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Lew Racing's 850g wheels

Reputedly the lightest wheels in the world, US-based Lew Racing combine some nifty techniques and a little carbon to produce a wheelset that bothers the scales to the tune of just 850g. Yes, you read that right.

Paul Lew, the man behind these impossibly light wheels, set up his wheel business 11 years ago, and in 1998 produced the first 1kg wheelset. 17 years experience in advanced product design, advanced composite materials and manufacturing processes certainly help in getting these wheels as light as possible.

The Pro VT-1 wheels feature 46mm deep carbon tubular rims made from a unidirectional Boron/Carbon mixture, and weigh 230g each (or 400g for the ‘Clydesdale’ version). A DEX-LCM laminate means normal brake pads can be used. Hubs are made from the same material as the rims, with 24mm sealed cartridge bearings and the rear hub is Shimano or Campagnolo compatible. 3g carbon aero spokes lace the rims and hubs together, with 16 front and 20 rear.

Impressed? I certainly am. But they obviously weren’t light enough for one chap, Mr Günter Mai (that’s his bike on the photo below), who decided that it was possible to shave even more weight of the wheels. After machining the axle end caps, replacing the steel freehub pawls with titanium pawls, changing out the wheel hub spacers with titanium spacers, using tapered carbon/boron axles and Si3N4 full ceramic bearings, he reduced the already light wheels to a measly 734g.

But then, when you see the bike that Mai is riding, a 7lb machine, you realise that he’s more than slightly weight conscious. And he claims to notch up some 1,000km a week on it too. Hmm…

“While our stock 850 gram Pro VT-1 wheelset is made to fit a wide range of rider’s weight up to 185 pounds, the boron set was designed and built specifically for Gunter’s 150 pound body,” says Lew. “It was a fun project and makes us thrilled to know that we have built the lightest wheels in the world.”

Tempted by a set? They’ll set you back a cool $15,000…

www.lewracing.com. More about Mal and his weight defying bike at http://rouesartisanales.over-blog.com/article-17212505.html

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