Here's our pick of the five featherweights to keep an eye out for in 2016
Since time immemorial, man has been trying to make the bicycle lighter. 2015 saw the release of the 4.55kg Merida Scultura 9000 LTD and the 4.4kg Ax-Lightness VIAL evo ULTRA, both of which pushed the envelope a little further in the pursuit of featherweight perfection. However there are plenty of other bikes for the weight weenies to get excited about in 2016, and here’s our pick of five of the best lightweight bikes to keep an eye out for next year.
Canyon Ultimate CF Evo
Canyon may have the air of a sensible, measured German bike company, but it’s thrown that out of the window with the 4.85kg Ultimate CF Evo. Although this bike is based on the new Ultimate that was launchd back in June, there are a number of key modifications, such as integrated front derailleur hanger and titanium screws, to bring the frame weight down to 665g.
The rest of the weight loss comes in the finishing kit. Lightweight wheels are almost ubiquitous among featherweight road bikes, so its no surprise that Canyon has plumped for a pir of 1,100g Lightweight Meilenstein Obermayers on its flagship bike, with fellow Germans THM and Tune supplying the crankset, brakes, and saddle.
Orbea Orca M10i
There are plenty of bikes to choose from in the Orbea Orca range, all the way from the £1,999 Orca M30 all the way up through eleven other models to the top-end Orca M-ltdi which will set you back a considerable sum of £7,199.
The Orbea Orca M10i you see here sits towards the top of the range, and has gone one a serious diet to lose 250g from the frame compared to its predecessor. This lightweight frame is equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (as well as an SRM power meter, as this bike was actually ridden by Cofidis’s Nacer Bouhanni) and Vision Metron 40 wheels
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod
It might surprise you if you’re not looking closely, but this is in fact a brand new Cannondale SuperSix EVO for 2016. That means it comes with a new fork and flattened seatstays which claim to improve comfort by 15 per cent, a redesigned bottom bracket for an 11 per cent boost in stiffness, and redesigned tube shapes for better aerodynamics.
But the most important thing is of course, weight. Surprisingly the SuperSix EVO frame is actually slightly heavier than its predecessor, but don’t worry too much, as the “system weight” (so that’s frame, fork, headset and seatpost) has been reduced by 67g.
If the 777g frame weight of the Cannondale isn’t quite light enough, then what about the 695g Fuji SL. Fuji has achieved this considerable feat using some pretty clever engineering, reducing the number of double-bonded joints in the frame, which is also claimed to be 11 per cent stiffer than the model it’s replacing, the Altamira.
The top-of-the-range Fuji SL 1.1 you see hear hits the scales at a highly impressive 4.96kg, complete with SRAM Red groupset and Reynolds RZR 46 wheels, which are highly impressive with their sub-kilo weight despite their 46mm depth.
Ax-Lightness VIAL evo ULTRA
However all of these lighweights pale in comparison to the final bike on our list: the Ax-Lightness VIAL evo ULTRA, the lightest bike in the world at just 4.4kg. Safe to say that everything about this bike is pretty special, with the German carbon specialists using less resin in the frame in order to bring it down to just 660g.
The wheels also come from Ax-Lightness, U24 tubulars that weigh in at a seriously impressive 800g for the frame, as do the brakes, saddle, stem, and handlebars, which are also strong enough to give this bike a weight limit of 100kg. There’s also a SRAM Red groupset and THM crankset.