All began with a weight problem…
The history of Tune begins in 1988. Uli Fahl, who comes from South Baden, still lives in Munich and works as a chemist for a lubricant manufacturer. He is 35, and on weekends he goes climbing in the Alps with his wife. By bike, or more precisely: on Kettler aluminium mountain bikes. They are too heavy for Fahl, he needs the strength to climb, not to get there. And he starts to experiment.
He replaces all screws with aluminum ones and develops weight-optimized rear derailleur kits. They are well received, but he attracts more attention in the professional world with the super-light AC8 quick release. Anyone who wants to hold their own and push the weight of their hardtail below the critical mark of 13 kilos orders from Fahl. In 1989, the inventor quits his job, starts his company and moves to the Black Forest. Fahl hires people, files, screws and develops.
To clear his head, he plays the piano every day. The tuning guru never receives guests and convinced barefoot walkers in any other way than with bare feet, even at what is perhaps the most important bicycle trade fair in the world, the Eurobike.
So was the way…
Everything goes well, then Tune 2000 has to call back the quick release: The supplier did not comply with the specifications. In 1994, a contract manufacturer from Tune launched its own brand with products that looked suspiciously similar to the originals: from the bolts to the quick releases, seat posts and bottom brackets to the hubs. Tune is on the brink of collapse, but gets its act together with the legendary Big Foot crank, and because the American manufacturer Klein Tune has made Tune a house and courtyard supplier for bottom brackets. Since then, Tune has been producing almost exclusively in-house. Byebye Bastelbude, hello production hall.
Hubs and wheels are becoming more and more important. Fahl’s credo: “The wheels are the best way to save weight. Due to the rotating masses, every gram of weight saved has a particularly noticeable effect here.” Its high-tech hubs, super light but stable, are ahead of the competition.
Tune parts were never cheap: In the nineties, a ceramic crankset bearing was launched on the market that cost 2900 D-Mark and was the result of a development for Jan Ulrich. But the customer from the blacksmith’s shop in the Black Forest makes the rounds. Fahl launches the first hub weighing less than 100 grams on the market, but it is
and stopped again immediately. The “decibel” lives up to its name and
was too loud for the tour through the quiet forest with her machine-gun-like rattling. If that doesn’t get him to work, then his jet-happy spirit will rage out in projects where it’s clear that he’ll never earn a penny: A tuned giant folding bike, for example, which he equips with two gasoline tanks and a turbine to heat through the mountains of the Black Forest with 70 km/h on it. The frame broke at some point, the lightweight components still hold up today.
Perhaps it is this legendary quality that makes Tune so successful in space: in the mid-nineties, the Technical University of Munich developed the Munich Space Chair for the Mir space station, a folding table whose fixing device, an extra-long Tune quick-release, enabled astronauts to work precisely and concentrated with both hands without floating away. The chair’s titanium quick-releases were made by Tune.
Tune develops into a major player in the industry and survives the end of the lightweight boom at the end of the 90s. In 1998, sales increased by 85 percent.
Today, hubs and wheels make up more than half of the Tune range. In addition, there are seat posts, saddles, stems, cranks,…. Fahl’s recipe for the design: “Nature has shown us everything. “Keyword “bionics”. Even the first cranks, quick-releases and bottom brackets were designed according to bionic principles. Trees alone, with their growth, are the perfect teachers – even for carbon.
Sebastian Linser has been managing the company since 2016. He is a pupil of Uli Fahl. It is the winter of 1996. Sebastian Linser, 16 years old and already a member of the national team, travels to Muggart for his first working day in snow and sub-zero temperatures. There he starts a temporary job in parcel handling. “The winter was cold and Uli approached me barefoot despite the snow and sub-zero temperatures.
By that time Linser had long since become a slave to the brand. “It is his first big love”. In 1994 he fell in love with a highly polished MAG 215 in the BIKE WORKSHOP catalogue. “The design knocked me over. It was immediately clear to me that I had to have the hub. The next day I went straight to a tune-dealer. I won’t forget the day. Nervously I stood in front of the counter. The dealer fetched a scale from the workshop and puts it on the table. He carefully placed the highly polished MAG215 on the scale. My heart pounded. In real life it was even more beautiful than on the photo. The price was also nice. So beautiful that I could only buy the rear wheel. But every penny was worth it. Driving was even more fun than before.
The fact that I could then begin with tune was for me a fateful coincidence. I knew this was something very special. Uli convinced me to complete a solid apprenticeship as a wholesale and foreign trade merchant in addition to my cycling career. I did that during my active racing time and never regretted it. I love the hubs and products as I have since day one. To this day, you have lost nothing of your splendour for me.
What happens next?
Sebastian has been part of the tune company for 23 years now. He grew up with it and knows the products and the history like no other. He is infected and lives the company with every cell.
His core tasks are to manage the commercial aspects of the company. In the technical area, he is actively supported by his technical manager and team.
So quality and precision remain his top priority. An example: While the expensive and energy-intensive CNC milling machines at other manufacturers run around the clock, they are constantly adjusted, depending on temperature, air pressure and other factors. This is why the machines are always monitored by an employee during production. And most impellers are still spoked by hand at Tune. “Tune has set some milestones and established the weight issue in the industry in the first place,” says Linser. “At the time, we were smiled at as spinners. Today, lightweight is a matter of course.
“He sees the future in individualisation. Everyone longs to be seen in their own way. And we help our customers to do that. “Many wheel manufacturers today offer their own lightweight components. But they miss the wishes of the individual. Large companies are too sluggish for this. We are agile and can do that. Linser smiles and wears shoes.