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Lightweight Wegweiser C Disc wheelset review

22 Feb 2018
Verdict:

Overall the performance is hard to fault, but costly and lagging a little behind on aero and a shame not to have tubeless compatibility.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£3,499
For 
Very light and stiff, climb like a dream, extremely solid disc brake feel
Against 
Could be better in crosswinds, not as aero as some brands, no tubeless compatibility

Buy the Lightweight Wegweiser C Disc wheelset from Sigma Sports here

The story of Lightweight is a fascinating one. Here’s an abridged version, for those that don’t know it:

Around the mid nineties a German aerospace engineer named Heinz Obermayer, began making full carbon road wheels by hand, in his shed, using parts from a lorry heater to cure his, then incredibly hi-tech creations, in a homemade autoclave.

His exceptionally light and stiff wheels garnered a huge amount of attention, especially from top pros, as Obermayer was way ahead of his time using carbon fibre construction techniques no one else thought possible.

Obermayer famously never gave away his wheels (not even to Lance Armstrong, who just like everyone else had to pay for a set, or so the story goes), as demand was so high and he could only make them in very small numbers.

The potential for Obermayer’s wheels had also caught the eye of entrepreneur, Erhard Wissler, who eventually bought the Lightweight brand in 2003, adding it to his portfolio of established carbon engineering companies.

Some of the most advanced carbon-engineering minds in the aviation and aerospace industries, with all their available resources, were initially unable to match what Obermayer was doing by hand, at home.

So, Obermayer continued to work with them to ensure the quality of the products (some of which still bear his name) and Lightweight wheels went into mass production for the first time, although still entirely handmade in Germany, an ethos that remains as its core value, throughout its entire wheel range.

Fast forward a decade or so to the present time and through recently developing an automated manufacturing process for the rim construction, the production time for Lightweight’s latest Wegweiser wheels has been cut by around a third.

Lightweight is not known for doing things on the cheap. But the reduced production time equates to significant cost savings such that the price for these new (and I hesitate to use the term “entry level”) Wegweiser wheels are a substantial £1300 cheaper than the next tier - Meilenstein C Disc - wheels.

That makes them, wait for it, only £3499 a pair.

Just to reiterate, they are all still entirely made in-house in Germany, and predominantly still by hand, not machines, and are still covered by Lightweights crash repair/replacement scheme.

The Wegweisers have a modern profile; 24mm external width paired to their 36mm depth and a more blunted rim shape, all in accordance with recent aero and crosswind cheating theories.

The DT Swiss hub internals also mean top-notch running gear, and easily switchable end caps to fit all current axle standards.

Ride time

But what you really want to know is how did they ride?

I tested the Wegweiser wheels, fitted with 28mm Schwalbe One clincher tyres, on a few different bikes, but predominantly on a 2018 Cannondale Synapse. During my testing I was also able to conduct some back-to-back comparisons against both the new Zip 302 (£1299) and Roval’s CLX 32 (£1870 pair) disc brake wheels.

The most noticeable traits of the Wegweisers are those directly handed down from Obermayer’s original concept, which is being light – allowing them to spin up to speed with effortless ease - and also laterally stiff to be as responsive and efficient in power transfer as possible.

It’s hard not to like wheels that constantly flatter your efforts and the Wegweisers have a way of making every pedal stroke seem maximised in terms of forward propulsion.

Whenever I switched out these wheels for others during the test, it was clear the Wegweisers are tough to beat in terms of acceleration, and I was always happy to reinstate them.

The overriding sensation you get from the Wegweisers is a solid build that reacts and handles precisely to your inputs, exactly as you would expect from such high-end hoops, but at the same time the full carbon construction is not too harsh. My fillings remain intact.

Lightweight says a great deal of R & D went into the development of the pentagon shaped hubs, for safety under powerful rotational braking forces from the discs and also dealing with heat transfer etc.

Lightweight also ties the spokes at their crossing point, using carbon strands to bind them, which helps makes these wheels extremely rigid and resistant to torsional forces from the discs.

The braking feel was indeed always dependable, solid, and most importantly consistent, which is a considerable achievement when there’s barely any metal components involved in the wheels structural rigidity.

Also the laterally rigid construction certainly contributes to eliminating brake rub during powerful out of the saddle sprint or climbing efforts and it was always a pleasantly quiet ride on the Wegweisers.

Lightweight does not make any aero claims whatsoever but if I had to level any kind of criticism at these wheels then this is probably it. At this cost, there’s a lot of fast wheels out there.

The chunky carbon spokes themselves, plus the lacing pattern and oversized hubs are unlikely to be as aerodynamically proficient as some of its competitors carbon wheels and I did notice that the Wegweisers get pushed around in crosswind gusts, more so than say, the Zipp or Specialized wheels mentioned earlier.

I would also say that Lightweight has missed a trick by not future proofing the Wegweiser wheels by making them tubeless compatible. For me, that would have made them considerably more desirable, as I believe this tyre technology is now ready to become the rule, not the exception.

Buy the Lightweight Wegweiser C Disc wheelset from Sigma Sports here

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