‘The Hill Climb Project’: How a Cyclist Raced Up the Steepest Hills on the Lightest Steel Bike Possible

Biking up hills is definitely type II fun. But for some, it’s pure enjoyment. And the art of hill climbing just got more advanced.

“You know that you’re going to put yourself in the most possible pain that you can on a bike. It’s very strange and weird to find enjoyment from that,” said hill climber Matthew Cleave, a cyclist who’s been on the hill climb scene for about 4 years.

This is where The Hill Climb Project’s story begins.

Together with ISEN Workshop, who had already been thinking about how to make the lightest steel bike possible, The Service Course built a bike for Cleave capable of riding any hill, but especially hills in race or competition format.

And so The Service Course collaborated with an internal team of creatives to arrive at its final result: a steel bike weighing 5.4 kg (the frame came in at 1,150 g, without paint).

The 2021 National Hill Climb Championships, held at Winnats Pass in the U.K.’s Peak District National Park, is where Cleave would try it out. Watch this new film to see how it went.

UK cyclist matt cleave climbing a hill on a light steel road bike in a race
(Photo/Josh Heaton)

A year in the making, this project is a celebration of everything that envelops cycling culture and passion for a sport. If you love custom bikes and all that goes into making them, this film is a must-watch.

Runtime: 17 minutes

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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