Being a triathlete in South Florida is a wonderful thing. Year-round training – check. No potholes to destroy your carbon rims – check. Having a bike manufacturer in your neck of the woods to make checking out the latest and greatest as easy as hopping in your card – not so much. That is until Ventum showed up a few years ago with their radical One and set up shop in Miami. Which meant that when they called us and asked if we wanted some quality time with their new NS1 all we had to do was hop on 95 for 30 minutes and go pick it up. And as you can see in the pics below – it at least looks stunning. But did the looks match the ride? Our month with it certainly makes us think so. But we are already getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s first dive into the NS1 – Ventum’s first (and only) UCI legal bike.
The Ventum NS1
The first thing we thought when we laid our eyes on the NS1 was how finished the bike was. This was no first attempt at a road bike by a fairly new company. This is a complete bike with some neat little tricks that has the fit and finish of all the major brands. And that is exactly what Ventum was aiming for. They built the NS1 with a singular purpose – craft a flagship aero road bike that doesn’t require you to choose between weight and aero. And they hit that mark squar on the head.
The NS1 is deceptively light. You look at it and see an aero road bike (actually many think gravel bike due to its ability to handle a 30mm wide tire) and then you pick it up and it feels more like a climber. Are you looking to hit the UCI minimum with disc brakes and electronic shifting – this bike can do it. Ventum tells us this was accomplished by utilizing carbon fiber, carbon nanotubes, and graphene (materials that are up to 300 times stronger than steel, at a fraction of the weight). This was then put together via a silicon EPS manufacturing process (compresses the carbon and resins making the frame lighter, stronger, and longer lasting). In fact, when we first picked up the bike the process, we talked the most about was the EPS manufacturing process. Ventum is incredibly proud of the amount of work that goes into making each and every frame.
But the light weight doesn’t just come from the manufacturing process but from the design as well. Many of the tubes on the bike are incredibly thin. You first notice this on the seat stays – but looking at the fork, seat post, and just about every other tube on the bike you notice that a Miami based bike company went minimalist with their bike design.
The cockpit is an integrated design – saving on weight and decreasing drag. But that one-piece cockpit is offered in 3 widths (40, 42, 44cm) and 4 stem lengths (90, 100, 110, 120mm) – all of which you can spec in their configurator (more on that in a moment).
Like tube shapes, the bottom bracket has far less carbon than you come to expect on aero road bikes. Yet we never felt any noodling or give as we sprinted around our test rides. And while South Florida doesn’t allow us that many climbing opportunities to really get a feel for stiffness over time. We never felt like we lost an inch when it came to driving towards the line.
Those minimalist aero shapes have a positive contribution to aerodynamics. As does the completely internal cable routing. To shield your water bottle, the downtube is the one tube we might call portly and features two positions for your bottle. Unfortunately there is no neutral comparative aero data so we can’t tell you how aero the NS1 is. But using comparative data from our jaunts around town it certainly didn’t come off as slow.
One feature we really liked was the hidden seat post clamp. It’s located underneath the top tube instead of on top or behind. It’s a small element but one that keeps the lines of the bike extremely clean.
Ventum has a full geometry guide for those looking for fit details available at https://ventumracing.com/bikes/road/geometry/.
Purchasing an NS1
The NS1 is offered in a base frameset (in three color options) for $5,000. And after that things start to get fun. Ventum has a full online configurator with what we are told are over 60,000 configuration items. The cheapest complete bike features Ultegra Di2 and Vision Team 30 alloy wheels for $6,900.
On the opposite end of the spectrum there is the Dura Ace Di2 build with a CeramicSpeed bottom bracket and Oversize Pulley Wheel System. You can also add on a dual leg Pioneer power meter and ENVE SES 5.6 wheels for a grand total of $12,500.
And then there is everything in between including two other wheel set choices – Vision SC55 and Flo 60s.
You also get to choose your crank length (165, 170, 172.5), standard or mid compact, rear cassette (11-25, 11-28, 11-30) and the above mentioned 3 bar widths (40, 42, 44cm) and 4 stem lengths (90, 100, 110, 120mm). And the NS1 itself is available in 6 sizes.
And if you currently have a bike you would be willing to part with to help pay for your brand new NS1, Ventum has recently introduced a new trade up program. Simply take some pictures of your current bike and send them to Ventum. Ventum will pass this information along to their partners at The Pro’s Closet, who evaluate each bike and determine its value. Next, Ventum will issue you a voucher for the value of your bike(s) — plus an extra 10% — which can be used towards the purchase of a new Ventum bike. Once your new NS1 is ready Ventum will coordinate you both receiving your new bike as well as shipping your old one to the Pro’s Closet – nice and simple.
Of all our time with the NS1 the memory that best describes it may be one of our least favorite rides – the one where we took a nail dead center of our rear wheel. Of course, we had our trusty flat kit with us – a kit we have put thousands of miles on and never needed and only that day did we find out that we didn’t have a pair of tire levers. As luck would have it a pair of cyclists had suffered a similar malady across the road and we were able to borrow a set – but we also had some time to chat as well. And they kept making reference to our gravel bike. And for the first few minutes we couldn’t figure out why – and then it hit us. With the fairly massive tire clearance (30mm) and the 28mm tires we had on. Not to mention the disc brakes – they assumed this light weight aero bike was built for gravel and not the road. And that was really when we understood just what a unique bike the NS1 was.
The NS1 from first ride to last was a ton of fun. If you have never been on a bike that begs you to push it harder and harder, you are missing out. We felt we were letting the bike down when we didn’t dive into a corner as aggressively as our nerves would let us go. It’s a firm ride but not jarring. We did a few medium distance rides (40+ miles) and came off feeling fresh. We wouldn’t say it soaks up the road, but we have ridden a few frames that jarred our teeth and the NS1 wasn’t even close.
Out of the saddle we could mash on the pedals and it leapt from the stop lights. The light weight combined with its high level of stiffness made for a very responsive ride.
Cons – we actually struggled to find any. The price for the frameset isn’t cheap at $5,000, but that is in line with a S-Works Venge which retails for $5,500 and the NS1 includes a stem\cockpit combo. We also are not a huge fan of the current color combinations (but that is truly nitpicking at this point).
It’s hard to believe that the NS1 is the first roadbike Ventum has built. As flagship road bikes go the NS1 is a winner. As first effort road bikes go – the NS1 is almost unbelievable. It is the flagship aero road bike that Ventum set out to build. It’s as light weight as a climbing bike, feels as fast as the best of the aero bikes, and can get dirty on the gravel to boot. A truly jack of all trades bike. Really the one question the NS1 has left us with is what is next for Ventum. Do they stay on the UCI legal side and build a true TT bike or are they working on a successor to the One? Only time will tell – so make sure to stay tuned to AeroGeeks.com for any updates from Ventum and the rest of the industry. And as always thanks for reading!