Photo: Dylan VanWeelden
When it comes to going fast on a bicycle, two brutal truths dominate our world. Wind will always be our enemy, and climbs will always be our judge. We have talked at length about the aerodynamic sophistication of our Rapide components and how they help claw back precious seconds in the eternal battle with our headwind nemesis. Today we’d like to shed some light on the Alpinist range; a suite of wheels and components that are designed specifically to help you maximize your climbing potential.
Consisting of an elegant modular, integrated handlebar/stem, a subtly sophisticated seatpost, and two wheelsets that combine classic minimalism with cutting edge carbon fiber technology, the single unifying theme for all Alpinist components is “mass”. Or, to be more specific, the absence of mass. As far as climbing is concerned, every gram you have to haul uphill counts. The design goal with the Alpinist range, then, was concise and clear: Less weight, more speed. This sounds simple, and, when set on the horizon as a goalpost, it’s pretty easy to conceptualize. But the execution – where ride quality, responsiveness, comfort and durability all need to be present and accounted for as well – that’s not so simple.
255 grams. This would be a very respectable weight if it was just a handlebar alone. But in this case, that weight is for both handlebar AND stem. That is ridiculously light. There are 10 sizes available; widths ranging from 40-44 cm, and 90 to 130mm stem lengths. The bars themselves have a classic bend with a shallow 125mm drop and modern control-friendly 75mm reach.
The feathery weight is a huge aspect of what makes this setup so good, but weight needs to be balanced with ride quality and structural integrity. In the case of the Alpinist cockpit, the layup went through several iterations before arriving at a feel that delivers the stiffness needed for those moments of high exertion reefing on the bars, while still providing excellent vibration damping road feel. Strength and durability are backed up by a lifetime warranty and our no-fault crash replacement policy. Pushing the modular concept to its logical conclusion, the Alpinist cockpit features internal cable routing and there’s even a sweet integral mount for devices.
From a marketing perspective, road-specific seatposts are difficult to get hyped about. There’s none of the telescoping complexity of mountain-oriented dropper posts, and visually the highest praise you want for a road post is that it becomes as close to invisible as possible on the bike. But just look at this little beauty. And emphasize both “little” and “beauty” when you read that last sentence.
The Alpinist seatpost weighs a barely-even-there 132 grams (in a full 27.2x300mm length, no less). In the grand scheme of seatpost weight-geekery, this is an absurdly light post. And unlike so many other featherweights that have incredibly restrictive weight limits, it’s still rated to keep riders weighing up to 240 pounds powering up toward the mountain top. The post flares gracefully and subtly toward the head, subtly incorporating a 12mm offset and a super-reliable 2-bolt clamp that features a generous 46mm rail bed that offers 20mm of fore/aft adjustability. This is a post that delivers exceptional ride quality and dependability and adds a touch of class to any bike while at the same time paring weight down to the absolute minimum in the quest for climbing prowess.
Last year, right after we introduced the Alpinist and Rapide wheels to the world, Julian Alaphilippe romped a set of Alpinist CLXs to victory in stage 2 of the Tour de France. We celebrated this win with quiet satisfaction, but truth be told, the high-tech story of the aero-slippery Rapide wheels was hogging the airwaves. There was a lot to tell about them, and the Alpinist wheels, by contrast, were not as flashy a news story.
Except, here’s the thing: Alpinist wheels are freakin’ amazing! At 1248 grams per set, Alpinist CLX wheels are some of the very lightest wheels in the world, bar none. They’re over 150 grams lighter than the very respectable and headline-hogging Rapide CLX wheels we just mentioned. Hell, even the down-spec Alpinist CL wheels weigh less than the top of the line Rapides, hitting the scales at a “lighter than almost everyone else’s unobtanium expensive flagship wheels” weight of 1365 grams. Alpinist wheels are insanely light.
There’s an old adage; “an ounce on the wheels is worth a pound on the frame.”
It’s worth remembering these old wisdoms. Climbing is a glorious masochism, and every gram counts. These are the wheels you want when the time comes to point it skyward. There’s a whole lot else going on under the hood of both the Alpinist CLX and CL wheelsets – sophisticated carbon fiber layup offering an unbeatable combination of performance, light weight and durability; wide 21mm internal rim width optimized for modern clinchers, dependable DT-Swiss hub internals, and real-world rider weight limits along with lifetime warranties and our no-fault crash replacement policy – but what really matters, more than anything else, are the grams. Or in this case, the lack of them.
Alpinist. Achieve light speed.