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Weird and wonderful bikes from the National Hill Climb Championships

If you want to see some seriously lightweight tech, check out the bikes ridden at the National Hill Climb Championships

Aerodynamics might rule on the flat but superlight bikes kick ass on the climbs and here are some of the most interesting that we spotted at last weekend’s National Hill Climb Championships on the Old Shoe climb out of Llangollen, North Wales.

As well as selecting their equipment carefully, riders frequently modify components to shave off those vital grams. Function is all important here with comfort just a minor concern in an event that lasts just a few minutes.

Andrew Feather won the men's event with Illi Gardner the fastest woman.

All pics James Clarke, Just James Media

Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod, Andrew Feather

2022 National Hill Climb Feather - 1 (1)

Andrew Feather won the men’s event on a Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod frame (2019) in a super-lightweight build. The complete bike is just 5.3kg.

Like many hill climb specialists, Feather goes for a rim brake bike for weight saving over a disc brake setup. He uses Hunt Hill Climb carbon wheels – which we told you about here – with a claimed weight of under 1,000g, fitted with Vittoria Crono tyres, and Rotor Aldhu cranks with an INspider power meter.

Feather’s bike is fitted with a 38T chainring and an 11-28T cassette, alongside a SRAM Red rear derailleur.

> How to choose the best SRAM road bike groupset for you

The stem and seatpost come from high-tech brand Mcfk while the handlebar and carbon saddle are from fellow German company Schmolke

Like many hill climbers, Feather forgoes bar tape for the most marginal of marginal gains.

Factor O2 VAM, Ed Laverack

2022 National Hill Climb Factor Laverack - 1

Ed Laverack got a top-5 finish aboard this Factor O2 VAM disc brake bike – read our review here – fitted with Black Inc’s Twenty climbing wheelset. He has a 23mm Pirelli P Zero Velo TT tyre up front and a 28mm Hutchinson Fusion 5 at the rear for extra grip, both fitted with Tubolito’s superlight tubes – check out our review

The tapeless handlebar/stem is from Black Inc too and has a 320g claimed weight (420 mm x 110 mm).

Laverack’s groupset components are Shimano’s top-level Dura-Ace Di2 – read our review – with a 4iiii Precision left-sided power meter. That’s a 34T chainring and an 11-30T cassette

Like many hill climbers, he does without a padded saddle in favour of a pared-down carbon shell. This is a Selle Italia SLR Tekno pushed as far forward as possible on the seatpost.

Laverack’s complete bike is 6.1kg.

Cipollini Bond, Jude Taylor

2022 National Hill Climb Cipollini Bond - 1

Jude Taylor finished 14th in the men’s event on this Cipollini Bond 2 that comes in at just under 6.5kg with Cane Creek EE brakes in a limited edition matching colour.

The wheelset is a hill climb-specific design from Zed Bike Wheels that weigh about 900g, while the tyres are Hutchinson Pro Tour in a 25mm width.

The handlebar is a Prime Primavera Aerocheck out our review here – while the carbon saddle is from an unknown Chinese brand.

The bike is fitted with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset – read our review – with a 11-28T cassette, 4iiii Shimano 105 power meter cranks, and a Wolf Tooth 40T chainring.

Taylor says that he has applied Molten Speed Wax to the Shimano Dura-Ace chain in his slow cooker and that the lights cost £1 each.

Trigon RCQ29, Richard Stoodley

2022 National Hill Climb Trigon - 1

Richard Stoodley says that his Dream Crusher bike currently weighs around 5.1kg although it has been as low as 4.85kg previously.

It is built around a Trigon RCQ29 HM-Carbon frame in bare carbon and stripped of anything like badges to save weight.

The wheels are from AX Lightness and weigh just 795g, while the tyres are tubular Schwalbe One: a skinny 22mm at the front with 28mm at the rear for extra traction.

Rather than going for a drop handlebar, Stoodley prefers a cutdown Trigon Cero Aero integral bar with SRAM’s eTap Blips & BlipBox taking care of the shifting. The SRAM Rival shifters aren’t really shifters anymore because the internal gear mechanisms have been removed.

He has saved weight by dremelling the SRAM Rival brake levers, and drilling material out of the Trigon carbon seatpost, the seatpost clamp, and the plastic saddle.

Stoodley uses a Rotor 3D+ CX1 chainset and used a 34T chainring with a 14-29T cassette that you'd usually find being used for junior racing.

