Weapon X: 9lb Light Bike Build
article & images by Nick Salazar
Apr 4, 2019  hits 33,667

Every time we do one of these project builds, we learn something. And each time, we try to go in a different direction. Our first real project was the Lighten Up bike, a true tri bike with traditional aerobars and an aero TT frame. Next up came Project Liberty, an aero road bike with lightweight sensibilities. Today's project, Weapon X, might be considered the third in that series, and it attempts to shed all weight without being an aero pig. But we've also done many other project bikes in our Service Course series. Each project has its own goals, its own priorities, and its own compromises. In some cases, we have free reign to determine the inputs, outputs, and constraints. In other cases, we are bound by a particular athlete's sponsorship obligations, budget, time, and individual priorities. But whatever we do, we attempt to make each bike the best version of itself, whatever the priorities are.

Weapon X is meant to be a lightweight road bike. It excels at climbing, and would be an ideal choice for steep uphill time trials. But it's also extremely fun to just tool around with. The first few pedal revolutions on an ultralight bike are unlike anything you can feel on more standard fare. It's fun. It's exciting. And it makes you want to be on the bike more. And isn't that the ultimate goal?

As always, readers are invited to their own conclusions. Feel free to agree, disagree, or fall in the middle. Most readers will find at least one component of this build to do differently. That's great! Go build your own Weapon X, your own Project Liberty. That's one of the exciting elements of this sport: the freedom to do things your way.

For more photos and details, delve into the gallery below. Thanks for reading!


Tags » lightenup,  rigs,  servicecourse,  tririg,  weaponx

Complete Bike 

  • Weapon X, in all its glory. Just 9.9 lbs, complete as pictured including pedals and bottle cage.
  • Weapon X, in all its glory. Just 9.9 lbs, complete as pictured including pedals and bottle cage.
  • Weapon X, with the TriRig mascot, our pet named Oscar. He's helping with a bit of a pun here about 'featherweight' things.
  • Weapon X, with the TriRig mascot, our pet named Oscar. He's helping with a bit of a pun here about 'featherweight' things.
  • Weapon X, with the TriRig mascot, our pet named Oscar. He's helping with a bit of a pun here about 'featherweight' things.
  • Weapon X, with the TriRig mascot, our pet named Oscar. He's helping with a bit of a pun here about 'featherweight' things.

Cockpit + Drivetrain 

  • A look at our custom front end, including a handlebar with custom fiber hand grip extensions by Broken Carbon of Colorado.
  • A look at our custom front end, including a handlebar with custom fiber hand grip extensions by Broken Carbon of Colorado.
  • Shifting duties are provided by BTP carbon downtube shifters, mated onto a set of 3T aero levers with several pieces of custom hardware. Here on the non-drive side, it's just sitting there for looks, since this is a 1x drivetrain.
  • Shifting duties are provided by BTP carbon downtube shifters, mated onto a set of 3T aero levers with several pieces of custom hardware. It works as a friction shifter, and is actually pretty much flawless.
  • Custom top tube cable routing added on our end. The frame came with downtube ports, so we added this one to help hide all the cables from the wind.
  • Full housing to the rear brake gave up a few grams of weight, but helps ensure flawless performance.
  • This frontal profile is better than even a lot of so-called aero bikes, even this was meant as a climbing rig.
  • This frontal profile is better than even a lot of so-called aero bikes, even this was meant as a climbing rig.
  • This crank is something very special. It's a 3T Torno, which saves 50g over our usual build-preferred Lightning cranks. The four-bolt chainring circle is really wacky, so it took a lot of very careful measurement to deliver good dimensions to Fibre-Lyte, who provided this 1x carbon chainring, I believe the first ever on a Torno crank. KMC X11SL chain.
  • This crank is something very special. It's a 3T Torno, which saves 50g over our usual build-preferred Lightning cranks. The four-bolt chainring circle is really wacky, so it took a lot of very careful measurement to deliver good dimensions to Fibre-Lyte, who provided this 1x carbon chainring, I believe the first ever on a Torno crank. KMC X11SL chain.
  • Red 22 medium-cage rear derailleur helps find our gear. No room for electronic gear on this bike, which aimed for a very low weight.
  • The Extralite Hyperstem seemed the best choice for this project. There are stems that can save another 10g or so, but those stems tend to have astronomical price points. At 80g, this is about as light as it gets anyway. We made a little custom mod to allow the front brake cable to route through the stem and stop there, sending just bare wire down to the front brake for the cleanest possible look.

Brakes + Wheels 

  • Now here are some special bits. A custom one-off version of our brakes, which we call Omega SL for this project. Not a lot of adjustment, but they do shave a lot of weight.
  • Now here are some special bits. A custom one-off version of our brakes, which we call Omega SL for this project. Not a lot of adjustment, but they do shave a lot of weight.
  • Now here are some special bits. A custom one-off version of our brakes, which we call Omega SL for this project. Not a lot of adjustment, but they do shave a lot of weight.
  • Now here are some special bits. A custom one-off version of our brakes, which we call Omega SL for this project. Not a lot of adjustment, but they do shave a lot of weight.
  • Vittoria Corsa G+ Speed Tubulars are some of the fastest-rolling tires on the planet, and a lovely match for the FSE 23T ultralight rims.
  • The gorgeous FSE 23T ultralight wheels a wonderful ride and insanely low weight.
  • The gorgeous FSE 23T ultralight wheels a wonderful ride and insanely low weight.
  • The gorgeous FSE 23T ultralight wheels a wonderful ride and insanely low weight.
  • The gorgeous FSE 23T ultralight wheels a wonderful ride and insanely low weight.

Details 

  • Of course, our own (discontinued) Mercury pedals handle the rider interface while keeping things light.
  • Dash provided an absolutely gorgeous, perfectly-laid-up Tri.7 saddle and post combo, which weighed less than the stock seatpost by itself, even without hardware.
  • This Carbone bottle cage is a paltry 8 grams (!!!) but does a very good job of holding bottles. The entire structure is made of one continuous run of carbon thread. It's absolutely beautiful.
  • Another custom bit for this bike - a set of ultralight aero skewers. But unlike the other custom bits in the article, these will be available to purchase soon! More details to follow. Keep your eyes peeled!
  • Another custom bit for this bike - a set of ultralight aero skewers. But unlike the other custom bits in the article, these will be available to purchase soon! More details to follow. Keep your eyes peeled!
  • Another custom bit for this bike - a set of ultralight aero skewers. But unlike the other custom bits in the article, these will be available to purchase soon! More details to follow. Keep your eyes peeled!

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