The bargain-bucket in cycling shops rarely contain a few gems, but for hill-climb specialists who are weight-saving-hungry, items destined for the tip can be the difference between winning and losing.
Adam Kenway (SportGrub Kuota Cycling Team) is one of the favourites for the RTCC National Hill-Climb Championships at Jackson Bridge, near Holmfirth, on October 25.
The 28-year-old has had a strong start to his hill-climb season since refocusing his aims on negating steep gradients as opposed to road racing, with five wins and a second-place at the Monsal Hill-Climb. (opens in new tab)
Kenway, who was third at last year’s Nationals (opens in new tab), is riding a featherweight Kuota Khan Hill-Climb bike, weighing 5.5kg, and he has embodied the spirit of marginal gains with his stripped-backed modification of his Fizik Antares (opens in new tab) carbon saddle.
“At the shop where I work [Lovevelo, in Derby], we spoke to Fisik and asked if they had got any damaged saddles or ones that didn’t have any warranty on them because of the damage.
“They sent us this one for free and it was worth £250. The only thing wrong was that the padding was a bit ripped so they couldn't sell it on.
"We stripped it down, took the felt off and have just kept the base of it.
“I may even drill holes into the saddle – I’ll see how bored I get!”
Kenway is using a Dura Ace chainset with one chainring, opting for 42t on the front and 11x27 at the rear. There is no front mechanism.
His gearing, however, scuppered his chances of success at Monsal, where his training partner Joe Clark won by 0.2 seconds.
“School-boy error alert: I put a Dura-Ace cassette on a four-month old chain. It wasn’t in gear, the chain kept slipping and I couldn’t get a good rhythm. I nearly got off halfway,” he explained.
“I’ll leave the gearing as it is, though. The 27 is there as a back up if I need it.”
Cycling Weekly photographer Andy Jones pictured Kenway's bike on Sunday
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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