The latest crop of super light frames builds into bikes lighter than the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum. But that doesn’t stop the Kuota KOM from being a fabulous machine for events outside the UCI’s purview, like sportives and just plain riding for the joy of hitting the road on a superlight bike.
Before the UCI imposed a minimum weight of 6.8kg for racing cycles it was customary for teams to wheel out a gravity-defying superbike for the mountain stages of major European tours, to bolster the performance of their climbers in the King Of The Mountains competition.
With weight savings being made increasingly in wheels and equipment, you might think the day of the superlight frame is numbered, but luckily such weight restrictions do not apply to sportives.
Ride & handling: quick & connected
On ﬂat sections the KOM connects you to every nuance in the road surface. The fast steering will have the novice reaching for the brakes on every turn of a fast technical descent, but to the seasoned rider this helps with turning the bike into bends off the brakes. The degree of vertical compliance helps soak up vibrations long before they give rise to rider fatigue.
Kuota falls short of setting any new benchmarks for lightness, but the balance of handling and comfort makes this quite possibly the best bike we’ve ridden at this price. For the seasoned sportive rider who regularly ﬁnishes at the front of the ﬁeld and believes outright speed is more important than comfort it’s a gem.
Frame: latest carbon nanotube tech
The KOM frame is based on an ultra high modulus unidirectional carbon using nanotubes that bind the carbon strands together at a molecular level for the best possible lightness and strength, which is then wrapped with a 3K (3000 threads per yarn) ﬁnishing weave.
Kuota uses a massively proportioned square down-tube, reinforced bottom bracket and massively oversized 1¼in fork crown that all look a lot heavier than the claimed frame weight of 920g for the 55cm version tested here.
Equipment: Feathery SRAM Red & Zipp combo
The KOM is available as a frameset-only package which includes a carbon setback seatpost and headset for £1699, or an Ultegra build for £2750, but the one tested here was a special order based around SRAM Red and Zipp wheels.
Zipp’s full-carbon 202s inject a sense of pace when climbing, though the 404s are faster on descents as more speed can be carried through corners thanks to the aluminium braking surface.
SRAM Red is the lightest gear ensemble available so it complements the KOM perfectly.
SRAM’s Double-Tap controls use a single lever to change up and down the gears; it requires a little manual dexterity when shifting over poorly surfaced roads, but over smooth surfaces the sheer simplicity of the design comes into full effect.