REVIEW: Velocite Magnus Carbon Fiber Road Bike

velocite-magnus-frame-bicycle

Founded in 2008, Velocite is a brand that claims to put technology above all else to deliver the best possible bikes. The Velocite Magnus was built from the ground up to be a pure race machine that wouldn’t sacrifice rider comfort.

Our size medium (54cm) test bike came outfitted with a SRAM force group, TRP brakes, FSA stem, Velocite’s own LICOS carbon flat top handlebar, BORA fork and Velocite Noir 38mm front/50mm rear carbon clinchers. The complete bike weighed in at 15.1 pounds, which is, as one tester remarked after a test loop, “As much fun as you can have and still be legal” (the UCI minimum weight requirement is 14.99 pounds). With the Magnus, Velocite has created a high performance bicycle that has moved to the top of my wish list for next year. This is one bike I was truly sad to see go, and if it were up to me I’d still be rocking it.

Why such bike lust? Read the full review after the break…

FRAME DETAIL

The Magnus’ frame begins with an oversized, tapered head tube and monocoque tapered carbon fork, continues to the massive BB30 bottom bracket and finishes up with oversized chainstays. It looks fast even while standing still. The attention to detail on the frame becomes more apparent when you realized there’s no paint or cosmetic layer of carbon to hide imperfections (of which we couldn’t find any, BTW).

The oversized tapered headtube holds the high modulus carbon fiber monocoque fork. The fork has carbon dropouts and a full carbon tapered 1.125″ to 1.5″ steerer tube.  Both the upper and lower headset races are molded from carbon helping to increase stiffness and reduce weight.

velocite-magnus-downtube-bicycle velocite-magnus-bottombracket-bicycle

The large graceful downtube and bottom bracket area houses the BB30 cranks.  Like the headset cups, the BB30 bearing races are molded from carbon helping to decrease weight from the frame and improve power transmission.

velocite-magnus-chainstay-bicycle

The massive chainstays provide an immediate and highly efficient transmission of power to the rear wheel.  Even with the chainstays being oversized the bike never felt harsh, even after a six hour ride in the North Carolina mountains.

velocite-magnus-seatstay-bicycle

Notice the graceful arc at the chainstay and seatstay junction.  Not only is the bike fast, it’s sexy as well.

velocite-magnus-seatpost-bicycle

Finally the all-important saddle was held by a super lightweight trick two-bolt seatpost.  During testing it proved to be rock solid even on the roughest roads that South Carolina had to offer.  The only thing I would have liked to see would be some kind of reference marks to help in setting up the saddle tilt.  However, this is only a small thing and nothing a good carpenter’s level couldn’t fix.

With a frameset (frame and fork) price of $1,879 the bike is a steal. Our test sample, fully loaded, retails for $4,559, but several build options are offered.

For that coin you get a monocoque frame with oversized high modulus tubes constructed with High Compaction Technology. This, combined with high temperature curing, forces more of the resin into the fibers for a stronger, lighter frame that surpasses all current EN testing standards. Not that you’d ever see them, but the tubes are as smooth and clean on the inside as the outside.

RIDE IMPRESSIONS

We put lots of spirited miles on the bike both during training rides with our local crew and local shop group rides. The bike impressed us with both it’s outright speed and it’s ability to remain comfortable during a long 65 mile day in the North Carolina mountains.

The Magnus had very impressive road manners.  Both the seat tube and head tube angles suggested the Magnus would be twitchy like a pure crit bike, but somehow the guys at Velocite figured out how to combine the responsiveness of a crit bike with the stability of an all day race bike to create something truly impressive.   I was able to ride no handed while removing a wind vest and the bike tracked straight on the road.  This was awesome because all too often most “race” bikes are extremely nervous and you are almost afraid to let go of the bars because you feel like you’re going to crash any moment.

Sometimes with a bike you get the feeling that the rear is simply “following” the front of the bike, but I did not get that with the Magnus.  It was as if the two ends were one unit.  I did a bombing descent on Town Mountain Road in Asheville, NC, with a series of turns linked together by short sections of rough roads and the Magnus never showed any signs of flex or steering issues.  The BB30 bottom bracket area was extremely stiff and I did not notice any flex or loss of power on the climbs.  The high modulus carbon provided a nice blend of vibration damping and stiffness.  After the six hour mountain ride I was still somewhat fresh and still had enough energy to throw in a little sprint at the end.  This never happens with my current multi-material bike.  The Magnus is an all around solid performer that is perfect for racing, group rides and everything in between.

OVERALL RATING

I give this bike a solid five thumbs up!  The Magnus is a thing of beauty that performs incredibly well whether you’re dropping the hammer in a sprint, climbing for the sky or just tooling around on a group ride with friends.  At the risk of sounding overly enamored with this bike, I have to say it pretty much goes like their website says: “Ride Velocite, Feel Invincible.”

OTHER NOTES: Velocite has just debuted an aero road bike, and they’ll have a TT bike in the first part of 2011 with a full carbon 29′er and (my personal favorite) carbon Cross Bike before the end of the year, too.

