy in the Single-Speedo division. See below.

My camera is crapping out lately, so I didnt get many photos.

There are more dollars spent on cross bikes up here in Portland than maybe the entire US combined. SF is a close second. Like every other person is riding a Vanilla up here, you'd think they were giving them away or something.

World's most awesomest seatpost?

If you want to see maybe the best looking seat post to ever exist, head on over to Kent Eriksen Cycles.

The design, similar to a Moots seatpost, is simple and yet very sweet. Bonus: the colors are designed to match your Chris King headset and hubs.

The cheapest price for one is 180 clams, so with awesomeness comes expense. But if you need that something special to make all your friends extremely envious. This might be the way to do it.

Cheap Weight Tip #5: A shorter chain

Josh has a got tip for us, which is to run a shorter chain.

"Run your chain as short as possible (should be just
long enough to work in big-big). This is a functional
tip as well as a weight tip- the bike will shift
better and the chain will be less likey to bounce off."

With the Sram PC69 chain weighing 2.6 grams per link, if you were able to drop 5 links thats 13 grams of weight.

We've been able to lose around 74 grams thus far with the 5 tips posted. 454 grams is a pound, therefore 113 grams is a quarter pound. And were almost there to the quarter pound mark.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #4: Chop that seatpost

Scott from Springfield submitted his idea for how to drop a little extra weight, chop the extra inches from the seat post.

Although a basic staple in the diet of any good Gram Freak, its still a great tip to mention to any new convert into the world of weightloss.

The basic creed here is to cut it so that the post still goes about 1 inch below the top tube.

Id wager you could lose around 10-30 grams depending on how long your current post is.

If you have a weight loss tip and want to enter it into the contest, email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #3: Chop an inch from the bars

An international entry to the Cheap Weight Tip contest, this one from Netherlands. Cut the last inch from your bars. I've done this one and been pleased with it. I never ride the drops, when I did it, I was able to drop 7 grams off of my aluminum bars. Click below to continue reading this article

Cut the last pieces, say 1 inch, off from your handlebars.
- Low cost
- Saves weight
- Saves knees (you don't hit with your knees against the handlebar-ends)
- Saves you from falling because of nr. 2
- You don't need the extreme parts anyway...

Hacksaw or pipe cutter
round file to remove burrs
measuring tape


Another 7 grams lost, that brings the total to about 41 grams weve lost with the three tips thus far.

If you have a cheap weight tip, submit it for a chance to win a free Plus One Lap shirt. Email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #2: Tape instead of bolts

I got two emails this morning within about an hour of each other that both suggested to remove your waterbottle bolts and replace with a small piece of electrical or scotch tape.

Lets test this tip (its nice to have a gram scale that measures down to the tenth of a gram)...

Lets say you've got a stock bike with steel bolts in there (granted these bolts are a little long, but its not impossible that someone has a water bottle bolt this long on their bike):

Now, lets say you always run aluminum bolts:

Lastly, lets check the scotch tape:

Two pieces of Scotch Tape weigh less than .1 grams.

As Scott puts it, "I know you've covered the little plastic bolts that can replace bottle
bolts when not using a bottle cage (it's cross, right, we don't need no
stinkin' water). A lighter alternative is clear tape (scotch tape) to
cover the hole and the area around it (a square of tape does the job.
Tape is lighter than plastic bolts and I found the plastic bolts don't
create a complete seal; on really wet days you might get water in your
frame with the plastic bolts. On my new Ridley supercross I got rid of 4

If you have the capacity for 2 waterbottles on your bike, and you have steel bolts in there now, you could save 12.6 grams with this tip!

That brings our weight loss total thus far to 34.6 grams. Dollars spent=$0.

Thanks guys

If you have a weight loss tip and want to enter the contest for a free Plus One Lap shirt, email me your tip to plusonelap at gmail dot com

Cross Vegas video

The video is edited in such a way that if I didnt know better I'd think that these guys were just out for a fun little ride over some grass and up some stairs.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #1: Front brake stop

This first cheap weight tip (don't worry I'm not going to give myself a T shirt, because I already have) is something Jonathan Page rocks on his bike.

Front brake hangers weigh a good amount. More than they really need to. Especially when there's an option like this out there....

By using a rear brake stop like this:

and putting it on your bike like this:

(taken from Josh's Rocklobster, Plus One Lap bike #10)

You can save some major weightage. How much you ask? Good question, look at this:

Before: 29.7 grams

After: 5.1 grams

Thats like 25 grams people. Hello? Do 10 more things like this and were talking over a half pound.

Issues: Some grinding may be in order and this only works for a stem with a front plate.

But it is super cheap, heck maybe free if you have a rear cable stop in your toolbox.

If you have a weight savings tip we need to know about, email me at plusonelap at gmail dot com Remember, while not critical, pictures are appreciated.

Win a free cyclocross shirt and lose some weight

Everyone wants a lighter bike. And if they don't want one, its because they don't know they do. Plus One Lap will bring you tips on how to drop a little weight from your rig easily and cheaply.

From now 'til the end of December, the best reader weight drop tip of the month will win a free Plus One Lap Cyclocross T shirt. I am the judge and jury. Added points for pictures!

So send the tips to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com. The fun is here.

That is all for now.