Velocite Helios Aero - First look

Aero road frame from new Taiwanese company

Taiwanese-based Velocite Bikes have released the Helios Aero, their flagship aero road bike. It's aimed at "riders seeking the ultimate multi-stage race bike, a versatile triathlon and Ironman bike or a technical course time trial bike".

The carbon frame has been designed to be stiff and aero while staying within the limits of UCI equipment regulations. Its chief designer is Lewis Mathiske, formerly of Teschner and the developer of the Teschner Aerowave frame.

"We relied on Lewis's expertise and wind tunnel data with his previous models and prototypes," Velocite's CEO Victor Major told BikeRadar. "Lewis is confident that this is his best work yet." In fact, Mathiske is so pleased with the design that he's selling a slightly different version of the bike, with a shorter, symmetrical head tube and a different fork, under the name Aerowave Corsa.

The frame may look the goods but it hasn't been put through its paces in a wind tunnel yet. "We've been in talks with an aerodynamics department at a university in Tainan for a while where we intend to conduct low speed aerodynamic testing with a rider," said Major. "We chose not to do CFD (computational fluid dynamics) since that's overused in my opinion, and besides a pretty looking illustration, it doesn't actually show very well what happens when the bike is ridden."

The frame has a claimed weight of 1,250g so it's no featherweight by modern standards. But the extra material goes towards making it as stiff as any top-end road machine out there – so say Velocite. The tapered 1.5in carbon steerer should give stability and confidence when descending, cornering and sprinting.

All cables are internal, although there are no cable guides. Velocite are relying on the frame's smooth inside surfaces to ensure shifting isn't compromised. It's also compatible with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting "and other emerging shift-by-wire systems".

The full bike as pictured with Noir 50/90 carbon clinchers and 25mm Continental Ultra Race tyres has a claimed weight of 7.2kg, but this can be reduced to 6.7kg (below the UCI weight limit) by speccing it with Noir 38/50T wheels and Continental Competition tubulars.

Major says the frames will be available worldwide, either direct from Velocite or via a distributor (US, South Africa and Scandinavia). Medium frames will begin shipping in April 2011, with other sizes becoming available from June. The price for the frameset is US$2,999, while the complete bike as pictured is $6,999. For more information, visit Velocite Bikes.

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