Now in its third year, the Van Nicholas Astraeus road race frame has been updated to increase stiffness, and now includes Di2 compatibility.
The seamless hydroformed frame was designed using FEM (Finite Element Method) analysis, which provides detailed information on where a structure bends or twists due to stress, so that engineers can increase stiffness in certain areas.
Oversized tubing and a tapered head tube (1 1/8in to 1 1/4in) increase stiffness at the front, and a new chainstay bridge and press-fit bottom bracket have stiffened things up around the BB. The new 3D forged dropouts allow the chainstay spacing to be wider and therefore stiffer, too, with the dropouts bringing the axle width back in to 130mm.
The 1,450g frame (56cm) now comes with internal mechanical and Di2 cable routing, for smooth lines, with the seat tube hiding the battery. Van Nicholas’ own carbon fork, the VNT SLR, adorns the front end, with the characteristic damping properties of carbon.
The frame and fork will set you back £2,195/US$2,699, while complete bikes can be built to a range of specs on the Van Nicholas website. Frames come in a range of sizes, from 50-60cm and the company can also build them to suit.
3D forged dropouts allow wider chainstays for increased stiffness
At the press camp in Mallorca this week, Van Nicholas were keen to point out that titanium frames aren’t just for those looking for comfort. It’s fair to say that the Astraeus is stiff, especially at the front end, with very nimble handling. BikeRadar will have a first ride review of the updated frame soon, so watch this space.