Eurobike 2010: AX-Lightness debut customisable frames
By James Huang, technical editor | Wednesday, September 8, 2010 8.35am
AX-Lightness showed off their new Alpha carbon road frame at the 2010 Eurobike show James Huang
German lightweight component specialists AX-Lightness debuted their first road frame, dubbed the Alpha, at this year's Eurobike trade show and it's not just another featherweight carbon chassis.
AX-Lightness CEO Axel Schnura is instead touting the Alpha's tunability, claiming that he can not only create fully custom geometries from the tube-to-tube construction but also alter the tube shapes, diameters, fibre types and layup schedules to yield a wide range of stiffness and ride feels.
Other companies already claim to offer such services but Schnura says he can precisely replicate the feel of other companies' frames based on an extensive database of in-house test data.
Say, for example, you love the ride and personality of a particular high performance frame but its stock geometry doesn't suit your proportions. According to Schura, he can build his Alpha to ride and handle exactly the same but with a custom tailored fit.
Aside from the custom tunability, several design features also stand out on their own. The Alpha uses an 85mm-wide bottom bracket with integrated cartridge bearings pressed directly into the carbon shell while just behind, the moulded-in carbon chainstay bridge is subtly embossed with the 'AX' logo.
The Alpha's carbon bottom bracket shell features direct press-fit cartridge bearings for the matching Morpheus crank
Carbon fibre dropouts – with a replaceable derailleur hanger – link to drastically flattened seatstays, lending some vertical flex to the rear end without overly affecting drivetrain efficiency in the process. In addition, the seat tube is ovalised at the bottom bracket and both the front derailleur mount and all cable housing stops are crafted from carbon fibre, too.
The matching AX6000 fork bears a unique design as well, with radically bowed-out legs that leave heaps of room in between the blades and wheel. According to Schnura, this extra space allows air to flow cleanly around the fork legs without being subjected to the aerodynamic interference of the spinning wheel in between.
The AX-Lightness AX6000 fork uses unusually widely set blades that are supposedly more aerodynamic than narrowly set ones
With all this being said, Schnura's company name is 'AX-Lightness' after all, and the Alpha chassis is extremely light. When paired with Schnura's own Morpheus carbon crankarms, AX3000 carbon single-pivot brakes and Daedalus seatpost, total claimed frameset weight is an unreal 1,650g (3.64lb) – barely heavier than many high-end framesets before adding any parts.
Naturally, such a machine would only be complete with other items from the AX-Lightness collection. One sample build includes a Zeus carbon road stem and AX4000 handlebar, Premium Road 42 carbon tubular wheels, Phoenix bare carbon saddle, a Campagnolo Super Record transmission and Continental Competition tyres for a total claimed weight of just 4.2kg (9.26lb) – and that's with a Nasdorowje carbon bottle cage, too. Yikes.
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AX-Lightness showed off their 69mm-deep carbon tubulars at this year's Eurobike show
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