Before I start to get into the technical side of this bike, let me say how the bike makes me feel when I ride it, because it does have a wow factor!
You can have the best performance bike, but for me it’s got to look good, Titanium can have a bit of a reputation as something you get when you’re getting on in years, to me though this bike is quite the opposite. It has attracted a lot of attention from young and old riders alike, it has that cool factor about it, gives you that feeling to get your best cycle kit on and jump on the saddle. There is definitely something special about this bike.
The quality of the frame is second to none and there is even a titanium seat post, all specially crafted and designed, topped with your own unique custom spray job, bringing the bike into its own. Accompanied by the gleam of polished titanium, to me it gives a real retro arty feel and by the same token, modern at the same time.
This Vaaru Octane has already been put through its paces, to say the least and I’ve only just started.
I rode from Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca), west of Sintra at the westernmost point of continental Europe and finishing at Miranda Douro furthest east on the Spanish border, 700k in 5 days with 10,000m of climbing.
With Panniers fitted, remembering this is a race bike, how would it feel? Considering I’d never ridden the bike until the day the trip started it felt very comfortable. Also the handling was very stable with 18kg on the back, no worries, even round the twisty switch-backs, getting over 80kph, I felt totally safe.
On the flats it was also very comfortable. Over rough surfaces the frame absorbs the road extremely well which is important on the long rides with the added weight. I suppose the comparison to carbon is that the titanium is not so stiff, it’s a softer ride. A great way to retain that stiffness through the frame is using Absoluteblack oval chainrings. If you read my last blog you will know what a difference they make, especially with the titanium, just gets back that bit of stiffness you lose through the titanium frame, this is due to the stiffness of the oval ring, perfect combination.
When the panniers are off then the bike comes into its own, it becomes a race bike. Very responsive, very precise and stable due to the high-quality carbon fork which you can feel as you corner at speed, giving you total confidence.
I wanted to test it at speed for a long time to see how really comfortable it is, so I rode for 201k with an average speed of 28.9 with 2550m of climbing.
Body felt fine, just seemed to sit into the bike, just keeping the power on just seemed so smooth. I would like to point out, I know my measurements for my bikes and this is key, it’s imperative that your bike fits you correctly, otherwise it can turn a great bike into a bad one.
Climbing? Well, the word I seem to be using a lot is very ‘comfortable’. Lovely and agile when out of the saddle. It’s a great bike for climbing, you feel the power of every pedal stroke being transferred to the back wheel, driving you up the climb.
The frame itself is made of a smaller diameter tubing, reducing its weight by 10%, also being stiffer and retaining the ride quality of titanium. It's intersting to note using the 56 frame as an example that Vaaru have made it 60g lighter than the 2016 model, so it comes in at 1400g.
A truly great thing about Vaaru cycles is you can choose what colour you want or just leave it as titanium, then pick your wheels, group set, etc. and work to your own budget. You can even request your own personal touch, like I had done (photo).
I’m going to put the Vaaru even further through its paces this weekend at the Granfondo Premium at Serra da Estrela. I’ve chosen mine, now I can enjoy it… this will truly be a bike for life… Have you chosen yours?
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.