The world's lightest bike is only 1.8kg

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Trust a German bicycle workshop to go completely OTT with a balance bike. (Photo: Light-Wolf)
Trust a German bicycle workshop to go completely OTT with a balance bike. (Photo: Light-Wolf)
  • Counting grams is everything in cycling. Even with kids’ balance bikes.
  • But how light, can a balance bike get? Some Germans, have the answer.
  • Using expert build skills, Light-Wolf bike shop created an amazingly light balance bike. That looks great. And is easy to carry.

All riders know that weight is the enemy. Lighter bikes are better.

Cycling's relationship with carbon-fibre is a manifestation of its weight obsession. And although most justify R200 000 carbon-fibre road or mountain bikes, kids also deserve some outrageous lightweighting.

kids urban biking
Why would you need an ultralight balance bike? Because when kids get tired, parents carry. (Photo: Light-Wolf)

Kids want a lighter ride - too

Balance bikes might serve a short purpose in any young rider's life, but lightweight versions exist. Specialized proves this with their carbon-fibre Hotwalk – a R17 000 balance bike. Weighing only 2.1kg.

Light-Wolf is a German custom bike shop, in Dresden, specializing in master wheel and bike builds. When one of the Light-Wolf staff wanted to create a balance bike for his son, Light-Wolf did what Germans often do - going all-in with the technical details.

kids bike
These tiny carbon-fibre rims have much fewer spokes than a conventional bicycle wheel. (Photo: Light-Wolf)

The target - to get under 2kg

After ordering a Chinese carbon balance bike, the Light-Wolf crew set about trimming weight to make it lighter than Specialized's Hotwalk.

The Chinese BXT balance bike wasn't heavy to start with, at 2130g. But Light-Wolf set about obsessively seeking weight reduction measures in typical German fashion.

As experienced wheel and bike builders, the Light-Wolf crew know that wheels would net a tidy saving. The solution? Making tiny 12" carbon-fibre rims, laced to carbon hubs. They even used lightweight rim tape for the wheels and Schwalbe's best 12" tyres.

balance bike
One of the trickiest bits, was finding a short carbon-fibre seatpost. Solution? Saw a handlebar. (Photo: Light-Wolf)

Some unusual solutions

A happy coincidence made carbon-fibre seatpost possible. Sourcing a 22.2mm diameter seatpost for a kids' bike, isn't easy.

Fortunately, a fellow Dresden carbon bicycle component specialist had an unrepairable handlebar in stock – sized 22.2mm in diameter. Light-Wolf simply cut that handlebar to the correct length and repurposed it, as a seatpost. Brilliant.

How much weight did Light-Wolf manage to save, creating this exceptional carbon-fibre balance bike? A total of 330g. That might not sound like much, but it is a 13% total saving, creating a kids' balance bike of only 1.8kg.

And when your kid isn't keen on riding back home – or to the car – carrying a little rider and their bike is noticeably less effort when it is 1.8kg.

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