Lightweight eMTBs = heavier MTBs?

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Masjo
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9/25/2022 8:59am
Some recent product announcements and specs have got me thinking: is the development and proliferation of lightweight (i.e. ~40 pound) eMTBs starting to make our regular MTB choices heavier?


Before I go on, I should note that I am a believer in "lighter weight is not everything" and recognize that ~1kg is not a big deal, though I also own a carbon mtb and cx bike...

First, Trek announced the new Fuel EXe, and then turn around and (surprise) announce a 140/150 Fuel EX that looks the exact same minus the display in the top tube. More travel, slacker, more adjustments, all cool... but it weighs ~ 1kg/2 pounds more than the last gen Fuel EX. In fact, if you were to put a Zeb on it (which is allowed per Trek) it would end up being the exact same weight as the 170/160 Slash.
The new geometry and spec of the Fuel EX makes it an attractive proposition and brings it in line with the Stumpjumper Evo, but I did find it odd that the bike got significantly heavier.

Then, Ghost comes out with the new Riot bikes and the eMTB and regular MTB look the exact same. In a similar fashion, the eMTB is sub-40 pounds and the regular MTB is 34 pounds. Same 140/150 bike, same geo, same looks, same light MTB/heavy eMTB.

Is this going to become a 'new normal'? Manufacturers making lightweight eMTBs, and then de-motor-ing them and making it mid-travel?


I do remember when having a sub-30 pound full suspension bike with more than 100mm of travel was a rarity, and 40 pound DH bikes were the norm. I don't think there's anything wrong with a 34 pound all-mountain/mid-travel/small-duro? bike, but surely it makes the sale process vs a bigger enduro bike more difficult. As much as the new Fuel EX/Riot looks fun and has some interesting features, why would I buy it over another bike in the lineup? I could get a downcountry bike that is much lighter and easier to pedal around, or I could get a full enduro bike that is more capable on the descents. I know there is something to be said about suspension kinematics and such, but if they were the same between the models why would I get the 'less capable' bike?
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gibbon
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9/25/2022 1:09pm
Ford F150's, that's why.
9/25/2022 5:50pm
I don't know. If the new Fuel EX truly is that much heavier, I would hope that the weight is going towards making it a more robust bike. It's too competitive a marketplace for them to be adding lead to the frame for no reason other than to sell more off-road scooters.

I, for one, welcome a robust component selection. The new Fuel EX seems like a perfect bike to me.
9/26/2022 6:24am
Funny you mention that, as soon as i saw the new Fuel EX I thought it's very obvious that the R&D went into the EX-e then easily created a non-e version with a bar across to support the shock.
Pedal4life
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9/26/2022 4:41pm Edited Date/Time 9/26/2022 4:47pm
And the suspension companies will be forcing the 1.5/1.8 headset standard will be next, we all know we don’t need it Richie Rude or Jesse Mellamed can’t break a regular headset the rest of us Never Will
They’ll tell us it’s needed strength with minimal added weight & so it will continue, &

Acoustic Bikes forever
sethimus
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9/27/2022 11:02am
Pedal4life wrote:
And the suspension companies will be forcing the 1.5/1.8 headset standard will be next, we all know we don’t need it Richie Rude or Jesse Mellamed...
And the suspension companies will be forcing the 1.5/1.8 headset standard will be next, we all know we don’t need it Richie Rude or Jesse Mellamed can’t break a regular headset the rest of us Never Will
They’ll tell us it’s needed strength with minimal added weight & so it will continue, &

Acoustic Bikes forever
yeah, like 26/27,5 forever, lol
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9/29/2022 7:46am
I'm actually fine with mountain bikes from a certain travel range to actually be a wee bit heavier. I still remember when everyone was trying to get 26-28lb, 160mm enduro bikes with xc tires and all just because they thought lighter = faster/better but then parts always ended up breaking. To me, a bike with more than 140mm can be 34lb and still be enjoyable enough to be pedaled all day. I'm also happy to see that e-bikes are not necessarily clunky 60+ lb. walruses anymore. My actual bike is 37 lb (mostly due to no light parts, dh casing tires and probably way too much sealant in my tires) and I don't really mind hauling it around all day. Sure I go uphill a bit slower but I can really enjoy the stability a lot more on the downhills.
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9/29/2022 8:16am
I'd be curious to see how the carbon layup differs between the new Fuel EXe and EX, but I don't think Trek developed the EXe, then pulled the motor/battery and called it a day.

I'd bet the increase in weight between the previous to the new EX is a result of creating a bike that leans a tad more towards descending performance than it once did. Shifting a bike from 130/140mm to 140/150mm + slacker geometry should come with some weight penalties to match the bike's abilities once pointed downhill. Looking at the weights provided by Trek on site, the mid-range XT build still weighs under 32-pounds, which I think is reasonable for a 'trail bike.' (I also like the term small-duro haha)
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Masjo
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9/29/2022 8:24am
I suppose another way to phrase this is, why get a mid-travel bike now (140-160) if they're just motor-less eMTB designs? And, are all bikes going to get heavier in the future if there's an eMTB at every travel bracket and manufacturers just optimize frames for that?

I'm glad that short travel bikes are more capable and that long travel bikes are more efficient/pedal-able, for sure. I'm just not sure I'd buy the Fuel EX, I would either get a Top Fuel or a Slash.

