Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

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Mububban
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Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:24 am

N+1 was inevitable. To complement my alloy endurance bike (Giant Contend SL1 disc - 9.49kg without pedals!) I'm looking for suggestions of models to try.
Max $5k budget, under 8kg (I'm so skinny I can't feasibly lose weight myself), I want this bike for group rides, fair weather riding and punishing myself up hills. Something good to go out of the box, I sincerely don't want to "just buy the frame and upgrade the wheels later" etc.
Easier gearing would be a huge bonus but I know this can be changed fairly inexpensively. I use all the range of my 50-34 and 11-32 to spin up the steeper stuff.
I'll likely buy around January once our tax is done.

Today I test rode:
- Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 (2018) - amazing response to pedalling input, carbon wheels felt great, no braking noise. 11-30 cassette helpful. Exactly 2kg lighter than my alloy bike. Quoted $3700 including new pedals and a bottle cage - could be hard to beat.
- Trek Emonda SL6 Pro (2017) - felt surprisingly sluggish, the Vision Metron 40 carbon wheels shrieked horribly when braking and the rear kept wanting to lock up, which wasn't a problem on the TCR. $4500.

I'm waiting on demo models of:
- Focus Izalco Max (2016? rim brake models) - Dura Ace model for $5000, Ultegra model for $3900 - Plain Jane, nothing fancy to look at, but every review raves about light weight, responsiveness but also comfortable. Only in my price range due to end of year clearance, especially that Dura Ace model.
- Scott Addict RC20 (2017) - $4000 for Ultegra


What other bikes can you suggest that fit the lightweight brief?
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby macca33 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:57 am

You've fairly much picked the usual suspects - perhaps look at the new Merida Scultura super-duper lightweight rig also???
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usernameforme
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby usernameforme » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:08 am

Just some anecdotal advice, but see if you can test the addict. A mate of mine had a TCR advanced SL, and sold that for the Addict.

Another option would be the Fuji SL, very good reports on other forums.

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:53 am

2018 CAAD12 Ultegra from $3300? I've heard some complaints about Cannondale's proprietary components?

How are the Mavic Aksiums?


Also, in a world of boring black bikes, check out the colour option for the 2018 Focuz Izalco :D
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby usernameforme » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:00 pm

The Cannondale SiSL cranksets are some of the lightest alloy cranksets you can buy, so certainly no complaints from me. The Si cranks are also good, though a little heavier - still much lighter than Shimano cranks especially with the spider rings. The 25.4mm seatpost would only be annoying if you've got a particular seatpost you want.

I like the Mavic Aksiums - solid training wheels. But they're certainly not light, you may want to put another $400-700 to get some lighter wheels (e.g. Chinese tubulars (lightest), Fulcrum Racing 3s, Mavic Ksyrium Elite etc.). But after you factor this cost in it's going to cost more than the TCR advanced pro which comes with carbon wheels, carbon frame, and a lighter chain already... Suspect the Giant is going to be hard to beat for value.

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby g-boaf » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:23 pm

Mububban wrote:N+1 was inevitable. To complement my alloy endurance bike (Giant Contend SL1 disc - 9.49kg without pedals!) I'm looking for suggestions of models to try.
Max $5k budget, under 8kg (I'm so skinny I can't feasibly lose weight myself), I want this bike for group rides, fair weather riding and punishing myself up hills. Something good to go out of the box, I sincerely don't want to "just buy the frame and upgrade the wheels later" etc.
Easier gearing would be a huge bonus but I know this can be changed fairly inexpensively. I use all the range of my 50-34 and 11-32 to spin up the steeper stuff.
I'll likely buy around January once our tax is done.

Today I test rode:
- Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 (2018) - amazing response to pedalling input, carbon wheels felt great, no braking noise. 11-30 cassette helpful. Exactly 2kg lighter than my alloy bike. Quoted $3700 including new pedals and a bottle cage - could be hard to beat.
- Trek Emonda SL6 Pro (2017) - felt surprisingly sluggish, the Vision Metron 40 carbon wheels shrieked horribly when braking and the rear kept wanting to lock up, which wasn't a problem on the TCR. $4500.

I'm waiting on demo models of:
- Focus Izalco Max (2016? rim brake models) - Dura Ace model for $5000, Ultegra model for $3900 - Plain Jane, nothing fancy to look at, but every review raves about light weight, responsiveness but also comfortable. Only in my price range due to end of year clearance, especially that Dura Ace model.
- Scott Addict RC20 (2017) - $4000 for Ultegra


What other bikes can you suggest that fit the lightweight brief?


