Kent-based V02 have been around since 2009 when they launched the Victory tri bike, and have continued to upgrade and expand their range ever since. The V:Pro:Carbon is their signature road racer, and now comes specc’d with full Ultegra Di2 instead of a Sram groupset following ‘feedback from customers’. Throw in some seriously racey Reynolds Strike carbon wheels (over £1.2K on their own) and you have a very good value package with plenty of speed credentials, despite the frame not being out-and-out aero road geometry.
The best road bikes for triathlon
The advantage of buying from a relatively small brand is the more attentive service. With V02, each customer fills out a consultation form before purchasing so they can build the right bike for you. Unless you’re clued up on components this is definitely an underrated concept, as we were about to find out with our beastly set-up…
Our test model is made for out-and-out speed, with a 53/59 chainset and 12-25 cassette – for those who don’t know, that’s a big combination, and if you plan on riding it anywhere that isn’t pan flat you’ll want to go for a more forgiving set-up. That said the bike does climb quite well on short and sharp gradients and slight ascents, just don’t be perturbed when you find yourself shifting to the small ring at the slightest hint of a hill. But this is where the excellent Ultegra Di2 shifting really comes into its own, as you don’t really suffer any speed losses by changing rings even for short and sharp climbs. It’s a great value addition along with the Reynolds wheels, and changes the ride entirely; although is it too much to ask for the battery to be mounted anywhere else other than the down tube? Call it nitpicking, but we think it looks ugly and it’s extra faff to mount your drinks bottle!
The choice of Deda’s 35mm bars is an interesting one; while they do provide comfort and greater stability, it’s probably not the best rig for tri. If you want to ride with clip-ons you’re limited to Deda’s own 35mm-compatible Fastblack 2 bars, which are expensive and not this tester’s go-to aerobar (they’re far too long and will need cutting down to reach the top of the extensions unless you’re well over six foot). We’d perhaps suggest standard 31.8mm oversized bars for tri use even though the 35’s do feel a little more plush on your hands, so again consult with V02 on build options.
Our main test ride came at the London Triathlon (clip-on bars attached), and as expected the bike absolutely flew. Weighing in at 7.3kg including wheels it’s not silly light but it’s still stiff enough to cope with crosswinds, so lateral wobbles were minimal. When you’re zipping along at 40km/h or faster it’s a joy to ride and really comes into its own.
Everything considered, the version of the V:Pro:Carbon we tested is quite niche; it’s purely for fast and flat rides and will suit draft-legal racers for sprint and standard-distance triathlon. But the light and well-handling frame is good value for money and versatile, so you won’t regret going to V02 to create a V:Pro:Carbon specific to your needs.
Verdict :The test build isn’t for everyone, but price and customisation options make for a fast, good value racer