Viner Volata - First ride£2,300.00

Handbuilt Italian offering

BikeRadar score4/5

Along with Wilier, Basso, Ciocc and a host of venerable but less well known premium Italian brands attempting comebacks in northern European markets, Viner have been quietly raising their profile with a host of well thought out and seductive cutting-edge carbon bikes.

The Volata has an all-carbon frame and features such as a differentially-sized steerer tube/head tube and probably the thickest carbon dropouts you can get away with without running out of threads on your quick-release skewer. Elsewhere on the frame, lewd bulges and aerofoil-inspired protuberances – just about any type of shape that CAD design and carbon have allowed to come to life – can be found.

Up front, the chunky fork has a Pinarello-style wavy shape to the blades. Whether ridden easy or hard, it conveys a feeling of accurate control and has a nose for the perfect line, with just the right amount of shock absorption dialled in to the laterally stout blades.

Our test rig came anchored with a choice selection of premier league componentry in the guise of Campagnolo 11-speed Athena, bulked up with cranks, brakes and wheels by Miche. The latter performed well while keeping a lid on that all-important price point, as well as offering a distinctive and stylish alternative to the usual Far-Eastern suspects.

Out on the road, besides great high-speed stability, the neutral handling has just about the right responsiveness to keep things interesting for the more thrill-seeking among you. Rapid changes of direction at high speed require a shift and a nudge from the hips, as the front end will have settled into a safe groove, impervious to untidy or jittery input into the bar.

The wheel package felt light, and actually was, as our scales confirmed their weights at 1,030g for the front and 1,579g for the rear, bringing them into respectable Shimano Ultegra territory.

Featuring slimline, diabolo-shaped forged hubs running sealed cartridge bearings, plus stout, angular, machined, box-section rims and stainless bladed spokes, they were quick to accelerate and laterally stiff. Combined with the beefed-up head-tube and fork, they provided pin sharp steering response.

We loved the shiny patent leather effect of the Selle Italia saddle – it looks great and provides plenty of slip-n-slide for shifting around without getting your shorts snagged, while the full-carbon Deda seatpost in a 31.6mm diameter made for an attractive pedestal.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to have their own clamping mechanism these days, and this one is not without its peculiar problem: access to the forward bolt is restricted, so depending on the shape of the handle, not all Allen keys will fit.

Safe at any speed, the Volata’s ride is secure and planted, smooth as silk and beautifully neutral, and inspires such a degree of confidence that risk-taking becomes all too tempting.

When things got out of hand, the Miche Primato forged dual pivot brakes worked well enough once the pads and rim surfaces were broken in, while familiar looking diamond and herringbone treaded Deda-badged tyres grabbed hold of whatever surface was available and hauled proceedings down to safe levels. 

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