Lightweight Urgestalt review
Since its birth in 1995 Lightweight’s high-tech all-carbon wheels have lived up to their descriptive name and been ridden by some of the world’s top pro riders to Tour de France victories. The Friedrichshafen-based outfit has now widened its horizons and constructed its own bike, which it calls ‘the fastest chassis system of all time’. Although designed and engineered in-house like its wheels, Lightweight manufactures the frame in Asia. But Lightweight hasn’t forgotten its roots, with the chassis bearing the slogan ‘frame my wheels’.
Highs: Wonderful ride, superb handling
Lows: Awkward seat clamp, high price
Lightweight explained to us that it hadn’t set out to make a ‘German’ bike. By this it meant that it wanted to create a machine that works in the real world, distancing itself from the Germanic obsession of chasing the sort of stiffness that shows up in the laboratory and reads well in magazine tests. And out on the road the Urgestalt’s ride bears this out. It’s not that Lightweight has abandoned stiffness, but it pairs this to a comfort equal to that of Cervélo’s masterful RCA and Cannondale’s SuperSix Evo –while weighing the merest shade over 6kg.
On poor road surfaces we expected a chattery ride and plenty of noisy vibration, but that simply never arrived. On smooth surfaces the Urgestalt makes the most of every single turn of the pedal. Hit the hills and it simply flies up – even with a 53/39 chainset. The ride position is long and low, and the responsive handling makes every twist and turn an experience worth repeating. You can lay the Urgestalt over and pin it through an apex with total confidence. It’s hard to say whether it’s the fastest chassis ever, but it is a brilliant all-out race machine with a comfort that matches its performance.
The Urgestalt isn’t perfect, though. The hidden seat binder under the top tube is difficult to access and has to be tightened to more than we were comfortable with to stop the ovalised post from slipping. And while the matt finish looks superb, it didn’t prove that tough. When we used a multitool to tighten the post mid-ride the tool’s body touched the seat-tube, all too easily leaving a scratch that proved hard to clean up.
The other issue is price. The frameset, Lightweight’s own tubular wheels and carbon bar and a range-topping saddle account for a lot of the cost, but you’re still getting a bike with SRAM’s second-string Force groupset. Yes, this is high quality kit with great brakes, quick, accurate shifting and a low weight, but for this sort of money we’d expect Red.