Striking, superlight race and all-mountain wheels
Based in Germany, young company Bike Ahead Components’ carbon 6-spoke wheels first caught our eye as specified on Haibike’s range-topping Sleek 29er. Assuming that the bike’s wheels were heavy Taiwanese expressions of a more carbon, more better mentality, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that the wheels are built in Germany around German-made Acros hubs. Not only are the race versions silly light, but there’s a plenty-light all-mountain version as well.
New for 2014, the biturboS wheelset is available in 26in, 27.5, and 29er sizes for both clincher and tubular tyres. Both Shimano and XD freehubs are available along with the usual axle standards and Bike Ahead claims a world record for the wheels’ stiffness-to-weight ratio. And that weight? 1,168g, 1,199g, and 1,289g for the clinchers. All are available from UK distributors LifecycleUK at £2,350 for tubs, £2,500 clinchers. Custom colours and clearcoat finishes are available at an upcharge.
For those of us with more of a ‘trail’ inclination, Bike Ahead makes the allmountain series, again for 26in, 27.5, and 29er clinchers. Weights are again impressive, ranging from 1,348-1,459g depending on size, making the bike a “cross-country bolide” on the ascents (had to look that one up). Despite the light weights, Bike Ahead Composites claims outstanding levels of lateral rigidity, providing “an unmatched feeling of security.” Rims are 22-23mm wide at the bead seat: not super-wide, but nothing too unnerving either. Rider weight limit is 95Kg including gear and pricing runs £2,500 per set.
Obviously, we’re drawn to Bike Ahead’s wheels for their looks- but it looks like they may have the low weight and solidity to back their flash. Prices aren’t cheap- but neither is building a composite wheel (including hubs) in Germany. Visit Bike Ahead Composites’ website or LifecycleUK in Suffolk to learn more.