2017 AX Lightness VIAL evo XC ultralight hardtail mountain bike

Shown as a work-in-progress prototype at Eurobike last year, the AX Lightness VIAL evo XC hardtail is now in full production and available for sale. The formal unveiling will be at this year’s Eurobike, but they gave us a heads up on some frame details and complete bike specs that put their top level build under 7kg (less than 15.4 pounds)…with a price close to €9,000.

The frame has been race tested at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring in Germany, where AX Lightness is based and the frame is hand made. In addition to that field testing, it passes EFBE safety, fatigue and impact testing, all with a claimed frame weight of just 870g in size medium.

2017 AX Lightness VIAL evo XC ultralight hardtail mountain bike

The VIAL eve XC comes in two sizes, Medium and Large, and is set up to run either mechanical or electronic drivetrains and stealth dropper posts. The bottom bracket shell is BB392, giving it a large diameter and wide berth on which to spread the chainstays for maximum stiffness. The frameset alone is €2,999, but take out a second mortgage and you can nab this XX1 Eagle bike. It comes equipped with AX Lightness tapered headset, Ultra 29C carbon wheelset, carbon stem, handlebar, seatpost and saddle, a Fox SC 32 Step Cast Factory fork and Schwalbe Furious Fred tires. Complete bike weight is just 6.9kg (15.21lb).

There’s also a full Shimano XT built with Truvativ cockpit for about €5,300 at a claimed weight of 8.5kg (18.74lb).

2017 AX Lightness VIAL evo XC ultralight hardtail mountain bike

The rear end uses a Syntace X12 thru axle on the back of short 427mm chainstays. The dropouts and chainstays are molded as a single piece, which they say boosted total stiffness enormously while also saving weight. In total, they’ve spent a little more than two years developing this bike because, in their words, as their first mountain bike they had to get it 100% right, right from the start.

2017 AX Lightness VIAL evo XC ultralight hardtail mountain bike

A longer topheadtube and slack-ish 68.5º head angle helps keep the bike stable on the descents, particularly helpful on such a lightweight rig. The head tube is short, putting the rider in a lower, race-ready position.

Look for more from the German brand in our Eurobike coverage starting at the end of August.




    • I’d want to replace those furious freds stat, but if it’s passed fatigue testing and there’s a good warranty, ain’t no such thing as too light.

      -a guy that weighs 170lbs and likes to abuse carbon hardtails

      • haha yeah. i think thats why they replaced the previous article too.
        still id be a little worried, i mean, a jump + crack can mean a visit to the hospital or a walk back.
        itd be interesting to see real rough riding with it, but at this price and amount of pieces i doubt we’ll ever see it.

        Another thing.. maybe someone can educate me – EFBE (http://www.efbe.de/pruefservicenew/statpruef/enindex.php) seems to have tests for road bikes and ebikes, but not mountain bikes. Does that mean this was tested to the standards of a road bike, or is there some mtb test I did not find?

    • No you can’t.

      Unless this is meta-commentary on the usual BR comments, in which case, stop being such a hipster, hipster.

      • Yes I can. C’dale Flash 27.5 compatible with DT swiss XRC 100 fork…or even a lauf fork…Ritchey WCS C260 70mm stem (84g), china Handlebar, custom wheels with china rims, XX1 group used from ebay….that’s just some of the items.

        I’m right.

        • Do you have an exact list of components, prices (incl. shipping & customs) and sellers for your 15.4 lbs hardtail ?
          I’m sorry but so far you proved nothing.

    • “I can build a 15.4lbs Hardtail for about 10k less.”

      9000 Euros is $10,062.55 USD as per xe.com. If you are going to build a new sub-16 lb HT for $62.55 you will have everyone beat and you should going into the bike building business today.

      Strength, weight, affordable: pick two, but the third is not an option.

    • Even though the EFBE test is not the end-all, I don’t doubt that this frame is plenty tough. Open has been making frames at about this weight for a while now. Plenty of top level carbon hardtails are under 1kg, and AX generally knows their stuff.
      Hopefully their warranty department is more reasonable these days, however.

  1. This frame weight doesn’t seem outlandish or dangerous when you look at other super high end frames on the market from reputable manus. As someone pointed out above, Open has had a frame in this range for a while, and the new Specialized Epic Hardtail may even be lighter, although the official specs haven’t been released yet.

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