Lightweight Autobahn Disc and VR8 wheelset review
Lightweight’s rear Autobahn disc and VR8 front tubular wheels create a high-end time trial wheelset. Built to Lightweight’s usual high standards, these wheels are tough, light, fast and, of course, staggeringly expensive.
The new black lenticular disc is stunning. Weighing a mere 785g on our scales, it’s 35g lighter than Lightweight’s previous white disc iteration and at least 100g lighter than most other top-end disc wheels. On the road, that translates to superior climbing performance and handling.
The low weight and aerodynamic properties of the disc mean that it accelerates better than any other wheel we’ve ridden. Once up to speed it’s similar to other lenticular discs in terms of keeping it rolling. It’s just easier to get it going.
Despite its light weight, the disc feels rock solid and is rated to a lateral stiffness of 90N/mm (in layman’s terms, as stiff as you get) and a rider-plus-bike weight of 120kg. There’s no sideways ﬂex when you’re stomping on the pedals and, although ours wasn’t perfectly true, most discs aren’t.
The eight-spoke VR8 front wheel is an odd pairing with the disc. At 650g it’s 175g heavier than a 16-spoke Lightweight Standard with the same rim depth. Lightweight claim fewer spokes makes it more aerodynamic but this was hard for us to quantify.
What’s the beneﬁt? Lightweight say the VR8 is the stiffest front wheel they’ve built, with a lateral stiffness of 55N/mm. This doesn’t translate to judderiness on rough roads and we were impressed at how smoothly and conﬁdently it handled corners.
Despite being ﬁtted with a 19mm Continental Podium tubular, it felt as comfortable as riding 23mm tyres on a 32-spoke wheel. It behaved itself in moderate crosswinds too (up to 15mph). We had small amounts of drift but nothing untoward and we’d be conﬁdent riding it in windier situations.
Both the disc and VR8 gave average braking performance by carbon wheel standards, especially in the wet, so a decent set of pads is essential. Lightweight do their own but we can recommend SwissStop Yellow Kings. RRP for the wheelset is €3,840/$US6190 (UK price TBC).