Under 8kg? Easily done. My old Giant TCR Advanced SL3 with Dura Ace 9000, alloy wheels and alloy stem and 11-32 cassette is 7kg.

Focus Izalco Max Team edition frame with Dura Ace should be easily under 7kg with ability to go further. Fit it with SRAM RED E-tap and you'll get it down below 6kg. Believe me, I know. And that's not a small frame either.

For gearing, go 52-36 and 11-32. You'll have to work a little bit harder on very steep climbs (eg 18% or more for a few kilometres) but I think it's manageable and you aren't going to come across that too often.

I don't know what frame size you have, but even a 54cm should be possible to get easily down to 6.8kg which is really as light as you need to go. As for carbon wheels, don't bother with them. You don't want those in the mountains anyway especially not if it starts to rain heavily on a steep descent. Alloy wheels are just a lot less bother. You can manage the carbon wheels if you are aware of how they behave in braking in those conditions, but I found no problems with stopping power on alloy wheels and swisstop blue pads.

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:18 pm

g-boaf wrote:Under 8kg? Easily done. My old Giant TCR Advanced SL3 with Dura Ace 9000, alloy wheels and alloy stem and 11-32 cassette is 7kg.

Focus Izalco Max Team edition frame with Dura Ace should be easily under 7kg with ability to go further. Fit it with SRAM RED E-tap and you'll get it down below 6kg. Believe me, I know. And that's not a small frame either.

For gearing, go 52-36 and 11-32. You'll have to work a little bit harder on very steep climbs (eg 18% or more for a few kilometres) but I think it's manageable and you aren't going to come across that too often.


The 2018 TCR range comes with 52-36 and 11-30 cassette. The 2018 Izalco range also comes with the same gearing. I think manufacturers are listening to customers who appreciate more gears for the steep stuff.
The LBS that's trying to get the Izalco Max demo bike said they'd fit a compact crank for no charge. I really don't need top end speed, I need bail-out gears to spin with.


I don't know what frame size you have, but even a 54cm should be possible to get easily down to 6.8kg which is really as light as you need to go. As for carbon wheels, don't bother with them. You don't want those in the mountains anyway especially not if it starts to rain heavily on a steep descent. Alloy wheels are just a lot less bother. You can manage the carbon wheels if you are aware of how they behave in braking in those conditions, but I found no problems with stopping power on alloy wheels and swisstop blue pads.


I'm currently on a 58cm.

I'm not too worried about mountain weather, I'll just be riding the Perth hills in fair weather (heat stroke will be more of an issue than wet carbon rims).
The TCR's wheels felt great, easy to spin up, it'll be interesting to compare the feel of several different bikes. I must admit when I bought my Contend, I only tried it and a carbon Defy with Tiagra, and couldn't tell the difference on a short ride in any way.
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby g-boaf » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:40 pm

If you can get the Izalco, that's the one to go for. It will be the lightest by far. And just put some good alloy wheels on it, the bike will still be light. You can make those bikes into real ultra light machines.

The Trek you mentioned, the locking up sounds like something not set up right on the brakes.

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:27 pm

g-boaf wrote:If you can get the Izalco, that's the one to go for. It will be the lightest by far. And just put some good alloy wheels on it, the bike will still be light. You can make those bikes into real ultra light machines.

The Trek you mentioned, the locking up sounds like something not set up right on the brakes.


Yeah, the Dura Ace Izalco is tempting, but at maximum budget. Even the Ultegra model I'm sure will be under or around 7.4kg and leave me money to maybe pick up a second hand MTB...

The TCR's carbon wheels braked silently and perfectly. The same braking pressure on the Trek had the rear locking up, but it's currently being ridden by the shop mechanic who apparently has no problems with it.
I hated the braking sound though! It'd drive me nuts, shrieking like that every time I touched the brakes.
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby adam0bmx0 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:51 pm

I have a 2016 Focus Izalco Max with SRAM Red 22 and Craftworx Ultima (alu clincher-1320gram) wheels, 56cm frame and weighs in at just over 6.4kg including pedals, 2 bottle cages and Wahoo mount!

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Could go lighter with carbon bar/stem and aftermarket seatpost, probably get it down around around 6.2kg.

