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Bike Ahead showed us what they think may be the lightest production mountain bike wheelset ever made. The cross country AC One wheels are based on the company’s standard 6-spoke carbon wheel design, and using the strongest fibers currently available they were able to shave the weight down for this race-bred wheelset, while keeping strength and stiffness. Sure it is limited to a 85kg rider (187lb; including all their gear), but they have plenty of other options for more aggressive trail riding, heavier riders, and even road discs. We actually spotted their new road wheels in the Haibike booth on their new Affair road disc bike. Check them all out below the fold… 

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The new AC Ones come in at just 1000g (2.2lbs) for the 27.5″ variant with a fairly standard 23mm inside width. The 29er set adds just 80g (0.2lbs) but uses a slightly more narrow 22mm inside rim. Both wheelsets get 6-bolt hubs available in QR, 15×100 & 12×142 thru-axles, as well as Lefty and RS-1 versions. The wheels can be spec’ed with either a standard freehub or an XD driver, and both sizes retail for 3700€.

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Also new for 2016, Bike Ahead has introduced a wider cross country and trail wheelset, the Biturbo RS. Again based off their carry over Biturbo S (which is available in 26, 27.5 & 29″ in the 22/23mm widths), these new wheels are still just rated for XC, Marathons, and regular trail riding. With the move to 27mm wide rims for better low tire pressure handling and still using Bike Ahead’s standard hookless tubeless-friendly bead, the RS wheelset also gets a a new sharp-edged design meant to suggest their more aggressive capabilities. The RS wheels get a 95kg (209lb) rider+gear limit (the same for the entire Biturbo wheel line) and weigh 1100g (2.43lb) for the 27.5″ versions and 1189g (2.62lb) for 29ers, all for 3300€.  In addition to their standar 2900€ BitrubroS wheels, Bike Ahead also builds a reinforced set called All Mountain for heavier riders. Pricing is the same, as are rim widths, but they get rated for up to all mountain or light enduro riding and max rider+gear weights of 105kg (231lb).

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With road disc taking off, Bike Ahead had a new version there too, the Biturbo Road, that gets more aero-optimized sculpting than the mountain wheels. (Haibike was calling it the RoadRunner in their spec sheets.) With weights from 1100g (2.43lb; all weights vary a bit depending on axle types), the new disc-brake road clinchers get a 20mm internal width. Available with either Shimano or Campagnolo freehubs and QR or 12 &15mm thru-axle options, the new road wheels will sell for 3700€.

Bike Ahead do some other interesting parts besides wheels too. We featured a prototype of a new seatpost head back in the spring on the World Cup circuit that used an elastomer for a bit of give, but didn’t get any word on it coming to market soon. Bike Ahead did have their new clean and simple 19g Thechainguide which sells for 70€ and mounts in place of a top direct mount front derailleur for 28-36T single setups. The also now sell a Di2 ready flat carbon bar with channels and holes for smooth routing setups, in addition to standard flat and riser bars and the standard carbon seatpost.

Bike-Ahead-Composites.de

38 COMMENTS

  1. Wow we have come a long way from the Spin and Spinergy wheels of the 90s. I’m guessing it won’t be long before this will be standard stuff.

  2. Can someone explain why carbon rims even need traditional spokes? I do understand a traditional spoked wheel can add some radial compliance, but I’d think one could achieve the same with the above design if done correctly. Redundancy may be an argument, but sans sticking something in the wheel or crash damage, I don’t see how this style spoke would fail.

  3. @Cryo – funny, but see my comment stating “traditional spokes” not “no spokes”

    @AlanM – How does a carbon rim go out of true (honest question)? It doesn’t have a traditional yield stress that results in plastic deformation like a metal does. Unless you bend it to failure, I’d think a carbon rim molded true will spring back and stay true. I do know people have to true carbon wheels, but based on my understanding it is usually due to a spoke failure or uneven spoke tension pulling the rim out of true.
    Large molded, pre-tensioned spokes as the above designs wouldn’t require spoke replacement.

  4. @McLain definitely 1000g for the pair (for the 27.5″ option with the lightest axles.) And yes that is silly light, and with it rather pricey. (See how they are bolted down, that’s to keep them from floating away.)

