I am currently thinking of getting my first mountain bike, I have ridden a lot of cyclocross and am used to a 10kg bike but am not that familiar where you could save weight on a mountain bike.

What components would you use to reduce the weight of a 2018 Santa Cruz Chameleon which currently retails at 12.82 kg? I would mostly be riding rough cyclocross races and XC races. I would be purchasing a large frame size.

  • 23
    Simplest, cheapest and healthiest is to lose 2.82 kg off your body. Jul 16, 2018 at 19:24
  • this is a fair comment, I could lose the weight but am also curious if mountain bikes can hit this easily or if its not possible. my knowledge about part weights is very limited.
    – user95786
    Jul 16, 2018 at 19:39
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    santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/highball-29 pay your money, take your choice Jul 16, 2018 at 20:31
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    @DanielRHicks its a pretty big assumption that an active cyclocross racer has 2.8kg to lose. Most people interested in racing (here in the UK at least) are already in very good shape.
    – Andy P
    Jul 17, 2018 at 9:18
  • 1
    Easiest way to lose bike weight on a bike that you don't even own yet is to buy a different bike that is already light enough.
    – stannius
    Jul 18, 2018 at 0:46

4 Answers 4


Breaking the rules with a kind-of non-answer and personal opinion, but...

1) Mountain bikes should be heavier than a cyclocross bike. It's got a suspension fork and frame and wheels need to be beefier to handle bigger loads and impacts.

2) Don't buy a bike with a plan replace major components. Just buy the bike that meets your needs in the first place (in this case a bike lighter than 12kg out of the box). Doing so will be much, much cheaper than swapping out parts.

Another way of stating (2) is: there is only one component you need to swap out for a lighter alternative - the bike itself.

I note the higher level SC Highball S hits your weight goal.


Bontrager's Law states parts can be light weight, durable, or inexpensive you only get to pick two characteristics. The only time it makes monetary sense to replace a part with a lighter one is if the component has failed. If you think 3kg. will make a difference between winning and losing try this experiment. Ride a timed course while carrying 2 full water bottles (approx. 1.5 kg) . Then ride the same timed course with out the bottles. Is the time difference greater than the time difference of the rider who finished before you. My point is that for the most elite athletes 3kg can be the difference between placing 1st or 15th. For most of us our times will vary more from conditioning variables than 3kg of weight.

  • 1
    Everything you said is true, but regardless of actual timings, a 10kg MTB 'feels' so much nicer when climbing or when making sudden bursts of power to clear step ups etc.
    – Andy P
    Jul 17, 2018 at 9:28

To answer the question, you'd change the fork and wheels, probably the seat post. Beyond that, you work down the list of diminishing returns through group set, going tubeless, bars, removing rotor bolts (!!) etc. until you get to <10kg. This would take a lot of money for exotic parts.

However, I think you've chosen the wrong bike. The Chameleon is not necessarily designed for <10kg XC racing. As others have noted, you're better off looking at the Highball, which is more XC than aggressive/trail.

  • I completely support losing 3kg off a mountain bike - this will make a big difference to how it rides and climbs well below the elite level.
    – Tom O
    Jul 17, 2018 at 10:12
  • You could even argue OP has chosen the wrong brand. You can get a lot more bike for the money if it doesn't have a SC badge on it.
    – Andy P
    Jul 17, 2018 at 10:25

I own a 2018 chameleon. The frame is light. You could save weight on the wheelset with carbon hoops, lighter tires, lighter cassette. You could also get carbon bars and a carbon seatpost. It would be expensive and sort of silly.

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