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Sport and Fitness

Test riding the Ventum NS1 superbike

Words by Nathan Irvine

EDGAR satisfies its need for speed with Ventum Middle East

As a relative novice that’s only recently discovered cycling, the sport is still a complex beast to me. From the terminology to the etiquette of silently joining a peloton (clue: don’t), it can be a confusing, yet deeply reward pursuit. One thing I’ve always wondered is how much difference a high-end bike makes compared to my entry level steed?

In short, will spending a small fortune on a top of the range bike really make me faster? Or is the whole bike industry arms race a ploy to trick consumers into just thinking they are? So I turned to premium bike manufacturer Ventum to find out.

The US-brand is relatively unknown outside of cycling circles, a fact compounded by a fellow cyclist stopping by to say he’d “never seen a Ventum in the wild. It’s quickly gaining mass market appeal, mind.

For example, Ventum is now Lance Armstrong’s ride of choice when he’s on the roads. It’s also the official partner of Ironman™ and has become a go-to bike for competitors. Unsurprising really, since those that use its trailblazing – and patented – Z-shaped Ventum One, crushed the cycling sections of the 2015-16 event by an average of 18 minutes compared to its rivals.

It recently opened an  e-commerce store for the Middle East as it looks to capitalize on the booming bike scene here. And, unlike most other brands, you can test ride a Ventum before stumping up the cash for one.

Ventum NS1 being ridden up a mountain road.

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Like a speeding bullet

It’s a strange sensation, but you can feel the difference even as you’re coasting along. There was a fair amount of wind around the Nad Al Sheba cycle track in Dubai, but the NS1 stayed straight and true. This is due to the advanced aerodynamics of the bike, which were the result of research and testing that fighter jet planes and Formula One cars go through. Not once did it feel like a gust could knock me off course.

The thing is, the Ventum NS1 doesn’t want to coast, it wants to go fast. It’s similar to when I’ve been behind the wheel of a Lamborghini or Aston Martin supercar – you can almost sense how unhappy the bike is going slow. I was only happy to oblige in helping it out.

So confident is Ventum about its build quality, the rep on the ride encouraged me to “try and break it”. Not with a sledgehammer, mind, but by trying to push through the pedals hard to see just what the NS1 could do. It would’ve been rude not to, right? So I smashed through the pedals and found that, yes, an expensive bike can make you go faster.

In Pictures. Ventum NS1

Photos. Supplied

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Ventum NS1 being tested on Dubai's Al Qudra cycle track.

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Legs: Author's own

Fast forward

I hit just a little over 55km/h, on a flat, without a tailwind. On my current ride – a 2018 BMC Teammachine SL03 – this would demand far more effort. But the Ventum NS1 is a different beast that wants to disappear over the horizon without so much as a “goodbye”. It’s all down to the slick combination of cutting-edge aerodynamics and smooth digital gear shifts that you simply don’t get with beginner, cheaper bikes.

Not only does it respond to your accelerating needs in a straight line, it’s also built for twitch response in the handlebars. Weaving and speeding past people on inferior bikes is a breeze and never feels like you’re out of control.

The NS1 isn’t just a sprint machine either. I booked a second demo ride as I wanted to see what it was like over 80km+ at the Al Qudra cycle track. It’s safe to say it was a comfortable, satisfying ride up there too. Even with the whipping winds coming in from all angles, I still managed to cut through it and break some all-important Strava PBs that I’ve been trying to crack for months.

OK, I’m fully aware that the likes of Chris Froome would get even more out of my current setup, but in terms of a weekend warrior getting an edge over their mates it certainly pays to get the higher-end bikes. And the Ventum NS1 should be right at the top of your shopping list.

 

The Ventum NS1 starts at AED 13,600

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