German carbon wheelmaker Bike Ahead has been working on getting their already light carbon offerings wider and more capable for hitting some harder trails in the new year, so they have started off by expanding their individual rim offerings over to 27.5+. At the same time, their light and aero Biturbo wheel lineup is expanding with a new version getting ready to battle it out in the rough and tumble of the cyclocross racing scene. Then lastly they’ve just won an award for their recently developed NSA tech, a No Slip Application that molds a synthetic rubber into the stem clamping surface on their handlebars for a more secure interface, even with lower clamping forces. Check it all out, and see how your wallet will fare with all of this handmade-in-Germany goodness…
THE rim 27.5+
There’s no denying that Bike Ahead’s components are high-end, so maybe we’ll be lucky to not see an individual rim price on their new plus-width 27.5″ rim. TheRim is not sold direct to consumers, but must be bought as part of a complete wheel build. In the past they have worked with the fellow German lightweight aficionados at Tune to build them up as part of their premium Blackburner Skyline wheelsets with Prince/Princess or King/Kong hubs, which will mean you will be able to choose Boost or standard spacing depending on your needs.
This newest version of their trail riding rim grows to 40mm internal, with a new dramatically asymmetric rim. TheRim 27.5+ claims weights around 399g and uses a hookless bead and tubeless-ready profile. It gets 32 spoke drilling and will have a max rider+gear weight limit when built up of 95kg/209lb. The wheels are rated for cross country and trail riding, up to all-mountain and light enduro.
On the complete wheel side of things they’ve taken their fast and adaptable 6-spoke road disc wheel that we previewed last fall, and beefed it up a bit to handle cross racing. The new BiturboCross uses the same 20mm internal width rim and option for 6-bolt of Centerlock disc hubs and added about 100g of carbon across the wheelset in a new layup to improve resistance to impacts.
Coming in at 1249g for a set, the new BiturboCross wheels offer modular axle support for pretty much anything from quick releases through to RS-1 or Lefty hubs, even with Boost options in the mix. No matter what crazy boutique franken-cross bike you have in the works, Bike Ahead can spin you a set of Biturbo wheels to get you rolling. The BiturboCross uses a tubeless-ready hooked bead rim with a smooth seamless rim bed (no need for spoke holes here). Again the wheels get a 95kg/209lb rider+gear weight limit and can use either a Shimano cassette body or SRAM XD driver. You pay for the light weight and versatility here, as the BiturboCross wheelset will sell for 3700€ when it is available after the end of the year. Sorry, no cross racing on them this season, unless you are on their R&D team.
The last tech thing we saw from Bike Ahead (other than a sweet new trail bike that they will be manufacturing for a partner called Stoll Bikes, which we will look at in more detail in the coming days) was their recent NSA bar clamp solution. The No Slip Application tech won Bike Ahead a Gold process award at Eurobike, and provides a rather simple solution to prevent carbon bars and seatposts from being overtightened just to keep them from slipping.
Bike Ahead simply developed a synthetic rubber that then can lay in their molds in a very thin strip around the stem clamp area for bars, and along the sides of a seatpost’s clamping area. Then when the part is subjected to high heat and pressure in their autoclave curing process, this synthetic material bonds though the carbon fibers of the part, much like a normal resin would. That leaves it permanently bonded to the carbon, staying within the interface tolerances of the part, and so thin that it effectively does not compress during clamping.
The end result is a clamping area with increased friction, so you can reduce clamping forces by up to 60% without danger of slipping and without needing to add special carbon assembly pastes. Their NSA tech is available on each of Bike Ahead’s varying sweep flat bars, riser bar, or Di2 ready bar for 230-250€ and on their 300€, 2-bolt seatpost.