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  • Silver and Tan Vaaru MPA Alex’s journey from Time Trials to Paris Brest Paris 2019

    One of our riders has recently changed tack from a successful TT racing career to the new world of Audaxing. His journey is to ride Paris Brest Paris in 2019. Alex has been training on his Vaaru MPA in preparation for next year’s event and has been kind enough to tell us about his journey so far.

    “I used to love time trialling, I could think of nothing better than spending hours throwing myself up and down a dual carriage just to hit “those times”, I did OK at it, not the best but OK. Two fractured clavicles, 12 months apart , insertion of fancy metal work, and my inability to go on the first family skiing holiday lead to  an angry wife and a frustrated cyclist!

     

    10 Mile Time Trial P901/10 open 2nd 19.35

     

     

    Time to look for something different, less racy, more riding than racing, more time for coffee and cake, Audaxing! Long distance leisurely rides, culminating in the 2019 Paris-Brest-paris 1200km Audax, was where I was heading, easy! Wrong!

    I used to ride a Trek Madone 5.2, stiff, fast, light weight. The first Audax I did was Tour of the Surrey Hills, fabled for its good food. Lovely, I was going to stuff my face and have a leisurely ride. Lining up to start I was surprised about how edgy riders were and how fast the first few groups shot off. After being in the saddle for 8 hours (riding to the event, then, back to the south coast) left me with a sore back and bum. This Audaxing lark wasn’t that easy! I only had my own competitive self to blame , I could have ridden easy but when there`s riders in front, I`ve just got to catch them up. Madness but that`s how I`m built. Coming to terms with this and feeling I deserved a new bike upgrade , I started looking for something different, something comfy but fast, not too flash, tasteful!

     

    After researching the pros and cons of the various frame materials I decided on a titanium frame. Comfy, a bit more forgiving than carbon, and it looked great. I wanted a UK brand, preferably local to me on the South Coast. I whittled it down to Enigma, Reilly or Vaaru. After test riding I settled on a Vaaru MPA.  Comfy , solid feel, rolled super sweet and took the buzz out of the awful west sussex road surfaces and looked better that the other brands. I wanted a particular look to the bike, minimal black, as much brushed titanium as possible complemented by a brown leather saddle and bar tape. James, at Vaaru, couldn’t have been more helpful and efficient , I had the bike on the road within 2 weeks of ordering (this was including having the forks resprayed to my specification). I coupled this with a set of EDCO wheels with polished DT Swiss hubs from Strada wheels. Beautiful. A happy cyclist.

     

    Alex’s Vaaru MPA ready for action!

     

    I did a few hundred milers and found the bike performed very well. What struck me was how little back and shoulder ache I had compared to riding my carbon bike. It also felt sharp and stable  when taking downhill corners at speed and nimble on the climbs. My first proper test was the 600km Fenland Friends Audax. I started in the first wave and rolled comfortably through the Fens and on into Lincolnshire. Then the heavens opened, delivering rain drops that felt like bullets smashing into my face. Probably the worst rain I ever cycled in. Throughout this unpleasantness the relaxed geometry of the bike and excellent wheel set made it an almost enjoyable rolling experience. Stops at Costa, McDonalds (4 quarter pounders in 24 hours!), various garages and café stops soon passed and we were on our return leg from Goole. Passing down the harsh, insanely steep unforgiving medieval cobbles of Lincoln at midnight , I felt in control with sharp Ultegra disc brakes and most of all still comfortable. Next was Boston then back into the Fens and finish in time for breakfast. A  good 24 hours of hard but very enjoyable riding.

     

    Burger time!

    Burger time!

     

     

    I definitely made the correct bike choice. Buying from a local independent bike designer and builder made after sales much easier. James at Vaaru responded to any questions I had immediately and provided excellent, prompt after sales service.  Next stop Paris , well via a few tasty looking long distance rides!” Alex

     

  • Arrivee (Audax UK) magazine choose the Vaaru MPA for their cover shot

    Arrivee Magazine Choose Vaaru MPA For Cover Shot

     

    Arrivee Magazine is the members’ magazine of Audax UK. Read about Alaina’s entertaining story ‘From Zero to Hero’ and her journey from commuting to the startline of TransAm Bike Race 2018.

