You could buy an entire bike, and a very good one at that, for the price of the Meilenstein Obermayers, but for a money-no-object, ultimate climbing wheelset nothing less than a perfect score will do.
Extreme strength for their low weight
Very, very expensive
The Lightweight Meilenstein Obermayer wheels are incredibly light, incredibly stiff and incredibly expensive.
The clue is in the name: at just 935g per set (tubular) these are the ultimate in light weight. In fact, the legendary German brand – whose wheels were the secret weapons of both Jan Ullrich and Lance Armstrong and many pros since – says this is the lightest and most rigid wheel on the planet.
Lightweight’s wheels are not built in founder Heinz Obermayer’s tractor garage in Munich any more, but they are still handmade in Germany, and the ones that bear Obermayer’s name are the most exclusive models in the range.
The Obermayers weigh a full 170g less than the ‘normal’ tubular Meilensteins, which are still ridiculously light at 1,105g.
The Meilensteins have been in Lightweight’s product line-up for a while but the front hub was recently redesigned, losing 25g and doubling its rigidity value according to Lightweight.
Surprisingly, for such light wheels the Lightweight Meilenstein Obermayer wheels are also very strong with a maximum system weight – rider and bike that is – of 90kg.
What makes the Meilensteins so stiff is that the flat spokes are bonded directly into the rim and hub to line up directly with the angle of the V-shaped rim wall, so that when you’re producing a lot of torque you don’t feel any flex at all.
Our tester used these Meilensteins to build an ultimate hill-climb bike at the end of last year and reported that in terms of lightness and stiffness nothing comes close to them. They do an incredible job retaining a devastating level of stiffness at such a low weight.
As a wheelset for hill-climbs the Lightweights would have to get full marks. Yes, the price is astronomical but they’re the best there is. Judged against other wheels for all-round use they wouldn’t score so highly: the rim is 47.5mm deep but its V-shaped profile is not as aerodynamically advanced as that of other wheels that are designed to reduce wind drag at a range of yaw angles.
However, as a pure climbing wheel they can't be beat.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism.
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Mercian Classic fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
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