Lightweight wheels, the brand not the category, has always had some mystery about it. Born from a German company that made wheels for harness racing, their name was spoken of in hushed tones in the mid-nineties. Museeuw won the world championship road race on a pair he purchased out of his own pocket. Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich won their Tours on Lightweights. They were exotic, unobtainable slivers of handmade carbon.
As appealing as that exclusivity and race resume was, Lightweight wanted to build a more traditional brand. That meant a flashy new website, a product line riders can make sense of and carbon clinchers. Enter the Lightweight Meilenstein carbon clincher. Meilenstein means ‘milestone’ in German and that describes what the wheel means to Lightweight. It is the culmination of their years of carbon design, the best manufacturing and materials they can muster, packed into an all-around wheel.
The Meilenstein clincher is 47.5mm deep and tips the scale at 1180grams, a full 200grams lighter than Zipp 202s and 250grams less than a set of ENVE 3.4s, despite being deeper. To be fair, the wheel is only 20mm wide, much narrower than Zipp and ENVE rims. Lightweight has yet to join the rest of the carbon wheelworld in chasing width and it would have to be assumed gives up some aerodynamic performance in cross winds. The wheels are full carbon, from rim to hub, and the spokes in between. Lightweight spent much of the new wheel’s development addressing the same issue that faces all carbon clinchers - brake heat. Being German, they have solved the problem with a wide margin of safety.
Knowing your brakes will perform going downhill is important with a set Meilenstein clinchers, because you will be going up hill very, very quickly. Only a handful of tubulars are as reactive as these wheels while climbing and no clinchers can match them. However, these are not billed as climbing wheels alone, and that is where they show their limitations. A rider will need to opt for a more robust spoke count than the 16/20 set-up we tested if they want to truly push the pace in tight corners or lay down a big sprintout of the final corner. Happily Lightweight offers a 20/20, but weight increases by 20grams. The reality is this will help in the corners but won’t beenough for the sprints, so we’d have to call the Meilenstein’s climbing wheels, not all-arounders, but what climbing wheels they are. Only you can decide if getting up hill first is worth the $5800 price tag. Other wheels, for half the price, get the all around jobdone better.
Weight: 1180grams Price:$5800 Includes: Brake pads, skewers, wheel bag, valve extender, tire tools.