Is this another £16,000 bicycle made from dreams and fairy dust? Put your cynical hat away; Schindelhauer’s new Ludwig XVIII is the leading edge of the urban cycling movement causing a buzz in cities around the world. It’s an understated lifestyle statement. If Apple made bikes…
…they'd be made from aluminium and sold by blue-shirted cultists.Well, you're right on the first point; the Ludwig XVIII packs a hand-built 6061 triple-butted aero tubing aluminium frame. But the real star of the show is the Pinion P1.18 gearbox. It sits right at the centre of gravity and offers a total gear range of 636 per cent from 18 gears. That’s the difference between cycling uphill and walking. It also means you can change gear easily while riding uphill, not easy on normal bikes.
Any other fancy kit?Oh yes. Drive is delivered from a carbon belt so you don’t even need to think about it for 16,000km or more. The gearbox is good for roughly 60,000km before it needs checking. And no more oil stains on your chinos; all the lubrication is locked away. Then add exclusive CNC-machined disc brakes, Brooks saddle, Gates’ Center-Track System and anything else you want because they are custom built. Look at their ‘LightSKIN’ seatposts which add LEDs into the post under the saddle. They not only look great – they'll ensure that you're visible from Mars.
So who made this wonder machine? Schindelhauer started with two young design graduates in Berlin who originally wanted to build a car but couldn’t get funding. They constantly win accolades, including the coveted Red Dot design award in 2014. The company builds around 2000 bikes a year starting from £1,200. But if you become the proud owner of a Ludwig XVIII you will join four owners in the UK so far. It takes 3-7 weeks to build your spec.
I'm in. How much? You can expect to pay £4,995 for the Ludwig XVIII – not excessive for a top thing like this. You can easily spend £15,000 on a custom bike. And something else that’s not hefty – it weighs in at 13.2 kg.
I can't wait to tell everyone about my new bike's internal gearbox… …and watch their eyes glaze over. Mind you, while the general public might not get it, fellow enthusiasts have nothing but praise for the XVIII; we spoke to one owner who described riding it as a special event. Although it’s a very technical product it’s fine to use everyday and owning one apparently makes you want to ride it all the time. Want to try one out for yourself? Distributors Velorution actively encourage interested parties to test ride the bike in their London store. Having said that, of course, you could buy a Rolex and take a taxi.
Written by Jonathon Savill. See the Schindelhauer range at velorution.com. 88 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NS. Phone 0207 148 5572.