Weird and Wonderful Bikes from National Hill Climb Championships
Aero may rule on the flat but the super light bikes kick the climbs and here are some of the most interesting ones we spotted at last weekend’s National Hill Climb Championships on the Old Shoe climb of Llangollen, North Wales.
Along with carefully selecting their gear, riders frequently modify components to reduce those vital grams. Function is paramount here, with comfort being a minor concern in an event that only lasts a few minutes.
Andrew Feather won the men’s event with Illi Gardner the fastest woman.
All the pictures James Clarke, Just James Media www.justjamesmedia.com
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod, Andrew Plume
Andrew Feather won the men’s event riding a Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod (2019) frame in an ultralight construction. The complete bike weighs only 5.3 kg.
Like many climbers, Feather opts for a rim-brake bike to save weight over a disc-brake setup. It uses Hunt Hill Climb carbon wheels – which we told you about here – with a claimed weight of under 1000kg, fitted with Vittoria Crono tires and Rotor Aldhu cranks with an INspider power meter.
Feather’s bike is spec’d with a 38T chainring and 11-28T cassette, along with a SRAM Red rear derailleur.
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The stem and seatpost come from high-tech brand Mcfk while the carbon handlebar and saddle come from German company Schmolke.
Like many climbers, Feather forgoes the tape for the most fringe gains.
VAM O2 Factor, Ed Laverack
Ed Laverack finished top 5 aboard this Factor O2 VAM disc brake bike – read our review here – fitted with Black Inc’s Twenty Climbing wheelset. It has a Pirelli P Zero Velo TT tire from 23mm up front and a 28mm Hutchinson Fusion 5 in the rear for extra grip, both fitted with super light tubes from Tubolito – check out our review.
The tapeless handlebar/stem is also from Black Inc and has a claimed weight of 320g (420mm x 110mm).
The Laverack groupset components are Shimano’s top-tier Dura-Ace Di2 – read our review – with a left-side 4iiii Precision power meter. It’s a 34T chainring and 11-30T cassette
Like many climbers, it does without a padded saddle in favor of a sleek carbon shell. This is a Selle Italia SLR Tekno pushed as far forward as possible on the seat post.
Laverack’s complete bike weighs 6.1 kg.
Cipollini Bond, Jude Taylor
Jude Taylor finished 14th in the men’s event on this Cipollini Bond 2 which weighs just under 6.5kg with Cane Creek EE brakes in a limited edition color match.
The wheelset is a climb-specific design from Zed Bike Wheels that weighs around 900g, while the tires are Hutchinson Pro Tour in a 25mm width.
The handlebars are a Prime Primavera Aero – check out our review here – while the carbon saddle is from an unknown Chinese brand.
The bike is spec’d with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 group – read our review – with an 11-28T cassette, 4iiii Shimano 105 power meter cranks and a Wolf Tooth 40T chainring.
Taylor says he applied Molten Speed Wax to the Shimano Dura-Ace chain in his slow cooker and the lights cost £1 each.
Trigon RCQ29, Richard Stoodley
Richard Stoodley says his Dream Crusher bike currently weighs around 5.1kg, although it has been as low as 4.85kg before.
It’s built around a bare carbon Trigon RCQ29 HM-Carbon frame and stripped of anything resembling badges to save weight.
The wheels are from AX Lightness and weigh just 795g, while the tires are tubular Schwalbe One: a paltry 22mm up front with 28mm at the rear for extra traction.
Rather than opting for drop handlebars, Stoodley prefers a scaled-down Trigon Cero Aero integral bar with SRAM’s eTap Blips & BlipBox taking care of shifting. SRAM Rival shifters aren’t really shifters anymore because the internal gear mechanisms have been removed.
He saved weight by dreming the SRAM Rival brake levers and drilling through the material of the Trigon carbon seatpost, plastic seatpost clamp and saddle.
Stoodley uses a Rotor 3D+ CX1 crankset and 34T chainring with a 14-29T cassette that you’ll typically find used for junior racing.
Specialized S-Works Aethos, Rebecca Richardson
Rebecca Richardson was the 7th fastest woman on this hand-painted Specialized S-Works Aethos – check out our Aethos review here.
The wheels are AX Lightness rims paired with Zed Wheels hubs while the groupset is mostly SRAM Red eTap AXS but with an XX1 crankset and 28T chainring.
Richardson is not content to do without a bar tape, she even chooses to ditch the covers of her levers and replace a little tape.
The complete bike weighs only 5.0 kg!
Trek Emonda SL, Tobi Ng
This Trek Emonda SL comes with a 1kg unbranded wheelset fitted with Vittoria Corsa Speed tires – read our review here.
The rear derailleur is Shimano R6800 Ultegra while the other drivetrain components are top level Shimano 105. It is a 38T chainring matched to an 11-28T cassette.
The cut handlebar has a right hand shifter to operate the rear derailleur, but no right hand shifter – just a brake lever.
The lights are 3D printed and are about as minimalistic as it gets. The complete bike weighs 5.4 kg.
Berry steel frame, Leon Newton
Leon Newton rode a classic Berry steel frame with a fixed gear and single brake up front. Check out these skinny tubes. Lots of style points here!
Lighter bikes and wheels…
Adam Kenway’s bike is fitted with Lightweight’s super light and very expensive Gipfelsturm Weiss wheelset with white spokes and a claimed weight of 1025g.
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Exceptionally, there is a Campagnolo SuperRecord crankset combined with a Shimano Dura-Ace rear derailleur.
Kenway cut the drops from its handlebars and removed the bolts from the bottle cage, front derailleur hanger and cable ports. Everything counts.
We don’t know who owns this bike, but check the wheels… If it’s yours, then recognize it!
These are Enve rims with what look like Berd’s super light polymer spokes – considered the lightest in the world, they can save over 150g per wheel!
Check out tons of more cool bedtime bikes here.
Which super light bike do you prefer? Let us know which one you would pick in the comments section below…