The bike has a 5 Year warranty and 3 Year crash replacement deal.  Check out their U.S. distributor at www.dnadistributing.com for all the details.  Now go out and race!!!

URL: www.velocite-bikes.com

Comments

IdeaStormer Jorge - 11/21/10 - 3:20am

What? Those are the same blank name generic frames you can buy on E-Bay.

Mythbuster - 11/21/10 - 4:21am

…perhaps not entirely correct http://velocitebikes.blogspot.com/2009/11/velocite-philosophy-and-technology.html

IdeaStormer Jorge - 11/21/10 - 9:52pm

So some other company can use the same mold and improve on it. Gotcha!

Mythbuster2 - 11/22/10 - 1:53pm

If you would of looked a little further on the Velocite site you also would of found this in regards to their 2011 line.

“So is the Helios Aero a Velocite closed mold?

The Helios Aero (and our entire 2011 range and beyond) is a closed mold frame. In the spirit of cooperation that we feel allows us to bring the best products to the market and to allow us to “punch well above our weight” we will share the overall design with Lewis and his Mathiske Racing brand. We have also authorized our factory to offer a variant of the Helios Aero frame design to their high profile customers that are given our consent. Nevertheless, only Velocite will have the Helios Aero frame and all the key performance features that make the Helios Aero frame without peers in the current market.”

Look real close at eBay and you’ll find a lot of blanks, some are of a lot more well known brands than Velocite. You get what you pay for. The proof is in the review.

Guido - 11/22/10 - 7:54pm

The Velocite is Magnus is pure Velocrap! I should know, I own one. The BB30 BB is a complete carbon shell which does not lend itself well to the press fit nature of the BB30 system. One press is all you will get from the carbon fiber before it deforms from the steel races of the BB bearings and leaves you with an over sized BB shell.

In fact, my Magnus was delivered with an out of spec BB and out of spec head tube cups which meant that the BB bearing assembly wobbled as well as the headset bearings. After getting blown off by Victor Major of Velocite, A USA Cycling certified mechanic had to use Locktite 640 Sleeve Retainer in the BB to secure the bearing assembly. And to fix the head tube cups, the old soda can shim trick was used to take up the slack in the head tube cups..

Check out ebay for the Stradalli Milano or look at the Stadalli website for the Milano:

http://www.carbonroadbikebicyclecycling.com/milano-strada-pro-carbon-road-bike-frame-56cm

Look familiar? It should. It’s the same bike with a different paint job. These frames are “house” frames that come from a generic frame factory. Order a half dozen and you too can have your own bike brand! Operators standing by!

Do yourself a favor and pass on the generic carbon frames from Velocite. Save up your money and buy a well known brand that has a quality control program in place and buy from a dealer that will replace a defective frame, no questions asked.

One final note, the rear derailleur hanger did not match the dropout and was super glued in place and the front derailleur hanger had the wrong contour for a tight fit of the front derailleur. A rubber shim was used to compress against the hanger to keep it from moving around.

What can I say? I have one hell of a nice piece of Carbon Fiber wall art!

Ehud - 11/29/10 - 10:42pm

I have a Magnus and I must agree with everything you have said in the above review. I have tried many top end bikes (Cannondale Supersix 2010, Giant Advanced TCR SL 2010) and the Magnus just shines above these bikes in handling and stiffness. When you described how the back wheel seemed to be in unison with the front was the best possible way to describe the Magnus. I always said it handles quick and steady but your description is perfect. Both the C’dale and Giant turned very slow, especially compared to the Magnus. The bike also does not waste any power. When you pedal it goes! The C’dale and Giant seemed to require somewhat of a “ramp up” speed, not instant like the Velocite. A surprisingly impressive small company. Long Live Velocite!

Kimmo - 12/21/10 - 2:41am

Sounds like an impressive machine.

And it’s sexy indeed – except for the white seat. What the hell’s up with that?

Dr Kline - 12/26/10 - 8:57pm

Might be the best bike in the world, might be the worst, I don’t know. Nobody in the Pro Tour rides one. What happens if you have a warranty problem? Put the bike in a box, ship it off to Taiwan and keep your fingers crossed? Best to stick to a LBS where you know who you are dealing with, not some unknown company from Asia with no distribution network in the USA.

Good Doc - 12/28/10 - 3:08pm

Dr Kline, there actually is a U.S. Distributor as mentioned in the article, http://www.dnadistributing.com. I’m sure, should you have any warranty issues they’d be happy to help. I’m also sure that, as with any newly introduced brand, making their way into the LBS is a top priority but imagine it takes some time. Do you think 20 or so years ago when Felt hit the scene they were in every LBS? Probably not, but they are in quite a few now. Give them a chance. It just might be the best bike in the world.

[...] Velocite Magnus, which we reviewed in November, has undergone a few frame changes for 2011. The original frame is shown below, and you can see the [...]

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