Cyclocross Magazine receives some interesting things for review. Of everything that has arrived in the mail, Silicone Tidds might be the most diminutive product we’ve received. What are Tidds? They’re two little rubber plugs that weigh just .25 grams each. They replace your unused bottle cage bolts on your bike and plug your unused rack and fender braze-on mounts.
The company cites three reasons, as stated on their packaging in this exact fashion:
- Save Weight
- Maintain Threads
“Etc.” isn’t very helpful. But it’s all in fun, as they say the “top two bullets are pretty much it.”
They’re prefect for the weight weenie who thinks he has everything. The two plugs can save five to eight grams, depending on the bolts they’re replacing. They also can hopefully seal off your frame from moisture, and provide a smoother, lower profile than bolt heads offer, reducing the chance your skinsuit or jersey gets snagged when shouldering the bike.
You can also use them to plug your unused, empty rack or fender mounts to protect the threads from rust, but that obviously would add weight to your bike.
They’re easy to install. Just coat with a bit of grease (not too much if you’re trying to save weight here), push them in and give a little twist.
Are they worth it? If you’ve read this far and are really interested in saving just a few grams, they might be perfect for you. But weight weenies often adhere to the dollar-per-gram saved benchmark as a test of weight savings value. Tidds ship from the UK, so British weight weenies have an easier time justifying the £3.99 price ($6.43 at current exchange rates).
Here in the States, shipping costs a pricey £4.99 for the first pair, and £.50 for every extra pair. It’s complicated math to figure out when you might dip below the dollar-per-gram benchmark, and involves more than currency conversion. Nevertheless, we did the math for you below.
I pulled off two bolts off one of my bikes, and they also each had a washer. The pair with washers weighed 8g. So the two Tidds saved me 7.5g. At that weight savings, I’d have to spend $202.40 and buy 27 pairs to end up saving more than a gram per dollar. Figure two pairs per bike, and you’ve got more than 13 bikes’ worth of bolt replacements. Unless you’ve got a huge quiver or fleet of team bikes, you’ll have a few to share with your buddies or teammates.
If you save only 7g or less per pair? You’ll never save more than a gram per dollar no matter how many you buy. That extra half a gram is key.
Granted, if you happen to have a few frames that need bolts, you’d have to factor in the cost of the normal bolts and subtract that out. At a bike store, a pair of bolts might cost you a few bucks. At a hardware store, less than a buck. And exchange rates can fluctuate. Currency traders might have a better sense of when to strike on a bulk purchase of Tidds. It goes without saying, we didn’t built a spreadsheet for such scenarios, because we’re not that smart.
At the end of the day, we’re talking less per pair than what many spend on coffee for a week, so maybe the dollar-per-gram benchmark need not apply here. Still, there are more expensive titanium bolts, and less expensive nylon bolts. Both are heavier and bigger in form factor but still viable options.
Silicone Tidds is a novel idea from people who don’t take themselves too seriously, for people who take weight savings seriously.
Tidds come in black, white and pink, and could add a little style to your bike.
Alternatively, if Tidds are too pricey, you could try nylon bolts, or if you can’t find your desired color, you could just get a colored electrical tape pack and have a thousand bike’s worth of bolt replacements. Update: Or as one commenter says, user nail polish to color a bolt in your desired color.