Sina Frei's Wild Ghost Lector at Stellenbosch World Cup XCO - Bike Check

Mar 9, 2018
by Mike Levy  

Sina Frei has a résumé stuffed full of results that would be the highlight of any racer's career; U23 World Champ, 2017 European Champ, 2nd overall in the U23 World Cup last season, and she's also the three-time Swiss mountain, road, and cyclocross Champion.

Thing is, the 20-year-old Swiss racer is still in the early stages of her senior career, so there's a good chance that those results will be eclipsed by even more impressive finishes. There's no doubt that a podium in Stellenbosch is well within Frei's sights.

She's chosen to ride the Lector carbon hardtail in South Africa instead of Ghost's full-suspension bike, and the eclectic build kit includes a few interesting choices (check out the Pepi tire inserts below) and a slew of ultra-light Tune components that are likely to make any gram-conscious cross-country racer drool. Pinkbike photographer Irmo Keizer caught up with Frei to check out her exotic Lector before the horn goes off for the first World Cup XCO of 2018.
Sina Frei is a force to be reckoned with. U23 World Champion 2nd overall in the U23 World Cup ranking 2017 and 2017 European champion. The 20 year old Swiss rider now rides for Ghost and is one of the main contenders for the podium.

Gripshift ESI grips and the classic Reverb remote.

Sina is running SRAM's 12-speed Eagle group, but unlike the majority of riders who opt for the classic trigger shifter, she's changing gears with a Grip Shift setup that's even lighter. A cut-down ESI foam grip is butted up next to it, and her old-style Reverb remote (the Stellenbosch course is relatively technical) is also on the right-side of the handlebar where it doesn't interfere with her SID's remote lockout lever that she controls with her left hand. The Reverb appears to be a 100mm-travel version.

She depends on the narrow/wide SRAM chainring to keep derailments from happening - there is no lightweight, bolt-on guide as we sometimes spot on World Cup cross-country bikes - and it's no surprise to see her bike decked out in the latest DUB crankset and bottom bracket combo. Pedals are from Crankbrothers, and they're the lightest Eggbeater 11s that are said to weigh just 179-grams. That weight is possible via titanium everything; the spindle, wings, and body are all made from it.

174 grams of titanium. Crankbrother s top of the line Egg Beater 11.
Sina opts to ride a

Lightweight carbon rims Tune Burner Skyline rims Sapim CX spokes and Prince and Princess hubs matched to lightweight aluminum valves.
Carbon spoke flanges are said to increase stiffness and reduce weight. Ceramic Speed bearings make for an even lighter rolling wheel.

The weight that you have to turn over is what counts most, and you'll often find some pretty exotic wheelsets in the World Cup cross-country peloton. Frei's Tune Burner Skyline wheelset weighs just 1,200-grams, a low number that's possible due to a bare rim weight of 290-grams. I don't need to tell you that these things are about as cross-country specific as you can get, with a 95kg rider weight limit that Sina comes in well under.

The 24mm wide (internal) rims are laced to Tune's own hubs with Sapim CX-Ray spokes, and you bet your ass that there are ceramic bearings all around. No wasted watts here.

Her rubber is equally sporty, with a Schwalbe Racing Ralph up front and a Thunderburt out back, but there's a twist: Pepi's tire inserts have been used front and back to provide more support, possibly let her ride out to the tech support station on a flat, and run lighter weight tires with up to 0.3 bar (4.3 psi) lower pressure. That number might not sound like a big deal, but when you're a light rider who can already run extremely low tire pressure, it makes a big difference.

Like most other tire inserts, the Pepi noodle effectively divides the tire into two chambers; the air and sealant next to the tire casing, and the foam insert up against the rim bed. No word on how much these cross-country specific inserts weigh, but they have to be quite light for them to be used at this level.
Ghost riders are experimenting with a new ultralight tyre insert the Pepi tire noodle. It allows the rider to run at 0.3 bars lower pressure on average improving grip and allowing a lighter rolling tire to be mounted.

Tune s Wassertrager 2.0 is a work of carbon art. Weighing in at 12 grams including aluminum bolts.
Two strings of carbon is what holds the seatpost at bay.

The finishing touches on Sina's race bike are equally as wild, of course. Guess how much her Tune Wassertrager 2.0 bottle cage weighs... it's 12-grams. Twelve. Grams. And that includes the two aluminum bolts that hold it in place. The Tune front thru-axle comes in at just 43-grams, including the quick-release lever, and the Tune rear axle is just 37-grams. The Lector's seat post clamp is just two bands of thin carbon fiber that are barely even there.

Total bike weight? The exact number remains a secret, but I'm positive that it's well under 19lbs.


  • + 44
 Jeeze... My beard weighs more then 19lbs!
  • + 46
 Pic pls
  • + 19
 IMO there is more development in XC bikes than DH bikes at the moment. These bikes and the levels of detail is insane.
  • + 4
 @fartymarty: Of course there is more development right now, they dont even have mountainbike geometries yet.
  • - 3
 @mirskeinereingefalln: I would love to see a XC bike with proper modern geometry. OK it would be a little heavier but it would be so quick both up and downhill.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: Kona Honzo CR
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: The Intense Sniper from the other day is just that isn't it? I know it's FS, but I think Unno, Canyon Exceed and Scott Scale are all hardtails updated to be longer and slacker too!
  • + 1
 @JoeRSB: Sorry didn't read that one. Will have a look
  • + 1
 @cooper02: you aren't wrong
  • + 24
 She puts a churro in her tires?!

