The Weight We Wear: Part One – How much do road & MTB kits weigh?

Ever wonder how much your cycling clothing weighs? How much weight all that kit is adding to your bike+rider system? So did we, so we gathered a bunch of options from Race Face. Why Race Face? Because they make a full range of mountain bike clothing, from simple and light XC kit to full featured, downhill garb with protective features built in. They make armor, too, so we included that. In this video, we show how much each weighs with a comparison from roadie and XC Spandex all the way up to an enduro and downhill race ready dress code.

For starters, we’ll go with just a regular bibshorts and jersey kit, because that’s what roadies and XC racers are wearing. Consider this the minimum starting point, but even here you have options. Several brands make lightweight climber’s jerseys that are virtually see through, up to fashion-driven wool jerseys that can easily weigh twice as much. Our Bikerumor kits are a traditional race cut performance fabric, and the XL kit I’m wearing in the video weighs in at 222g for the bibs and 182g for the jersey. That’s a system weight of 404g, or 0.89 pounds.

For each of the kits below, I’ll keep the bib shorts on underneath, but the tops will be replaced. Everything from Race Face is a size Large.

XC & Gravel

how much does an xc mountain bike clothing kit weigh

Race Face Podium shorts and Trigger Tee.

The Race Face Podium Shorts weigh in at just 121g for size large. They’re ultralight and thin, basically just a cover up if you’re not into full Lycra. I paired this with the Trigger tee, which comes in at 159g. Combine that with bibshorts for a system weight of 502g, or 1.1 pounds.

Trail

cycling clothing weights for xc trail and all mountain riding

Race Face Indie shorts and Charge knee pads.

Looking for a little bit baggier short with some useable pockets? Their Indie short has a handy rear waist pocket, more coverage and larger leg openings, so they’ll work with their lightweight Charge knee guards. I kept this one paired with the Trigger tee. The shorts weigh in at 281g. System weight for the clothing is 662g, or 1.46 pounds. Add 125g for the Charge knee pads and the system total goes to 787g, or 1.74lb.

All-Mountain

how much does cycling clothing and mountain bike clothing weigh

Race Face Ambush shorts and jersey.

Moving up to all-mountain riding kits is the Ambush shorts and jersey. The shorts are a thicker material, have more pockets and front leg zip vents. They weigh in at 451g. The Ambush jersey is more of a tech jersey than tech tee like the Trigger, and actually has the same weight of 159g. System weight is 832g, or 1.8 pounds. Keep the Charge knee pads and system weight

Downhill & Enduro Racing

why you need to pay attention to clothing weight to maximize cycling performance

Race Face Ruxton shorts and long sleeve jersey, with Indie D3O kneepads.

Ready for downhill or aggressive enduro? Go with their Ruxton shorts and long sleeve jersey for the most protection. The shorts have large mesh panels on the front, presumably because you’ll be wearing more armor and need to let the heat escape any way you can, coupled with a more abrasion resistant lower material. Shorts weigh in at 387g, actually a good bit lighter than the Ambush, probably because there are fewer pockets. The long sleeve jersey is 194g. Here, you’re likely to want more aggressive knee protection, so I’m showing them with the Indie knee pads, which have actual impact protection and come in at 366g for the pair. System weight without the pads is 803g, or 1.77 pounds. Add the knee pads, though, and system weight goes to 1,169g, or 2.58lb.

As for socks, most performance 6-7″ cuff cycling socks are about 40-45g for the pair.

Why should cyclists care about clothing weight?

Going from full XC spandex to all mountain has the biggest spread in just clothing, adding almost a full pound of kit before considering any knee pads or other armor. Not a massive difference, but add DH knee pads and that difference jumps to almost two pounds. Any other body armor just keeps upping the count, but we stuck with rideable kits for this comparison…things you’re likely to wear while pedaling both up and down the mountain.

If you routinely check the weight of every component, perhaps its time to consider what you put on your body, too. If someone said you had to add a pound or two to your bike, you’d scoff, right? You’d only do it if the benefits outweighed the weight gain. Same for clothing, so consider what you actually need. Think an extra pound or two doesn’t matter? Add that to a hydration pack and go ride and we’re betting you change your tune. And remember, clothing is just one part of it.

Next, we’ll take a look at packs and other hydration options. Be sure Subscribe to Bikerumor on YouTube and keep watching for more on how you can shed pounds off your riding weight by paying close attention to the things you wear…

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Richard Mortiboys
4 years ago

Do these weights include the rubber band?

Andrew
Andrew
4 years ago

Of course reducing unsprung and rotational weights on your bike (wheels, tyres, hubs etc…) will have a significant impact on the performance and handling of your bike. Similarly the effect on coefficients of drag and aerodynamics the change from baggy to tight clothing will have will also be significant, however a 500g difference in clothing weight will not make a measurable difference to rider performance. You could also make the argument that a rider in more comfortable clothing is likely to perform better as they might be more relaxed and comfortable.

Champs
Champs
4 years ago

A rider turns over their shoes, pedals, and cranks several thousand times every hour and I’m not even curious how much these variables matter.

For just a few grand more, a MODEST wardrobe can save so much weight as a few gulps of water or weekly weight fluctuations. Hydration is necessary, components last longer, but shut up and take my money?

Eric Daume
4 years ago

Wow, I didn’t realize I needed a different outfit for trail riding vs. all mountain riding. Better get shopping!

nopers is bopes
nopers is bopes
4 years ago
Reply to  Eric Daume

yeah man using the same outfit would be UNACCEPTABLE lol
i use the same stuff for enduro, trail, am, cx, cross, road and .. .commuting to work lol.

JBikes
JBikes
4 years ago

At 60g total, this is why I only wear three “6 inch” socks.
at least now I can say 6-7 inch 😉

nopers is bopes
nopers is bopes
4 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

and put cleats in my toes

Jason Woods
Jason Woods
4 years ago

Begs the question: who the hell sits around wondering how much their kits weigh?! Just ride!!!

Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot
4 years ago
Reply to  Jason Woods

Same people that buy the Quarq tyrewiz e.g. people I do not want to be sat next to at a dinner party

HvdS
HvdS
4 years ago

Shoes Giro Prolight Techlace Time Xpresso: 474
Helmet Giro Prolight White: 198
Bandana Had: 33
Socks DryMax Hyper Thin Mini Crew: 23
Wristwatch Mi Band 2: 20
Sweatshirt Craft Mesh S White: 49
Shirt Adidas Adizero Evasus M Red: 66
Bibs Adidas Adizero Evasus S: 92
Gloves: 34

Total 989 gram

Anybody beat that?

OldDocThedan
OldDocThedan
4 years ago
Reply to  HvdS

You didn’t list how much sunscreen you are wearing and which MrFitness (fitness bagel in my mouth) exercise support device system you have on your wrist. Also not sure which glasses you wear. I’ve developed cataracts. The lightest of all ocular solar protection devices.

Antipodean_G
4 years ago

“Why should cyclists care about clothing weight?” They shouldn’t unless they are going for a distance world record. Getting a grip might be something worth considering….?

Joe Lee
Joe Lee
4 years ago

Not including helmets seems like a big oversight. I will admit that what I wear for a short XC race is very different from a social trail ride setup which is different from my bike patrol gear.

JimmyWYO
JimmyWYO
4 years ago

Folks, All good comments.
One thing I’ve learned from my years around bikes and the people who love them is never talk down to some one asking a question about bikes (or related equipment). This is how trends and new gimmicks get started.