The lightest road bike on the planet or just a 3.3kg ornament?

We all love a lightweight bike, but how light is too light?

by Ronan Mc Laughlin

There was a time when weight was everything. Riders could instantly assess the quality of any bike just by lifting it. One-hand lift; good bike. One finger-lift; world-beater! Those were simpler times, perhaps the best of times. Weight-weenie-ism may be in decline these days, but every now and then, the lightweight faithful throw up a bike shaped ode to the good old days. Berk Composites stooped to a stunning new low last year with their sub-4kg offering.

Now, the YouTube channel of Alex Ioannides, presumably run by a person of the same name, has a video of a build gone approximately 692 steps further with a 3.3kg complete road bike. I’m hesitant to say “complete road bike”, not just because the weight doesn’t include pedals, but mainly because in doing so I suggest this thing is a functional bike, which I am almost certain it should not be. 

Things start off quite well. The frame of choice is the Cannondale SuperSix Hi-Mod from circa 2016, a firm favourite amongst hillclimbing aficionados. This owner has opted for the full stripped-paint hillclimbing spec for a frame that weighs a stunning 619g. Add in the fork at just 229g for an insane 848g frame and fork total. Then there’s the IX2 stem, Ellipse bars, and T1 Loop seat post from every WeightWeenies favourite Spanish bike brand, Darimo. The THM Clavicula SE cranks with Fiber-Lyte chainrings at 335g all-in had me drooling all over the keyboard. But that’s where the matt black, low weight, raw carbon highlights end. What follows is enough to ensure if this unique build were mine, it would never be more than a bike shaped ornament hung on a wall. 

Firstly, there’s the groupset. With more “drillium” than Eddy Merckx’s Hour Record Colnago, the almost unrecognisable SRAM Red 22 parts in this build are figuratively and literally “half nothing”. Sure, saving 86g from the shifters and 53g from the rear derailleur is impressive, but the result seems about as functional as a chocolate teapot. Then there are the discontinued AX Lightness 3000 brake callipers from 2007 with a $1600 price tag and weighing in at 101g. That’s not per calliper, that’s 101g for the pair, including hardware. I haven’t tried the brakes myself, but WeightWeenie forum member “Trimenc” was quite critical in 2018, claiming these brakes “are gorgeous and super light, as I did own that model…..[but] absolutely SUCK at being brakes! They don’t stop anything. They will barely slow you down…but they will make your bike and your wallet lighter.”

Then there are those synthetic inner cables, the same discontinued Powercordz seen on Berk’s bike last year. “Discontinued, why?” I hear you ask. The thicker Powercordz suffered compatibility and, reportedly, reliability issues. Each of those synthetic cables saves circa 10g compared to the steel alternative standard, though. The mechanic does an admirable job of tuning the gears. That said, presumably, through no fault of his own, the end result is shifting that sounds about as precise as a drunken cat playing darts in the dark. 

The build is complete with an unidentified pair of carbon tubular wheels (possibly the Ultra 25T wheelset from AX Lightness), the super-light Tufo Elite 125 tubulars, a 105g cassette, and a pair of skewers weighing just 15g. The total weight for the entire wheelset system is just 984g+ tubular glue, less than many bare rear wheels. Last but not least, there is room for one rather questionable looking 5g seat clamp. 

All in, this is a rather incredible build. We have tracked the Heal Bike Studio stickers applied to the frame towards the end of the video to a bike shop in Chengdu, in the Chinese province of Sichuan. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a website for the shop and the Instagram page is rather quiet, but the YouTube video description lists Instagram user @Euphoria0616 as the lucky owner.

I flip back and forth between thinking I’d happily ride this bike in a hill climb and thinking even crashing uphill could hurt. Either way, I really want it. Let us know where you stand on this; bike or bike shaped ornament? 

Editors' Picks