It may still seem like an astronomical price for many, but you can now buy a set of made-in-Germany carbon fibre wheels from sought-after specialists Lightweight for €3,570. That’s a three-figure saving on their handbuilt range of wheels.
The new Lightweight Wegweiser wheels are still made in Friedrichshafen — where our team of reporters is currently combing the annual Eurobike show — in a similar way to the handmade wheels, but using machines to build the rims.
They’re called Wegweiser, which means signpost in German, because it’s intended to show the direction that the company is heading.
A Lightweight spokesman told us that the rim is manufactured in one piece by a machine and the spokes are then glued to the rim via the little triangles you can see in the photo above. That makes manufacturing of the wheel more precise, and much less costly, but a little heavier. Around 80g more per pair, at under 1,450g.
The new Wegweiser wheels come in disc and rim brake versions, with a rim width of 24mm and a depth of 36mm. This is slightly wider than the handbuilt wheels, which come in 20mm and 22mm, and Lightweight says that this fits with the general trend of its customers wanting to run wider tyres.
There is a clever hub design too: the profile is pentagonal, with each of the five sides giving more space for the spokes to be glued to the hubs, and thus more stability, according to the German firm.
It also means that the hub shell cannot detach from the hub body. Even if the glue fails — which would be a Bad Thing under braking — it’s held in place by the Allen-key shape.
The new wheels are on sale now.
Ride carbon frames, made in Germany
On its Eurobike stand there was also a very interesting new made-in-Germany carbon road frame called Ride (short for ‘Rahmenbau in Deutschland’, which translates into ‘frames made in Germany’).
As distinct from their current range of Taiwan-made Urgestalt frames, which are the object of many people’s desires (guilty), these are carbon frames made entirely in Germany. At the moment they are 30 percent made by machine and 70 percent finished by hand, but in future the company hopes to swap that to 70 percent made by machine in Germany.
Why? Well, Lightweight told us that with its technology it can create a lot of varieties of frames and bring things from concept to reality very quickly. “This is the future of Lightweight”, the company told us. For example, it has integrated front and rear LED lights built into the frame, as well as internal cable routing, a made-in-Germany fork and stem, and includes a headset, seat post clamping and thru-axles. It supports wheels up to 28mm.
Together, the frame and fork weigh less than 1,190g and can support a rider weight of up to 120kg. The frame alone weighs under 850g and the fork alone weighs under 380g.
Our apologies for the quality of the photo above, but we were’t allowed to take it out of its glass cabinet. It’s also important to note that the above is not necessarily the final item to go into production, but is intended more as a proof-of-concept.
The new made-in-Germany Ride frames will be available to buy this time next year (summer/autumn 2017), with the price still to be confirmed.
Disc-ready Urgestalt carbon road frame
Finally, there’s a new version of the Asian-made Urgestalt carbon road frame. It comes disc-ready and includes a number of new features compared to the older rim-brake-only Urgestalt frame. There’s a solid carbon fork, a slightly inclined top tube, asymmetrical seat stays, an external seat clamp and 27.2mm seat tube.
The new Urgestalt disc frame is compatible with both electronic and mechanical groupsets, and features internal cable routing. The frameset includes a frame, fork, headset, seat post clamp and thru-axles.
It comes in the colours black/grey, black/white and black/red, and weighs less than 850g for the frame in size 54cm. The fork alone weighs less than 380g. Price is €3,900.