    Rider: Alaina Beacall

    Bike: Custom Painted Vaaru MPA

    Photography: Rod Barrar

    Magazine: Arrivee Spring / Summer 2018

  • TransAtlanticWay 2018 Erik Phalet Vaaru MPA My first ever ultra-cycling race – The TransAtlanticWay 2018

    We are proud to have Erik Phalet as one if our riders. He recently completed his first ever ultra-cycling event, The TransAtlanticWay 2018 on his Vaaru MPA . A huge thank you to Erik for writing and sharing his comprehensive race report with us.

    #TAW2018 – the preparation

    After a life of cycling, in 2015 I bought my first real road bike. 2016 I did my first 200 km ride. 2017 my first overnighter and my first 1000 km audax. And later that year, the final trigger: I went to Geraardsbergen to see the start of TCR05. I decided to do the TransAtlanticWay Race 2018. A 2500 km one stage self-supported road bike race between Dublin and Cork via The Wild Atlantic Way. Finally!

    Between that moment and the start of the race on june 7th 2018, I
    ● Got a beautiful, brand-new bike, a Vaaru MPA. A comfortable and fast long-distance bike. Titanium.
    ● Tried, broke, changed and retried lots of gear.
    ● Commuted over 5000 km. A good way to get used to riding no-matter-what, to test kit in all conditions.
    ● Did 19 +200 km rides, and 12 +300 km rides, and 2 +400 km rides. Solo. I tricked my mind and body into believing that a day with 350 km and 4500 vertical meters is just another day at the office.
    ● Did 4 overnighters, and a 2 day trip in the Ardennes, and a 4 day trip from home to the summit of Mont Ventoux. “Economy riding” for multiple day effort was optimized, and I experimented with (lots of) food and (very little) sleep.
    ● But above all, I had a good time!

     

    I did not follow a structured training plan. My actual race preparation consisted of 3 small, plasticized print-outs:
    1. Race planning: I prepared a schedule to finish in 8 days. During the race, I never even once looked at it. But making it proved very useful: it forced me to familiarize myself with the route, and to think about possible (and impossible) strategies.
    2. A list with cities, villages, supply points. Not everything I would encounter on the route, just one for every 30 to 50 km. I used this all the time. It became my step-by-step guide through the race.
    3. A list with all bicycle repair shops on or near the route. I was glad I had it when I needed it. A few weeks before the start of the race, I was happy with a 14.5 kg total weight for the bike and the luggage (without water). Everything tried, tested and approved. I was ready to go.

    The final gearlist:

    Bike

    • Vaaru MPA
    • Profile Designs Airstryke aerobars
    • Custom built front wheel: SON delux 12 centerlock hub & DT RR421 rim
    • Rear wheel: Edco Roche Disc
    • Fabric Line Race Shallow saddle
    • Bridge Street medium saddlebag
    • Top tube bag Acepac fuel L
    • Schmidt Edelux II frontlight
    • B&M Secula rearlights (2)
    • Cateye Omni 5 rearlight
    • 75 cl bottles (2)
    • Lezyne caddysack
    • Ottolock

    Basic clothing

    • Gaerne Hurricane shoes (SPD)
    • Socks
    • Bib short Assos T.CENTO_S7
    • Baselayer Patagonia Capilene Lightweight
    • RH+ Shark Jacket
    • GripGrab pro gloves
    • Helmet

    Extra clothing

    • Rain jacket Vaude
    • Rain cap
    • GripGrab Race
    • Aqua overshoes
    • Maloja Gore-tex short
    • Rivelo Merino long sleeve jersey
    • Merino long johns
    • Ninja Ice gloves
    • Buff
    • Legwarmers Pearl Izumi PI dry

