Translated from “’Crazy about Bikes’ This month’s bike”; Cycle Sports Japan, January 2014
Established brands are a safe choice, but finding that special bike from a little known brand is one of cycling’s attractions.
Volagi is a small brand established by former Specialized staff, their disc road bike turned some heads at Interbike in 2012. Often smaller brands like this can go relatively unnoticed, but ironically Volagi was thrown into the spotlight with a lawsuit from the owner’s former employer.
The bike that caused a stir is this, the Liscio 2. It’s main features are the long, gently curving seatstays. Thin, curved seatstays are not uncommon these days, but the fact that they bypass the seattube and attach to the toptube is where the Liscio’s originality lies. This “Logbow Flex Stay,” also used in the steel Viaje model, is the brand’s trademark design. The approach differs, but like the Trek Domane or Cannondale Synapse, the concept of allowing the seattube to move in order to increase comfort is the same. Aiming for the top with a bike designed for endurance is one of the brand’s concepts, born perhaps from the creators’ experience at Paris-Brest-Paris. With a disc brake only line-up, Volagi is unique in the market.
A few turns of the pedals reveals a neutral ride. The disc rotors catch a small amount of wind, but no surprises. This may sound like a negative impression, but it’s not. Many compliance-oriented bikes reveal a disconcerting gap in vibration transmission between front and rear end. (The Liscio) lets you feel the road at the front, then smooths out the bumps at the back. There’s no gap between what you see and what you feel, with excellent front-rear balance.
Even if you don’t notice over short distance, the reduced fatigue becomes noticeable over longer rides. The more you ride it, the more you will understand and appreciate it. It doesn’t have the acceleration of a top end race bike, nor is it especially light: looking down from a racing perspective, it may seem that there’s not much to praise. However, what the creators are aiming for is bike for riders looking to explore their full potential. They are aiming at an ideal road bike, without the limitations of UCi regulations. Road disc brakes still have a way to go, but the benefit of better function in the wet and when tired is for sure a good proposition.
Regardless of whether road disc brakes become widely accepted, this is definitely one for any bike enthusiast. I’ve ridden a number of disc road bikes, but this is the best buy so far. Pricier models are available, but they lose out on that easy-to-ride feeling. The brand’s potential and the balance of price and function make the Liscio 2 a very attractive proposition, especially for those interested in up-and-coming brands.