I only put them in my spare...
  • + 15
 Gripshift still lives!!!
  • - 3
 Grip shitter
  • + 2
 I used to rock grip shift back when the XO just hit the market on my XC and DH Bikes.
  • + 7
 It was fun to play the "what gear am I in now" game after a technical section. Oh wait, no it wasnt.
  • + 1
the design reminds me of the Sachs "gripshift" one.
  • + 3
 @t-stoff: Not sure how much SRAM really did more than being a brand name that takes care of marketing, finance and all that. To me it is still:

brakes: Avid
suspension: RockShox
gearing: Sachs
control hardware: Truvativ

They slowly changed the brand names on the actual products well after they joined (SRAM brakes instead of Avid, SRAM cranks instead of Truvativ). Of course there is more communication between those departments, but I still think they still work largely independent. So drivetrain stuff is still being developed and tested in the building that previously said: "Sachs". So as for the gripshift, I think there still is enough demand for something light, affordable and reliable to keep these in the market but not enough demand to do any further development. So there you have it. SRAM didn't change any of the interfaces. The current replacement rubber grips still fit your fifteen year old gripshift units. And still no one is applauding them for that. Or well, maybe people are just afraid SRAM realizes this too and increases handlebar (grip area) diameter up to 28.99mm. That would be the end of the world.
  • + 13
 with sup. post and pepi units I bet its right at 19.0, maybe 18.99 to be en-vogue.
  • - 4
flag leviatanouroboro (Mar 9, 2018 at 18:48) (Below Threshold)
 With dub it probably weighs 28.99
  • + 5
 It's a dropper, not a suspension post.
  • + 20
 @seraph: reverbs are suspension posts lol
  • + 7
 That carbon wrapped hub holy moly!
  • + 7
 J'ai envie de PEPI!
  • + 7
 Looks like a hardtail...
  • + 1
 Hardcore using a hardtail on that XC course, these folks are amazing riders. I'd probably endo over the bars on my 140/160 bike in at least 2-3 spots.
  • + 4
 Pepi. Noodle.
  • + 4
 Looking good.
  • + 4
 Man, that is pure XC.
  • + 2
 How light is it safe to go on rims for general trail use for an 80kg rider?
  • + 1
 Well, these should be good for riders up to 95kg. Not sure what the envelope is of general trail use. UCI WC XC races may not be gnarly all the time, but some sections I've seen from last year paired with the speed they were hitting it, I guess it could be more or less on par with what is being considered general trail use.
  • + 2
 is there no weight limit for UCI mountain bikes?
  • + 4
 I may be wrong, but I believe it's the same as the road one ~15lbs.
  • + 3
 I don't think so, but they still enforce it for road races.
  • + 3
 No weight limit for UCI mtb.
  • + 1
 Anyone tried to put in Hydrogen or Helium into their tires to lighten the bike?
  • + 3
 They used to use hydrogen in the tires for road and track racing but hydrogen being hydrogen they decided it wasn't worth the risk just for weight savings.
  • + 12
 @13Colin13: putting down explosive power on the sprints
  • + 9
 Due to small atomic size hydrogen and helium would seep through the tire very quickly.
  • + 2
 better of with nitrogen
  • + 2
 @13Colin13: with rims brakes not only would have to be concerned of your tire rupturing on a long descent, but that rupture including a Hindenburg hydrogen explosion.
  • + 1
 I like how she omits the valve caps to save weight...
  • + 10
 Or just couldn't be assed putting them on like me.
  • + 3
 She is not omiting them. Presta valve caps only exist to protect the tube when wrapped in its packaging. They have never been made to be mounted on the valve once the tube is mounted on the rim.
  • + 6
 @opignonlibre: controversial
  • + 0
 Why use superlight rims and then have to stuff noodles in that probably add 50%to the rim weight. I don't get it
  • + 0
 I would rather have a classic trigger then the grip shift. Otherwise I love the bike.
  • - 6
flag opignonlibre (Mar 9, 2018 at 23:53) (Below Threshold)
 You must have never tried the sram triggers. I came from 10s shimano triggers to gripshift 11s and now I've upgraded to sram eagle and I'm back on triggers. Wow those Sram triggers are an ergonomical nightmare, I'd like to see the engineer in person to slap him at the back of his head. I'll be back on gripshift ASAP. The shimano triggers were OK but I only see positives in using gripshift, cleaner cockpit, faster multiple gears shifting.
  • + 6
 @opignonlibre: SRAM shifters work for me just fine. And apparently a lot of other people. But not you. You're special.
  • + 2
 @seraph: to be fair, his name is a play on words which translates to free opinion.
  • + 1
 Pro XC bikes with dropper posts! There is hope for humanity after all...
  • + 1
 Remember 600 ml water is 600 g. Consider not to bring water.
  • + 0
 12 gram bottle cage?!? Who tf weighs their bottle cage?
  • + 30
 World-class athletes, apparently.
  • + 0
 12 rams, with the 2 bolts that is
  • + 6
 I weigh mine. Everything you put on your bike is added weight.
  • + 3
 All Grams Matter
  • - 3
 @mtnbykr05: lol only if your a weight weenie spandex wearing wanna be that is scared to run anything that's not carbon
  • + 1
  • - 1
 Everything was cool, then crankbrothers happen!
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