    Hygene

    • Chamois cream Assos
    • Skin repair gel Assos
    • Lip balm
    • Sun cream 30
    • Toothpaste & -brush
    • Wet wipes
    • Sudocrem
    • Ibuprophen, Motilium, Daphalgan

    Electronics & documents

    • Wahoo Bolt
    • Etrex 20
    • Batterypack 10,000 mAh (2)
    • GSM
    • USB charger (UKplug)
    • USB cables (2)
    • Lezyne caddy sack
    • Maestro, Visa, ID, insurance
    • AA Lithium batteries (2)
    • AAA batteries (4)

    Maintenance

    • Conti tube race 28 (2)
    • Conti GP 4 seasons 28
    • Ritchey CPR 12+ multitool
    • Topeak Micro rocket pump
    • CO2 cartouche (2)
    • patches & tire levers
    • KMC 11 sp missing link (2)
    • Breaker pin (2)
    • Schrader-to-Presta
    • Derailler hanger
    • Gear cable
    • Shimano brakepads Ice-Tec (2)
    • Muc Off ceramic wet lube
    • SPD cleats (2)
    • Spokes (2 front, 2 rear)
    • Electrical insulation tape

    Food

    • Powerbar electrolytes tablets (20)
    • Osprey UL Stuff Pack (musette)

    Bivouac

    • SOL escape pro bivvy bag
    • Klymit Inertia X-lite mat
    • Torchlight

     

    #TAW2018 – the race

    I found the great adventure I was looking for, both the experience and the result wildly surpassed all my hopes and expectations!

    Racing
    ● 147 starters
    ● Björn Lenhard won in 5 days 3 hours
    ● I finished 19th (provisional result) in 6 days 15 hours

    ● The lantern rouge took 15 days 8 hours
    ● 31 riders scratched

    Riding
    ● 2256 km with 23200 m climbing
    ● I cycled 122.5 hours, I slept 26 hours and I had 12 hours of other stops
    ● During the day, 85% was actually riding, 15% stops for eating, shopping …
    ● Averaged 325 km per day @ 19.8 km/h riding speed
    ● Zero flats
    ● One mechanical (rear hub)

    Pedaling

    ● No powering, no speeding, just pedaling
    ● Switching back to the inner ring. And again. And again. And again …
    ● Normalized power diminishing by about 20% over the week
    ● No problems with knees, tendons, hands or neck
    ● No saddle sores (!)
    ● Annoyances: little wounds on my tongue from all the bottle drinking, bruises and sore elbows from my aerobar pads

    Sleeping

    ● No overnighters, I stopped every night
    ● Averaged 4 hours of sleep per night
    ● 4 roadside bivouacs (a medieval watchtower in ruins, a bungalow in an abandoned holiday park, a church portal and a school’s playground)
    ● 1 Air B&B, 1 hostel
    ● No (power) napping

    Eating
    ● 5 or 6 meals per day, continuously nibbling in between
    ● Cookies, bars, chocolate, ice cream, nuts, scones, donuts, cupcakes, bananas …
    ● 3 to 5 liters of water with electrolyte tablets per day, plus about the same amount of Coke and a few large coffees

    But most of all… The first-day-at-school jitters at the start; the incredible sunrise at Malin Head; the neverending beauty of the road; the other riders; the full-speed descent of Mamore Gap; off-roading in Glenveagh National Park; the plains of Connemara, the beauty of Dingle, the mountains of Kerry, the wildness of Beara; the ever-present ocean; eating lots of pancakes in Sneem; being dotwatched; the bleak beauty at dawn of the Gap of Dunloe and the Black Valley; the pandemonium of 15 people not-having-a-clue but trying to help anyway; the climb to Conor Pass; sunset-cruising around Slea Head; visiting Tom Crean’s South Pole Inn in Anascaul; the sun, the rain, the headwinds and the tailwinds; Monk’s Bar in Ballyvaughan reopening its kitchen at midnight to serve me a seafood chowder; enjoying the highs and dealing with the lows; the same rider passing me 5 times in one day; climbing Ballaghbeama Gap; the guy in the Caherciveen bike shop who repaired my rear hub; being blown up a 10.4% hill without pedaling; riding Lambs Head, Sheep’s Head, Mizen Head and Old Head in the raging storm Hector; the adrenaline at the finish; the emptiness at the finish; organizer Adrian and his team; and so much more…

