EB18: Tune automate carbon rim & saddle production, tease self-aligning thru-axle & more!

Leave it to the Black Forest residents at Tune to drive real technical innovation, while also shedding grams. The German lightweight specialist had several new products in various stages of development to share at Eurobike last weekend, highlighting new ways to look at their core carbon and aluminium manufacturing techniques

Tune carbon & alloy Prototypes and Concepts

A few of the most innovative concepts are still in prototyping, currently being subjected to Tune’s rigorous testing procedures at the Black Forest Test Centre. But Tune’s engineers have one proto almost ready for production, and one already for sale….


Tune BC12 Self-Adjusting Thru-Axle Prototype

First up, a heavily engineered and lightweight self-adjusting thru-axle. The prototype concept under development is designed to eliminate all bending force that may be applied to the axle. Despite high-end modeling tech and the precision engineering involved in frame design and manufacture, it is still very difficult to build frames where the rear axle alignment is perfect. Measuring (and maintaining) parallelity requires some very expensive kit which many manufacturers just don’t have.

Close the axle by hand with the spherical closing nut to 5 Nm torque

Using spherical contact points and a spherical washer, load can be applied homogenously throughout the axle as it self corrects any misalignment. With the absence of bending force, Tune have been able to reduce material throughout the axle. Weighing in at just 23g, it is 7g lighter than the lightest competitor on the market. An additional benefit to the self-adjustment concept is that a significantly reduced torque is required to tighten the axle sufficiently for riding.

Spherical contact points allow the axle to self-adjust preventing bending force

Usually, an axle needs to be tightened to around 20 Nm to cope with the bending force, yet 5 Nm is all that is required to tighten this axle, and it can be done by hand with the spherical closing nut. Tune are yet to decide on whether or not to pursue development of this axle and if they do, it is likely to be targeted at OEMs.

Ultra-light Tune Skyracer injected  carbon saddle

tune carbon saddle recyclable ultra light skyracer

Ultra light Tune Skyracer carbon fiber saddle weighing just 67g

Secondly, a new one-piece super lightweight carbon saddle is being made using tech adapted from the aircraft industry. Manufactured using a complex, multi-part carbon compression mold at an unusually high 400°C temperature and 300 bar pressure.

Designed with ergonomics in mind, the Skyracer saddle features two stepped seating positions to choose from. It also uses a unique rail profile that is round overall to fit with the most seatpost head designs, but cuts away extra material that Tune says didn’t add any strength.

tune eurobike 2018 saddle carbon fiber recyclable one-piece no glue

The one-piece Skyracer saddle is 10X stronger than glue models and is fully recyclable

Interestingly, the saddle is also fully recyclable. Most carbon components use thermoset resins, which can be recycled to a certain extent, first being broken down into much smaller fibers that can be reconstituted into new products; however, the quality of the carbon fiber is severely reduced after this process. This one-piece saddle though is a thermoplastic, which can then be reshaped again under that extreme heat & pressure.

Weighing just 69g for this prototype, the Skyracer will sell for around $380 and will include a refined 3D printed nose cap that adds a bit of color and protects thighs from the carbon shell’s edge. While the new saddle has no padding, Tune expects to utilize the manufacturing techniques to make their other saddles even lighter & fully recyclable in the future.

Black Burner 29 Textile Edition, 999g MTB wheels

Tune Black Burner Textile Edition Spokes 29er lightest ever MTB

Tune’s Black Burner Textile Edition: Polyethylene spokes on the lightest ever 29er MTB wheelset

Thirdly, the Black Burner 29 TE (Textile Edition) XC mountain bike wheelset is pretty wild, but not as close to production. Yes, the spokes are made of textile (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, or UHMWPE, think Dyneema). And yes, they are for XC mountain biking. I have to admit my initial scepticism coming from the rugged and notoriously wet weather of Scotland’s Tweed Valley. However, I have been assured that the PE is tensioned so high that all voids between the fibers are closed such that dirt, dust, grime, mud, sand, gravel, or whatever else you might throw at them, can’t get in amongst them.

