By Adam Newman
No bike attracted quite as much attention—from our staff, anyway—at Interbike than the Volagi. Designed by two serious long-distance cyclists as the ultimate long-distance bike, the sweeping shape could only have been made from carbon fiber. Though the bike would be right at home in spirited club rides or even races, that’s not what it’s about. The disc brakes, the light weight, and the aerodynamic shape all contribute to putting away huge miles.
Volagi is a fairly new brand, founded by Robert Choi and Barley Forsman, who have a collective 35 years of bike industry experience. Forsman has completed the 1200km Paris-Brest-Paris and holds a fixed-gear record in the 508-mile Furnace Creek 508, so yeah, I think they know what they’re doing.
The most obvious design feature of the Liscio is, of course, the disc brakes. Many an internet message board has filled up with the debate over their merits on the road, but I can tell you this: no one ever tries them and goes back to rim brakes. The Avid BB7s might not have an overwhelming stopping advantage over conventional brakes, but the lever feel is great, they will never fade or get soft, and there is no brake residue all over your rims—and hands.
Other key features are a taller headtube for a more “realistic” geometry for us mortals, clearance for 28c tires or 25c tires and fenders, and a unique split seatstay that wraps around the seattube, allowing it to flex and absorb road vibration. I gotta say, it really works too. It’s outstandingly comfortable to ride.
The Liscio is ffered in three trim levels: SRAM Rival, Shimano Ultegra, and Dura-Ace, as well as a frameset option. I put this Rival-equipped tester through its paces at the Dirty Dozen, a masochistic march up the 13 steepest streets in Pittsburgh. The 34×28 low gear came in handy on Canton Avenue’s 37 percent grade (ok, it actually came in handy on ALL the grades). Weighing in at 18.7 pounds (without pedals) didn’t hurt either.
I plan on putting as many miles as I can through the winter on the Liscio, and keep an eye out for the full review in Bicycle Times Issue #16, on newsstands soon.