Thursday, August 28, 2008

10 An Open Letter To Günter Mai : Getting Closer to Sub 7

Reference : The 7 Pound Road Bike [VeloNews]

Dear Günter,

You're a hunter...

..for light weightiness.

You're also an awesome dude, you know that right?

I mean, I just realized you're the sole winner of the Cold War of the weightweenie bike race. Readers will be reminded that this is not an actual bike race, but a race to simply build the lightest complete bike on the planet. And then take lots of pictures.

Günter, I bet this bike that you've built will make your commutes easier.

I also bet it will make loading and unloading off the bike rack 10% more swifter.

That means a lot in avoiding excruciating pain and getting ready to commute faster.

Pity! All we, the rest of us do instead is read whimsical folklore from stupid internet bike forums like "Oh, you could lose 2 pounds off your body for free versus paying millions to get lightweight components..." etc...etc

Even that statement is actually a misnomer. You can't lose weight for free.

It takes a lot of vomiting.

And one has to eat food to vomit.

That food is bought initially from the supermarket.

Hence, losing weight is not free.


....Indeed, we're all excited for your 7.04 pound bike. Wait, so how much did you spend on it again? Wait, are you married?

You know, I just realized that my personal Lenovo notebook I'm typing through at the moment is about 7.04 pounds. I cannot tell you how satisfied I am that there are so many everyday things around me that I can pick up to get an idea of how much 7 pounds actually is.

Amazing, no?

In fact, I think you may very well be responsible for this devouring sickness of mine. For the past few months, I've been studiously picking up everything from spoons, forks and other plastic spades, rolls of toilet paper, my fat wallet and other biodegradable items such as stacks of my shaved-off leg hair and end up telling myself:

"Wow, that must weigh about the same as Günter's bike!" you must be a rich German guy, I know...but it hurts me to see your floundering extravagance. See, normally poor people see a rich guy and say bullshit about him. I'm not like that I assure you.

All I want to see you do is save up some of that money so you can get...

...Campy Super Record 11!!! Have you imagined what that could do for you???

It could give you one extra gear!!


Anyway, I must stop fiddling around now and come to the real matter at hand.

Sssshhh....come closer. Let me tell you something.

I bet as we speak, M2racer, CC-Schnecke, Death_on2Wheels and other weightweenie notables like Philip:Featherman and iBone are hot on on your wheels to build a bike weighing 7.0 pounds or lighter...

Before you do!!

As terrifying as that sounds, you must calm down as I propose a simple solution to narrow down your bike's weight without spending wads and wads of cash.

Before you reference my previous post on The Ideal Weightweenie and say "I know what it is dummy", I'll have to interfere quickly and say , "No, thats not it."

Okay, before further weightage, here it is.


Günter, do you know the world's highest paved road?

No, its not Alpe d'Huez silly. Balls to Alpe d'Huez.

Here, in good ol' America, there is a bad boy named Mt. Evans.

On a bright summer day, when the roads are open, you just may find yourself standing at 14,000 feet above sea level when you're at its peak.

Amazing isn't it?

Now... have you imagined what would happen if you biked up there on your 7.04 pounder, dismounted and brought out your weighing scale?


Here's the equation alright. Don't ask me which dark cave I brought it out from, that will come in another post later on.

The formula for weight, as according to my college buddy one Mr. Newton, is really describing the gravitational force F between two objects, in this case, them being :

1) The Earth whose mass is "M"

2) Your bike whose mass is "m"


G = Universal Gravitational Constant

r = Distance between the objects = Radius of the good ol' earth + Height of the bike above the surface of the same

Since I didn't feel healthy in the mind to delve into Einstein's Theory of General Relativity at this moment, I took the easier weigh, I mean, way out.

Now, the radius of the earth in feet is 6378137 m.

And on top of Mt. Evans, 140000 feet above sea level = 4267.2 m.

So r = 6378137 + 4267.2 = 6382404.2 m

The Universal Gravitational Constant, G is roughly [6.67 x 10^-11] m cube per kg per sec squared.

Mass of your bike, Gunter is m = 3.19 kg

And the Earth's mass M = [5.97 x 10^24] kg

Calculating for F :

So there you have it.

That's a 0.4% decrease in weight from your 7.04 pounds. And I bet as a weightweenie, you're a stickler for tiny lightweight numbers.

And you know what 7.009 pounds is like?

Its precisely equivalent to my personal Lenovo notebook minus the USB flash drive that I had initally plugged in.

You cannot simply discount that reality, can you?

Neither can I.

In the war for the lightest bike, every milligram counts. And you know it better than I do, I would suppose.

We got closer to the magic sub 7 kilo grams. Note that this is only Mount Evans. You can additionally climb up to Mount Everest, or even better still, and highly recommended by Lance Armstrong's brother Neil Armstrong, load up your bike into a KC-135 Vomit Comet and fly up to 26,000 feet to shave off additional grams. (I think this is what Lance did to his bike before the '05 Tour...I can't seem to remember)

Those grams are just sitting there on your bike like vermin loading your precious with down pressure everyday. Get rid of it!!

Now I'll have to go now, but I wish you all the best in your endeavors. Do not pick my words lightly, as you have picked up your 7.04 bike up several times before.

Bye now...



...Wait...there's something!

Did Weightweenie members M2racer, CC-Schnecke, Death_on2Wheels and other notables like Philip:Featherman and iBone just read what I wrote??



  1. Anonymous8:33 AM


  2. Anonymous8:47 PM

    it's never the end result, just the chase that matters. I admire eccentric europeans that devote their lives to crazy pursuits that have no profit margin or even practicality. It is the passion and purity of their pursuits that grabs me. There's not a hint of discernable emabarrassment when discussing a custom tuned 850$ seatpost, no pretense of actually having any need for said item, other than the nature of the chase.
    we could all learn something about indulging our lives and abandoning so much practicality and pragmatism.
    Live on Gunter, you have my deepest respect.

  3. Anon : You've grabbed me with your writing. Excellent.

  4. Anonymous12:05 AM

    I bet that 7 pound bike is the worst hill descending machine ever. Going lighter has its compromises.

  5. Anonymous4:35 AM

    You are little bit jealous aren't you?

  6. Anonymous5:25 PM

    You are trying to act smart, but reality is that like most of us you don't have money to build machine like Gunter did. Besides, you have missed point, his bike is not lightest in the world here is record holder:

  7. Anon at 5:25 :

    You're even smarter, passing on an update that came in September. I happened to write this piece well a month in advance. Thanks for reading.

  8. Anonymous12:09 PM

    2.9kg bike has been posted before you made your sarcastic comments about Gunter Mai's effort to make lightes bicycle (FYI he did it in 2007.). Just because you can't google something doesn't mean its not there. Besides, when nanotube carbon fabrics comes into play all this bicycles would seem heavy as tanks..

  9. Good Lord. How old are you? Here's a feeding bottle and napkin for you.

  10. Anonymous4:14 PM

    I suppose you are trying to act mature, but your comments are quite childish. It is shame that google image search to Gunter Mai brings your page as third. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother to read..


Thank you. I read every single comment.