Lightweight Urgestalt road bike review

Up close with this breathtaking matte black piece of two-wheeled art

Road Bike Wheels
Total bike weight was 14.6 pounds, including Look Keo Blade TI pedals.

Total bike weight was 14.6 pounds, including Look Keo Blade TI pedals (click to enlarge).

Lowdown: Lightweight Urgestalt Road Bike

Last Thursday, while sauntering by Red Lantern Cycles in Menlo Park, California, owner Matt Barkley invited me in to check out a bike. It was a Lightweight Urgestalt equipped with a Fernweg carbon wheelset and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting drivetrain. And while you may not of heard of the Urgestalt or Fernwegs, dedicated weight weenies will drool at their mere mention.

The wheels are extremely sought-after in the world of super components, thus the eye-watering $8000 price tag. It’s a similar story for the frameset, which retails for $6500. Packaged together, the result was a breathtaking matte black piece of two-wheeled art that reminded me of an esoteric super-car. “Why don’t you take it for a ride and give it back in a week or so,” offered Barkley.

Of course I accepted, feeling like I’d been given the keys to a Lamborghini Huracan. I was also nervous as heck, scared that I might scratch up this insanely expensive money machine. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Here’s my review after a brief but exhilarating test session.

Stat Box
Frame/fork: Lightweight Urgestalt carbon fiber Saddle: Selle Italia SLR (148 grams)
Fernweg tubular front: 60mm deep, 685 grams Claimed frame weight: 790 grams
Fernweg tubular rear: 80mm deep, 795 grams Actual weight: 14.6 pounds w/ Look Keo Blade TI
Handlebars: Compact 123mm deep, 75mm reach Wheelset price: $8000
Handlebar weight: 192g Frame price: $6500 (frame, fork, seatpost)
Drivetrain: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Rating: 3.5 Stars 3.5 out of 5 stars
Tires: 23c Fortezza Senso tubulars, 290tpi

Pluses
Minuses
  • Handlebars have a perfect bend and shallow drop
  • Price
  • Looks
  • Water bottle cages
  • Wheelset
  • Weight
  • Exclusivity
  • Finicky seat post and seat adjustment
  • Attention to detail: Hidden seatpost adjuster, smooth cable entry/exit points, exquisite seatpost/down tube/seat tube junction, Di2 mount, labeled handlebar plugs, brake pads quick release skewers
  • Exclusivity

Figure this complete package will set you back at least $15,000.

Figure this complete package will set you back at least $15,000 (click to enlarge).

Review: Lightweight Urgestalt Road Bike

Lightweight has been making state-of-the-art, super-light race wheels for decades. Jan Ullrich used them (and some other stuff) to win multiple Tour de France stages. They feature carbon rims and spokes that were way ahead of their time in that they combined remarkably light weight construction with aerodynamics. Those advanced construction techniques with seemingly impossible low weight, limited availability, and high prices made them very exclusive. Lightweight wheels were typically found paired with limited-production and expensive boutique brand bikes from the likes of Colnago, DeRosa, and Pinarello.

Aero spokes and super lightweight hubs add up to a $8000 wheelset.

Aero spokes and super lightweight hubs add up to a $8000 wheelset (click to enlarge).

But a few years ago, the folks at Lightweight decided that it was time to build a frame to complement their incredible wheels. The result is the Urgestalt (German for “original form”), which includes frame, seatpost, and fork. And as the Lightweight website says, the frame is meant to “frame the wheels.” But this beautiful piece of composite tubing is no slouch. Claimed frame weight is just 790 grams.

Continue to page 2 for more of our Lightweight Urgestalt road bike review »
About the author: Twain Mein

Twain Mein is fascinated with the technology and gear aspect of cycling, and is a longtime product reviewer. Twain has been doing triathlons since 1987 and has been ranked in the Top 50 U.S. National Age Group on numerous occasions.


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  • Craig Ohlendorf says:

    Are you kidding me, $8000 for a flat black paint job. You can get the same paint job on those $600 Chinese bike frames!. The folks at Lightweight need an art class.

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