Construction: HMC Carbon fiber composite. Monocoque construction.
• High modulus carbon (HMC) fiber
• High compaction technology (HCT)
• Carbon fiber bottom bracket shell and headset races
• BB30 and asymmetric 1 1/8" – 1.5" head tube
• High performance chain stays (HPC)
Front derailleur: braze-on
Weight:1115g, size L
Warranty: 5 years
Crash replacement policy: 3 years
Out of the Box, First Impressions
Matt black finish meets Giger-inspired blood-red strips along the inner sides of the tubing, chunky, aggressive lines and tubes designed to get you through the air as smoothly as possible and to deliver you there as fast as possible, one suspects. This frame is eye-catching, no two ways about it. It looks fast enough to have you breaking the speed limit and not show up on the police radar. Visually it’s like the B-2 Stealth bomber of bikes.
Tuned up with Velocite’s Noir 50/90 deep-rim wheelset, carbon saddle and the massive Stronglight Fission BB30 crank, you get the distinct impression that the bike’s sneering at you…
You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?
Is this thing filled with helium? For some reason the Magnus feels super-light, when in fact it isn’t. That isn’t to say it’s heavy – it weighs in at close to 980g for the small size. But perhaps it’s the look of it, the menace, you might say, that gives you the impression before you actually get on it that it’s gong to be heavy.
Another factor adding to the impression of lightness – in fact, the main factor – is the responsiveness. Within seconds of getting on it the bike lets you know that it means business, so much so that for the first ride or two the rider may experience a certain sense of… shall we say, trepidation. It’s a bit like going from driving a family saloon for 5 years and then getting into a pared down, nuts and bolts sports car. And that was a feeling this reviewer experienced even after having ridden many of the best high-end bikes that the manufacturing world has to offer, and riding daily on what many would consider to be a very stiff frame from a well-established brand.
Categorically I can say that I have never ridden anything stiffer than the Velocite Magnus. It sounds clichéd to trot out the usual lines about lateral stiffness etc, so I won’t. I will say however that this bike brought a wide smile to my face. When climbing it feels like the front wheel is about to bounce off the road, such is the response from the pedal stroke.
Descending at first is a little tense, but that’s not the bike, it’s simply a case of getting used to a bike that truly goes exactly where you point it. I also changed out the green brake pads that came with the bike for the yellow SwissStop pads and noticed an improvement in stopping power, though to be honest I think there could be improvements made to the braking surface of the Noir 50/90 wheels – then again, they perhaps weren’t designed with 10%+ gradient descents in mind.
On the flats the bike becomes a monster, demanding more speed, more power, more aggression. The response, if you have the watts to feed it, is not much short of monumental. The rather compact geometry combines with the engineering and choice of materials to produce a vehicle that will show you little mercy – not in terms of discomfort, but because this is, pure and a simple, a racing machine. If you are not in shape this bike will be let you know it.
It’s not designed for long lazy summer tours, nor dawdles through the autumn countryside, but for racing. The bike is not uncomfortable on average roads, but hit a bad road and you will feel it. After 5 hours out I headed home wishing that I’d worn gloves, but then most races don’t last 5 hours so the point is perhaps a moot one.
This is a handsome frame and fork combo (the Velocite Bora forks are very good) that drew many inquisitive looks and admiring comments from other riders – but we all know that no matter how pretty the machine, if it isn’t up to the task it’ll soon be found out. The Velocite Magnus was designed to be a racing machine, and in that respect the designer’s goal has been fully realised. A giant BB shell and thick chain stays ensure the most responsive transfer of power this reviewer has so far experienced.
It’s stiffness and aggressive nature means that this is not a bike for everyone, but then it was never intended to be. But if you want to experience a remarkable racing frame for a remarkable price – and the price is really remarkable – the Velocite Magnus should be on your list.