  5. Basically like the Reynolds RZR so it seems possible with “truing” only needed during initial fabrication – but as Alan M stated, not a cheap process by any means.

  6. @JBikes, you’re right that in a perfect world with everything molded and built just right, you wouldn’t have to worry about a wheel being true. To get that perfection just means that you are going to have some higher costs.

  7. @JBikes If any one part of the wheel fails it’s a write off. Normally if you dish a rim, break a spoke or damage a hub, you only have to replace the damaged part not the entire wheel.

  8. @Andrew – good points, and I am not sure I’d want something like that for MTB. But for road, rim damage is probably unlikely and hubs could be made to be replaceable (at least the mechanical components). I don’t see a large spoke like that getting damaged unless something really goes wrong. Obviously, not a training wheel set, but for racing (given they are aero enough)? We basically do it with structural carbon dish wheels.

  9. Holy crap, look at all of us having adult conversations, sharing info and insight, and all that good stuff. Could you imagine if the comment sections were like this more often?!

  10. My only concern is. Would they be too stiff? Therefore creating a harsh ride. Or even affecting the handling of your bike. For better or worse? I don’t know. Many top pro mtn bikers say that regular carbon wheels are too stiff. I can’t see how these would have much compliance in any direction.

  11. Could be fine for XC MTB if you only ride groomed trails/ race courses. For real world riding with fallen branches and loose babyheads, not so much.

  12. Anyone who rides these would be the talk of the race though! Some rich age group rider will turn up to a race with these in the rs1 version and also have xtr di2 on their bike

  13. JP – Nothing wrong with being old (or young) and spending some excess funds on your hobby, even if your not someone that can really take advantage of it. Personal satisfaction should be all the justification any us should need. And if you don’t have the funds, who cares. We all ride what we can because we like it.

  14. Same argument comes up in motorcycles.
    Why do street bikes get forge aluminium or magnesium wheels while dirt bikes and adventure bikes get spoked wheels?
    Spoked wheels can take more abuse, flex more to absorb large impacts, and are much easier to repair.

  15. The main advantage of our wheels is the combination of lightweight and a superb lateral stiffness. So the stiffness to weight ratio is unmatched from any conventional spoked wheel on the market.
    I absolutely understand the scepticism about the strength and durability, but our wheels are really not fragile. Hard to proof this here, but I think our customers are quite satisfied. We are on the market since 2011 and have around 700 wheelsets out there. I hope this a little argument for our products and that we are not high-flyers who buy fancy stuff in asia.
    Really everything from the first sketch to serial production is done in-house in Germany.

  16. @bike-ahead, you have some info on the aerodynamics of the Biturbo Road? Would be a shame to spend all this money and fall behind a set of Mavic Aksiums.

  17. Our biturboROAD wheelset respects the laws of aerodynamics, but it is no aero time trial wheelset. What I mean is the fact, that the wheelset is a perfect allrounder on the road with a superb stiffness to weight ratio.
    Of course, we have done tests in a scale windtunnel. The test in a real windtunnel is coming up in December.

  18. Christian

    I believe these wheels are stiff but how about vertical compliance ie. will they ride like wagon wheels or more like spoked wheels?

    Any data?

  19. This wont happen in the MTB world because all you have to do is look to Motocross, all spokes. Road race bikes just as MotoGP bikes will eventually end up with wheels like this, but there’s just simply not enough compliance with this design to make any bit sense off road.

  20. If I put these on a dual suspended mountain bike and run 2.25 tires, how could the wheels be ‘too stiff’. Maybe on a fully rigid hardtail running 1.9 semi-slicks. But other wise bring on the stiffness and no broken spokes!!! (A Christian, if you’re looking for a spokesman, I’m right here baby!!)

  21. the usual price insanity to pay back the fabrication/development costs and of course the punters will drool and scheme for a set… however, the kit will not make you a better rider nor will it solve any real problem having to do with your slow pace up hill… real world solution is to ride normally heavy duty long lasting and proven equipment that actually will get you home and dry… the bicycle industry is in the throes of cost be damned technical inanity for the simple reason engineers need jobs… these wheels are worth at least a few hundred dollars/euros at best but the industry is being led by bean counters with so much history of more is better, as if…

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