New Carbon Clincher Wheels from Lightweight Can Take the Heat

Lightweight Meilenstein Milestone Carbon ClincherCarbon fiber rims and heat don’t make a happy family. Hard braking is known to tear them up. Made of a carbon fiber and resin combo, the heat generated from the friction of the brake pad against the sidewall can warm things up enough that the resin may soften too much from the heat, letting the sidewall deform and lead to possible blowouts or reduced braking performance.

Lightweight claims that this problem is eliminated in their Meilenstein C (translation: Milestone C) wheels. Partnered with aeronautic companies, Lightweight has access to a few carbon fiber materials generally unknown to the cycling industry. Using a step by step fabrication process, they have created a new wheel to sustain shape at temperatures much higher than standard braking will emit.

How do they do this?

From their materials: “By using such exclusive and unknown carbon fibre materials – at least for the rest of the bike business – we are able to create the rim layup even more clincher specific than ever before. The new materials also changed the whole wheel building process dramatically. By using totally new technologies we at LIGHTWEIGHT reach an even higher control level of every second of the heating process. Thanks to this we are able to insert very specific temperatures to the different parts of the wheel at super exactly calculated time periods during the whole wheel building manufacturing (process).”

They weigh in at 1180g per pair. 16 spokes on the front, 20 spokes on the rear…much more than that prototype we saw at Eurobike!

Lightweight Meilenstein Milestone Carbon Clincher Close

Comments

just a guy - 03/10/12 - 1:30pm

really?

something new that nasa or indycar racing doesn’t know about? i doubt it. sounds like a gimmick. been in the carbon fiber business for many years and nothing new has come out in a long time. same ole stuff with new claims.

new top coat? different curing temps? won’t make a huge difference.

Me - 03/10/12 - 1:46pm

“By using such exclusive and unknown carbon fibre materials – at least for the rest of the bike business”

It doesn’t say anywhere that NASA or Indycar racing doesn’t know about this technology, only the bicycle industry.

Mit - 03/10/12 - 1:51pm

Neither NASCAR nor Indy cars use carbon fiber rotors for braking.

Yeahaaa!!!_ - 03/10/12 - 1:56pm

This great and all but with in three years disc brakes will be mainstream and these wheels will be old news

Gillis - 03/10/12 - 1:58pm

NASA and Indycar (especially Indycar) wouldn’t know anything anyway. Boeing or Formula 1 would be more accurate.

But really this tech is bordering on being a little late…you know, with discs and all.

evolvo13 - 03/10/12 - 3:01pm

The new Dallara DW12 2012 Indycar runs Brembo carbon-carbon rotors, carbon pads, and a 6-piston aluminum caliper.

Sevi - 03/10/12 - 3:19pm

MotoGP and formula one have been using carbon disk brakes for about a decade, maybe longer, and it works for them without problems. There obviously are more advanced carbon types and manufacturing than the bike industry uses, probably due to cost.

Sevo - 03/10/12 - 3:24pm

Lightweight is so full of s**t it’s coming out of their molds when they lay up their wheels. Exclusive my a**. Nothing is exclusive to them only. ENVE has been breaking the mold for years, making wheels out of expensive carbon (that’s what it really comes down to) instead of the wet lay up 3k weave stuff Lightweight was using then (and still not far from now).

And if they actually had real technology to back up these claims (ENVE and Zipp are the only two who’ve invested in technology to test brake track heat…..I hear Paul Lew though is using his hair dryer, but that doesn’t count), there would be info that these test machines create…..vs BS statements like “unavailable carbon”.

Disc brake comment peeps-Discs will indeed find their way into cross bikes more, and on enthusiasts bikes like one’s Vogali offers. But for racing types…..hyrdaulic rim brakes are the future (SRAM and Magura) because they provide the braking power at a reduced weight and increase advantage in aerodynamics (magura model for sure, SRAM…unknown). Steve Hed proved a bit back in the wind tunnel that discs are not advantageous for real road racing. These tests we’re done BTW at the insistence of a mr lance armsrtong who was curious.

Let’s not keep forget Bikerumor’s own very very well done article few weeks back with the top guys from each disc brake company in the industry, creme de la creme, who say just say no to discs on the road for other reasons.

Meta - 03/10/12 - 5:07pm

So many clueless comments. Disc brakes are not here. They’ll sell quite a lot of these before the hydro/discs are available for Freds to purchase.

Lightweight has amazing technology. You guys are just jealous you can’t afford to buy these wheels. Zipp 303 and Reynolds thirty two come close, but no cigar. I’ve ridden all 3 (the two I mentioned and Lightweight Standard C clinchers). each for 4K miles. But I ended keeping a pair of Ventoux III tubulars.

