Tour Tech 2013: Sojasun’s BH Ultralight
Brice Feillu's Ultralight with Shimano Dura-Ace and Corima MCC carbon wheels
When we were in Corsica before the start of the Tour de France we had the chance to take a close look at Sojasun's bikes from Spanish brand BH. Their flagship model is the Ultralight, with a claimed 750g frame weight for a size medium, putting it well within sight of the lightest frames in the race.
The Ultralight is made using BH's carbon moulding process, ‘core removal technology’, which ensures the inner surface of the frame is smooth and wrinkle free, and allows for consistent wall thicknesses. It’s likely a very similar moulding process, using a foam core inside the carbon tubes, as many of the other manufacturers are using these days. It sound a bit like Felt’s InsideOut moulding process, for example.
This bike belongs to French rider Brice Feillu, who is in his second season with Sojasun. He finished 25th overall in the Tour de France last year and actually won stage 7, so he's one to watch out for in a breakaway this week perhaps.
The frame features a BB386 EVO bottom bracket, an open-source standard actually developed by BH Bikes and FSA, so they were the first to start using it. It’s based on an 86.5mm wide bottom bracket shell and 30mm axle. It’s compatible with any 30mm crankset from Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo, which is why a few more manufacturers are starting to adopt it.
Up front is an tapered head tube with carbon fibre bearing surfaces, and into it slides BH's own 300g carbon fibre fork. Cables have been routed internally and BH have developed a one-piece carbon cable guide to permit easier installation of cable... or wires because the frame is compatible with electronic groupsets as well.
Sojasun are using Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 11-speed groupsets with Rotor 3D cranks, though not all the team are using the Spanish company’s non-circular Q-Rings. These are the NoQ rings for those who prefer traditional round rings. There's an SRM Powermeter fitted to the spider.
Feillu is using FSA’s Plasma one-piece carbon fibre bar and stem setup, which seems to be gaining popularity this year.
No slammed stem here, Feilleu opts for a 10mm spacer between stem and headset.
Sojasun are the second team in the race, alongside Astana, to ride Corima wheels. This is the MCC wheelset, a 47mm carbon tubular with carbon spokes arranged in pairs.
There are just 12 spokes per wheel, bonded to the rims and hubs, similar to Mavic’s wheels. A claimed weight for a pair of just 1,080g makes them among the lightest wheels in the race - just the sort of wheels you’d want for climbing Mont Ventoux.
While we’re seeing some teams switch to 25mm tyres, Sojasun stick to traditional 23mm tyres. They’re the only team sponsored by Japanese tyre manufacturer Panaracer. These are their Race Type C tyres.
Along with the FSA handlebar is a K-Force carbon seatpost, and there’s no mistaking who this seatpost belongs to because it has Feillu's name on it. Feillu opts for Fizik’s Arione CX saddle with carbon braided rails. This saddle has a lighter foam than the regular Arione so it’s 20g lighter.
Don’t forget, you can see all the bikes from the Tour de France in our huge Tour de France Team Bike round-up article here.