Simple things like his toothbrush could be discarded, but he quickly reached the limit of what leaving items at home could accomplish. The only way forward was to make his own components, and by so-doing, he could make bikes better, stronger, and crucially, considerably lighter.
In 1989, finding he was not unique in complaining of the excess weight of componentry, he established his company; Tune, and he was just in time to ride the wave of demand for lightweight manufacturing. He introduced a newly lightened quick-release, and some lightweight aluminium screws, and thus the first product range of Tune was born. His lightweight parts quickly became the ‘must-have’ for every ambitious rider seeking to break the 13 kilo mark. Demand increased steadily, until Uli was able to give up his career as a chemist, and devote himself entirely to lightweight manufacture.
Soon however, his Munich living room was too small, and he decided to upgrade to an old farmhouse in Südbaden. The new Mecca of featherweight manufacture was now situated in the municipality of Muggardt. Population 100…
From here, Uli, turned his attention to hubs and wheels. As rotating mass, every gram saved in these components pays large dividends, and by marrying his attention to precision, with his obsession over the lightweight, his high-tech, ultra-light hubs proved to be far ahead of their competitors: featherweight, but tough enough to withstand the great forces being put through them. Their consistency and quality allowed them to survive the lightweight construction boom and bust of the late nineties. Uli’s secret? Drawing on nature for inspiration.
In the years following, Tune found some prominent supporters; pros likes Jan Ulrich, Mike Kluge, Sabine Spitz and the Fumic brothers came to heartily endorse lightweight products, and even the skeptics have come to see the light!
Sporting Tune hubs, cranks, quick-releases and seatpost, Marcus Klaumann was a downhill King for many years. The fourteen time German champion, and Junior world champion, demonstrated that lightweight Tune products could withstand even the harshest tests.
Tune meanwhile, a veteran of this precision lightweight construction, is celebrating its 25th year.
At the time, 28 year old Uli Fahl was living in Munich, and working as a chemist in a large company producing lubricants. At weekends, he and his wife Gisela would spend time in the neighboring Alps rock-climbing. As some remote points were inaccessible by car, he bought a mountain bike, and the next weekend, with his climbing equipment strapped to his back, he set off for the mountains. His excitement was however, quickly diminished during his first climb as he was bogged-down by the weight. The need to lighten the load for the climb was self-evident.
And so it began.
20 years of Tune!
Despite the rapid success, it was far from smooth sailing for the intrepid startup. New materials were initially under-developed, and those that were satisfactory, proved prohibitively expensive. €1,500 was definitely too much for ceramic bearings…
However, with lessons learned and storms weathered, the brand went from strength to strength.
At the end of 1994, the new cranks, (the Big Foot) made their mark, and Tune became the bearing supplier to the prestigious US manufacturer ‘Klein,’ finally establishing itself as an international precision brand.