There was a time when carbon wheels from Lightweight were regarded as the best of the best. The proof, if any is needed, is that many top pros (Ullrich and Armstrong included) paid for sets themselves to use in important races.
The German brand’s presence at the top of the pile has slipped a little of late as companies and riders alike erred more towards aerodynamics rather than just low weight or stiffness.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
The latest releases from the Teutonic composite manufacturer aims to change this, taking Lightweight back to the top of the pile.
Two lines have been released and we have an example of each here. The first, and probably most important is the Fernweg range for road riding and sporting/technical time trials.
They are 81mm deep and the rim profile is far wider than anything Lightweight has previously made, coming in at 19.5mm with parallel sides joining via a regular curve. They look similar to many contemporary rims, but the traditional Lightweight brand traits of stiffness and low weight still remain, despite their deep profile.
At 1,355 grams per pair (640g front, 715g rear, claimed), the designers wanted a wheel that was suited to road racing and modern TT courses: stiff enough to resist cornering loads and with low enough inertia to accelerate out of corners well.
With 16 spokes up front and 20 in the rear, the wheels are UCI legal, and use the German company’s co-moulding method for joining spokes to rim and hub, meaning that the whole structure is completely watertight, with only the valve hole piercing the structure. At £3,699.99, they will be a rare sight, but we will be putting this pair to the test shortly.
For out-and-out testers, Lightweight has taken a slightly different tack to the norm. While the rim on the Autobahn VR is the same as the Fernweg in scale, it is substantially heavier in order to increase inertia, allowing speed to be carried more readily. The wheel is still only 860 grams, so no lump, and will set you back £1,935.