How to Lighten the Frame for a Vintage Race Bike

How to Lighten the Frame for a Vintage Race Bike
Vintage racing bikes may look and even ride spectacularly, but they could be weighing you down. As racing bike designs continue to improve, they are becoming lighter, smaller and more streamlined. A number of creative tips can help you lighten your vintage bicycle's load and make it as sleek and lightweight as possible.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Replacement parts
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Wrench and other tools
Step 1
Strip any unnecessary items. Take off chain guards, water bottle cages, detanglers, transport racks and all other items that do not directly affect the bike's ability to perform. Consider stripping built-up layers of paint and clear coat, which also adds unnecessary weight to the frame. Repaint if desired or leave frame raw.
Step 2
Replace existing necessary items with those of a lighter weight. Start with the bulkier items such as the saddle, pedals, handlebar grips and other large components. Move on to the existing posts, pegs and other medium-size components. Finish off your replacements with the small details such as nuts, bolts, washers, spaces and similar connectors. Choose replacement parts made from titanium, aluminum, carbon fiber and other very lightweight materials. Reduce the component's size when applicable.
Step 3
Break out the drill and saw. Drill out chunks of excess metal in areas around the frame. Drill only areas that will not weaken the frame. Do the same for large, solid parts that contain excess plastic and other materials. Use a hacksaw or other type of saw to cut off excess materials on other parts. Check for bolts and axles that stick out beyond the nuts; seat-post extensions you do not use; handlebar ends that could be shorter; extra spacers on the fork; and any other metal components that are not contributing to the ride.

Tips & Warnings

Some bicycle and accessory dealers and distributors list the weight of each item. Browse your options before purchasing your replacement parts to ensure that you've chosen those of the lightest weight.
Some lightweight parts, especially those made of titanium, can be expensive. Prepare to spend if you are performing a major overhaul.

Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski

Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.

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