VENTUM STARTED OUT making aerodynamic bikes for racing against the clock. Its signature model, the z-shaped One, has no down tube and no seatstays. But as this fairly young direct-to-consumer company, founded in Utah in 2015, continues to grow, it’s branching out into more traditional markets. In 2019 it introduced the NS1 road bike, and in 2020 it brought us this Ventum GS1 gravel bike.
The Ventum GS1 gravel bike is just like its all-road counterpart, the NS1. The GS1 is a refined aero bike that handles well, accelerates like a rocket ship, and looks great while doing it. When paired with the proprietary Ventum stem, the fully integrated cables are completely invisible on the front end.
PRICE: $6,499 / WEIGHT: 18.1 LB (M)
The Ventum GS1 gravel bike
A gravel bike from a triathlon brand may strike some as unusual, but it’s not the first time a brand has followed this path.
Cevelo, a company known for its time-trial and triathlon bikes, introduced the Aspero – one of the finest gravel bikes on the market today, in 2019.
Incidently, Gerard Vroomen, one of Cervelo’s founders, went on to design gravel bikes such as the influential Open U.P. and U.P.P.E.R., as well as the speedy 3T Exploro RaceMax.
Perhaps the journey from time trial and triathlon to gravel is not so weird after all.
Race-style gravel bike
The carbon GS1 is a decidedly race-style gravel bike. It’s somewhat low, with a position that’s aggressive without being punishing.
The frame has some aero shaping (though Ventum provides no data or claims about possible energy-saving benefits), and its hoses, housing, and wires are hidden, entering through an opening in the headset cup.
This system is compatible with standardized bar and stem systems, though it does limit how low you can drop the stem. Too close to the headset cap and the stem pinches the brake hose.
I also wonder about the opening taking in water and grit, which could turn into sludge that may run down into the lower headset bearing.
No rack or fender mounts
The GS1 doesn’t have rack or fender mounts, but it does have spots to affix a top-tube bag and a third bottle mount under the down tube.
Fork with two offset options
The fork has a chip with two offset options. The forward position reduces trail for quicker handling. The rear increases trail for more stability.
Switching the chip’s position requires repositioning the brake caliper using provided spacers.
Ventum also gives the bike a removable front-derailleur mount for a cleaner-looking 1x build. And clearance for 48mm tires on 650b wheels and 42mm with 700c wheels.
Three GS1 options
There are three GS1 options to choose from. A frame set for $2,399. A mechanical-shifting build that starts at $2,899. And one known as the Premium Edition, which starts at $5,299 and is the most customizable.
All complete bikes have the same frame, fork, and seatpost. And come in five frame sizes and three colors. And Ventum gives you the choice of three Enve wheel upgrades.
The Premium Edition lets you choose a Shimano or SRAM electronic shifting drivetrain. A power meter (if you choose SRAM). Five Enve handlebar options. Three crank lengths (four if you choose Shimano). For stem lengths. And some value-added merch. Like a gaiter, sunglasses, or Ventum tumbler.
Shimano GRX Di2
This model is equipped with the awesome Shimano GRX Di2 and the Enve SES AR bar. Whose shape and comfort are exceptional.
As built, it costs $6,499, which is a decent deal for a carbon bike with a 2x electronic drivetrain and a carbon post, bar, stem, and wheels. Better than what the big brands offer. But not as sweet as a Canyon with a similar build.
Ventum keeps the options in the customization focused, to avoid bogging you down with choices like valve lengths and bar-tape textures.
If you have special requirements for your build, Ventum’s concierge team will do what it can to facilitate the ask.
Impressively packaged in a customized box
The bike arrives impressively packaged in a customized box. The bar, stem, and derailleur are already installed. The only assembly required is slotting in the wheels and threading on your pedals.
If you ride the bike and don’t love it, you can return it “no questions asked,” says Ventum spokesperson Nils Nilsen.
Money back guarantee
It comes with a 30-day, money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty on the frame. And a five-year crash-replacement program.
Ventum will sell you a replacement frame and/or fork at a discount. Typically around 40 percent off depending on the age of the frameset and the MSRP listed on the site.
For a brand’s first foray into the gravel market, Ventum succeeded in making a bike that offers a mature and refined ride.
The Ventum GS1 reminds me a lot of the Aspero, actually. It’s stiff and fast-feeling with a frictionless response to changes in tempo. And the jump and energy of a good race bike.
It seems so tightly coiled, in fact, that you might be worried it will pummel you when venturing onto rougher roads and single track trails.
While it doesn’t glide over terrain quite like another excellent gravel bike, the Salsa Warbird. It does provide good isolation from bumps both small and large. Which is helpful for you feeling fresh even on demanding rides.
WTB Riddler tires
This bike has 37c WTB Riddler tires on Enve’s new AG25 700c wheels. A dreamily quick and comfortable-feeling combination.
You’ll appreciate the predictability of the low-depth rims when battling crosswinds.
Even with the fork in the forward, or quicker-handling, position, you’ll find the GS1 to be a neutral-to-stable-feeling bike with predictable steering.
Amount of trail
The trail on the medium sized bike is 76mm – 81 in the short-offset position. Which is a good amount even for the gravel category (for comparison, the Aspero has about 59mm of trail).
So while switching the chip to the rear position increases trail and stability, I’m not sure why you’d want to make the GS1 even slower-steering and more stable.
I suspect it has something to do with those who are running 650b wheels. Smaller wheels reduce trail. So by reducing the fork’s offset, the 650b rider will net about the same trail as the one running 700c wheels and more offset.
The head angle is fairly slack (70 degrees on the size medium), and with the 50mm offset fork, the GS1 has a generous wheelbase; despite the efficient crispness of the drivetrain.
It feels planted and steady. The handling can feel a touch sluggish on the roads, but on dirt it balances the agility/stability teeter-totter well. And offers plenty of confidence to get frisky on mountain bike trails.
I’ll admit to having reservations about the Ventum GS1 – how good could a gravel bike from a triathlon brand be? As it turns out, pretty damn great!
WHERE TO BUY: https://ventumracing.com/gravel/
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