    Singing
    Look for the bare necessities
    The simple bare necessities
    Forget about your worries and your strife
    I mean the bare necessities
    Old Mother Nature’s recipes
    That brings the bare necessities of life

    The bare necessities of life
    They’ll come to you
    They have come to you
    (Baloo, Jungle Book)

    #TAW2018 – the aftermath

    Bike, components, accessories
    The bike was great. Loved it. Still do!
    ● Choosing my Fabric Line ‘handlebar-saddle’ over my ISM PN ‘aerobar-saddle’ was one of the more difficult decisions, but proved oh-so-right.
    ● Pleased with the Conti GP 4 season 28 mm tyres
    ● The Shimano 105 group is rock-solid, and I was glad for the hydraulic discs.
    ● The comfort of electronic shifting with secondary shifters on the aerobars would have been well worth the extra cost and hassle.
    ● 50/34 with 11/32 gearing was ok, but I wouldn’t say no to an extra granny gear and some smaller mid-range steps (maybe something like 13-15-16-17-18-20-22-25-28-32-36, instead of 11-12-13-14-16-18-20-22-25-28-32, if such a cassette is even possible?).
    ● Edco wheels are not very common. There is little information available, and very few mechanics have any experience with them. My Optima Roche rear wheel uses their “Multisys cassette rotor”: both the freehub body and the locknut ring are Edco specific, incompatible with Shimano or Campa. It only has 24 spokes. It is a good wheel but it caused me trouble. It wasn’t a good choice for this race.
    ● Glad I had good mudguards
    ● The armrests on my aerobars couldn’t be moved backwards far enough. Resulting in bruises on my forearms and painful elbows.
    ● Very pleased with the SON hub dynamo and the Edelux II front light.
    ● My rear lights (one for day-flashing, two for night-steady) used AAA batteries: no worries.
    ● My battery pack has fast-charge, charge-through & 2 USB outs. This made for a fully charged GPS, smartphone and battery pack with 1 charger, in one go. In 3 to 4 hours. After 1 full and 1 partial recharge, I finished with almost 50% charge capacity remaining.

    ● After a few days, my Bridge Street saddlebag started to sag a little and came to rest on my rear mudguard. First I heard something, then I started feeling the oh-so-little drag. But it still took me a few hours to find out what was going on. Easily fixed.
    Other gear
    Most of my gear performed well. Only a few details didn’t work out as planned.
    ● I had no light cycling shirt for the warm weather we got during the first days.
    ● I never used my merino long-sleeve cycling jersey for cycling, the ZR+ Shark was just too good! It was only used as pajamas.
    ● My stuff pack (basically an ultra-light-and-minimalist backpack) was very comfortable to wear, even with quite a lot of food and drink in it. But it’s not so easy to eat from it while riding. For this, a more classic draw-string bag/musette might have been handier. Or maybe I should overcome my dislike for a food pouch on the handlebars.
    There was nothing that I absolutely needed but didn’t bring.
    There were a few things I brought but didn’t use:
    ● Most maintenance and repair stuff. But you need to bring those anyway.
    ● Rain overshoes and warmer/rain gloves. But Ireland without full rain gear? No…
    ● Etrex 20. I only used my Bolt. But a backup GPS is never a bad idea.
    ● Torchlight. Only about 3 hours of real darkness per night, and those were the hours that I slept. Superfluous.
    ● Second battery pack. Not needed, I was too cautious there.
    ● Sudocreme. I only used the Assos chamois crème.
    ● Daphalgan and Motilium.