Chris - 03/10/12 - 5:19pm

Savo – Have you ever visited their factory ? I take it you are aware that Lightweight/Carbonsports also make carbon fibre satellites (aka spaceships) , built to manufacturing tolerances of less than 5 microns , worth millions of dollars ? Do a quick search on this, or just drop them an email and they’ll happy to fill you in on the details. CarbonSports/Lightweight are one of the world’s most experienced carbon fabrication companies in the world, making carbon fibre components for aviation, agriculture and aerospace applications at their factory in Friedrichashafen, Germany.

Just sayin’.

Regards,

Chris @ Lightweight

craigsj - 03/10/12 - 6:19pm

“Let’s not keep forget Bikerumor’s own very very well done article few weeks back with the top guys from each disc brake company in the industry, creme de la creme, who say just say no to discs on the road for other reasons.”

Only one of those “top guys” said no to disc brakes on the road, and he’s the one you heard uses a hair dryer for brake track testing. Nice try.

lukee - 03/10/12 - 6:58pm

@just a guy- you are right, a lot of the technology has not progressed more than better molding systems and better design. I am not aware of any other industry that would use such a specific application for heat resistant resin aside from exterior components on nasa spacecraft.

@mit, why would nascar use carbon brake rotors. The primary reason for carbon/ceramic rotors is heat dissipation. Have you ever watched a nascar race? The guy braking is not the one winning, plus they drive so close to each other that no matter how nice the brakes are they would never prevent crashes. Formula 1 needs such rotors because there is much more hard braking on the courses that necessitates it. Plus, a typical nascar car lasts 2-4 races till it is damaged so why waste the money on rotors that shatter and can’t be reused.

@Gillis- why would Boeing ever develop carbon layups or resins that would apply here. Name me one industry that has a comparable use for a resin that needs to resist heat buildup from cork brake pads? Don’t say carbon discs on formula one because their is a simple reason that that technology has not been used in bicycle wheels. It is the ceramic not the carbon in those rotors that makes the difference in braking. Last I checked I don’t think anyone has made a ceramic that handles impacts well. Those brake rotors hide behind wheels, our braking surface gets to experience pinch flats, potholes, road seams, etc….

@sevo- I hate to admit it but I agree. I have a new disc cross bike. It is awesome, but I don’t think that it has benefits on the road. I read the same article, the one thing everyone seemed vague on was the issue of weight. A set of red calipers weighs less than 300 grams, that is one top of the line hydraulic brake. Also, rims will get lighter but the hubs are heavier, and you use more spokes (kiss 10, 12, 16, or even 20 spoke wheels goodbye) , more weight, less aero. Also, hubs weigh more, and frame will add weight to reinforce the dropouts for discs. It is not as simple as “oh man, discs will get so much better because road bikes need them”. Have you tried the new xtr, it doesn’t get much better than that, or lighter.

@craigsj- of course everyone agreed that discs are the future- more wheels to sell, more hype, and less lawsuits from exploding rims that were rushed to market.

greg - 03/10/12 - 8:05pm

funny you mention enve’s testing of brake track heat, when their rims are the absolute worst offenders. even their tubulars had heat failures.

bob - 03/10/12 - 8:41pm

Something not used in the industry? Hmm, prob something like basalt fibre as it is good with heat and it drapes nicely.

Cor - 03/11/12 - 12:53am

I just love how everyone is an expert…..
Makes me smile to read all the armchair comments, even if mine are not any better.

harro - 03/11/12 - 1:35am

high temp composites are used in tons of aero space applications. a lot of them just aren’t carbon fiber. carbon-carbon can withstand re-entry temps.

Grafton - 03/11/12 - 10:23am

My Speed Controllersin lavender ano blow off any wimpy road brake.

craigsj - 03/11/12 - 12:12pm

@lukee- I did not say that “everyone agreed that discs are the future”. I know you just needed that intro to replay the tired conspiracy theory about the industry ripping us off.

Sevo said the industry’s “creme de la creme” “just say no to discs on the road”. That is an absurd misrepresentation of the article. There was only one who held that opinion and all he kept hammering on was aerodynamics. Thing is, road racing isn’t principally about aerodynamics.

The hardcore and the Lew’s of the world don’t need to be convinced. Technologies expand on their merits, and as they do they evolve to address the needs of new applications. How long has aerodynamics in disc brakes been an issue? Never. That can change.

