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Flying a Volagi Bike (Part 1)

Sunday, June 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Original article from the Examiner at http://www.examiner.com/cycling-in-santa-ana/flying-a-volagi-part-1-review

by Peter Gerrard

From the first glance, you’re aware that there’s something different about a Volagi bike. It’s not just the sculpted, arcing lines of the frame: this is increasingly becoming a characteristic of carbon fiber’s visual DNA as bike designers scurry to maximize the material’s properties. It’s becoming a standard wrinkle in the dialectic of form and function. Then you realize that your eyes are drawn to the brakes.

The Volagi Liscio is not the first road-style bike to be offered with disk brakes (there have been some cyclo-cross/touring models from Redline, and custom jobs from builders like Calfee Design and Co-Motion). Why disk brakes? It’s part of the reason why there’s a Volagi bike at all.

The brains and at energy behind the Volagi bikes are two engineers and avid long-distance cyclists, Robert Choi and Barley Forsman. You can get more of the particulars, and the romance and symbolism behind the name here. To summarize, the Cotati, Calirfonia-based duo felt there wasn’t a really perfect bike for brevet and long distance riding.

Current race bikes can give you the performance, but beat you up on rides lasting two to three hundred miles or more. Aside from which you can’t easily put on fenders, and tire selection is usually limited to 25c max. And bikes designed to accommodate bigger tire and fenders tend to have long wheelbases for comfort and cantilever brakes for clearance: the result is the comfortable but wallowy road feel of a Mercury Grand Marquis and really dicey braking, especially if it’s raining.

So we have disk brakes in the picture, which aside from negating tire clearance issues give more powerful and modulated braking. There are additional benefits, too. If you break a spoke or whack your wheel out of true, miles from a mechanic, you can ride without having to open your calipers to the point where they’re ineffective...thereby avoiding the unease of approaching a steep and swooping downhill like a person with misplaced dentures looking at a juicy filet mignon.

And, to continue the meal metaphor, now you can have your cake and eat it, too...“cake” meaning carbon rims. As a rim material, carbon has advantages in weight, strength, and damping, but it can’t touch aluminum when it comes to braking. Take the braking out of the equation, and carbon rims become more attractive and practical.



Continue reading on Examiner.com Flying a Volagi bike, Part 1 - Santa Ana Cycling | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/cycling-in-santa-ana/flying-a-volagi-part-1-review#ixzz1OY67Pseg

Gary Boulanger interviews Robert Choi

Monday, May 16, 2011 (All day)

Original Article: http://garyb.posterous.com/interview-volagis-robert-choi
Robert Choi is responsible for lighting your way, in a literal sense.

The Sonoma County, California resident developed, patented and sold the first LED bicycle light in the late 1980s, called the VistaLite. His first patent was an algorithm for a sonar fish finder using LCD technology, and after selling VistaLite to Bell Sports in 1994, Choi has developed popular products for Blackburn and CamelBak.

In mid 2010, Choi and former co-worker Barley Forsman created Volagi Cycles, introducing a high-performance ultra-endurance bicycle based on their shared passion for double centuries, brevets, and events like Paris-Brest-Paris.

Tell me a little bit about your background leading up to the development of the VistaLite.
I was always intrigued in how things worked. Early in my career I realized one of my aspirations was to create a product that would make a difference.

I was always interested in looking at technology and improving it. I studied engineering and my interest was on how to apply it and use scientific principles to enhance everyday life. I was intrigued and admired products that would apply simple science principles to make a difference in people’s everyday life. Although my early career work was in high technology, i.e. writing software and designing motherboards, the work seemed nebulous at best. I had the fortunate experience to work at a start-up development company and worked with marketing teams and realized that the product had to have a purpose and not just a tag line.

I believe that good design can be explained without many words and it can communicate the intent of the product by itself. Marketing became a truthful meter to tell the story of a good product, science and engineering became a catalyst to create a great business.

VistaLite was the byproduct of a series of misfortunes. I had a software engineering company, a computer consulting company and a product development company; of which were all failing ventures. In desperation I prototyped a blinking LED light hoping for investing funding. I applied for a government grant to start a business through the Benjamin Franklin Partnership, a program allowing seed funding innovations in Pennsylvania. Luckily, I was awarded a small grant and used it to apply it on a solid state LED safety light for bicycles and VistaLite was born.

