Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Minimalism or Lightweight

The logical progression is light weight, right?

Being a serious road cyclist, it is quite possible you have at least flerted with the idea of buying lighter components for increased performance. Spend money = increased speed. Simple! This is the domain of the weight weenies - guys and gals worried about loosing every last gram from their equipment, for promise of athletic gain - who’ll spend an extra 100 quid to save 50 grams, or even more for less in the most extreme cases. For me, this is one of the most real world examples of diminishing returns, though using the ‘real world’ expression in the context of leathery hearts, white man tans, shaved legs and lycra, seems laughable.

Let me explain further this crazyness with the language of the universe; numbers. Take for example a relatively large (in road riding terms) 200 gram saving, by replacing say, a saddle. In the grand scheme, it is laughable.

In my case my bike weighs 7 and a half kilos or 7500 grams. That 200 grams represents a tiny percentage. Now put that 7500 grams of bike weight up against my weight 75 kilos or 75000 grams. The 75000 grams that my 7500 gram bike will be carrying. You will see that spending that much money on saving 200 grams from a total of around 80000 grams is going to do very little, particularly when your average drink of water probably weighs the same and your body weight is likely to fluctuate quite easily day to day in those regions. [Granted, that is a really baseline look at weight in cycling terms, but an interesting subject eitherway]

So what I’m saying is, I’m a sucker for it! Weight weenie right here!

Now, taking the 'lightweight' theme across genres, when referring more closely to the ‘outdoor’ side of things and the relationship between 'lightweight' and 'minimalism', I wonder if there is becoming an ever increasing grey area that overlaps these categories. The line can blur for me! My impressions certainly overlap.

I wonder! Is this possibly the way that we as consumers are being led? Lightweight means minimal, when actually…well, stores can’t make money from the minimalist concept, right? Lightweight though...

Synical?! Maybe…

...Probably!!! but definitely something to ponder.

1 comment:

  1. It is definitely something to ponder. There are so many lightweight options out there that really it's hard to go minimal. I think the key is to be earning just the right amount of money so that each purchase requires maximum research and then hopefully garners longevity and high-end performance. I reckon if I were able to afford enough gear then the minimalist aspect would cease to be! Maybe it would exist on trips, but then that really is just lightweight because I've got all this other stuff back home.

    Luckily, I'm at the threshold where I can't afford much at all and, in fact, can I borrow your gloves and hat again for Snowdon?! How cheeky! My hat has gone AWOL, can you believe it?!