Tune even tells us they will stay white, as the closed voids will keep dirt & mud out. Curiously, the fiber spokes made by Berd fit within standard hubs & rims. The get a looped end at the hub with a short piece of fiber inserted as a plug, and they capture a short section of steel spoke with threads at the nipple, held in place finger trap style.

The wheelset is made with Tune’s lightest carbon mountain bike rims and therefore is set to be one of the lightest for MTB on the market, weighing in at just 999g. The use of the textile-based spokes is marginally less stiff, providing greater vibration damping and said to improve ride quality. Tune’s innovation efforts were rewarded, winning the Eurobike Award for componentry.

Lastly from the prototypes, the Ahead Cap AL Skyline or more simply dubbed the GumGum’s headest cap moves the fastest from prototype to production. Machined down to just 4.9g including its bolt, this is the cheapest way to add a little fancy Tune customization to your bike, in all of their anodized colors. For just about $20€ it is as light as anything out of carbon but stronger.

New kit, already on the market now

Two new wheelsets were launched at Eurobike, for both road and gravel riding. Their deepest aero rims drop a few spokes, hubs get updated with more rotor & freehub options, and the elusive carbon Schwarzes Stück retruns as the Beste!


Tune automate production of the carbon Schwarz Brenner 45 rims

The first wheels are the carbon Schwarz Brenner 45 wheelset with an inner width of 18mm. While the majority of carbon rims are handmade, automated production has been rolled out for these new rims. This will undoubtedly reduce variation among the rims and reduce manufacturing defects. The rims and hubs are made in Germany while the nipples and spokes are made in Belgium. The wheelset weighs 1448g and comes with Kong centre lock hubs available in 6 anodised colors.

Tune TSR35 Rim Braking Road Wheelset

Tune TSR35 Aluminum rim-braking road wheelset

A second option comes in the form of the aluminium TSR35 rim-braking road wheelset. With an inner width of 19.9mm these rims will host tyre widths of 25-33mm. The black brake track is twice-anodised to ensure the rim stays black for as long as possible.


Tune Prince Skyline CeramicSpeed hub weighing 183g

Also on show at Eurobike were the new lightweight centre lock hubs from Tune, evolved from their previous 6-bolt predecessors. We saw them last year as a tease, with super limited availability.


New Tune Kong Centerlock hub weighing 206g

1 lockring bolt instead of 6, and a smaller alloy interface means these hubs are considerably lighter. And now centerlock is available in all of the light King, Kong, Prince & Princess hub variants.


New Tune Prince Centerlock hub weighing 180g

A sneaky new introduction was also this gold (in the future orange ano) hubshell. Hidden inside is Tune’s new XD high torque freehub body.

While it adds only about 10g, it is said to more than double the strength of the freehub body to withstand the added force from e-MTBs, heavier riders, and now the much higher torque being put on drivetrains by the giant 50, 51 & 52 tooth cogs of new 12-speed cassettes.

Liechtes, Schwarzes into Beste Stucks

Liechtes Stuck Aluminium Bridge Machined 2018 Eurobike launch

Tune Leichtes Stuck Seat Post is available in 340 and 420 mm

Another update to something we’ve seen before… Tune has now fully launched their alloy seatpost with its newly refined two bolt head clamp. The 27.2 mm aluminum Liechtes Stuck seat post is not only aesthetically pleasing with the CNC machined bridge-like pattern – this also makes the post ultralight (155 g) ensuring strength is provided only where it is needed.

Now the aluminium light stick also comes in a shorter 340mm version to suit road bikes too.

Even bigger news is the return of a carbon variant. It was called the Schwarzes Stück back when Tune fought to make it as strong as the alloy version. Now they sorted it all out and the carbon post is back and better than before. So now it’s renamed the Beste Stück, with weights from just 122g, and 27.2 & 31.6mm versions and 350 or 400mm lengths.


Tune’s new chain tool features a laser module to aid adjustment of the upper and lower derailleur limits

Finally, (but still not quite available in the US) an updated production version of the Tune Linientreu laser derailleur alignment tool was unveiled. We saw it as a prototype last year, but the weightier new version promises to be even easier to use.