At the time, I had no idea of the implications and the impact of the invention in the cycling community. It was the first time that cyclists had a safety light where they could feel safer riding on the road and street next to cars. VistaLite sold over a million lights in less than two years from inception.

How long did it take you to patent it? Was it your first patent?
Patenting a blinking LED light was not an easy endeavor. There had been blinking lights before, and I found out that at a certain frequency of 4-8 hzs resonates with the alpha brain waves.

Such a discovery was attention-getting, and a patent was granted after two years of effort. It happened that only a solid state LED technology allowed this to work and was included in the technology patent. Two years before VistaLite, my first patent was an algorithm for a sonar fish finder using LCD technology.

When did you get serious about cycling?
After inventing VistaLite and forming the company, I was designing and making a front headlight for mountain biking. At the time mountain biking was becoming more popular so I sponsored a team where Floyd Landis was one of the athletes. I started riding with them and they were so good I realized I was not near their caliber, this encouraged me to get better.

I loved mountain biking, doing night rides and testing the lights. I would go at night and ride on my own and got hooked with the cycling sport.

Who worked with you at VistaLite, and when was the company sold to Bell Sports? Can you tell me how much it sold for?
I hired an engineer from Armstrong Building supplies, Kwai Kong who eventually became the president of Bell Sports. I also hired my sisters, Shirley Choi in charge of sales and my other sister, Cathy Choi designing graphics. VistaLite was the first company who utilized all post-consumer corrugated in the cycling industry.

I sold VistaLite to Bell Sports for $2.5 million in 1994, mostly using the money to pay the debtors. At Bell Sports I became the head of marketing and product development for Blackburn, Rhode Gear and VistaLite.

What were some of the products you designed at Bell?
At Bell Sports, once again I helped create some break-though products, the world’s first real mountain frame pump, the Mammoth, and included the HydraPak which led me to CamelBak.

You worked at CamelBak for 10 years; what did you design for them?
I was head of products and worked closely with Barley Forsman, my current business partner at Volagi Cycles. We developed many break-through products including the Big Mouth Reservoirs, the HydroLock, the Big Bite Valve, and our final work was developing a Better Bottle for a previously known "Unbottle" company.

We were integral in pioneering a hydration system for the US military, which became a bigger business for CamelBak than the recreational market at that time.

How did you meet Barley?
While I worked at Bell Sports, Barley sent his resume looking for an internship during the summer of 1998. He insisted by calling me every week asking for an opening, after a while I hired him so that he would stop calling me. I gave him an esoteric project which to my surprise it was so well done that we decided to pursue the design into a product.

When I left Bell Sports to head R&D at CamelBak, Barley was the first designer I hired and the rest is history since we've work together ever since.

You have a passion for endurance cycling. At 50, how do you keep your body limber enough for all that saddle time?
My passion for cycling parallels my passion in business. I found out I was good in endurance cycling by applying the same dedication that I found to be successful in business. The simplicity of it has to do with hard work, preparation, being smart and having the fortitude to overcome obstacles.

Long distance endurance cycling is a metaphor in life and business. The virtues of "never give up" attitude in endurance cycling goes with the motto of our company at Volagi, by endurance and fortitude you discover new abilities that you didn’t know you had. You cannot quit upon the first challenge that comes upon you, the passion gives you the drive and the drive gives you the courage to overcome and solve problems and you grow as a person along the way.

Tell me how the concept for Volagi evolved.
I came to the realization that it was difficult to make a difference working at a big company. Barley and I thought about starting a company but we didn’t have the right idea. We thought it would be accessories but not an actual bike! We had an epiphany: what if we design a bike tailored made for the long distance cyclist? People just like us, who enjoy riding our bike, enjoy the challenges, and try to defy the boundaries of our own capabilities.

The other part was that bike companies were designing bikes for professional racers and marketing the same bike to the “endurance” cyclists. It was the same bike, except with a taller head tube and a longer wheelbase.

Designing and engineering a somewhat radical bicycle is quite a different than lights and hydration systems. How long did it take to develop the first Volagi prototype?
After giving up our day jobs and income in mid 2010, we decided we had to test the concept at the Interbike show in September 2010, and realized we only had six months to design a rideable prototype. We had the first sample arrive four days before the show, and we rode the bike all weekend long so that we could say that we actually rode the bike we were selling!

