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Prototype wheels and saddles, cunning fixes and an arachnid
A custom stars-and-stripes machine for the triple national champion
From cocaine-fueled gangster themes to tiny details on the hubs
New brand Kemo cracks into the Tour with Bretagne
Swiss national champion Katrin Leumann proudly weighs her super light Ghost HTX 29er
Very light, very boutique and very expensive
Katrin Leumann, who's represented Switzerland in two Olympic Games, is one of those riders who's always in the mix, and has a fun, approachable and easy-going nature off the bike, yet still manages to fly under the media radar.
Previously a preschool teacher, Leumann turned full-time professional cyclist in 2012, leading to her 2013 Swiss National titles in both cross country and cyclo-cross. Currently ranked 14th in the 2014 cross country World Cup rankings, Leumann is just eight points shy of Julie Bresset, the current World Champion.
As a Ghost Factory Racing rider, Leumann has mostly German sponsors that resemble a 'weightweenies.com' dream spec list, as evidenced by her 7.9kg (17.38lb) total bike weight. This is nearly a full kilogram lighter than fellow Swiss rider Jolanda Neff's Giant/Liv Obsess, despite the larger frame and 29in wheel size.
At the heart of Leumann's bike is a Ghost Lector HTX 29er frame; this high-modulus carbon 29er chassis has a superlight listed weight of just 940g. Flexible seatstays claim to help ride comfort, further aided by a slim 27.2mm seatpost. Obviously all the latest features are present and correct, including a tapered head tube, chainstay mounted post-mount brake and internal cable routing.
One sponsor of the team, AX Lightness, is a Formula 1 component manufacturer; it offers a range of appropriately drool-worthy cycling components. Most of these German AX Lightness and Tune parts are built for the serious racer only, with rider weight limits listed between 85 and 100kg for each one.
AX Lightness SRC CC 29" Clincher rims are claimed to weigh just 325g apiece. Fancy of pair of these wheels? That'll be €2,799
The carbon wheels with bright blue hubs are what first caught our attention. Using a 325g AX Lightness tubeless-ready rim and Tune Prince/Princess Skyline hubs, we estimate these wheels to weigh about 1,240g for the 29er pair. Their quoted price – €2,799 – only underlines this wheelset's exclusivity.
Furthering the AX Lightness component theme is a €590, 75g stem; €269, 100g handlebar; €298, 130g seatpost; €298, 69g full-carbon saddle; and lastly a €69, 15g bottle cage. This would be one expensive bike to crash!
In addition to the hubs, Tune provides some very light titanium/carbon quick release skewers, a tapered headset and a barely-there seat clamp.
The rest of the build is finished off with a – comparatively unremarkable – SRAM XX1 single ring groupset, matched SRAM XX brakes and a RockShox SID XX World Cup 100mm fork.
Complete bike specifications
Frame: Ghost Lector HTX, size 19"
Fork: RockShox SID XX World Cup, 100mm, quick release
Headset: Tune Bubi Tapered
Stem: AX Lightness Rigid, 100mm
Handlebar: AX Lightness Hera, 645mm width
Tape: ESI Racers Edge
Front brake: SRAM XX, 160mm rotor
Rear brake: SRAM XX, 160mm rotor
Brake levers: SRAM XX
Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1
Shift levers: SRAM XX1, Gripshift
Cassette: SRAM XX1, 10-42T
Chain: SRAM XX1
Crankset: SRAM XX1, 32T chainring, 175mm
Bottom bracket: SRAM Press-fit
Pedals: Crankbrothers Egg Beater 11
Hubs: Tune Princess Skyline QR front, Prince rear QR
Skewers: Tune DC16/17
Rims: AX Lightness SRC CC 29" Clincher
Front tyre: Schwalbe Racing Ralph, Evo, 2.1", set up tubeless
Rear tyre: Schwalbe Racing Ralph, Evo, 2.1", set up tubeless
Saddle: AX Lightness Sprint
Seatpost: AX Lightness Europa, 27.2mm, straight
Bottle cages: AX Lightness Nasdorowje
Extras: Mio computer (not included in weight)
Rider's height: 1.74m (5ft 7in)
Rider's weight: 53kg (117lb)
Saddle height from BB, c-t: 730mm
Seat tube length (c-t): 480mm
Tip of saddle to midpoint of bar: 520mm
Head tube length: 135mm
Top tube length (effective): 605mm
Total bicycle weight: 7.9kg (17.38lb)