Product Review: Bike Ahead Biturbo RS Wheels
Bike Ahead Composites is a brand under All Ahead Composites that specifically focuses on the development, construction and manufacturing of cycling components made with fiber-reinforced plastic. Every part of the process—from the initial concept to the product coming off the line—is executed under one roof in Germany. Bike Ahead Composites strives to produce high-quality products aimed at the progressive mountain biker who desires lighter-weight parts that remain stiff yet durable on the trail.
Although Bike Ahead has yet to establish dealers in the United States, they do work with certain suppliers in Europe that ship components to the U.S. Our wrecking crew was particularly intrigued by the six-spoke monocoque construction of the Biturbo RS wheels for cross-country or trail riding. To find out more, we connected with the team in Germany to get a set of 29-inch Biturbos to test.
Tech features: The frame and body of the Biturbo wheels are built with an impressive, single-integrated structure. Bike Ahead offers five different versions of the Biturbos, with three being intended for mountain biking and the other two for road/cyclocross. The Biturbo “RS” (that we are testing) is for trail/cross-country; the “E” is for all-mountain/E-MTB, and the “XE” is simply a more robust “E” version. Each option in the Biturbo family uses special hubs with proven DT Swiss technology. Notable is that these hubs are compatible with HG, micro-spline and SRAM XD driver bodies. Each wheel is precisely handcrafted, which is reflected in the steep price of €3399 ($4000) for the set.
The Biturbo RS set we tested is offered in both 27.5-inch and 29-inch options. Given that there are no spoke holes, you don’t even need tape within the rim. All the rider needs is a tubeless valve, some sealant and a hit of air to bead up a tire for air to hold properly. Since DT Swiss technology is employed in this radical product, Bike Ahead offers the Biturbo in a variety of hub spacings/styles. With the Biturbo’s ultra-lightweight construction and striking finish, we were keen on finding out how these wheels compared to more commonly seen high-end carbon wheelsets on the market.
Field test results: With the RS intended to be a blend of cross-country and trail, we decided the Rocky Mountain Element would be a perfect platform for testing these wheels. With a 27mm internal rim width, the Biturbo RS wheels are not as wide as some of the trail-intended rims we currently see trending. Regardless, our 2.3-inch tires were a breeze to install and sealed up well for our tubeless setup. In fact, we even got the Biturbos to hold air without any sealant for a few days before seeing any pressure decreases. With our tire pressures set and holding steady at 23 psi, we hit the dirt.
On our local test trails, we immediately noticed how stiff the wheelset felt with even the slightest bit of power put to the pedals. A properly built conventional wheel tends to have more lateral movement. While this is useful in some situations on the trail, the extra stiffness of the Biturbos was very evident while holding speed in a corner. Although the wheels are stiff, they have a unique way of complying with bumpy terrain that is unlike any wheel we’ve ridden before. They are easy to maneuver, yet can handle being tossed about or barreled through a rock garden.
While the Biturbo RS’s weight-to-stiffness ratio is like nothing else we’ve ridden, gram counters will quickly point out that they are not the lightest option on the market. They are right, but rejecting these wheels on that basis means missing out on experiencing the unique riding characteristics of the Biturbos. We know the price is steep, but these wheels are appropriate for more than just racers. Perhaps you are a trail rider looking to experience a cutting-edge, handcrafted wheelset, or you desire lightweight functionality not available from a traditionally built carbon rim. Whatever the case, we believe we’ll be seeing more riders on Bike Ahead Composites’ distinctive creations in the near future.
- No tubeless tape or truing required
- Ultra-stiff yet compliant to vibrations
- Durable considering their weight and low maintenance
- Reliable hand craftsmanship comes with a steep price tag
- Although light, they are not the lightest wheelset on the market
Weight set: 1249g (29-inch set), 1209g (27.5-inch set)
Internal rim width: 27mm
Maximum rider weight: 95kg (210 lb.)
Price: €3399 ($4000)