Founded in Taiwan in 2008, Velocite is a relatively new kid on the bike block. Behind the brand is a group of scientists and engineers on a mission to make bikes that combine maximum stiffness with minimum weight. So we’re expecting the Magnus to deliver high-end speed and thrills.
The Magnus certainly isn’t a classically elegant-looking bike. If anything, with its aggressive geometry, oversized tubing and stealth black finish, it looks positively thuggish. But despite being a bulky-looking, super-stiff bruiser, the frame is surprisingly lightweight, with the medium-sized model tested here weighing in at 1,080g.
In their quest for stiffness, Velocite has tinkered with the Bora S forks and claims to have increased its stiffness by 20%. Aerodynamics haven’t been ignored with a recessed seatpost clamp, internal cable routing and curved, blade-like seatstays.
Groupset is the ever-reliable Shimano Ultegra. You can find bikes equipped with Ultegra Di2, Dura-Ace or SRAM Red at this price, but Ultegra’s decent enough and with the Magnus frame costing £1,790, something has to give. Gearing is uncompromising with a 53/39t chainset and a tight 11-23t cassette at the rear.
It’s shod with Velocite’s own Tenax wheelset. They’re 30mm-deep, aluminium-rimmed training wheels and on a par with mid-range wheelsets such as the Fulcrum Racing 5, but aren’t in the same league as the frame. Hutchinson’s Fusion 3 tyres should add some zip to the wheels. Finishing kit is a mixture of 3T and Velocite’s own carbon bling. In a final bold statement, the build is topped off with a wafer-thin, bare carbon saddle.
Immediately after swinging your leg over the top tube, clipping in and rolling off, you can’t help but take on some of the bike’s aggressive swagger. This isn’t a bike to be ridden sedately and, even on the hoods, you’re low, aero and find yourself muscling to the front of the group, dialling up the pace and laying down some hurt.
The Magnus is stiff to the point of startling, with early ride sprints for village signs won with alarming ease. Get down on the drops, spin up those big gears and it brilliantly rolls along on undulating roads. The merest dig out of the saddle is enough to propel you up and over slight rises, with the added bonus of leaving ride mates in your wake.
Surprisingly for something so stiff, road buzz is well within acceptable limits, even on rougher roads. You wouldn’t go as far as describing the Magnus as compliant, but it’s certainly not harsh. Even the bare-shell carbon saddle has sufficient flex to be comfortable.
With its flatlands gearing, you initially approach hills with a degree of trepidation, but the stiffness and efficiency of the Magnus more than makes up for the lack of bailout gears and you find yourself flying uphill and smashing PBs. Even with relatively average wheels, it’s a delight to climb on, whether you’re spinning in the saddle or standing to give it the beans. Descending is a laugh-out-loud joy, diving into bends and cornering hard, before using that punchy stiffness to power away.
The Magnus is at its absolute best in an all-out sprint, though. Sit on a wheel, wind it up to 50km/hr in the slipstream and then jump. The experience is jaw-dropping – you feel like you’re on the Millennium Falcon making the leap to hyperspace.