Velocite, for those who are unfamiliar with the name, are a Danish bike company specialising in handmade, relatively high-end carbon ﬁbre frames. The Flux is their one and only mountain bike in a stable dominated by road bikes.
The ﬁrst thing you notice about the classic ‘bum-up-head-down’ cross-country race Flux is that you’re staring rather than just looking at it. The combination of elegantly curving, almost organic-looking tubes and that gorgeously subtle satin-ﬁnish raw carbon works hard to excite the racer in you. Those understated graphics only add to the buzz.
But beauty is more than skin deep, of course, and eventually we had to stop drooling and get on it. Does this 19lb of Danish just sizzle, or can it bring home the bike test bacon? And could we possibly torture a metaphor any more badly?
Ride & handling: Responsive, lively and unexpectedly good
Without wanting to sound rude, we were more than a little surprised by the Flux – in a very good way. Carbon frames, especially those from smaller companies, can be a bit hit and miss, with many dull-feeling examples leaving you puzzled about the hype. Not so with the Velocite Flux. This bike reminded us just how good a design that hits the bullseye can feel.
We love the challenge of pushing a high-performance cross-country race bike to its limits off-road. It’s a bit like driving a lightweight sports car around wet roundabouts – heaps of fun when you’ve developed the skills to remain in charge, but a bit scary if you’re driving like Miss Daisy.
The beautifully ﬁnished chassis responds to pedal inputs like a scalpel in a surgeon’s hand, taking your physical inputs and turning them into precise shapes on the trail. It’s no good ﬂailing around as you’ll upset its balance, and maintaining your cool, relaxed trail Chi is what bikes like this are all about. Tuck in, use your smoothest spin and let it deliver your forward motion.
It’s lively for carbon. We’d say ‘zingy’ if it wasn’t a metallic sounding word that’s been rudely hijacked by the steel tubes of yesteryear.
Talking tubes, the tapered head tube and oversized BB30 bottom bracket add a level of corner tracking and steering precision lacking in many older cross-country race bikes, but if you think all this oversizing and precision means it’s a jackhammer-hard ride, then you’d be wrong. The Flux is as smooth as a pint of chilled lager.
Even on those precariously narrow Speed King tyres and the full carbon saddle, we never felt we were paying for its stiffness through our lower backs. With bigger tyres and a padded saddle, you’d be wearing slippers.
Velocite’s own-brand saddle is full carbon but won’t let you down in the comfort stakes
Frame & equipment: Stiff, with XC race maths thrown in
The guys at Velocite know what they want from their Flux – a clean, crisp, responsive bike that blends classic, practical Danish design with fast cross-country race geometry. Don’t panic – the Flux also sees decidedly new-school design to keep it bang up to date for today’s stiffness and precision-mad riders.
Velocite claim that elegant bow in the top tube increases standover height and makes a smaller, stiffer front triangle. We’re not quite sure about their logic – maybe something got lost in translation, as a straight one sloping at the same angle would surely make the front triangle tighter and offer decreased standover, which would be better… Still, it matters little as the frame is stiff enough, and the chance of catching yourself on the smooth, rounded top tube is negligible.
The front end sports a tapered head tube, already the de facto new standard in modern frames. They’re not just hype either, with noticeably improved steering precision the main beneﬁt. Further down you ﬁnd the SRAM XX crankset is the increasingly popular BB30 ﬁtting, making this one of the most future-proofed carbon frames we’ve seen in a while.
We were initially a bit worried by the rather old-fashioned long stem and 3T’s narrow 580mm (22.8in) ﬂat bar, and the skinny 2.1in Continental Speed King tyres weren’t helping either. They’re all top quality items, but are frankly poor choices for progressive modern bikers and adventurous off-road riding.
Still, we tortured a few metaphors to make us feel better and rode it as supplied.
Why did we still want to play on the Velocite Flux when the ofﬁcial test was over? It’s just a bike that has a certain something. It’s hard to pin down or even point a pointy thing at, but it simply responds the way you hope it will.
The thrill of letting it jet you down the trail at a velocity disproportionate to the perceived effort applied is highly addictive. To make the Flux an even more enticing proposition, the price (at the time of testing) had been discounted by 10 percent, making the frame-only option £1,170.
The end of the test only raised one real question. Where is the 29er Flux, and the 650b version for that matter? Okay, technically that’s two, but we’re investigating. In the meantime, if 29ers didn’t exist, this is the cross-country racer we’d want to be riding.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.