With a number of high-end component manufacturers and brands to choose from, I find it helpful to narrow the decision by knowing where and how the products are made. I’ve ridden the Schwarzwald Giro the last three years and each year I’ve wanted to visit the Tune factory, but never could until just a few weeks ago.
The story of Tune started in 1988, when Uli Fahl lived in Munich. He wanted to lighten his mountain bike and began prototyping parts in his kitchen. In 1989, the company was established and Tune’s first product, a lightweight quick-release skewer, was born. Fast forward to today and Tune has a portfolio of different lightweight components for road and mountain bikes. And now, nestled on the edge of the Black forest, it’s near some of the best testing grounds in the world.
This was my first time visiting a component manufacturer, so naturally, I had a picture in my head of what something like this might look like. Not what I expected. I envisioned huge CNC machines surrounded by several ear-protected employees covered in grime. Tune was far from that. As Harry and Rune showed me around, they seemed genuinely excited to share their process. The shop is small, clean, quiet, and quaint.
Sure, it was a Friday afternoon and a lot of employees were already enjoying the weekend, but most of the machines seemed to run themselves. Measuring instruments littered tables and workstations as the CNC machines did the industrious jobs. QC and precision seemed to be the highest priority at the shop — and frankly, quite stereotypically German. Organized shelves of materials were stacked neatly, waiting to be sculpted and carved while bins of components were stacked, waiting for assembly.
The assembly room is the most active, as each part gets touched and assembled by hand. The room’s wall is littered with past advertisements, magazine clippings and thank you letters from sponsored athletes. Rune, an employee, was nice enough to walk me through how a hub is assembled. It was quite interesting to see the anatomy of their hubs and the variety of custom-made tools created to press in bearings, freehub bodies, and axles.
At Tune, the passion for cycling lives deep within its walls, and it shows in their products. The positive vibe around the shop is contagious. While their operation is relatively small, they are making a huge impact in the cycling industry by creating some of the lightest components in the world.
Thanks so much Harry, Dirk and Rune for letting me visit and take photos around the shop!