Skip content

fiber spoke pioneers

Light as a feather and ultra-stable

Granted, it’s not quite as light as a feather, but a single innovative synthetic fiber spoke from Chemnitz-based spoke and wheel producer PI ROPE is close, at just 2.2 grams. What’s their secret? Vectran, a type of artificial fiber. It is an extremely high-performance product: ultra-lightweight, sturdy, resilient, weatherproof.

Instead of steel, aluminum, or carbon, the Chemnitz-based PI ROPE team relies on spokes made of high-strength synthetic fibers, which bring significant weight savings. Five times lighter than a steel spoke, practically unbreakable – the lightweight engineering team promises a lot. Would they call themselves pioneers? Ingo Berbig, co-founder and managing director of PI ROPE GmbH, smiles. “More a team that sees opportunities beyond what is already known. And, of course, we’re passionate fans of cycling.”

A passion for cycling and the search for better materials for the sport’s especially tough requirements – the founders have been working on the basics of the materials they use since back in 2006. It wasn’t long before they found a bike-related application for their work. The first prototype was ready in 2014, and after the team applied for a patent in 2016, PI ROPE was founded in November 2017.

The five-person team’s expertise goes beyond the process used to manufacture the fiber network, also extending to the special way the fiber spokes are anchored to the hub and rim. “We took a whole new view of wheel spokes and really scrutinized them. We weren’t satisfied with conventional materials,” says Berbig. “Ultimately, we devised a whole new way to connect the fiber network with a metallic end connector. This is sure to be of interest beyond the bike industry as well.” Berbig sees possible applications in mechanical engineering in particular, but also in lightweight engineering – anywhere that things are centered or placed under tension, such as in supporting and framework structures.

The development of the business since the company was founded five years ago attests to how much demand there already is for their products. “Sales figures have climbed year after year, and our clientele has grown as well,” Berbig explains. “The main factor is definitely rising awareness of our brand rather than the general boom in the bike industry, since the boom is taking place more in the low and mid-range price segments. Our products are high-priced ones.”

So how exactly does a “super-spoke” work? “Compared to a steel spoke, our fiber spoke doesn’t transmit vibrations. It absorbs them right where they arise,” Berbig explains. This significantly improves ground contact and makes for more direct transfer of force, which ultimately translates to less work for the rider.

PI ROPE gets its name from the Greek letter pi and the word “rope,” another way the founders are expressing their interests.


The spoke and bicycle manufacturer and manufactures particularly light wheels with textile spokes in elaborate manual work.

Mehr erfahren