The lightest production road bike frame available is about to emerge from a small industrial estate in Germany, yet, aside from dedicated weight weenies, few riders will have heard of AX Lightness, the brand behind it. BikeRadar recently visited the AX Lightness factory in Creußen, and discovered what is perhaps the best kept secret in carbon fibre.
When people talk about carbon frames and components, the last place that'd normally spring to mind would be Germany. But AX Lightness has been producing all of its components in-house within Germany for over a decade.
AX Lightness don't just manufacture bicycle components. Just a few years ago, most of the company's time was occupied with work from car manufacturers and motorsport. It even produced complex carbon fibre components for Sebastian Vettel’s Formula One car!
Take a look at their current product range and you'll find an extensive line-up of both road and mountain bike components.
Everything is carbon and many of the products are the lightest you'll find anywhere. It's no wonder that AX Lightness components were used on what is still believed to be the lightest bicycle ever built.
Company founder Axel Schnura's original focus was on little more than producing the absolute lightest components available, but the firm has since undergone a shift in its thinking. The aim now is to not only produce the lightest parts but to also produce the best. AX Lightness learned that it could add useful ergonomic features, improved practicality and function to many of its components while only adding minor figures to the overall weight.
These tweaks are slowly bringing AX Lightness away from its roots in niche weight weenie-ism, yet it's fair to say that all of this kit is top-shelf: Keith Bontrager's aphorism of "strong, light, cheap; pick two" applies perfectly. However, for those who want AX Lightness design at a more affordable price, there are Engage components.
Engage is a sub-brand from AX Lightness, and all Engage parts are designed by AX but made in Asia. It's important to mention that all Engage parts are subject to the same stringent quality control as regular AX Lightness component and, as a result, each Engage part is inspected and assembled in Germany.
Whether you're a wealthy weight weenie or not, AX Lightness is definitely a brand to look out for. Check out our image gallery for an exclusive tour behind the doors of the AX Lightness factory.