How important is body weight in Enduro/Trail MTB

I recently toyed with the idea of shedding some excess weight after the winter. I am 87kg but set the goal of 80kg, however training/riding consistently in deficit is tough going. I am 185cm and have a bodyfat of approx 17-20%. Not super lean but also not massively over weight either. So no doubt it wouldn’t be 7kg of fat lost.

As a average healthy mountain biker, should I really be overly concerned with body weight? - The bikes weigh a ton, the tires don’t roll all that well and there is already enough friction on the muddy drive chain.

Should I be focusing on delivery off Watts - ie training hard and less concerned with starving myself? Current ftp is approx 240.

Theres almost no situation in cycling that carrying extra weight isnt detrimental.
Everyone youre racing is on a heavy bike with slow rolling tires. Your weight and power are things you can control

Basic math is what it took for me to take weight loss seriously. If youre following a 70kg racer up a climb and hes at tempo, youre probably over threshold to stay with him. You can do it once or twice, he can do it all day. Yes, getting your power up is helpful, but getting the weight down is more important


You need to be more specific about what kind of mountain biking you do and what your goals are.

XCO, Enduro, downhill etc are different disciplines.

Riding for fun is way different than trying to podium in expert field.

But chances are, you’re best served by focusing on having great skills and the strength and endurance to execute them. That will save you gobs of time on a MTB. Roadies just don’t understand how technical it is.

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Its Enduro and Trail Mountain Biking. Riding up to the top efficiently to enjoy the descent as much as possible.

Goals have always to be midpack with my mates and have the strength/stamina to enjoy long days in the saddle.

Generally 20-40km and 500-1200m Very depending on the time of year, tracks available and season

Yeh I do understand the physics aspect, I don’t however see many super thin Enduro riders in the line up of races.

So I am hypothesizing that a balance must be struck between weight and the production of power in the ascent and descent

Then I would focus on improving skills and FTP. That’s going to be more fun, more effective and more practical to accomplish than dropping weight without dropping FTP and muscle mass. You likely have low hanging fruit on improving FTP at your height and weight.

If you eat well balanced and whole foods you might incidentally drop a bit of weight along the way.

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Enduro Racing for most stages seem to mostly be V02 Max and above, and when they aren’t pedaling they are pumping or absorbing rough terrain. I wouldn’t be too concerned about dropping weight, I would focus more on full body strength and conditioning as wall as improving your max effort (sprint) recovery times.

If it is Enduro style trail riding with your mates, dropping some pounds will help keeping up with the pack on the group climbs, but it won’t help you on the descents if you have lost some strength with your weight loss.
Skills will always help, do a skills clinic or start racing BMX, this will give you skills and max effort sprint training combined with a full body workout pumping 20+ rollers and jumps each lap.

As they seem to say in the AACC podcast a lot, do the work, feed the work, rest, repeat, and body composition will sort itself out by adapting to the work you are doing.

Absolutely, and I misspoke. Not body weight, but body fat, that’s detrimental. Moving a 35# bike downhill takes big time strength and skill, as well as endurance. You need to increase the power, decrease the body fat. High 2’s w/kg isn’t gonna get you mid pack finishes. You’re gonna be gassed from the climbs which is gonna make you slower and more mistake/injury prone on the timed downhill segments. This is the time of year to be putting in the long z2 fat burning rides while mixing in some intervals. Just like you can’t invest without a healthy checking account, you can’t put in the vo2/threshold work until you’ve got some aerobic base

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This is fine if you have 5# to lose or you’re already at ideal race weight.

I think what you’ll find is that the fast DH riders aren’t small because they have a large amount of muscle on a large skeleton. It isn’t excessive weight because they can get away with it, it is usable weight.

I’m a smaller dude (145 pounds when I’m lean and strong) so I always struggle in that style of racing, I just don’t have the power (or willingness to build it). But the fastest guys are always lean. 15 pounds of bodyweight is always going to work against you in every climb, every technical feature, every corner, and every time you squeeze a brake lever. The only time that extra weight helps is when you are accelerating downhill, and even then that weight is fighting against your legs to push.

Yes, body weight is important in gravity sports.

This is on the money, having started trainer road in December last year and sticking to a masters enduro plan for the last 2 months I was able to knock 1.2 seconds (down to 40.985 sec) of my PB Bmx lap time in the first race round of the year at my local club.
What really impressed me was it was in the 7th moto of the night so the solid base work over xmas has definitely helped with my recovery between motos. I have dropped 12kg as well so this definitely helped as well.
TR has me looking forward to giving MTB Enduro down here in Cairns a good go this year as I have previously been that guy who is always gassed at the top of the climb but able to keep up with the crew on the descents, even though they have had several minutes more rest waiting for me. It is almost at the point that I am enjoying the climbs (not towing a caravan up the hills).

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Yeah but that doesn’t mean it’s the most return on investment. Given OP’s low W/kg it’s better to focus on that first. Done weight loss might happen naturally, but the focus should be on fueling right to improve fitness.