What happens when you let a bike builder go nuts to create the lightest road racing bike possible? You get this amazing 6-lb machine built by Fairwheel Bikes in Tuscon and exhibited over the weekend at the Interbike Show in Las Vegas.
To get a handle on that number, check out the specs for a top-shelf racing bike like Lance Armstrong would use, and you'll find that they all tend to weigh around 15-lbs. I always assumed that this represented the limit of how light you could make a bike that would still be strong enough to ride, but it turns out that it's actually the minimum weight allowed by the sport's regulations.
Ignore those rules, and by using modern materials you can make something far lighter. Even though it's built mostly from carbon fiber, the Fairwheel bike's frame has already covered some 20,000 miles, so don't get the idea that this is just some show queen that would collapse in a heap of carbon shards at the first pothole.
With front and rear brakes, a 10-speed rear gear and a 2-gear chainset, this is not some stripped down fixed gear messenger special either. All of the components used are insanely light. For example, AX Lightness carbon fiber rims with titanium spokes are used to build the wheels which weigh in at just 1.3-lbs for the pair! That's about the same as an iPad.
There has to be a point at which this type of extreme weight reduction becomes little more than an exercise in engineering prowess. An ounce here and an ounce there all adds up, but at 6-lbs, the rider could probably lose a similar amount of weight with an extended bathroom break.
Fairwheel says that the bike's not for sale, but that they could probably build you one for around $45,000.