Bike frames come in a surprising variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Cycling novices may feel completely overwhelmed when they first walk into a bike shop, as the options are nearly endless. It can be hard to decide what kind of bike you need even after cycling has become one of your favorite pastimes.
Some cyclists will talk about getting the weight of their bikes down as low as possible. They may pay much higher prices for their bike frames and components in the pursuit of the lightest bicycle possible. Will reducing the weight of your street bike potentially keep you safer on the road?
Weight reduction is about efficiency and speed
Those concerned with trimming the weight of their bicycles are often competitive athletes, like triathletes, who need to conserve as much energy as possible. Those who live in particularly hilly neighborhoods may also find that the investment in a lightweight bike is valuable because of how much a bike’s weight contributes to the exertion of biking up a hill. Those who bike as part of their job or for hours a day may also find that small reductions in weight return big exertion benefits.
Saving energy comes at a cost beyond just the expense involved in lightweight bike frames and tires. Some people report that lightweight bikes, especially the lightweight tires, are less stiff and therefore slightly more difficult to maneuver in an emergency.
Light bike frames may reduce what little help the bicycle offers in a crash by absorbing some of the force of impact.
Expensive gear may have more of a safety impact than an expensive frame
If your goal is to keep yourself as safe as possible while cycling on the California roads, especially in a busy city like Los Angeles, investing in gear rather than lightweight bike frames might be the better decision.
Clothing with fluorescent colors and reflective strips, durable helmets and even aftermarket LED turn signals are all examples of gear upgrades that could reduce your chance of getting into a crash on your bicycle or protect you in the event you experience one. Exploring all your ways of avoiding a bicycle crash and protecting yourself from injury if you do experience a crash will make cycling a safer hobby to pursue.