Bike brands have been locked in something of an arms race in recent years, going toe-to-toe to produce the world’s lightest bike. In the process, frame weights have dropped below 700g and complete bike weights down towards 4kg on particularly exotic models.
While the UCI’s weight limit remains at 6.8kg for any bike used in racing, it’s relatively easy to walk into a bike shop (or browse online) and ride away on a machine which weighs less – providing your pockets are deep enough, of course.
Over the past few months we’ve seen the launch of a raft of super-light bikes from the likes of Canyon, Merida, Cannondale, Fuji, Bianchi and more. Here are eight bikes to whet the appetite of weight weenies for 2016.
Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX was already one of the lightest frames available and while the latest version of the frame, launched in June and ridden to second place at the Tour de France by Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, is only 10g lighter at 780g, Canyon have achieved that drop in weight while improving aerodynamics and comfort to make the 2016 Ultimate a true all-rounder.
The existing Ultimate was one of our favourite bikes, with the frame’s stiffness-to-weight ratio makes it a sprightly and exciting bike to ride as well a joy when you’re climbing. It combines that with supreme handling and – having spent some time on the new machine already – we’re looking forward to logging more miles.
Canyon operate a direct sales model through the German firm’s website, meaning that pound for pound the Ultimate is one of – if not the – most affordable super-light bikes on the market. See what we did there? Pound (lb) for pound (£). Oh, forget it…
The lightest bike in the range is the £3,799 Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 SL, which comes with SRAM Red 22 (the lightest groupset on the market) and Mavic R-Sys SLR WTS Exalith 2 wheels. But whether you look in the range, from the £2,699 Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 with Shimano Ultegra to the flagship Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 Ltd, which comes with Campagnolo Super Record and Campag Bora One 35 wheels for £4,899, you’re getting a bike which dips under the 6.8kg weight limit. Impressive.
And that’s with mentioning the Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 SL, which is based on a modified frame made from ultra-high modulus carbon fibre, and with an integrated front derailleur hanger and titanium screws to drop the weight to an astonishing 665g.
Paired with Lightweight Meilenstein Obermayer wheels, which weigh a frankly ludicrous 940g for the pair and cost £4,150 in their own right, along with cranks, brakes and saddle from German carbon fibre specialists THM and Tune, and a smattering of SRAM Red components, the complete bike comes in at just 4.85kg. Trouble is, it’s not available to buy. Yet.