Reap has launched the Vekta – a new, UK-made aero road bike that’s rim-brake only for the time being (though a disc-brake version is said to be in the works).
As well as claiming “class-leading aerodynamics”, Reap is emphasising how stiff the Vekta is: “the Vekta is massively stiffer under power and steering forces” and “you’ve never ridden a bike like this”. Bold claims, indeed.
Bold looks and bolder claims
As with many aero road bikes, the Vekta uses large truncated aerofoil tube shapes, with slim dropped seatstays.
An integrated seatmast is less common, but Reap says the Vekta will still be comfortable due to the added compliance from dropping the seatstays and a carbon lay-up tuned for vibration damping.
It is also said to have clearance for tyres up to 28mm – on the small side by modern road bike standards, though this is likely due to the constraints of the current crop of short-drop rim brakes.
The coming disc-brake version may perhaps gain another few millimetres of clearance.
Reap’s headline claim, though, is that the Vekta is “faster, smoother, and radically stiffer” (though it doesn’t say exactly what this is in comparison to).
Doubling down on this claim, Reap says this increased stiffness makes the Vekta feel unlike anything else on the market. It has apparently been able to achieve this thanks to its use of Toray M40J unidirectional fibre.
Reap says this high modulus carbon fibre makes up 80 per cent of the Vekta’s carbon layup, and claims this is “a vastly higher percentage and grade than most manufacturers use in their top models”.
In terms of aerodynamic development, Reap says the bike was originally CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) modelled by a team of engineers (some of whom had previously worked on the UK Sport Olympic bikes).
A prototype was then made, which was benchmarked in a wind tunnel as “on par with a time trial bike from one of the most respected brands.” Reap has not specified the bikes it tested the Vekta against, though.
Following this wind tunnel test, a rideable prototype was tested at Derby Velodrome by Dan Bigham of WattShop and professional triathlete Tom Bishop.
In terms of weight, Reap claims a size medium Vekta frame weighs 1,120g, with the fork weighing 380g.
Rim brakes in 2021?
Given the overall direction of the road bike market, it’s somewhat of a surprise to see a brand leading a launch with a rim-brake-only bike (even if it’s only for the time being).
When we asked Reap why it had chosen to make the Vekta with rim brakes, it said that the ongoing global supply issues surrounding bike parts was the main reason behind the decision.
“As a very small brand”, Reap is “well down the list to receive orders of the latest disc brake groupsets”, but it nevertheless didn’t want to delay the launch of the bike.
It’s apparently not a value judgement on either system or a statement as to where Reap stands in the ongoing debate, it’s simply a matter of what parts Reap can get hold of right now.
Reap did also say that it recognises many current professionals and consumers are perfectly happy with rim brakes and rim-brake wheels, so it feels there’s still a significant market for a dedicated race bike with rim brakes.
UK-made, available now and direct to consumer
If all of that has caught your eye, the Vekta is available to purchase now. Prices start at £3,500 for the frameset or £6,450 as a complete bike with SRAM Force eTap AXS and Parcours wheels.
The most expensive model costs £9,400 and is specced with Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 Di2 and Enve wheels. No doubt an updated model with Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 Di2 will follow whenever that is officially launched.
While these prices are obviously far from cheap, they’re not out of line with current trends. This is arguably impressive, though, given Reap is a relatively small British bike brand that makes its framesets entirely in the UK – it doesn’t have the economies of scale a brand like Canyon has, for example.