During our first ride, we knew we had something very special and different than what had been done in the performance bike market.
What has been the initial rider feedback?
Overwhelming! We’re getting our first samples to our press reviewers this week. Without exception, every person who has taken the bike for an extended ride has come back with the aspiration to buy one. We’ve had the most success when dealers actually ride the bike. Our patented pending LongBow Flex has given a new meaning to the endurance bike category. We just offer the bike to cyclists to ride and the bike sells itself. The same principle I learned early in my career holds true again: create something different and useful, and the public will accept it.

When will Volagi production be available?
We’re working hard to have bikes available May 25th, 2011. Some of the first shops to receive shipments will be River City Cycles in Portland, OR, Montlake Bike Shop in Seattle, WA, and to mention a few in California: Calistoga Bicycle Shop, Bicycle Trip in Santa Cruz, and the Trek Store of Santa Rosa.

Hands On: Volagi Liscio Disc Brake Road Bike – Weights, Details

Sunday, May 1, 2011 (All day)

Hands On: Volagi Liscio Disc Brake Road Bike – Weights, Details
posted by Tyler Benedict(Editor) - April 20, 2011 - 10am EDT Original link

When we first laid eyes on Volagi’s disc brake equipped road bikes, we drooled and totally wanted a size run in the office…everyone here wants to ride one. (and now we have one on the way!)

The Volagi Liscio, which means “smooth” in Italian, is now fully in production in all sizes and will be ready to ship May 23. They had several builds on display at Sea Otter, but all revolve around Avid’s mechanical disc brakes coming standard. While that’s certainly the initial “whoa” factor, the frame itself is worthy of attention. So, jump past the break and check this thing out…

Available with either red or white paint details, the bikes are really well thought out beyond including discs. This one is a prototype – the seatpost collar on this was a concept, but it didn’t allow for enough strength in that section of the frame…the other photos below show production versions – but it’s representative of complete bike weights of all the ones we lifted there.

This is the production seatpost binder…still pretty good looking. The seatpost is Volagi’s as it’s shaped to fit the seattube.

Their fork runs the brake cable inside the leg, and it has a mounting hole in the crown for traditional road brakes should you decide to go “old school.” Oh, and check out those rack mounts on the inside of the leg. Rear brake cable runs internally through the downtube.

The top tube has cable stop mounts preinstalled, letting you install standard road calipers if you want. The seatstay bridge has a hole in it for the brake.

The rear brake is mounted inside the triangle, which looks much more appropriate for a sleek road bike. The rear has rack/fender mounts, too.

So, what wheels are these? Volagi’s! Since there aren’t really any disc-specific road rims, they actually did sort of reinvent the wheel. Their new Ignite SL disc-specific wheels have carbon clincher rims and new hubs. Rim width is a respectable 24mm wide on the outside. Claimed weight is 1490g per pair, and they’ll come as a spec option or be available for $1495.

They use 130 rear hub spacing, rims are 30mm tall, and these are almost final spec.

Avid Cyclists Launch Bike Venture

Monday, April 18, 2011 (All day)

Avid Cyclists Launch Bike Venture
By Loralee Stevens, Business Journal Staff Reporter
Original article at http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/32799/avid-cyclists-launch-bike-v...

COTATI — Two avid cyclists with a combined 40 patents in cycling products have put all of their resources and design expertise into building a new carbon bike for lovers of long-distance riding.

Volagi is the dream-child of Robert Choi and Barley Forsman, who came to love cycling in Sonoma County when they both worked for CamelBak, the maker of some of the most popular sport and other hydration systems.

“We were both working in Morgan Hill when we decided to form our own business, but Sonoma County was our choice of place. It has the best cycling in the U.S.,” said Mr. Choi.

He and Mr. Forsman love distance riding, but high-end cycles are all designed for racing, not long-haul pedaling.

“We wanted the carbon frame, the handling and speed of a racer, but a more comfortable seat and disc brakes for those long grades,” said Mr. Forsman.

Liscio frames along with a patented LongBow Stay System allow vertical flex while maintaining lateral stiffness for good transfer of pedal power. The saddle, handlebars and brakes are all designed for endurance riders.

The cycles with the name Volagi – Italian for “the will to go” – are designed by the partners and manufactured by contract bike builders in Taiwan. They retail from $3,500 to $5,500. Trek Bicycles of Santa Rosa and Calistoga Bicycle are carrying the first ones.

“I handle mostly Trek products,” said Bret Gave, owner of the local Trek store. “But the Volagi is unique, and I expect it to be very popular with most of my customers.”