Fisho - 03/11/12 - 1:25pm

Lightweight C, cannot afford it, so it does not matter. In fact it does not exist to me.

lukee - 03/11/12 - 1:35pm

@harro- yes they are but they are used for components that don’t experience the stresses of a wheel. Someone mentioned basalt. It’s awesome, way better heat resistance than carbon, but not as light and about half as strong as carbon- so it makes heavier wheels

@CRAIGSJ- I don’t believe that it is a conspiracy- it’s just good business, they exist to sell stuff and make money by making us buy new stuff- that’s just life in a consumer society. It seems that disc brakes on road bikes are kinda overkill. Road tires are to narrow, properly setup caliper brakes lock wheels out, power is not the issue. Modulation may be the best way to approach it but caliper brakes work well. I still have a mountain bike magazine from 2001 that lauded the merits of disc brakes and said wheels were going to get much lighter, and way fewer spokes. Here we are in 2012 and guess what, most disc wheels are 28 hole or 32 hole. Barely anyone makes a 24 hole disc wheel, the ones that exist aren’t any lighter. Aero is tough, take a look a WISIL recumbents, several builders have done both caliper and disc. It seems the fastest designs stay with calipers (faired or unfaired). Those freds are are pretty an@l but they do embrace technology way faster than roadies. Before you laugh that they don’t “design” their equipment talk to one, you will regret it.

Will discs be on road bike in three years-YES. Will they be lighter than the pinnacle of caliper brakes- NO. More aero- better BUT not by much. better braking- YES, but with a cost. That’s the issue, I think volagi style bikes will be everywhere which is good for most riders, but to say that 9 pound wonder rig disc bikes will everywhere is a pipe dream. I expect most 13 pound bikes will gain a lb, moving to disc. That’s real world thinking.

oh- Paul Lew can be difficult to deal with but the guy has been building carbon wheels before anyone else. Just because he uses a hair dryer doesn’t mean he’s clueless. I have a friend at a major company(top 6 wheel brands) that says their final test for wheel strength is letting the biggest guy in the office ram curbs with under inflated tires. Wow, is that sophisticated. Guess what, it works and I am cool with that.

Topmounter - 03/11/12 - 1:51pm

“eliminated”

Gillis - 03/11/12 - 2:27pm

lukee: take a chill pill bro

carl - 03/11/12 - 3:13pm

I’ve been a F1 and sportscar geek for years and I can’t tell you how many cherry red carbon discs I’ve seen. The problem is that on a bike, unlike a car, there is a tire attached to that hot component.

Vincent - 03/11/12 - 5:12pm

I used to work on a carbon/carbon brake disks.
They were used in US military planes. French made. (same supplier as F1, since 1976 !!!)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforced_carbon%E2%80%93carbon

Theses are very expansive because they need a lot of heat to melt the carbon matrix.
Theses will never work as a material for a disk on a bike, because they need to be heat up to gain friction.
May be it could work as a rim. Very expensive.

JESUS CHRISTO - 03/11/12 - 9:38pm

expensive mtn wheels are very light and several feature fewer spokes and barely affect durability. lukee knows nothing.

easton haven carbon, enve xc, most likely sram r60s to name a few

~1400 gram mountain wheels that can take a pretty good beating in the name of true “xc”.

lukee - 03/12/12 - 1:22am

@jesus cristo

enve xc —28 or 32 holes http://www.enve.com/wheels/mtb/twenty6XC.aspx
easton haven—- 24 hole- http://www.eastoncycling.com/en-us/mountain/products/wheels/all-mountain/haven-carbon-26

sram r60—24 hole http://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/products/rise-60-26#/path/term-id/493

I still don’t see any wheel like the above reviewed lightweights—–those have 16 and 20 spokes.

Anyone here can remember wheels like a chris king/mavic 517 wheelset weighing in at 1435g
(still have a set on a merlin newsboy). My coworker had a pair of bontrager xlite mtn vbrake wheels that weighed in at 1285g with 24 spokes. The issue here is not DURABILITY BUT ADDED WEIGHT AND COMPLEXITY. Here is a simple example, almost every high end road wheelset on the market features radial laced front wheel and radial drive or non drive rear. That can’t exist in a disc wheel (name one). So there is at least 20-30 grams added weight in spokes in addition to worse aerodynamics compared to a radial laced caliper wheelset. That is the point of the discussion, nothing was ever mentioned about durability.

Fred - 03/12/12 - 12:36pm

@lukee
-Specialized Roval Control SL 26″ 24f/28r 1200g & noticeably stiffer than alloy rim version of same wheel at 1400g
-Reynolds 33 26″ 24f/24r 1380g & _very_ laterally stiff. All mountain suitable.
-Spec Control Trail SL has a 27mm wide carbon rim, radial non-rotor front w/ 24spokes, 1350g.
-Easton Haven Carbon 26″ 24 spokes front and rear in an all mountain wheel.

In a nutshell the carbon rim mtn wheels beat the pants off alloy rim MTN wheels.
OTOH, i’m in your camp w.r.t. hydro road discs. The rims may benefit but the whole bicycle system will be disadvantaged.

Based on my experience riding Reynolds Ciro MV and now Thirty-Two clinchers for 4 years now I think the heat concerns and braking performance have been addressed. First ride on my Thirty Twos included a 60+ mph descent down the east side of Teton Pass where I had to brake really hard when I caught up to the cars.