I love it, point and shoot, stiff in the rear end but still compliant with the bumps and poor roads.

I also have a 2016 BMC Team Machine SLR02 with Ultegra and light-ish alu clinchers and that weighs 7.5kg. This frame is stiffer and harsher, do I notice the weight difference on climbs? Yes slightly, but not much in it. Both bikes are great.

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby rodneycc » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:45 pm

Get a secondhand top end TCR and save $2000 I reckon.... You already know all the stuff you need to know so I don't really understand the need to buy out of a showroom.
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:03 pm

rodneycc wrote:Get a secondhand top end TCR and save $2000 I reckon.... You already know all the stuff you need to know so I don't really understand the need to buy out of a showroom.


I've never bought carbon before so chances are if there was something subtly wrong with it, I wouldn't notice it. Same with running gear.

My mountain bike is 15 years old, I don't usually replace things unless they're unfixable. Realistically this bike will also be kept until I am too old to ride it so all things considered, I'm happy to buy new to get warranty and peace of mind.
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby g-boaf » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:58 pm

Mububban wrote:
rodneycc wrote:Get a secondhand top end TCR and save $2000 I reckon.... You already know all the stuff you need to know so I don't really understand the need to buy out of a showroom.


I've never bought carbon before so chances are if there was something subtly wrong with it, I wouldn't notice it. Same with running gear.

My mountain bike is 15 years old, I don't usually replace things unless they're unfixable. Realistically this bike will also be kept until I am too old to ride it so all things considered, I'm happy to buy new to get warranty and peace of mind.



You've been told above about the Focus. It will be really, really light.

Go for it with the lightest frame even if you compromise elsewhere in it, you can always change groupset components later or wheels if you must. Changing a frame is really costly.

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby rodneycc » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:56 pm

No probs, whatever makes you feel comfortable with your decision.

Personally I'd buy to bike that test rides the best rather than just weight. As one guy put it - Just don't fill your drink bottles to the top and that's the weight saving!
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:03 pm

rodneycc wrote:Personally I'd buy to bike that test rides the best rather than just weight. As one guy put it - Just don't fill your drink bottles to the top and that's the weight saving!


That's the plan - test ride everything before pulling the trigger. I expected that Emonda to feel great, but after the TCR it felt sluggish.

A workmate raves about his Specialized Tarmac so I've added that to the list to test ride if possible. And BMC have a few bikes within my budget.
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:19 am

To consider - to save money, heavier wheelsets are often specc'ed by brands so one strategy is to focus on the groupset and frame and keep in mind that you can go for a wheelset upgrade. Giant is a good candidate and while I assume that their inhouse wheels have improved, they lend themself to upgrading to faster, lighter wheels.

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:10 am

AUbicycles wrote:To consider - to save money, heavier wheelsets are often specc'ed by brands so one strategy is to focus on the groupset and frame and keep in mind that you can go for a wheelset upgrade. Giant is a good candidate and while I assume that their inhouse wheels have improved, they lend themself to upgrading to faster, lighter wheels.


Yeah that TCR could take some beating. The current SLR1 carbon rim brake wheels are pretty well rated.

The new Ultegra 8000 can officially accomodate 28mm tyres and the 11-30 cassette seems standard across many brands for 2018 bikes, which is good news for me.
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:32 pm

Following a second test ride, the TCR for $3500 is still in the lead.

I test rode a 6.8kg Focus Izalco Max (2017) with the new Dura-Ace. Brilliant shifting feel, great brakes etc, but for the extra money ($5k, down from $7k) it didn't get me as excited as the TCR has done. Maybe the DT Swiss RR21 wheels are a bit heavier than the Giant's carbon ones?
I'm sure it's a cracking bike, especially for the money, but to my limited riding senses, it wouldn't be worth it. I'll take the TCR's weight penalty in favour of a livelier response.

The 2018 Spesh Tarmac should be out mid-November, I'm keen to ride that if possible. Otherwise, the TCR disc version will be out at the end of November. I'll do a back to back test then pull the trigger on my favourite.
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby hamishm » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:50 pm

Mububban wrote:The new Ultegra 8000 can officially accomodate 28mm tyres and the 11-30 cassette seems standard across many brands for 2018 bikes, which is good news for me.

FWIW, you can get 11-30 on Ultegra 6800, and even my old 6700 fits 28mm (although it's best to inflate the tyres after putting the wheels in the frame).

