Whether climbing steeps or ripping along the flats, this bike feels efficient and precise.

Whether climbing steeps or ripping along the flats, this bike feels efficient and precise.​

Lowdown: BH Ultralight EVO Road Bike

Gone are the days when road bike makers could simply roll out an ultra light claimed frame weight number and expect sales to roll in. Sure weight still does (and always will) matter, but with so many manufacturers cracking the code on shaving grams, it's ride quality and price that are the real determinants in this increasingly competitive space. So yes, the BH Bikes (as in Beistegui Hermanos) Ultralight EVO is one very wispy bike, with a claimed frame weight of under 700 grams sans rider weight restrictions. But how does the Spanish bike maker's stealth climbing whip handle in the real world? Read our full review to find out.

Frame: Ultralight EVO carbonCassette: Shimano Dura Ace 11-28
Fork: Ultralight EVO carbon w/1.5" steererChain: Shimano
Wheels: Mavic CC40 carbonBars: BH S. Lite SL 44cm
Hubs: Mavic SSCStem: BH S. Lite 110mm
Tires: Mavic Yksion Pro 23cSeatpost: BH S. Lite 27.2mm
Brakes: Shimano Dura AceSaddle: Prologo Kappa2
Shifters: Shimano Dura AceHeadtube angle: 73.5 degrees
Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura AcveHeadtube length: 19.5cm
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura AceSeat angle: 72.5 degrees
Cable routing: InternalChainstay length: 402mm
Crankset: Rotor 3D 52-36Sizes: XS-XL
Weight: 15.6 pounds (size XL as tested)MSRP: $3999 (frame and fork)
Stat Box
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[TD] Rating:
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Pluses

Minuses
  • Efficient climber
  • Expensive
  • Very light
  • Only sold as frameset in U.S.
  • Superb test group
  • Tall head tube (if that's not your thing)
  • Stealth looks
  • Stiff front end
  • Compliant rear end
  • Squeaky braking
  • Very stiff at BB
  • Narrow tires
  • Tall head tube (if that's your thing)
  • Tedious seatpost saddle clamp
  • Smooth cable routing
  • Not comfortable off pavement
  • Tapered headtube
  • One-piece carbon fork
  • Convertible internal cable routing
  • Great power transfer
  • Sharp, precise handling
  • Confident descender
  • Bump absorbing seatpost
  • In-molded front derailleur hanger
  • Flared seat tube
  • Mid compact gearing
  • Light, stiff wheels
  • Unlikely to see many others

Review: BH Ultralight EVO Road Bike

The first thing you do with a bike that has "ultralight" in its name is weigh it. And indeed the BH Ultralight EVO fared well on the scale, posting a 15.6-pound reading while dressed with a host of high-zoot parts, including Dura Ace mechanical drivetrain and Mavic CC40 carbon wheels. So while we didn't strip the bike all the way down to its frame, it's a safe bet BH is not messing around with its sub-700 gram weight claim, which is based on a size medium frame. (We tested an XL.)

Our test ride weighed in at 15.6 pounds, size XL. But you can build it up any way you want, as it is currently only available as a frameset in the U.S.

Our test ride weighed in at 15.6 pounds, size XL. But you can build it up any way you want, as it is currently only available as a frameset in the U.S.​

It's also worth mentioning that this bike is a lot like its predecessor, the BH Ultralight. Besides the extra three letters in its name, the differences are subtle, focused primarily in how BH says it laid up the carbon and the shape of the bike's bottom bracket. Lay up claims are just that, and without hunkering down on the factory floor, it's hard to do much more than pass the information on. BH says they've done it better than before, which in part helped them shave 50 grams of frame weight.

The BB386EVO bottom bracket helps maximize junction space for the girthy downtube and oversized chainstays.

The BB386EVO bottom bracket helps maximize junction space for the girthy downtube and oversized chainstays.​

The bottom bracket, on the other hand, is clearly a point of emphasis on this bike. It's wide. It's big. It's stiff. You notice it at first glance - and more importantly, first pedal stroke. No noodly feel here. The BH Ultralight EVO takes power in and turns it into momentum out. That's true whether grinding up a climb (where this bike shines) or blasting down a straightaway (where it also fairs quite well).

Continue to page 2 for more of our BH Ultralight EVO road bike review »


Razor thin seatstays improve rear-end compliance, while the stubby chainstays deliver a quick handling feel.

Razor thin seatstays improve rear-end compliance, while the stubby chainstays deliver quick handling.​

This is achieved in part via the BB386EVO bottom bracket, which meshes the axle and bearing measures of BB30 with the shell width of BB86. This maximizes junction space for the girthy downtube and oversized chainstays with their unique, swoopy shape. Those chainstays are also a tad on the short side (402mm), which further enhances power transfer - and improves overall handling, especially when its time to drop down the backside of a climb. Plus, the wider tubes help shave weight without sacrificing stiffness because less overall material is needed.

The new molded-carbon front derailleur hanger helps assure precise shifting.

The new in-molded carbon front derailleur hanger helps improve shifting precision.​

That increased stiffness doesn't mean harsh, though. Thanks to pencil thin seatstays and a bump absorbing 27.2mm seatpost, the BH Ultralight EVO does a reasonable job soaking up road chatter before it reaches your body. That's not to say this is an all-day off-road adventurer, because it's most certainly not. If gravel grinding is your main objective, this clearly isn't the right bike.

The tapered headtube is a tad on the tall side at 19.5cm for a size XL.

The tapered headtube is a tad on the tall side at 19.5cm for a size XL.​

It could, however, satisfy the racy endurance rider who will appreciate the tall'ish 19.5cm headtube, which avails a slightly more upright position than you might expect from a bike with such a competitive pedigree. This is no Cadillac cruiser, though. The steep 73.5-degree headtube angle is just a half a degree slacker than a similar size Specialized Tarmac, meaning this is a point-and-shoot machine. You don't have to will this bike through turns. Instead it craves to be leaned low and driven hard.

Cable routing is internal and convertible, which is the norm these days.

Cable routing is internal and convertible, which is the norm these days.​

Our primary issues were on the build side, which isn't particularly relevant since this bike is currently only available as a frameset on this side of the Atlantic. That said, we were disappointed in the 23c Mavic Yksion Pro tires, which are labeled as 23mm, but were closer to 22mm when mounted on the Mavic CC40 carbon wheels. The good news is that BH says the frame will accept up to 28s, which would greatly broaden the bike's skill set.

The Mavic CC40 wheels are a superbly stiff and aero wheel, but the narrow rim profile is less than ideal.

The Mavic CC40 wheels are a superbly stiff and aero wheel, but the narrow rim profile is less than ideal.​

We also were not super impressed with the saddle clamp on the stock BH seatpost. Saddle angle manipulation is tedious at best. Finally, there seemed to be some disconnect between the compliance of the rear end and the stiffness of the one-piece carbon fork. However, it's likely a little more rubber (perhaps tubeless) could solve this problem. As it was the bike wasn't the most comfortable on beat-up pavement or the occasional unpaved encounter. But these are small complaints encountered when pushing this bike out of its intended use window.

Graphics are subtle, which we always prefer.

Graphics are subtle, which we always prefer.​

Bottom line, if you're in the market for a super bike with serious climbing chops - and precise and confidence inspiring handling on smooth pavement - the BH Ultralight EVO should be on your test ride list.

For more info please visit www.bhbikes.com.