The design, especially the disc brakes, is something entirely new, he said.

“Robert and Barley are at least two years out ahead of other bike makers.”

He’ll demo the two road models April 27 through May 2 at his Mendocino Ave. store.

Mr. Choi, Mr. Forsman and his wife, Susan Forsman, and a handful of employees have leased about 6,100 square feet of office and warehouse space in Cotati and are hitting the bike expos. Members of the Santa Rosa Cycling Club, they expect regional clubs to offer exposure and marketing opportunities.

Levi Leipheimer’s next GranFondo is expected to attract 10,000 riders to the region.

“When riders of a certain age see these cycles, they’ll want one,” said Mr. Choi. “There are more and more baby boomers who want to ride, not race, the roads of Sonoma County.”

He and Mr. Forsman lament the physical state of some of their favorite roads, including West Dry Creek, Coleman Valley and Kings Ridge. But they still attract riders.

“King’s Ridge Road has the reputation among cyclists as the most beautiful place to ride outside the Alps,” said Mr. Forsman.

The lease for Volagi’s building in Cotati was arranged by Richard Henderson and Dennis Brisken of Cassidy Turley BT Commercial.

For more information visit www.volagi.com.

Thinly Sliced, Generously Served - Interview: Volagi's Barley Forsman by Gary J. Boulanger

Monday, April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Original post at http://garyb.posterous.com/interview-volagis-barley-forsman
Barley Forsman is a designer and endurance road cyclist based in Sonoma County, California. The nearly 40-year-old holds several bicycle patents. He and business partner Robert Choi founded Volagi Bikes in mid 2010, and caught the attention of many with a head-turning, carbon performance road bike with disc brakes at the 2010 Interbike Show.

I interviewed Forsman days after he and Choi relocated the Volagi office from the South Bay to Sonoma.

Barley, how long have you been a cyclist?

Well, let’s see… I was given my first bike when I was 4 or 5 years old (at the time I was very proud to be the only kid in my neighborhood not to need training wheels – actually, I never remember using training wheels), so that would mean I’ve been a cyclist for 35 years.

My parents moved around a lot when I was young so there were several years that I didn’t have a bike. When we moved to San Francisco in 1977, I knew I wanted to ride again – as incentive for learning to read time on an analog watch (a watch with hands), I earned my second bike at 7; by 8 I had already completely disassembled that bike, hand painted it, and reassembled with new parts. At 11, I bought my third bike with my own, hard earned money, and my first 10-speed road bike.

In college in 1990, I bought my first mountain bike and spent most of my free time in the Marin Headlands across the Golden Gate Bridge. This was an exciting time to be involved in mountain biking – it was new and fresh (relatively speaking) and new ideas were encouraged and accepted (especially in regard to suspension; the crazier the better!). Through all of college, I rode my bike to get around – everywhere in San Francisco and surrounding areas. I fell in love with commuting and urban riding; as a design student, it was always a creative challenge to carry large supplies on the bike. Once, I even carried another bicycle on my back to school while riding (it was for a school project).

I bought my first real road bike used from Robert (Choi) when I joined CamelBak in 1998. He talked me into riding the famous Death Ride in 1999. I absolutely loved the adventure and the challenge of the event, and it was clear from that point that I was best suited as an endurance cyclist; I haven’t looked back since.

Where were you born? When did you become interested in design and engineering?

Ironically, I was born in Brunswick, Maine – about as far from the SF Bay Area as you can get and still be in the US. I only lived there for the first year of my life – as I said, I spent the first five or six years of my life moving all over the US with my dad in a green 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger (that car was awesome!).

Early on, my dad noticed that I had a talent for drawing and making things (not having much money, I made many of my own toys), so I usually had pen and paper readily available (as well as access to most of my dad’s wood working tools). When I was 7, I drew a Christmas picture and my dad liked it so much that he brought it to a local printer and had Christmas greeting cards made. Not long after that, I had my own greeting card business – I had to present myself and my business to a judge at the SF city hall to be the youngest licensed street artist in San Francisco. I had a booth and sold my cards at Ghirardelli Square near Fisherman’s Wharf on the weekends, but my best business took place at the UC Med Center where visitors would stop to buy a card before going into the hospital. I think I was around 10 when I quit the business – at a certain point it felt too much like “work”!

