The first thing anyone does when looking at a new bike is to pick it up to feel how light it is. And for good reason. After all we all like to have that little bit of extra help to get us over those pesky hills.
The winner of the best lightweight bike in the 2016 Cycling Weekly Bike of the Year awards is not simply the bike that has caused the least trouble to our scales, but is instead a bike that is great to ride on all terrains, not just up steep grades, and gives decent value for money too.
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Winner: Merida Scultura 6000
If you’re looking for the best lightweight bike that you can buy without having to remorgage the house, then that bike is the Merida Scultura 6000. For a little over two grand this bike gives you the same Scultura Team frame that’s seen Giro d’Italia success courtesy of Lampre-Merida decked out with some half decent finishing kit to create a climber’s dream.
The 800g frame is not only light but also incredibly stiff. Get out of the saddle on steeper gradients and this bike will make you feel like Alberto Contador dancing on the pedals, and such is the excellent handling that you’ll feel like Vincenzo Nibali coming down the other side too.
Comfort has also not been compromised, with the frame being designed to accommodate 28mm tyres if you’re riding over really rought roads, while the mix of Shimano Ultegra shifting, FSA chainset, and Merida’s own brand brakes might not look sexy, but work well together and help to build a lightweight bike that also offers value.
Runner Up: Cannondale Supersix EVO Hi-Mod Ultegra
The runner up in our best lightweight bike of 2016 is the Cannondale Supersix EVO Hi-Mod Ultegra.
The Cannondale Supersix has long been the go-to bike for anyone looking for a lightweight bike to thrive in the hills. It’s been redesigned for 2016 with the frame given a few aerodynamic tweaks here and there, but what’s really impressed us is the fact that Cannondale has managed to take what was already a stiff, light bike, and make it stiffer and lighter than ever before.
This makes for a phenomenably fun bike to ride. We’ve ridden the Cannondale on the long, steady climbs of the Alps and the short brutal gradients of the Lake District, and it thrives on both, making climbing a joy even for those of us who aren’t naturally predisposed to going uphill.
And like the Merida it’s agile and comfortable too. Descents are handled just that little bit quicker than with other bikes, with those super-slim seatstays helping to soak up vibrations and keep the back-end glued to the tarmac.