Specialized S-Works Aethos, Rebecca Richardson

2022 National Hill Climb Specialized - 1

Rebecca Richardson was the 7th fastest woman on this handpainted Specialized S-Works Aethoscheck out our Aethos review here

The wheels are AX Lightness rims paired with Zed Wheels hubs while the groupset is mainly SRAM Red eTap AXS but with an XX1 chainset and a 28T chainring.

Richardson not only goes without handlebar tape, she even chooses to ditch the hoods on her levers and substitute a little tape.

The complete bike weighs just 5.0kg!

Trek Emonda SL, Tobi Ng

2022 National Hill Climb Trek Emonda SL - 1

This Trek Emonda SL is fitted with an unbranded 1kg wheelset fitted with Vittoria Corsa Speed tyres – read our review here.

The rear derailleur is Shimano R6800 Ultegra while the other drivetrain components are next level down Shimano 105. That’s a 38T chainring matched up to an 11-28T cassette.

2022 National Hill Climb Trek Emonda SL - 2

The chopped-down handlebar is fitted with a right-hand shifter to operate the rear derailleur, but no shifter on the right – just a brake lever.

2022 National Hill Climb Tobi Ng rear LED - 1

The lights are 3D printed and are about as minimalist as it’s possible to be. The complete bike comes in at 5.4kg.

Berry steel frame, Leon Newton

2022 National Hill Climb Berry - 1

Leon Newton rode on a classic Berry steel frame with a fixed gear and a single brake up front. Check out those skinny tubes. Loads of style points here!

More lightweight bikes and wheels...

2022 National Hill Climb Lightweight wheels - 1 (1)

Adam Kenway’s bike is fitted with Lightweight’s superlight – and super-expensive – Gipfelsturm Weiss wheelset with white spokes and a claimed weight of 1,025g.

> 6 road bike upgrades you don't actually need

2022 National Hill Climb Lightweight wheel - 1

Unusually, there’s a Campagnolo SuperRecord crankset paired with a Shimano Dura-Ace rear derailleur.

Kenway has chopped the drops off his handlebar and removed the bottle cage bolts, front derailleur mount, and cable ports. It all counts.

2022 National Hill Climb Cannondale - 1

This Cannondale belongs to Fran Eades of Islington CC. Check out the wheels...

2022 National Hill Climb Cannondale front wheel - 1

They’re Enve SES 2.2 rims with Extralite Cyber hubs, Extralite Streeters skewers, and Berd’s superlight polymer spokes. Said to be the world's lightest, these can save over 150g per wheel. The complete wheelset weight is 960g.

Check out loads more cool Bikes at Bedtime here.

Which super lightweight bike is your favourite? Let us know which one you'd choose in the comments section below...

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Add new comment


cyclisto | 1 year ago
1 like

Nice article, much more interesting than TdF bikes articles as I like mods.

Very impressive for me that there is a 5kg race going bike with disks.

Bmblbzzz replied to cyclisto | 1 year ago

Yes. These bikes are obviously in a continuous state of development through use, "productions" rather than "products". And that's a very good thing.

peted76 | 1 year ago

The Hill Climb season is great.. bodgers saving weight, silly supporters, people being sick and collapsing and everyone happy to see people in pain LOL 

Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

Why do I get the impression when they are not training that HC'ers spend all their time on weight

Bmblbzzz | 1 year ago

Tobi Ng's bars are insane highly dedicated to performance above any other considerations.

msackman | 1 year ago

Andrew Feather is truly godly if he can win with wheels on touching 1,000kg! Must go through brake-pads pretty quick too...

Troon replied to msackman | 1 year ago

To be fair, they did claim under 1,000kg…

ChrisB200SX replied to Troon | 1 year ago

Mat Brett wrote:

He uses Hunt Hill Climb carbon wheels with a claimed weight of under 1,000kg,

Impressive! Carbon wheels that weigh less than a ton, whatever next?

chrisonabike replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago

Wheels under a ton?  Ah - that must be that Didi Senft again!

Think he's often found on hills but I didn't realise he was fast up them too.

Mat Brett replied to msackman | 1 year ago

msackman wrote:

Andrew Feather is truly godly if he can win with wheels on touching 1,000kg! Must go through brake-pads pretty quick too...

Yeah, they're well under 1,000kg! I'll update that. Thanks.

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