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Are you looking for a light commuter bike to get around town or to bicycle to work? If so, you’re in luck! There are plenty of great options available, each offering its unique features. But what’s the lightest commuter bike out there?
The Merida Scultura road bike is the lightest commuter bike on the popular market. It is as light as a feather at 13.5 lbs, half the weight of a normal bike.
In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at four of the best commuter bikes on the market today. Just to warn you – these are not cheap! Extreme lightness has to be paid for.
In this post, I’ll take a look at:
- Why does the weight of the bike matter?
- The materials that affect bike weight
- The lightest commuter bike – the Merida Scultura Road Bike
- Three other good light commuter bike choices for you
- The best light commuter bike – if budget is no barrier at all for you
- Popular commuter bike types
- Some factors that affect the weight of a bike
Why Does The Weight Of A Bike Matter?
Your riding abilities may be negatively impacted if your bike is too heavy.
There’s no denying that the bike’s performance can suffer with the added weight.
A hefty bike can be particularly inconvenient in some situations, such as those requiring many stops at red lights or those requiring navigation in densely populated regions.
That’s why it’s so important to consider the weight of your commuter bike. When you consider that you have to carry more than just the bike (i.e. bags or luggage), this becomes even more crucial.
The Materials That Affect Bike Weight
There is a dramatic range in bike weight due to the frame material.
Each material, however, is best suited for a specific task because of its unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
That’s why it’s important to strike a balance between portability and durability depending on how far you have to travel.
Most varieties of steel have a lighter weight because of the addition of chromium and molybdenum.
Chromoly describes the primary material found in steel frames. Newer Chromoly tubing frames are more flexible and resilient than their stainless steel predecessors.
Steel frames have a solid reputation for lasting for quite some time, making them a heavy but reliable option.
In comparison to other metals like steel, aluminum is both lightweight and not too dense, making it an ideal material for bicycle frames.
Additionally, unlike steel, it does not rust.
However, because of its lower density, it requires more tubing for reinforcement, increasing its stiffness and making riding more challenging.
Light and strong, titanium is a fantastic material choice. It’s not as strong or dense as steel, though.
You can find frames with larger tube diameters and greater stiffness to support your weight if you are hefty.
Titanium has a lot of advantages, but if you’re on a tight budget, its expensive cost may make you reconsider.
Among the priciest materials is carbon fiber, which is made from a non-metallic graphite fiber fabric and epoxy resin.
It is light, robust, and extremely rigid.
Here’s a quick table that summarizes the popular bicycle materials, and their respective pros and cons:
|Steel||Long-lasting and durable||Heavy|
|Aluminium||Relatively lightweight||Requires reinforcing|
|Titanium||Light and strong||Expensive|
|Carbon||Light, robust and rigid||Very costly|
Merida Scultura 9000 LTD — the Lightest Commuter Bike
Merida’s Scultura is a lightweight road bike with exceptional durability. It’s light as a feather, weighing in at just 13.5 lbs. (6.14kg).
The manufacturer claims that vibrations have been eliminated thanks to flax fibers weaved into the carbon lay-up of the frame.
The seat stays have been lowered to create a rigid rear end that still has enough horizontal flex for handling rough pavement.
SRAM Red handles the shifting, but as SRAM does not yet have direct-mount brakes, a Shimano Dura-Ace is used for the rear. Finally, Merida has spent a ton of money on high-end Jagwire cables to help it shed those last few pounds. (Source)
Here’s a great video that walks through the features of this beautiful lightweight bike:
3 Other Light Commuter Bikes To Take A Look At
1. Cheapest Option – Canyon Roadlite CF 9 LTD
All of the models in Canyon’s Roadlite range are among the lightest available at their given price points. The top-of-the-line Roadlite CF 9 LTD weighs only 19.1 lbs., making it the lightest hybrid bicycle available.
A carbon wheelset sets this bike apart from the rest of the pack, despite having a carbon frame and fork that are ‘par for the course’ in this price range.
That reduces not only the vehicle’s overall mass but also its spinning mass, making for quicker acceleration and a more agile experience.
Bicycles that fit this description are optimized for use on paved roads, where the wheels make constant contact with the pavement.
The frame’s construction is the primary factor to think about. Canyon went all out with this bicycle by constructing it around a carbon fiber frame.
The cockpit is another part of this vehicle made entirely of carbon. What I enjoy most about this part (or component) is how the stem and the handlebars look to be one integrated unit.
In addition to its attractive looks, it also does a great job of damping the vibration that gets through the tires.
The high list price of $3649 (though it is the cheapest bike in this article!) is justified by the high quality of the components.
You get a carbon fiber cockpit, electronic shifting in the shape of a 112 SRAM X01 Eagle AXS eTap derailleur, tubeless-ready Reynolds AR41 wheels, and thoughtful extras like Ergon GA3 grips for your money.
2. Orbea Orca Aero M120i LTD
The Basque manufacturer aimed to create a product that would appeal to both serious cyclists and beginners trying to improve their times in specific Strava segments by striking a balance between aesthetics, comfort, performance, and, of course, lightweight.
The Orbea Orca Aero M120iLTD is a finely tuned machine that puts speed and convenience ahead of portability.
As a result of its very well-balanced foundations and sharp, easy-to-modulate Ultegra hydraulic brakes, it maintains speed with ease, changes direction precisely, and descends like an anvil.
There’s a lot to appreciate about this, and the fact that it weighs 8.57kg makes it a personal favorite of most daily commuters looking for an easy ride.
It’s one of the best-value aero bike options out there, and it’s also more adjustable as compared to integrated bar-stem designs.
The lack of external cables contributes to a more streamlined design thanks to internal wire routing in the frame and the handlebar setup.
