Lightweight Fernweg aero wheels - First look

New 81mm deep wheel from German carbon boutique

German carbon boutique manufacturer Lightweight have launched a new aero wheelset called Fernweg. While they peg them as perfect for triathlon, we have no doubts that we’ll see them under discerning sprinters and paired to Lightweight’s own disc for time-trialing.

Lightweight promise the new Fernweg — which roughly translates to ‘distance’ — wheels to be light; they claim just 640g for the front and 715g for the rear, for a 1,355g total, which is impressive considering the 81mm front and rear rim sections.The wheelset costs roughly US$5,825 (£3,665, €4,400, however, Lightweight note these prices vary from country to country due to taxes, duties, and shipping costs).

“Development started three years ago with lot’s of input from pro riders and aerodynamic specialists, some lab and wind tunnel tests — with various wheels; wheels alone, wheels in forks, wheels in bikes, ecettra — then we took this data back to our R&D and did various CFD work and ended up again in various wind tunnels and pro rider tests on track and road, and finally got the Fernweg,” Frank Jeniche, from Lightweight’s PR firm told BikeRadar.

“We really stuck to the Lightweight core spirit — to build the best wheel for this specific use in the world. We know that we can build stiff and light wheels, and still our current wheels haven’t been too far away from top aerodynamic wheels, but we took all that whole process very seriously to build a top aero wheel set that suites the aero specialties. [It] also offers low weight, for perfect acceleration — look at TT courses like last year's Eneco-tour — and superb stiffness in this aero wheel field.”

The carbon tubular rim is 19.5mm wide, completely sealed — meaning no way for water to penetrate the rim or tire bed, save for the valve stem hole — and co-molded to the hub set with 16 front spokes and 20 rear carbon spokes. The hubs are spaced for conventional road use at: 100mm front and 130mm rear.

Lightweight use DT Swiss hub internals for the rear freehubs (front wheels are of Lightweight design), and offer both Shimano and Campagnolo freehub compatibility.

The 640g front wheel may be the perfect mate to Lightweight's own disc wheel

Lightweight claim an ‘outstanding’ stiffness to weight ratio, due to the molded construction and carbon spokes, which pass from rim-to-rim through the hub flanges. If the Lightweight Standard 16 spoked wheel is anything to go by, we expect the Fernweg wheels to be very stiff, laterally, especially with the deeper rim that's used compared to the Standards. “Stiffness is one thing — especially when it comes to cornering and braking,” said Jeniche. “The superb braking surface and matched brake pads is another reason why [our system works so well]; and the fact that we are able to use kinds of carbon fiber and resigns that are really specific and not available to everybody. Lightweight has access to those materials due to the certification for aeronautic industry.”

Lightweight ships the new wheels with quick-release skewers, wheelbags, valve extenders, and their own carbon-specific brake pads. The Fernweg will begin shipping from Lightweight’s factory to distributers and retailers this week.

The Fernweg has also, already, claimed a 2012 Red-Dot product design award, where 30 international design experts recognized and awarded the design from 4,515 other product submissions.

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