Mid-travel bikes like the Fuel EX now end up using pretty much the same componentry as long travel bikes save for Zebs/38s, which aren't that much heavier anyways. They even have the same tires most of the time, DHFs and Minions. If the frame weight is now being increased by eMTBs and a focus on suspension curves and pedalling platforms (switches and electronics) for 'enduro' plus long/low/slack geometry across the board, there's less reason to get less travel. It's probably not more efficient at this point and it's just less travel and capability.

Going from the other side, short travel bikes are getting much more 'capable' geometry. I don't have a ton of time on recent bikes, but I'm not sure there's a huge difference in capabilities with a one degree head angle change which seems to be the only difference between short and mid travel bikes. However, the short travel bikes are trying to limelight as XC race bikes so need to have lightweight frames with efficient platforms, and they typically get lighter weight but still capable components like a 34/Pike, somewhat lighter wheels, and faster tires. Maybe you can break wheels, but the limited travel will probably stop most people from sending it down rocky black diamonds. You can still ride flow trails and blue tech with your friends but you can blast past them uphill.

I suppose a similar question comes up with steel hardcore hardtails. It's a thing some people like and there's nothing wrong with that, but for me I can't justify getting a 30 pound Chromag when I could have a 30 pound full suspension that's nearly as efficient on the road but probably more efficient on bumpy terrain.

Varaxis
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9/29/2022 9:12am
I'd like the question to be: why spend $1500+ for a carbon build to save 3 lbs to go faster for the same effort, when you can spend $1500 for an emtb motor and battery to go faster for the same effort?

The Top Fuel overlapped the old Fuel EX a lot. New Fuel EX would've overlapped the Remedy a lot, probably having a lot to do with its discontinuation.
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Ceecee
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9/29/2022 1:40pm
Things to think about on the Niagara Escarpment west of Hamilton
mickey
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9/29/2022 2:58pm
So a 32ish pound bike with a 52 rear cog and a potential 63.5 degree head angle is heavy?

Last time i checked a bike needs to weigh at least 32 pounds to survive even 10 minutes of modern, brutal trail riding. Good brakes and survivable 29” wheels aren’t light.

If you can actually survive a ride on a 28 pound fs bike in 2022, congratulations, your trailcrew has worked mighty hard to eliminate the good stuff, or your trails suck.
Which is it?
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boozed
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9/29/2022 6:23pm Edited Date/Time 9/29/2022 6:42pm
I don't know. If the new Fuel EX truly is that much heavier, I would hope that the weight is going towards making it a more...
I don't know. If the new Fuel EX truly is that much heavier, I would hope that the weight is going towards making it a more robust bike. It's too competitive a marketplace for them to be adding lead to the frame for no reason other than to sell more off-road scooters.

I, for one, welcome a robust component selection. The new Fuel EX seems like a perfect bike to me.
The new Fuel EX weighs 1.8 kg more than the old one in aluminium ("8" spec) and 1.2 kg more in CFRP (9.8 XT). I couldn't say how much of that was purely component selection – they do look very similar on paper – but in the suspension it looks to be only ~200 g for the 9.8 and somewhere around 450 g for the 8.

Masjo
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10/3/2022 11:12am
Not everyone's trails are rough and steep, it's a bit of luck of where you can live and work. If your local trails are that great, why not buy an Enduro bike? If small-duro (heh) and Enduro bikes are going to have almost the same geometry, specs, features, and just a few hundred grams difference due to suspension choice (36/Lyrik vs 38/Zeb) why not choose the bigger bike? You're basically losing nothing for only positive outcomes.

The reason I thought maybe the Fuel EX was secondary to the EXe was the complete build weights between the trail bike lineup. They all have the same wheels (except Supercaliber) and drivetrain at a given spec, and all the same cockpits and dropper (except the Supercaliber with Transfer SL post), and the XC/DC bikes get two piston brakes and 32/34 with the two bigger bikes getting a 36/38 and four piston brakes. In XTR trim, weights go 21.5, 24.7, 30.2, 30.98.
I suppose the Fuel EX is not meant to be raced so a bit of extra weight is fine, but it's Trek's most popular trail bike and I'd say the average MTBer (which is almost certainly not anyone who is posting on this forum) cares about weight.

Since the frame weight is relatively the same, I guess this also highlights where components have gone. It used to be that there was a light build kit (wheels, cranks, bar/stem, brakes) for XC, a heavy one for DH, and a middle one for all else. Now every bike in Santa Cruz's lineup pretty much comes with the same Reserve carbon wheels, SRAM basically makes one aluminum and one carbon crank for everything (Truvativ and SRAM editions basically being the same), and similar story with the rest of the kit. There's no real parts difference anymore between bikes, so any total weight difference is made up through the frame.

Also, I can find you a few 32+ pound full suspension bikes from a box store that probably can't even survive a good flow trail.
worcsracer
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11/7/2022 9:31am
mickey wrote:
So a 32ish pound bike with a 52 rear cog and a potential 63.5 degree head angle is heavy? Last time i checked a bike needs...
So a 32ish pound bike with a 52 rear cog and a potential 63.5 degree head angle is heavy?

Last time i checked a bike needs to weigh at least 32 pounds to survive even 10 minutes of modern, brutal trail riding. Good brakes and survivable 29” wheels aren’t light.

If you can actually survive a ride on a 28 pound fs bike in 2022, congratulations, your trailcrew has worked mighty hard to eliminate the good stuff, or your trails suck.
Which is it?

^^ it’s that simple. Expectations for what a mtb can do and has to survive has changed. Long travel = more weight. More Speed = More weight. More durability = More weight. 

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