Here’s a video that walks through the many benefits and features of this bike:
3. Most Expensive Option – Scott Addict RC Ultimate
Scott’s excellent setup of its flagship bike, which features internal cable routing, reduced profile tubing, and beautiful Zipp wheels while still maintaining a contained weight, is proof that aerodynamics and lightness can be combined.
The newly revised carbon frame structure consists of three frame components and four connection points.
Supposedly lighter (15.2 lbs.) and stiffer (compared to the previous iteration’s 8-part/-8-connection setup), the new design represents an improvement over its predecessor.
The new Addict RC idea also takes aerodynamics into account. According to the manufacturer, the bike’s speed was improved by installing so-called F01 Airfoil tube shapes in the parts of the bike that are most vulnerable to headwinds.
The goal of the frame’s design wasn’t to create the most aerodynamic bike possible, but the combination of these tube shapes and the highest possible level of integration significantly reduced the bike’s wind resistance.
Scott says the previous model offered too much comfort because of its excessive compliance. This led the designers to aim for the same rigidity and compliance as the Scott Foil Disc.
The combination of the frame’s stiffness and the broad tires (28 millimeters) should make for a comfortable ride even over several days.
What If Budget Is No Barrier?
If you have absolutely no limit to your budget, and you’re looking to splash out on the lightest bike in the world, then you are in luck!
Thanks to the inclusion of some exceptionally light carbon components from AX Lightness, the 9000 LTD, a high-end flagship bike that sells for over $100,000, weighs only 10lbs.
Popular Commuter Bike Types
When shopping for a commuter bike, weight is just one of many considerations.
You might be tempted to go for the lightest bike possible, but you also need to think about factors like the length of your ride, the difficulty of the terrain, and the purpose of your trip.
Take a look at this compilation of the top-rated bikes for commuting.
|Hybrid Bikes||Folding Bikes||Singlespeed Bikes|
|A hybrid bike is the smartest investment for a beginner who wants to use their bike for transportation. It’s perfect for commuters weighing between 24 and 28 pounds (12 to 14 kgs).||If your trip requires switching between various types of transportation, choose the least tedious and most convenient one. These bicycles may be folded up and taken with you on any adventure.||These are ideal for those who seek a relaxing journey across city streets. They are simple, low-upkeep solutions because of their single-speed transmission.|
|The advantages of both mountain and road bikes are combined in this hybrid model. You can use it for various things like road touring or mountain biking because of its adaptable layouts, add-ons, and features.||Since these bicycles have small wheels and are not the swiftest, you will need to make certain concessions if you plan on using them. It won’t be as small when folded if you choose one with larger wheels.||However, because it lacks a freewheel, it may not be the best option for novice riders. It’s a motor that propels the bicycle even while you’re not riding it. You will, therefore, need to pedal continuously while riding a fixie.|
|The fact that it can be used while sitting upright is a big plus in congested areas.||However, if your daily commute does not include a single bike lane, compactness and portability may be more important than speed and power.||Think about your commute route before you buy a bike; if it contains hills, a single-gear bike may not be the ideal choice.|
Important Factors to Consider
The Material of the Frame
The bikes discussed here are either aluminum or steel-framed commuting models.
Bikes with titanium frames, which are lighter than steel but stronger and heavier than aluminum, were not taken into account for this ranking.
Carbon fiber is used to make the frames of some bicycles, often faster types like road bikes and race bikes.
Aluminum is the go-to material for frames because of its lightweight and high strength. However, steel is the way to go if you’re searching for a more relaxing journey.
Many individuals prefer steel frames for their commuter bikes because they provide a smoother ride. It’s more malleable; it can bend and stretch a little.
As a result, it will be more forgiving over rough pavement than a bike made of aluminum. Ultralight carbon material, however, comes at a hefty price.
Stylish carbon fiber bicycles aren’t ideal for daily commuting because they’re too fragile and won’t accommodate racks, making it difficult to transport your belongings.
Depending on your home and work locations, the number of gears that a bike has is a relevant feature to consider.
If you live somewhere like San Francisco, where your commute involves many lengthy, steep hills, you’ll want a bike with good low gears to help you go up those hills, especially if you plan on bringing a laptop or a change of clothes with you.
You must have a low enough gear ratio for that to work. Many low-lying regions don’t give it any thought.
Since there aren’t any significant hills in my hometown of Chicago, where I spent the better part of my life, I often saw individuals riding single-speed bicycles to work.
This is because single-speed bicycles require less frequent maintenance and have fewer moving parts.
Disc brakes and caliper brakes are the two primary options I’m looking at when thinking about a commuter bike.
Disc brakes are mounted closer to the hub of the wheel and employ a metal rotor and pads, whereas caliper brakes clamp around the rim.
Disc brakes are becoming increasingly popular, although they are more expensive than caliper brakes, which might be reflected in the price of the bike.
It’s also important to consider how simple they are to maintain. With a caliper-style brake, all of the moving parts are on the outside, making it easy to monitor your progress as you make adjustments.
For many people who are not as assured in their mechanical abilities, it goes a long way, especially if you want to conduct some of the maintenance yourself.
Disc brakes are more complicated, but they’ve gotten less so in recent years, making them a more viable option for everyday cycling. They retain their efficiency even when wet, making them a good choice for wetter climates.
When it’s wet, stopping with caliper brakes can take more work than with disc brakes, but that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. Rim breakers have been used in wet environments for centuries, and they perform admirably.
If you’re often on the go, the bikes in this article are all high-quality modes of transport.
They are light, sporty, and agile.
If you’re looking for a bike that can keep up with the pace of your urban lifestyle without sacrificing its portability, then the Merida Scultura might be right up your alley.
If you’ve got a reliable way to carry around this featherweight ride, then it might just prove to be your perfect everyday bike!