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Marc Lacoste
Marc Lacoste
4 years ago

ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene/UHMWPE (Dyneema/Spectra) is used for sailing, climbing or kitesurf lines. Best specific strength short of carbon nanotubes, 40% better than carbon fibers or aramid fibers (kevlar). Slippery and doesn’t sticks to resin like glass/carbon fibers though.

4 years ago
Reply to  Marc Lacoste

That is interesting about the not sticking to resin. Isn’t it Dyneema that many companies are starting to integrate into their carbon bikes/bars/forks to make them hold together better in a catastrophic impact scenario? I wonder how that all works out when laying Dyneema plies in a carbon laminate.

Drew Diller
4 years ago
Reply to  TheKaiser

@TheKaiser, **if** my understanding is correct from discussing this detail with a professional weaving out fit, it is that specialty fabrics are usually hybrid-woven with carbon fiber so that the carbon fibers sort of “hug” around the slipper fiber, and the epoxy or other adhesive will then bond to the carbon, and the slippery fibers have a supportive envelope in which to do their work. There’s also Zylon and Innegra and they all seem to come in carbon-hybrid weaves.

4 years ago

Tune seemed to copy, and not really do it better with their textile spokes, Pi-Rope released first, and seem to have a ready product: https://www.mtb-news.de/news/2018/07/09/newmen-2019/

4 years ago
Reply to  André

Yes, but can’t get the Pi-Rope yet.

And those are Berd spokes on the Tune hub, which are not really a copy of Pi.

4 years ago
Reply to  André

Tune doesn’t make these spokes. They are just using spokes from Berd. Berd has been working on them for a while, but am not sure how they compare to Pi-Robe. As far as I know, Berd was planning to sell exclusively to select wheel companies/builders, and not just to any old DIYer. Here is their website: http://www.berdspokes.com/

Leonardo Viana Camargos
Leonardo Viana Camargos
4 years ago

Those are not the lightest wheels there is XC racing wheels that weigh under 800g that are beeing built usint that spokes.

4 years ago

“it is said to more than double the strength of the freehub body to withstand the added force from… the much higher torque being put on drivetrains by the giant 50, 51 & 52 tooth cogs of new 12-speed cassettes”

Those cogs don’t exert any more torque on the cassette body than a smaller cog with equivalent gear ratio chainring.

4 years ago
Reply to  Mark

True dat.

4 years ago
Reply to  Mark

While that is true, I’ve seen a lot more cases with broken freehubs/hubshells ever since the 42T+ cassettes got launched. Whatever the reason may be. Some hub designs hold up better then others.

4 years ago

As others have said re the spokes, these are the Berd Polymer spokes. They’ve been at it for a while. I’ve built two sets of wheels with them, and have discussed experience with them in the wheelbuilding subreddit (/r/wheelbuild) and on Paceline forum and WeightWeenie threads.

Took a set of wheels I built that was 1140g (Kinlin XR200 laced w/ cx rays Extralite Cyber hubs) to 1038g by swapping the spokes out, I also used different spoke nipples to make truing with the Berd spokes a bit easier, which ate up some of the weight savings – same nipples and swapping only the spokes we’d have been down around 1025g if I recall. Similarly, rebuilt a set of SES3.4 Enves to DTSwiss 240s and went down to 1357g from 1480g by swapping from CXRays to the Berds. The process to build with them has improved greatly in the time since I built the first set and the second set. Brad there is super responsive to emails and great to work with for questions and comments.

4 years ago

How do you handle them twisting? I’d think that would drive you insane.

4 years ago

They have a very elegant solution for this – the builder’s kit they supply comes with some small pieces of leather to attach to a pair of pliers of your choosing. I have mine attached to a medium pair of channel locks. Building on a set of wheels with internal spoke nipples, or at least square drive/torx drive nipples you can operate the spoke wrench from the outside and grip very close to the rim with the pliers. If you’re using standard 3.2mm nipples that you can’t true from the outside, the builder’s kit also comes with a comically tiny wrench. Basically the cone-wrench or headset wrench version of a spoke wrench – insanely thin and flat wrench, think like the Shimano spoke wrenches but like 1/3 thickness.