Through high school and college I explored many different disciplines: interior design, architecture, graphic design, figure drawing, painting, ceramics, and sculpture. As the son of a lifelong carpenter, it was clear that I had to use my hands during the creative process. After about five years of “exploration” I accidentally discovered industrial design while taking a sculpture class. It was very clear that this was a profession I could call home – I could create through sketching and building models and prototyping. The next obvious step was how to combine my love for cycling with my love of creation.

You’re an endurance cyclist. When did that begin, and what events have you raced?

Through college, because I didn’t have a car, I would do weekend rides in Marin – these rides would be 35 to 65 miles on a mountain bike and could take up the better part of a day. So in many respects that was an introduction into endurance cycling. But it wasn’t until I joined CamelBak that I really started to put on the miles – there’s no better way to test product than to use product! After doing my first Death Ride, I was desperate to test myself on a double (200 miles in a day).

I found a local ride called the Terrible Two in Santa Rosa. It was advertised as one of the hardest double in California at 200 miles with 16,000 feet of climbing in the middle of the summer (100+ degree temperatures are not uncommon) – this would be my first double century. I told Robert I would be doing the ride, so he decided he would do it as well, unfortunately he had a business trip on the weekend of the ride. He couldn’t stand that I would do the ride without him (more importantly before him). He secretly went out and did the ride solo without support the weekend before the ride.That was his first double! So, from that time forward, I like to say that Robert got me into cycling and I got him into ultra-distance cycling. It’s been all downhill (and uphill) from then; here are some of the bigger events (centuries don’t count):

•Triple Crown winner (5+ doubles in a year)
•Completed 29 official double centuries in California (in the last 10 years)
•Triple Crown Stage race (completed 3, and finished 2nd place in 2009)
•Full brevet series 200K, 300K, 400K, 600K (2002, 2003, 2004, 2010)
•Paris Brest Paris 1200K – finished in 58:50 hours (2003)
•Furnace Creek 508 race (finished 1st place in the fixed gear category) (2004)
I’ve also done a handful of shorter races (criteriums, cyclo-cross, track, etc.), but I’m much more adept at distance.

You have a slightly similar career path as Robert. What is it like working together? How do you complement each other’s gifts?

I’ve known Robert since 1997, when he hired me at Bell Sports. Then he hired me again at CamelBak in 1998, where we worked together for almost 10 years. And then we worked together at Specialized for a little over two years, before starting Volagi cycles.

It was really a “no-brainer” to start a business with Robert; he’s a great guy. We get along and share many of the same ideals in design and in life. It became clear while at CamelBak that we worked well together and that we could accomplish great things. We share a core passion for both cycling and creation – deep down we’re both inventors and entrepreneurs, and we’re not afraid to take a chance and do something different (or more specifically, better!).

We’re both extreme bike nuts and work-a-holics, who enjoy testing product and much as creating product. We have created Volagi to be less of a company and more of a lifestyle; we believe that work shouldn’t feel like “work”.

We complement each other very well. Robert is very business and market savvy – he has been around for a long time and has a great deal of experience. He has a very good idea of not only what to do, but what not to do (which can often be more important), based on his experience starting and running his own company in the late `80s (VistaLite). He also has a very intuitive sense for the cycling market for determining what could be successful – I can’t say what his exact success rate is, but I am certain that it’s very high. With an engineering background, he also understands product and function very well – better than many engineers I have worked with. It’s a very natural process to discuss product function (what works, and what doesn’t) with him – our best ideas have come from informal conversations, where we can brainstorm concepts and feed off of each others’ ideas.

Finally, Robert is a “numbers” guy – he understands business, and what it means to make sound judgment based on rational decisions. He is great for keeping us honest – everything we do has to make product sense as well as business sense.

My job is to take an abstract idea and transform it into a visually appealing, functionally superior product (or at least, that is the goal). We have a great synergy working together and I can’t think of a better partner as we begin this journey.

Which bikes have you ridden and raced over the years, and what did/do you like most about them?

Being a self-described bike nut, I have, and have had many different bikes – road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX, track bikes, cross bikes, folding bikes, cruiser bikes, Frankenstein commuter bikes, you name it (if it has two wheels and you pedal it, I definitely have an interest in it!). I have bikes made from most materials (steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon), although I don’t yet have a wood or bamboo bike (I said “yet”).

I would say that some of my favorite bikes have come from Jeremy Sycip – a small one-man bike builder in Sonoma County. Not only is Jeremy a great guy, but he makes great bikes – I own two and my wife owns one. I highly recommend Jeremy as a frame builder – his attentiveness and attention to detail are second to none.

