Ridley build UCI rule-busting Helium SL LTD (again)

Illegally light ride weighs 5.5kg

Just for the hell of it Ridley, bike sponsors of WorldTour team Lotto-Belisol set itself a challenge – to put an already UCI minimum weight busting Helium SL LTD bike on a diet.

A month or two back, the Belgian manufacturer  built up its top end Helium SL (a feathery 750g for a small size) especially suited the likes of the team’s specialist climbers Jurgen Van Den Broecke and Jelle Vanendert with World Tour components and hit a figure of 5.74kg. That’s a whole kilo lighter than the UCI’s minimum limit of 6.8kg. Obviously that model, which carries 20g of paint compared a regular Helium SL’s 175g, couldn’t go to the team - that would be illegal.

Nevertheless, pleased with their success they built up 58 limited edition bikes to celebrate. You can buy one if you’re willing to part with almost €8000 (£6930).

But it wasn’t enough. Ridley reckoned other changes would bring the weight down again. They set themselves some limits though: there was to be no messing with the frame; all components had to have WorldTour seal of approval and they also wanted to keep the climbing-specific Zipp 202 tubulars in place.

So where did they shave away the grams? Over a week they replaced factory bearings in the SRAM Red components with ceramic ones and fitted new jockey wheels, which probably delivered a performance gain too. 4ZA, a Lotto-Belisol partner provided a titanium bolted 120mm Cirrus Pro stem, a readily available seatpost and 10.5g clamp.

Sensibility not sacrificed in the San Marco Aspide

A pair of titanium spindled Look Keo Blade Carbon (186g) were also added and perhaps the flashiest touch was a Nokon cable set.

The saddle was swapped out too. But in a nod to sensibility and because this bike is ridden a lot by  Ridley’s Commercial Director, Anthony Kumpen, they opted for a padded San Marco Aspide Carbon FX (127g).

The fruits of the mechanic's labours saved 220g, and the finished bike came in at an extraordinary 5.52kg. 

It was a lot of effort to save the weight of a sandwich, but at least Anthony put in some hard yards too: he’s a racing car driver he’s lost five kilos in the last month in preparation for his season.    

You can watch a video of the experiment here:

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