Haleakala, Mt Lemmon and Tourmelet all instill fear in cyclists and wallets alike. The cyclists fear the thought of lung-searing, leg-ripping climbs lasting a minimum of two hours, and the wallets fear the yoga like qualities required to be fully opened that many times to create a bike light enough to make the job relatively enjoyable.
The weight of a bike really only matters when you're challenging gravity. Basically, anything under 5% gradient, as long as it's stiff enough for good power transfer, you're good to go. Weight really isn't an issue. Over 5% and for an extended period of time, everything counts.
This is the task at hand. Is it possible to create a bike with world class handling and durability, under 15lbs (6.8kg) and under $5000.
Possible? Maybe. Difficult? Tremendously.
If you throw enough money at something, everything is possible. But what can you do on a limited budget? Is building a non-UCI legal bike even practical given the current level of high quality offerings from the major manufacturers?
This is the challenge Nick and I are undertaking and this blog is where the whole process will be documented. We invite you to follow along and see what we come up with.