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Derny Driver » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:17 pm

Mububban wrote:.... the TCR disc version will be out at the end of November....

So your "lightweight climbing bike" will have disc brakes and 28mm tyres? :shock:

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby baabaa » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:31 pm

Derny Driver wrote:
Mububban wrote:.... the TCR disc version will be out at the end of November....

So your "lightweight climbing bike" will have disc brakes and 28mm tyres? :shock:

I think you will find that the trend estimation standard will be reset to 30mm on the 15th of Nov...
And btw Mub, bit keen to know which steeper stuff/ hills other than in and around Armadale can be found in Perth? 50/34 and a 30 is pretty low even in Sydney. Maybe put down a few $$ and get one of the very cheap but really quite good for the price Cell single speeds and do so hill work for training?

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby g-boaf » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:26 pm

Mububban wrote:Following a second test ride, the TCR for $3500 is still in the lead.

I test rode a 6.8kg Focus Izalco Max (2017) with the new Dura-Ace. Brilliant shifting feel, great brakes etc, but for the extra money ($5k, down from $7k) it didn't get me as excited as the TCR has done. Maybe the DT Swiss RR21 wheels are a bit heavier than the Giant's carbon ones?
I'm sure it's a cracking bike, especially for the money, but to my limited riding senses, it wouldn't be worth it. I'll take the TCR's weight penalty in favour of a livelier response.

The 2018 Spesh Tarmac should be out mid-November, I'm keen to ride that if possible. Otherwise, the TCR disc version will be out at the end of November. I'll do a back to back test then pull the trigger on my favourite.


In what way was the TCR more lively? I could build you up a bike that is lively - you could even ride my black/green TCR and then you'll know what lively is, that bike is pin sharp and precise. Or my other one which is 6.3kg.

You really don't need disc brakes. I used normal alloy wheels (with 25mm Continental GP4000S II tyres), Dura Ace rim brakes and Swisstop pads and was fine with extremely steep descents in Italy and Austria, even in pouring rain (Austria). Had no trouble at all, stopping power was always excellent.

A 50-34 and 11-30 should get you through long climbs (10km+ at 9%) without bother unless your power is fairly low.

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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby ValleyForge » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:47 pm

Derny Driver wrote:
Mububban wrote:.... the TCR disc version will be out at the end of November....

So your "lightweight climbing bike" will have disc brakes and 28mm tyres? :shock:

Still laughing.
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:05 pm

baabaa wrote:So your "lightweight climbing bike" will have disc brakes and 28mm tyres? :shock:


I doubt the disc bike will feel better than the rim brake version, so probably not.

I think you will find that the trend estimation standard will be reset to 30mm on the 15th of Nov...
And btw Mub, bit keen to know which steeper stuff/ hills other than in and around Armadale can be found in Perth? 50/34 and a 30 is pretty low even in Sydney. Maybe put down a few $$ and get one of the very cheap but really quite good for the price Cell single speeds and do so hill work for training?


After a second test ride I reckon the 36-30 will be fine, but you have no idea how good or bad I am on a bike. Let me say it again for those in the back - I love cycling, but I am weak as ....
I had some guy in a bike store tell me he can get up any hill in Perth and not shift out of his big ring. Well that's awesome champ, but I'm not you, and I'm not going to buy a bike that YOU can ride easily just because you think that's what I SHOULD get.
I'll be doing some leg strengthening exercises now the work gym is open again, but I've been a stick insect my whole life, and will likely be this way until the day I die.

At least I won't put much strain on my pall bearers when that time comes. Probably only need one on each end :mrgreen:
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Re: Lightweight climbing bike options - $5000 budget

Postby Mububban » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:10 pm

g-boaf wrote:In what way was the TCR more lively? I could build you up a bike that is lively - you could even ride my black/green TCR and then you'll know what lively is, that bike is pin sharp and precise. Or my other one which is 6.3kg.


When I put what little power I have into the pedals, the TCR has that cliched description of "it really jumps ahead." I can feel it shoot forwards (relatively speaking) when I put in power while seated, or when out of the saddle.
So far the Emonda and the Izalco didn't have that same feeling. I'm dealing with a very small "data set" of bikes so far, but that's the best way I can describe the feeling. The TCR makes me want to ride it more than the others so far.

A 50-34 and 11-30 should get you through long climbs (10km+ at 9%) without bother unless your power is fairly low.


My power is loooooooooow. I'd actually be interested to get it measured for a laugh.
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