Think inside the box
VeloVie’s Vitesse 500 with SRAM Red 22 aims to deliver an elite-level bike at an attainable price without sacrificing quality, performance or convenience.
Can an upstart bike company you’ve likely never heard of deliver a bargain, featherweight race bike with a ride on par with big brand competitors that cost two to three times as much? Tall order, but Arizona-based VeloVie says that they can do just that with their direct-to-consumer offerings including the Vitesse 500.
VeloVie claims that removing distributors, bike shops and large-scale marketing campaigns allows them to offer bargain prices on even their top end race rigs.
VeloVie isn’t the first or only brand to give consumer-direct, web-based bike and component sales a shot. But they feel they can succeed where others have failed to succeed by delivering quality products, a superior customer journey and thoughtful pre-builds that require minimal assembly.
VeloVie’s website allows you to select and customize every component of your rig from crank and stem length down to the color of the bar tape then have it shipped directly to your door.
After you place your order on the VeloVie site, a Barnett Bicycle Institute licensed mechanic then builds your bike up and carefully packs it so that it requires minimal assembly when it arrives.
The $4,847 price tag as equipped included a full SRAM Red 22 gruppo and VeloVie’s house brand carbon wheels.
The VeloVie Vitesse 500 comes with your choice of SRAM Apex, SRAM Force 22 or SRAM Red 22 full groupsets and your choice of gear ratios (we opted for 53/39 rings and an 11-28 cassette). You also get to select from seven different wheelsets. The Vitesse 500 with Red starts at $3,699 with Reynolds Stratus Elite wheels. The $4,847 configuration we tested came with full SRAM Red 22, two bottle cages, carbon FSA bars and VeloVie’s house brand Essor Pace 32-mm deep, 1400-gram PR3 hybrid carbon wheels.
Framing it up
The Vitesse 500 weighs just shy of 15 pounds and is built with VeloVie’s Carbon Axis Formula, a mixture of 70, 40 and 30-ton modulus carbon. They claim this formula has helped them achieve the perfect balance of lateral stiffness and vertical give, providing stability where you need it, without adding bulk and weight where you don’t.
When we received our Vitesse 500, we handed it off to a very mechanically challenged rider to get his unvarnished impression of the unboxing and assembly experience. Even with his poor mechanical aptitude, he was able to unpack and correctly, safely assemble the bike in 20 minutes so that it operated with perfect mechanical function. The minimal assembly required included rotating and tightening the bars; inserting and tightening the seatpost (the seat was already attached to the post and level); and inserting skewers in the wheels, sliding them into the dropouts and clamping the skewers shut.
If you’ve ever worked in a shop or shipped a bike in a bike box, you’ll marvel at VeloVie’s thoughtful packing job. It took about 20 minutes of basic assembly to unpack the pre-adjusted Vitesse 500 and get out on the road (left). The Essor Pace 32mm PR3 hybrid carbon were perfectly true out of the box, felt light in our hands and spun up quickly on the road (right).
The wheels were true out of the box and neither the brake nor derailleur cables required further adjustment–everything was adjusted correctly from the get go. The bike even shipped with carbon paste applied to the seatpost, the seat tube and the FSA handlebars.
A layer of thick packing foam separated the wheels from the main compartment containing the frame (left). Neatly wrapped in soft shipping foam, all moving parts were zip-tied to prevent any unnecessary jostling in transit (right).
The Vitesse 500 delivered a ride on par with other high-end carbon bikes we’ve ridden during our initial test rides. The featherweight wheels and stiff bottom bracket helped us nail a few PRs on one Saturday morning training session. On imperfect roads, the frame felt comfortable and not overly stiff in the vertical plane.
The super-meaty chainstays and BB30 bottom bracket have been reinforced with extra layers of high modulus carbon to provide an ultra-stable powerhouse that don’t flex under fire. The tapered head tube, sloping top-tube, internal rear-brake routing and cut-away, tear-shaped seat tube balance out some of the more burley elements with a fast, sleek aero look and feel. The frame comes in matte black with red highlights and subtle, low profile, glossy black decals.
After assembling the bike and a few weeks of riding, the Vitesse 500 appears to offer an affordable, high quality alternative for roadies who want an affordable, but premium ride.
For more on VeloVie and the Vitesse 500 visit VeloVie.com.