Weighing Loose Change (16th February 2013)

Saving 100g from your pedals is undone if you carry £1 in loose change rather than a single £1 coin.

170g of loose change added up to £1 in my wallet.

A £1 coin by itself weighs about 10g.

You can save 160g for free by using larger denominations of coinage. No need to spend that extra £50 next time you buy pedals or handlebars or whatever!

Weight Weenies

Less measurable qualities are often more important than weight.


The main one, imho. That aids efficiency and endurance. Obviously it makes you more eager to ride than use other methods, too!


A close second. Frequent detours past the bicycle shop add a much larger time penalty than carrying extra kilogrammes would, let alone extra grammes. You might have to leave your bicycle there for a whole day, losing you maybe an hour from using public transport.

Frequent bicycle shop repairs mean extra cost on top of the extra cost of the lighter component.

Set It and Forget It

Components which keep their adjustment for months at a time save the amount of fine-tuning and home servicing. This all takes time.

If your brakes need 20 minutes of attention every week then you are losing 5 minutes on each working day of commuting. That extra-aero tuck is more than undone by adjuster screws which vibrate loose and locknuts which don’t grip tight.

My old 10-speed caliper brakes have proven this to me! The unbranded dual pivot setup on my Secteur hold themselves in perfect position for a month or two at a time.

All brakes and gears drift a bit during the start of their life as cables stretch, housings loosen up and the parts bed in. Once that phase is over everything should stay put. If it keeps needing your attention, that’s time you are losing from your commute.

Fore-Warned is Fore-Armed

You have to read reviews from ordinary customers to stand a chance of discovering the reality of living with specific components ahead of purchasing them. It’s often pot luck but some brands are more reputable than others – try to find forums where mechanically minded cyclists discuss these kinds of things.

Professional reviews generally don’t cover this unless the component is severely flawed, such as Kryponite’s feeble D-lock frame bracket.

Then again, if you spend 8 hours researching the best brakes, how will you earn back all that time? The brakes would have to work perfectly for 25 weeks to earn back the 20 minutes per weeks required from wonky old 10-speed brakes. But any modern brake is going to be much better than that.

So these small differences soon end up ‘in the noise’ for day-to-day riding. They aren’t worth losing sleep over. After all, when can you earn back that time? c{¦¬p