Born in the Black Forest at Tune – Kevin Sparrow

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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Follow Kevin on Instagram and see Tune’s full lineup at Fairwheel Bikes.

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  • ern

    love my smartfoot cranks on my bonty cx!

  • Chris Valente

    Killer photos. This place looks like the German version of Paul..

  • David

    I work at a very special shop here in Guadalajara, Mexico. Practically all of our brands are German based-made, and Tune is one of ours. Their products are quite tasty in every sense they can be. Light, classy and exclusive. For us it is an honour being distributors of Tune in Mexico. Great visit, great pics, great article!

    Sharing this on our fan page.

  • Brett Scheepers

    I was in the Black Forest last year for some riding and realised i was close to the factory.I decided to take a chance and drive through for a visit.I rang the bell and asked if i could look around and guys were great.Also shown around by Harry.

  • AusTex

    The great thing about German engineering is that inevitably when seeing a new product they have thought of something no one else ever did. Have you seen their water bottles? Not the shape or size but what’s on them…brilliant and yet simple! I’m heading to the Black Forest in September and can’t wait to ride and maybe buy a few items to bring home.

  • Óðinn

    I’ve recently ordered a Tune stem for my latest build. I can’t wait for it to arrive

    http://www.tune.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/geilesteil.png