The then 28 year old Uli Fahl, was living in Munich at the time, and working as a chemical engineer in a large manufacturing plant for lubrications. Uli and wife Gisela spent their weekends rock climbing in the near by Alps. As not every location in the mountains was accessible by car, one of the newest Kettler Mountainbikes was bought. With all the climbing equipment on his back, Uli set off into the mountains. The euphoria about his brand new acquisition quickly diminished when the first climb was reached and Uli felt like much more like a mule with the load on his back. The necessity for weight shedding could not be denied.
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Simple things, such as the toothbrush was shortened. But grabbed by the drive to shed more weight, Uli, satisfied with himself, realized that there was not much more weight to be shed from the equipment on his back. The decision was made: own components had to be created, so that bikes could be improved, look more attractive and most of all become lighter. As he was not alone, and many people complained about the much too heavy bikes, Uli then in 1989 established the company Tune.
Just the right timing for the upcoming light-weight tuning craze, Uli presented a sensationally light-weight quick release.This quick release, together with a bag of aluminium screws became the first product range of Tune. Very quickly the components became a must-have for every ambitious rider, as everyone tried to break the 13kg mark.
The demand grew and Uli took the opportunity and gave up his secure chemical engineering job in order to create weight-optimized bicycle products.
In 1991 the first Titanium bottom bracket, the AC 11 was presented. The construction with outwardly placed bearings and long BB bolts became an industry benchmark. The image step from back yard tinkerer to accredited weight weenie specialist was herewith accomplished.The office/living room in Munich soon became too small, and an old farmhouse in South Baden was bought. The new weight-weenie mecca was now in the 100 resident community of Muggart.
After the quick rise and numerous accomplishments, it was also time to withstand some difficulties.
New materials proved to be not adequately developed: neither the super light weight BB with Ceramic
bearings of a cost price of 3000Deutsche Mark, nor the seat post made of an all-new alloy brought the
much anticipated big cash. However, the crisis was overcome and Uli was able to learn his lesson.
At the end of 1994 the new cranks (Big Foot) are the bomb par se. Tune is delivering BB’s to frame builder
Klein in the States, and establishes as the light-weight specialist, even internationally. Uli starts to focus more
and more on hubs and wheels. “Wheels are the best place to save weight. Through the rotating mass, every
saved gram becomes an evident improvement” says Uli Fahl. The result is real high-tech hubs that, according
to many of the competition are far ahead of their time, super light-weight, yet strong enough to withstand the
forces they are exposed to. The company Tune becomes one of the big names in the industry and is one of very
few to survive the big collapse at end of the 90’s.
Uli’s secret is simple “Nature dictates everything.”
The following years find several prominent followers. Bike pros such as Jan Ulrich, Mike Kluge, Sabine Spitz and the Fumic Brothers swear by the light-weight components. Even the light-weight critics were taught better. Equipped with Tune hubs, cranks, QR’s and seatpost, Markus Klausmann has been winning downhill races for years. The now 12 x German DH champion, and former junior world cup champion shows that the Tune components withstand the hardest of abuse.
In the meantime, Tune has become the Godfather of light-weight componentry and has celebrated their 20th Anniversary in 2008.
Tune - Born in the Black Forest… What’s behind the slogan?
“Born in the Black Forest…” can be taken literally by all means! But it won’t start with the birth. Naturally, it all begins with the generation process – and even this takes place in the famous halls of TUNE! Lets begin with our developers: every single employee is one of them, because all of them are infected by the bike-virus in one way or another, whether singlespeeder, trial rider, downhiller, enduro-enthusiast, all mountain pilot, cross-country and marathon racer, roadie – the diversity is big, and hence also the associated idea and concept generation capabilities are likewise huge. Two engineers are responsible for the virtual creation of the best ideas on the screen, and with aid of massive computer processing power and additional brainpower, the prototyping stage is initiated on one of our CNC milling machines… …at this point we are talking about “Born in the black forest…”
Which materials are used?
Whipped cream, cherries, biscuit and Black Forest Kirsch-Schnapps are the ingredients of one of the most popular Black Forest specialties – Tune's goodies are made of aluminium, steel, ceramics, carbon fibre and the finest grades of titanium.
What is produced in-house?
The question would be easier to answer if one would be asked which of the parts are NOT produced in-house: and at this stage we will confess that none of us can sew or knit a T-Shirt, wheel-bag or socks... The complete selection of, for example, the hubs or stems are milled by our CNC machines. The titanium axles and the carbon and aluminium parts are assembled to quick releases in our assembly department and our wheelsets are built by hand in any imaginable rim, spoke and hub combination!
Which production methods are employed?
Aluminium components are milled on our state of the art CNC milling machines. We have a barrel finishing
machine which looks like a washing machine. It is used to deburr and polish our aluminium-parts by means
of small ceramic particles. After anodizing, the components are labeled in our labeling-department by a laser
engraving machine. Carbon fiber components such as our saddle “Komm-Vor“ are laminated by hand and
baked in our carbon baking oven. (To defeat any possible rumors which may arise at this point, we would
like to clearly point out that we DO NOT bake Black Forest Cakes in the above mentioned oven –
there are other specialists for that...)