I also have a 1987 steel DeRosa that has S&S couplers – this has been my go-to travel bike. My wife and I own a Calfee tandem; (owner) Craig is one of the best carbon guys in the area (again, highly recommended!). My wife and I have ridden the Davis Double Century many times on this bike – once we finished in 10 hours (not bad for straight 200 miles). One of my other “favorite” bikes is probably also the least expensive – a Surly Crosscheck. This bike is a functional marvel. I’ve had it set up as a cross bike, fixed gear, single speed, road bike, and do-all commuter – it’s the workhorse in the stable.

The Volagi Liscio is a radical departure from most bikes we’ve seen, especially production bikes. What is your goal, and how did the design come about?

In the beginning, we didn’t really think about what product we would make, but more objectively about what was missing and what was needed in the cycling community. We thought about the kinds of rides that we do and the people that we ride with. It was apparent to us that there was a void, or disconnect between what is currently available and what people really need, or want. We knew from the beginning that our approach would be different – we would design and build product for the real world for real people.

As we honed in on a direction, it became clear that there really was no other option than to do a bike – to fundamentally change the concept of what a performance road bike should be. We know that most cyclists take themselves seriously – they work hard for their fitness, spending hours in the saddle and they expect the most from their equipment. Right now, if you want the best bike money can buy, utilizing the best technologies on the market, you have no choice but to buy a bike designed specifically for the professional racer. A sponsored athlete has considerably different goals than the average cyclist, they are probably in their 20s, probably weigh about 140 pounds (if they’re fat!), and could care less about anything that doesn’t get them across the line first – I am certain that comfort and safety is not on the list of necessities.

Our goal was to redesign the endurance road bike from the ground up – we started with a simple gateway question: “is it better?” Every design feature, every specification had to answer “yes” to that question. With that as a guideline (as simple as it is), the bike was born – a high performance endurance bicycle build to go as fast and as far as you want to go, without compromising comfort, control, or good looks.

Tell me a bit more about the bike’s details, including the component highlights. Where did you apply your expertise?

The heart and soul of the Volagi Liscio in the Longbow Flex seat-stays – this is really where the magic happens. It’s based on a very simple concept: a long tube flexes more than a short tube. We wanted shorter tubes for the chain-stays to reduce unwanted flex at the rear wheel (we didn’t want to compromise power transfer).

Conversely, we wanted longer tubes for the seat-stays to provide flex, or compliance. In order to do this we had to change the point where the seat-stays connect from the seat-tube to the top-tube (the seat-stays do not touch the seat-tube). Obviously, there’s a little more to it than just that, but it’s best to experience the ride than describe it: the proof is in the pudding (and we wouldn’t want it any other way!).

The other obvious highlight has to be the front and rear disc brakes. To us, it was a decision that made itself: is it better? Yes, in almost every way! Road bicycles are really the only hold-out to disc brakes – every other performance form of transportation currently available has adopted disc brakes for a reason – they are better. It’s obviously about safety and control, but also about going faster, with more confidence.

Once you try discs on a long twisty downhill, we’re convinced you won’t want to go back to rim brakes. Outside of that, they’re better in the rain, work with a broken spoke, work with a dented rim, work better with carbon rims (no heat build-up), won’t roll a tire on a hot day, fits larger tires, easier to change a flat (cleaner), last longer, consistent performance, etc, etc…

Everything we’ve done is really just based on common sense: taller head-tube, aero tubing, clearance for larger tires, fender mounts, compact handlebar, compact cranks, reasonable gearing at the cogs, 25C tires standard, BB30 bottom bracket, tapered head-tube, and we’ve even made our own saddle for comfort over a range of positions.

We’re also shipping our bikes in a reusable corrugated plastic box that the customer can use for travel (so there’s less waste at the bike shop), with a couple of extra spokes and nipples, because, well, you never know.

Who is your ideal Volagi customer?

A free-thinker looking for a common sense uncompromised performance endurance road bike, basically.

You just introduced the line at Interbike last fall. Where can folks buy a Liscio?

We’re signing up dealers now. If people are interested, they can contact their local dealer and we’ll work with them to set up a test ride; no matter what folks might think about the concept, always ride before you buy (we’re confident they’ll love it, but we want them to be the judge).

Stay tuned for my interview with Volagi Bikes co-founder Robert Choi.