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The worlds lightest 27.5 downhill bike??

Aug 28, 2020 at 14:06
by Christiaan van der Laan  
This whole project started in July 2019 with me wanting to get a used 27.5 DH frame to use all the parts I had lying around from previous DH Bikes over the years, and was meant to be a budget build……

It all started with finding a used 2018/2019 Trek Session 9.9 27.5 frame in large. My friend Andy Brooker in the UK picked it up for me and sent it to me in The Netherlands. The frame started out red but the paint was in not that good of a condition, loads of paint chips. As I had rawed a Session frame in 2016/2017(And swore never to do it again) I decided to make this frame raw carbon, strip it, which took a lot of scraping, sanding etc (About 12-20 hours total). My friend Ralph clearcoated the frame and then I thought, maybe a lightweight build would be fun to do. I did a Santa Cruz V10.4 in 2011, which was pretty light then at 13.45kg with pedals, so I thought, why not….

This of course meant I could not use many of the parts I had lying around, as they were “heavy”. I also wanted to keep the build somewhat cost friendly, which meant getting all the parts would take some time and it all taking almost a year to complete the build.

I had a Boxxer WC, but then noticed Cornelius over at Intend BC was selling of some demo forks and his personal Intend Infinity DH fork in all raw. As this fork is the lightest DH fork on the market today, I had to have it. Sent him a message, made a deal and we were off on the light weight build. Later I also upgraded to a titanium axle to save some extra weight.
I started off with a Rock Shox Super Deluxe RC DH with a session tune, but later switched to an Intend Hover shock as this was about 100gr lighter than the Rock Shox shock and matched the raw look of the bike and the fork perfectly.
As the fork is still 20mm x 110mm non Boost, I could get away with using Tune King MK/KongMK hubs, 20mm x 110mm front and 157mm x 12mm rear, XD freehub. Light Sapim race spokes and tried and tested DT EX471 rims, adding up to a wheelset weighing 1712gr. As I am only 66kg I can get away with light tires but still wanted solid tires so went with Schwalbe Magic Mary Superbravity Vertstar compound and Peaty’s valves and sealant
Stem is an 77designz stem weighing in at 77gr with ti hardware, bar is a Schmolke TLO DH bar at 800mm, weighing 187gr, seatpost a Schmolke TLO 31.6 and the seat is a Seavid Alien carbon fully stripped of paint. Extralite foam grips for the weight weenie win.
I started with a set of Trickstuff Direttissima brakes but wanted to switch to Piccola HD because of the weight, Trickstuff helped me out with Direttissima Calipers so I could convert my Piccola brakes to Piccola HD, for strong brakes at a very low weight. Intend Aero Discs in 200/180mm with trickstuff alu rotor bolts(more on that later)
I have been a huge SRAM fan for years so the obvious choice was SRAM X01 DH 7speed. I polished the links and cage on the mech and the cover of the shifter to match the fork shock and link of the bike.
These are something rather special I feel. They are full carbon(also axle) DH cranks from THM, Clavicula DH, weighing in at 482gr including BB and spacers/hardware, fitted with an Extralite 34t ring and protected by a 77Designz bash. Only downside is they did not make them shorter than 170mm, so I have had my fair share of clipped pedals on rocks, roots etc. Pedals are either HT ME03 pedals weighing 222gr for the set or Shimano DX(I just like these, not light but have been using them since they came out).

I had hoped the bike would come in below 13kg initially, but as the build progressed and it was turning out lighter than I was expecting I thought, why not aim below 12,5kg.

In the end the bike ended up at 12,470kg with the HT pedals. And yes that is lighter than my Enduro bike and about the same as my trailbike. Could I have gone lighter? Sure, lighter tires, no sealant, cutting down the bars, going single speed or road mech are only a new options to go lighter, but I wanted to have a bike that was ridable, and would not break, be reliable.

After testing/riding the bike the only thing that wasn’t working was the alu rotor bolts which trickstuff also do not recommend for DH use. They kept coming loose so were replaced with ti rotor bolts. The shock feels like the bike has bottomless travel, and the bike still feels stable in the bikepark even at this low weight. It holds it’s Line, even in bad brake bumps, rocks, on off camber stuff etc. Is it the lightest 27.5 DH bike in the world, could well be, who knows, but either way I am happy with the end result.

You have probably seen the write up of Dangerholm on here about his light weight 29 DH bike in which he explains the pros and cons about stripping paint, modifying parts, light bikes and how they are not for everyone. For me it was something I had wanted to do again for a few years and this was the right time to do it. Only problem is I now also want to do the same to a 29 Trek session to see if I can beat Dangerholm.

Big thank you to Ilja at dieenefotograaf.nl for the pictures and to all that helped realize this build.

Frame: 2019 Trek Session 9.9, large, stripped of paint
Headset: Hope
Fork: Intend Infinity raw, Titanium Axle
Shock: Intend Hover
Seatpost: Schmolke tlo black
Seaatpost clamp: Yuniper
Stem: 77designz dm stem
Bars: Schmolke TLO DH 800mm
Grips: ExtraLite
Seat: saevid Alien full carbon stripped of paint
Crankset: THM Clavicula DH 170mm 83mm
BB: THM Clavicula
Chainring: Extralite 34t narrow wide
Bash: 77 Designz
Cassette: Sram x01 dh 10-24 7sp
Chain: sram xx1 11sp
Pedals:HT ME03
Brakes: Trickstuff Piccola HD
Rotors: Intend Aero 200/180mm
Wheels: Tune MK 20mm/157mm, Sapim spokes, DT EX471
Tires: Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Gravity Vertstar compound
Derailleur: Sram x01 DH 7sp short polished
Shifter: sram x01 DH 7sp polished cover

Author Info:
christiaan avatar

Member since Apr 1, 2000
1 articles

  • 1 0
 Man man man, wat een schoonheid! Big Grin Lekkere build Christiaan! Props man! Big Grin Ik wil niet eens weten wat ie gekost heeft haha Big Grin Ziekelijk Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Geld heeft ie gekost, geld....hhahahaha
  • 1 0
 Cool to see all the behind the scenes of that one!
What would be your next project?
  • 1 0
 I would like to try a 29 DH bike, sessopn, v10 again or Gambler as I really like the frame design on the Gambler
  • 1 0
 Absolute awesome bike, I don't do DH, Enduro and Trail is more my thing, but man, what a ride you've build there!
  • 1 0
 Wat een dikke DH bike! Maar nu al in de verkoop? Nieuw project?
  • 1 0
 Ja hij kan weg, hoeft niet, maar wil wel iets nieuws bouwen
  • 1 1
 proud to be your friend ????
  • 1 0
 John, hope you are well, my friend
  • 1 0
 Good work Christiaan!
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 great sharing
  • 1 0

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