VeloVie Vitesse 400: A New Model for Performance and Value
Any time a young company shakes up old paradigms, while creating more options and better value for the general public, good things tend to follow. VeloVie is creating exactly those conditions for road cyclists by reorganizing the buying experience and parameters for road bike purchases. Now under new ownership, VeloVie is effectively redesigning the bike buying experience to fit modern conditions by producing carbon fiber road bikes in the same facilities as the big names but offering them direct to the consumer via their website at a fraction of the cost. How do they do this? By cutting out all of the middle entities that add a fee to the process. Makes sense, right? By removing warehouses, distributors, wholesalers, and bike shops from the buying chain, VeloVie can offer higher value at lower prices.
Bottom line; the bike is up there with the best on the market, the only difference is that you’re paying quarters on the dollar to a streamlined manufacturer.
What does this mean for you?
This means you can buy a full carbon fiber frame and fork from VeloVie outfitted with high-end, performance-oriented components built to your specifications all assembled and ready to ride out of the box (well, after you reattach the stem/handlebars and wheels). Like any reputable online retailer, VeloVie offers a warranty and customer service experience that is designed to ensure that your bike purchase fits all of your needs and expectations. In fact, they’ll give you 2 weeks to sample to bike – if you don’t like it, use the return label they include with the bike and send it back. Full refund.
VeloVie makes their bikes that much more attractive by partnering with well-established component manufacturers, SRAM, Reynolds, FSA, Rotor and others to provide you with the freedom to build the bike you want at a price-point that is lower than any of their competitors. The word association here is “value” and VeloVie offers it in spades.
Unlike many other companies, VeloVie also provides full component lines that are meant to match and work together. If you’ve bought a bike in the past, you know that it is standard practice to swap parts for their lower tier siblings. When VeloVie says you are receiving a bike with SRAM Red, you really get a full set-up of SRAM Red; they do not part-out and downgrade components in the component group.
I recently demoed a VeloVie Vitesse 400—their top of the line model—which was fully equipped with SRAM Red, full FSA carbon componentry, Rotor Cranks, and Reynolds Strikeforce wheels. I put the bike through the paces for nearly two weeks and over the course of that demo period, I traded rides with my own custom steel bike to allow me to compare and contrast ride quality and performance. Full disclosure: my own bike was specifically manufactured to my body geometry and was built for my riding style, so the comfort challenge is lofty for any bike subjected to this comparison. I’ve owned several carbon fiber bikes in the past and not surprisingly, the Vitesse rode very smoothly and soaked up road buzz nicely, which, as anyone will tell you, is the hallmark of carbon fiber construction. However, compared with my carbon fiber bikes of the past, the Vitesse 400 was much stiffer and flexed far less under both my sprinting and climbing efforts. This is an issue that I’ve had with carbon fiber bikes in the past: the amount of flex and give they produce under strain is not something I particularly like—not all of us are 130 lb pros. That’s not to say that the ride quality was rigid or fatiguing; in fact, quite the opposite was true: I found the geometry to be comfortable on both shorter difficult efforts and on longer weekend rides where mileage was the goal. VeloVie attributes this to the type of carbon fiber used and the geometry and frame construction—I found the effect on the riding experience to be tangible. The Vitesse 400 is also insanely light (900 grams!) without losing rigidity and compliance. Like most high-end bikes, the geometry and construction of the Vitesse 400 does trend towards race performance, but my experience was that the Vitesse 400 is multi-dimensional and I rode it for miles and miles and under varying conditions. Across all situations, I found the Vitesse 400 to be comfortable and responsive to a myriad of conditions, including sprinting, climbing, descending, long-distance spin ups, and paceline efforts.
Take home message
VeloVie seem to be at the cutting edge of performance and value. With the proliferation of online business, it was only a matter of time before a company came along that offered quality comparable to the major brands at a fraction of the cost. VeloVie are smart in that they focus on creating a bike that straddles the market demands of both performance and ride quality (i.e., comfort), while offering well-recognized components, all in a package that is a fraction of the cost of a comparable bike from the major brands.
The Vitesse 400 with top of the line SRAM Red starts at $3899.00 and is available with multiple component options and at multiple price points to fit your wants and needs. If you are shopping the market, jump on the VeloVie train, you will be more than happy that you did.