Regular readers of RBA might be wondering why this bike was
included in this group test since we already tested it just a few months
ago (RBA, October 2011). Well, the reason is simple: the BH was the
first 2012 super bike let out of the barn, and we thought it was worth a
second look now that there is a stable of similarly designed
competitors for it to go up against.
Tires: Vittoria Diamante Pro
WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT THE FRAME?
From the now increasingly popular pencil-thin seat
stays to the over-sized bottom-bracket junction and tapered headtube, the
Ultralight frame runs with some of the key contemporary frame features.
But curiously, gone is the Di2 battery-friendly downtube design of the
previous BH racer, the G5; and surprisingly, there is no internal cable
routing. Striking carbon details include the front and rear dropouts,
slotted cable guides and the impressive front derailleur hanger.
The BH is one of those frames that easily mystifies carbon
neophytes with its “squeezability.” Pinch the top tube and you can
actually feel the thin walls compress. From the carbon rear drops and
box-section chainstays to the impressively shaped seat tube, the BH has
the look and feel of a purpose-built bike.
WHAT ABOUT THE COMPONENTS?
When it came to the parts selection, we came away most impressed
with the 1350-gram carbon Reynolds wheels. We also liked the carbon FSA
386EVO cranks that relied on the BB386EVO bottom bracket, which will
accept any crank except a BB30. One other part that stood out was the
Selle San Marco Aspide saddle. In fact, one tester came away convinced
that it was his new favorite saddle. Overall, the 129-gram saddle
provided more comfort than we thought possible with its minimalist shape
The parts we were less impressed with were the reverse faceplate
FSA carbon stem and the minimalist seatpost binder clamp, both of which
proved equally irksome. If the biggest goal of any reverse faceplate
stem is to simply make the relatively basic task of tightening and
loosening it more aggravating, it has succeeded wildly. And while the
whittled-down seat-binder clamp saves precious grams, it fails to
provide a consistent bite. Replacement should be simple, cheap and
WHAT ABOUT THE RIDE?
The BH is the race bike that was most appreciated by
the faster and more accomplished test riders among us. Hands down, it
was a blast to attack the hills with the Ultralight. Everything about
the bike feels quick and light, and it responded to every ounce of
energy put into the pedals with forward and upward motion. The stiffness
built into the massive bottom bracket sent all the power right down to
the road, and the front end responded equally as well to quick bursts of
When it came to descending, our camp was more fractured. On fast
arcing corners that required minimal turn-in, the BH felt like it was on
rails. But, for less intuitive riders, when making either sharp turns
or mid-corner direction changes, the BH proved to be a bit on the nervous
side. Or at least its quick handling made the riders feel nervous,
whereas the more experienced riders came away happy and not the least
WHAT ABOUT THE LOOKS?
In two words: very cool. However, as with most of the other bikes,
collectively we grew a bit weary of the over-enthusiasm of repeated logo
placements; the Ultralight kept it to a “minimum” with a mere eight
reminders that it is, in fact, a BH. Beyond the logos, the Ultralight
had a cool mix of a matte black frame with gloss black appliques. A nice
touch of detail was the use of red anodized water-bottle fasteners that
played well off the red graphic highlights.
SO WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
With its minimalist weight and stout frame design, there’s no
denying that the BH Ultralight was intended to be an all-out race bike.
It is. The Spanish flyweight is as responsive as they come, which is
music to the ears of the racing crowd, but it may be a little too quick
for the casual rider looking for a ProTour-worthy rig. Heading up a
climb on the Ultralight will give you the feeling of instant fitness
thanks to the 747-gram frame weight that is upstaged only by the Evo,
and stiffness that can handle more than just a scrawny climber’s maximum
Ideal buyer: If you’ve ever weighed your pasta, been jealous of
Michael Rasmussen’s emaciated physique or just want to have a bike
nearly 2 pounds lighter than what the pros can even race—this bike is
The stiffness from the stout BB386EVO bottom bracket and massive
intersecting tubes, coupled with its staggeringly low weight, make the BH Ultralight a tried and- true climbing machine. Better
versed in ascending than descending, it caused some riders to be on
alert when traversing a swath of twisty road.