Dan - 03/12/12 - 12:58pm

I own a Cervelo P4 with Zipp 808 Firecrest carbon clincher rims and Zipp cork break pads. I also own a Specialized SL2 with Zipp 404 aluminium braking surface clincher rims.

The Zipp 404 with Dura Ace brake pads is excellent. I love them. Braking is so consistent and powerful that I can get both wheels to slide under full braking.

The Zipp 808 firecrest however with the Zipp cork pads are insane. I can’t get a comparable stopping power in the dry. Riding down a mountain you start to pray to make it safely down. I literally had fears while braking for the first time in my life. And guess what… Zipp is big about heat testing and brags about their braking performance. Lightweight have been the worst in a test 1-2 years back. The braking surface delaminated basicly. When wet the braking way was about 3 times of an ordinary aluminum rim.

You really have to test it for yourself to actually believe that a company could sell such garbage to customers. I will try the yellow Swissstop brake pads this year. Hopefully thats better than the original Zipp cork pads !!!

lukee - 03/12/12 - 2:15pm

@fred– I agree with you totally on the mtn wheels. I bought a set of reynolds 26″ carbons and love them. Look at it this way though. In the old days vbrake alloy wheels weighed 1400 grams (nice race level set) The carbon wheels weigh 50-140grams less (ever set we have discussed). They are way stronger and more reliable but compare that to road wheels. A set of alloy box section rims used to weigh 1485g, even the ksyrium sl was 1460g when they were released. A new set of carbon box section wheels (or close to it from other brands) like the 202 weighs in at 1100g range or less (reynolds kom, easton ec90sl, etc…). That’s 2/3 of a pound difference. In both disciplines carbon made the wheels better in every way. I think it is reasonable to say that on the mtn side carbon came after disc was mainstream and that affected the weight savings that carbon could have provided. Disc hampered the potential for superlight mtn wheels because they need to handle the extra strain. The guy I knew who had the bontrager wheels bought a set of reynolds carbon clinchers and used them as 29er wheels (lot of money), rode them for 2 seasons then put them on the cross bike. They were amazing, The lightest disc 29er wheelset at the time was 1700grams, his were 1250g but on a v brake bike. I know people think I am being retentive about this but when I was building my cross bike I tried to pull all the stops in parts. Zipp said their rims won’t handle the strain from discs, reynolds wouldn’t give me a solid answer, hed said not yet (at interbike they said MAYBE 100-200g more for the disc compatible wheels they were releasing). I ended up with a set of 28 hole Chinese rims (also couldn’t buy a 24 hole disc hub from anyone except ebay from a crashed wheel). It’s a great wheelset but it is no where near the weight of my old 404′s. I love the bike but it does weigh more, doesn’t bug me, but 9/10 of the people who check it out bitch that it isn’t that light. The reason is because even though i tried to do everything I could, I couldn’t drop the weight. My setup was 380g rims (weighed them 384g front, 378g rear), am classic disc hubs, ti spokes, bb7 brakes (tuned by xx bolt kit- lost an extra 25g), kcnc rotors. Pretty light but it’s amazing how much more it still weighed.

@dan—- be careful with the swissstop pads, I had a triathlete that had firecrests and he told me that zipp said they would not recommend yellow kings for firecrests. Do some research and see if anyone has tried them. Best pads out there but a lot of brands have modified their rims to only work with their pads (zipp tangente, reynolds blue, bontrager cork). Originally all braking surfaces were fiberglass then they moved to silica and other stuff, but more and more brands are using their own formulations, which makes a “every brand” general pad difficult.

Chris - 03/12/12 - 4:01pm

@lukee —

I think some of your information is out of date, since Tim Johnson ran Zipp 303s laced to White Industries disc hubs during the most recent CX season. Granted, that’s not full-on road use and they are not factory built wheels, but I am sure they would not want a professional rider on their product (with full decals still on them) if they were all that concerned.

And from what I can tell, the Reynolds Assault CX wheels use the same old Assault 46mm rim. Maybe they *are* doing a different layup, but my impression is that the extra weight is all from the hub+rotor and extra spokes.

Ford - 03/12/12 - 9:43pm

@Dan – the problem could very well be with your P4. The cable routing on them sucks. Braking power is bad even with aluminum rims

And the discs on road bikes, I get it for cross but it makes no sense for road. How many of you have ever had a situation when you crashed since you were using calipers but would’ve been fine if you’d been running discs? I’m just having trouble imagining a time when you can’t brake hard enough. Isn’t the idea to go fast? If you say long mountain descents then you should really read the Bikerumor article posted a couple weeks ago.

Maria - 04/25/12 - 3:44am

@lukee

easy to get 24 holes light hubs ;)

http://mackhubs.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22&Itemid=25&lang=en

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