Beginning of March, 2006. It is still winter in Germany, but my mood is sunny and I am full of anticipation: I will participate at the TOUR-Transalp and can realise my dream story for TOUR magazine: From now on, it is my official order to assemble the lightest bike possible whicht is still fit for crossing the alps quickly and safely. The question being: How fit for race and every day use actually are ultra-light parts for pimping up a bike? At last, light noble components attract many bikers who then don't buy them not only because of their exorbitant prices, but also because they are not sure if the outrageously expensive stuff won't break.
The wholehearted promises of many manufacturers in the back of my head, I go for a bike with a weight of less than six kilos. The bike sector supports my plan so fortunately money does not matter. (...)
At first it squeaks...
The assembly of the individual components is a time-consuming challenge, although I have mostly serial products available for purchase. Replacing many steel bolts by aluminium ones and combining components of different manufacturers calls for a lot of care. (...)
...then it crashes
On the sixth day, our young love hits the next low. I am inattentive for a moment, have to brake hard - the front brake at first does nothing at all and then brakes so hard that I am hurled over the handlebar and crash on the street. The bike fortunately is hardly damaged. Handlebar tape and quick release lever are lightly scratched, the bottles have fallen out of their cages.(...)
And at some point it works
After my ribs have healed, the Gerolstein-marathon emerges on my training schedule as a competition on my way to the Transalp. Until then, the bike settles for a regular greasing of the chain. (...)
(...) The Transalp turns out an unforgettable experience with the bike largely masking itself out - except for one important exception. When riding down the 16%-descent from Passo Giau in light rain, I almost pee my pants because the brakes completely fail on the carbon rims. (...)
(...) My opinion: When crossing the alps, you definitely leave your carbon wheels at home - they are too dangerous when it rains! By the way: On this rainy day, hundreds of Transalp-competitors envied me because of my SKS-mudguards at the back wheel.
What's left of the dream bike?
(...) Rain couldn't touch frame, fork and wheels in the alps, water did not gather anywhere. The total weight after the Transalp amounts to 6.22 kilograms - all alterations included. The way the bike is now, you could immediately go for the next kilometres. (...)
Author: Dirk Zedler