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BFS2017 Roundup: Veloheld 10th anniversary Alley, 8bar Kronprinzes & Leeze machine built wheels

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We uncovered quite a few all-new bikes and unique tech at this year’s Berlin Bike Show last month. But there are still a number of more evolutionary products that we saw as well, both from companies we’ve covered before and a few new to Bikerumor. Dresden-based bike producer Veloheld is celebrating their 10th anniversary with a limited edition reissue of the urban bike that started it all. The Berliners at 8bar bikes gave us an update on their Kronprinz road bike that we previewed last year, with an update on the continued availability of both alloy and carbon variants. Then we spent some time talking to a production tech with Leeze Wheels, about their unique method of machine building wheels in Europe to achieve unparalleled quality and durability…

Veloheld.Alley 10th

  

The Alley was the simple fixed gear frameset that Veloheld built their brand around back in 2007. So to celebrate ten years of designing & producing bikes they are reissuing the bike as the blue Veloheld.Alley 10th edition.  The new bike shares the same double butted Reynolds 525 tubing, geometry, and overall layout of the original with a few special updates.

The special edition frameset gets a new lightened set of track end dropouts at the back, an entirely redesigned seat cluster. The new multi piece seattube gets a 10 year commemorative stamp and a low-profile seatpost binder. The Alley 10th keeps the front end essentially unchanged with a standard 1.125″ headtube and Veloheld’s uniquely shaped 4130 tapered fork.

The new bike will be available from the start of June, and you can let Veloheld know now if you want to reserve a frameset or build up a complete bike.

Veloheld.de

8bar Kronprinz

We got a early look at 8bar’s new carbon road bike – the Kronprinz Carbon – last spring, but the details were a bit scant as it was ahead of them officially announcement of the new bike. Now it seems 8bar has a bit more info on the UD carbon frame, claiming a weight of 990g, plus another 350g for the tapered aero full-carbon fork.

The Kronprinz Carbon will not be a bike that 8bar keeps stock of, but will be available as pre-order only for 1278€ for the frameset. You can get the carbon bike in either this 8bar Team Edition paint scheme or a simple matte clearcoat finish, and it looks like it will actually be available in both rim and disc brake variants. The bike sticks with a 27.2mm seatpost and a standard threaded bottom bracket (although BB30 is optional), but still goes for a tapered 1.5″ integrated headset.

The matte bike sells for 1200€ in four stock sizes, while the team paint adds another 80€. The first preorder has already closed for this spring delivery, so if you want to get in on the next order email 8bar to check on their current scheduling.

There was also talk that the addition of the carbon frame would likely signal the demise of the alloy Kronprinz, but… It seems that due to popular demand the double butted 6066 aluminum frame will be sticking around. Starting at just 511€ for a frameset with its full carbon tapered fork, or 1500€ for this 8.8kg (19.4lb) Tiagra 2×10 complete bike, the Kronprinz Road (that’s the name of the alloy version) makes for a truly affordable, high-value way to get into performance road riding.

8bar-bikes.com

Leeze Wheels

The big thing that we took away from our discussions with the wheel specialists at Leeze Wheels was actually something very small – that square section at the end of the special Sapim CX-Ray spokes. Leeze is a German company that prides themselves on how they build their wheels by machine in Europe. But these aren’t just any wheel building machines, but rather some incredibly advanced robotic wheel building machines from Dutch producer Holland Mechanics developed exclusively to build Leeze’s wheels. These manufacturing robots are able to build carbon wheels with a level of precise & consistent spoke tension that makes for wheels that Leeze claims to result in wheels that outlast almost all of their competition. The key here is the small square clamping section at the end of the spoke that lets the machine more accurately and continuously measure tension across a precise length of the spoke, and limit the tightening forces to the end of the spoke. The end result is the ability to build to high tension without any spoke windup at all (vs. the conventional approach of clamping at some point along the bladed section to limit windup to a shorter length of the spoke), for perfectly true & durable wheels.

Leeze build a large number of wheels for several disciplines, all at seemingly competitive pricing. Their carbon wheels look to most benefit from their unique manufacturing. These wheels are their flagship CC60 mid-depth aero carbon clinchers, with a 20.5mm internal width and grow to 28mm outside at their widest point. Available both in 1300€ rim brake and 1400€ disc brake models, the use pretty standard alloy hubs (and get plenty of axle options) and come with tires pre-installed.

Leeze.de

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MaraudingWalrus
5 years ago

Maybe something got messed up in translation….I’m unsure how this helps reduce spoke windup – it’s already a bladed spoke, which are supremely easy to reduce windup. Are the machines unable to clamp the bladed direction of the spoke like a builder would with a bladed spoke holder? If so, how is a square section of spoke easier to grab?

Also, how does the square section aid in checking tension? Is my fancy-pants tensiometer unable to gauge tension accurately because it’s in contact with a flat section of spoke, not a square section?

MaraudingWalrus
5 years ago
Reply to  Cory Benson

I am unsure how my DT bladed spoke holder is imprecise or allows for more windup than this would. The spoke is essentially flat, and fits into a flat slot. It’s fairly straightforward to keep that oriented in the correct plane. The tool fits very far down a say, DT spoke wrench, and allows for contact the down the spoke essentially as far as this does, does it not?

Perhaps the square section is slightly further towards the thread than my holder is – so maybe my holder allows 15mm of spoke to wind up, and this allows only 10mm to wind up? If a bladed spoke holder allows the spoke “downstream” to wind-up, surely this must, also…

Superstar Components
5 years ago

Hello we have had the Holland Mechanics OT wheel line for the last 3 years with the TCS system in our UK factory. When you’re building 10,000+ wheels a year you need to know they are coming out consistently the same high quality, humans just can’t do that and we/customers can’t accept friday jobs once in a while. I’m sure a artisan at the top of their game can make as good a wheel most of the time, but not 365 days a year – hundreds a day.

The TCS system (the little square thing) holds the spoke right next to the nipple when tightening so completely eliminates spoke twist on every single turn of the nipple.

I know thin spokes like revs and lasers get a bad reputation for breaking, this is mainly due to the spoke getting twisted back and forth while building. This fatigues it and makes them break, yet is impossible to prevent when wheelbuilding by hand. On my TCS machine we dont get any spoke twist so Sapim lasers are just as reliable as thicker spokes, thats something which hand builds physically cant offer! this is one reason why people say CX-ray are much stronger, becasue hand builders can hold them to stop the twist in building, we do it on every spoke every turn.

Any questions feel free to ask, Neil

neil.wilkinson@superstarcomponents.com

hollandmechanics
hollandmechanics
5 years ago

The Robot is indeed more accurate and consistent than a professional wheel builder. It can analyse the wheel behaviour and apply complicated algorithms to get a perfect wheel in only 5-6 minutes. The fact that many companies nowadays still want to be associated with “hand build” is because this stands for high effort and craftsmanship, a reason to ask higher prices.

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