Cast your mind back a couple of weeks to our competion to turn the world's most expensive frameset*, the new Litespeed Blade, into the world's most expensive bike** - we've been away at various trade shows looking at slightly less expensive machines but now we're back and we've got a winner.
Stu Field takes the gong, and the road.cc jersey (plus possibly some other stuff too) for coming up with a bike build that added up to £25,317. We had some runners up too or as Lance Armstrong would no doubt have it if he was judging this: first, second, and third losers… actually their builds ran Stu very close. When we looked at the build lists, if you pull the best bits of each together an even more expensive build than Stu's would be possible.
We've attached Stu's build list*** and ones from Schmiken and Worldofbikes. Schmiken was the first to smash the £20k barrier and Stefan at worldofbikes got to £21,000 using only off the shelf products.
Rules of the compo were that the build had to work, (all the bits needed to be compatibile) and it had to work as a time trial or triathlon mount – there is some very fancy ultra-lightweight kit out there (and on some of these builds) but if you were using it on your Blade it had to be applicable to a time trial build.
Some components cropped up again and again in the builds we saw everyone agreeing that if you are going to build yourself a super-expensive bike you would probably need one of the following:
A Lightweight rear mech – a trifle at £799 from Wiggle
AX Lighness Orion Brake callipers – a piffling £680 from Poshbikes
SRM Ergometer - also courtesy of Poshbikes (some people, well me, also went for a built in PowerMETER in the rear wheel – hey, you can never have too much back up when it comes to performance measurment).
Zipp Vuka aero bars featured in a number of builds – including Stu's – again, what price aero excellence at a mere £600 and they come with a satisfyingly expensive list of add-ons including elbow pads at £20 and shifters at £200
3T Ventus 'bars were also popular, scout around and you could have a pair for £600, but that would have been a schoolboy error because these integrated babies come with brake levers and a stem
Stu matched his Vuka's up to a Zipp carbon stem – a steal at £300 from Wiggle. Nice
Where our winner really scored was on the wheels he went for a set of Lew Racing's Custom Pro VT1s with full ceramic bearings in the US they'll set you back $15,534 – which at our compo exchange rate of £1.42 turns into £10,939.44 – which does sound a lot less. Oh, and Stu also found the most expensive tyres too, the Continental Olympic Tubulars at £125 a pop… if that isn't a rather tasteless pun when talking about such pricey rubbber. And he backed up his pick with evidence that even though these are track tubulars they are used by some pros on the road – not necessarily ones that win time trials though.
So what else could be used to get the price even higher? Well Chuffy pointed towards the Oval A9111 Jetstream Aero Bar for £2,608.68 at Peta Cycles (£2,399 at Winstanley's – but still reassuringly expensive nonetheless). Stu also came in with a late suggestion to push the price up still further – the splendid Brookes Swallow Limited Edition at £528 (only 999 of 'em – wonder how many cows that adds up to… but I digress). Not sure how aero that is, also not sure that they haven't already sold all 999. On the other hand more aero, and more expensive than the AX – Lightness Phoenix Custom saddle (a paltry £300) is the Selle SMP Carbon – list is £450 on this baby, it's available in lots of different colours… and it's good for your prostate. Result.
So what about getting it built up? Well the team at Paligap are all out launching Litespeed's new affordable titanium frameset, the Xicon (more on that later) but we're not going to let this one lie, although Stu – we wouldn't count on them letting you ride it in your first evening 10 of the season. We'll ask mind…
* not dipped in gold and encrcusted with Svarowski elements or whatever
** also not dipped in gold and encrusted in etc etc
*** Stu's list is more of a website in it's own right than a list (not why he won btw) some people obviously have waaay too much time on their hands. Pie charts???!!!
road.cc's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.