    Body
    I didn’t know my body could stand up to something like this. What a nice surprise☺!
    No injuries or physical harm.
    Very tired. Couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t think. On the second evening after I finished, I walked into a bar to have dinner, and they refused to serve me because “you already had a few to many, son”. I got lost on the 250 meter walk back to my hotel (I was dead sober ☺). From the first 36 hours after my finish, I slept about 24. Those acute symptoms only lasted for 2 or maybe 3 days. But my energy levels
    stayed low for a long time. Replenishing the reserve tank took weeks. And craving for food! I lost only 1.5 kilos during the race and I regained those within 2 days. But it took my body a few more days to realize that it was no longer necessary to eat everything in sight. After about a week of eating double breakfasts, double dinners and snacking like hell, things slowly returned to normal.

    Mind
    TAW2018 was my first ever ultra-cycling race. And it proved a “life-event”: an experience to help shape my coming years; an adventure that made me a little more complete as a person.

    I am not good enough with words to describe what exactly happened or how this all works. So let’s try with a quote that I like very much (from Katie Ives, in Alpinist Magazine):

    “Perhaps, amid the scores of practical guides, we need a few more maps for wandering, formed of hints and riddles, of stories and images that expand, rather than shrink, our vision of the
    wild. During the most focused moments of any climb, all prior knowledge vanishes. We re-create a world for ourselves, at once ephemeral and eternal. Its cartography might be like (an) incomplete, ungraspable, shifting and radiant map of the real.”

    There is the dreaded post-race-blues. But it feels similar to a mild post-expedition-blues. And that’s something I have dealt with in the past. Resetting your cartography to a practical “map of the real”, usable for day-to-day life takes time. And effort.

    Erik Phalet, TransAtlanticWay Race 2018

  • Flash Reports On Racing His Octane 6-4 in Portugal

    Here we are, race season again….. and still loving my Vaaru Octane 6-4.  Over 16000km on it so far and just added new ceramic bearing bottom bracket, chain and cassette, usual stuff.

    In March I did my first Duathlon and managed 3rd in age group, although struggled a bit as my fitness levels were a bit low.  The Vaaru Octane 6-4 went well.  I put some clip on bars on and some Zipp’s and flew.  It was great training.

    The first big event for me was the Lisbon Granfondo 143km with 1,935m of climbing and I had a feeling it was going to be a fast one!  I was feeling stronger and fitter since the duathlon and the bike was looking as sweet as ever!!

    This was the first ever Granfondo in Lisbon, so I was very excited to be taking part as I would be the only one on a Vaaru out of 1200 riders, so I’d get a lot of interest!!

    The race started with the beautiful Jeronimos Monastery behind us.  I was at the front of the race, about 70 riders back.  The race would be controlled for the first 20k or so, taking us through the centre of Lisbon.  What a great feeling!  Crowds along the route cheering us on.  Tourist stopped in their tracks as a never ending line of cyclist flew past.

    After around 20km, we left the city behind us.  As we turned off a main road we hit a 6km climb with around 10% gradient.  Now we were free to ride.  The front group accelerated, attacking the climb.  Straight away I was going anaerobic, trying to catch my breath!  I decided to back off, as it just seemed a bit too quick a pace.  Looking back, maybe I should have hung on!!

    As the front group disappeared I jumped to a group of about 6 riders and we climbed together to the top, recovering.

    The terrain was up and down, never backing off, descending at a very fast pace, catching more riders as we increased the pace who had been spat out from the front group.

    I felt good, the bike, as always very comfortable and responsive, felt every pedal stroke, producing efficient power through the bike, definitely helped by the AbsoluteBlack chain rings, giving me a lovely smooth cadence.

    I felt confident and in control, taking my turn on the front more than most as no one wanted to help apart from two other Portuguese guys.

    I broke away on my own a few times, Powering away on cobbled section, putting the power down as the Vaaru titanium frame absorbs pounding.

    Just to show how stable the Vaaru Octane 6-4 is one of the last twisty descents, another rider hit my back loosing control.  The Vaaru kept its line and didn’t move – I can’t express enough how stable this bike is.

    My plan was not to stop for the whole 143k.  I had two 800m bottles and some food in my back pocket, eating and drinking regularly through the Granfondo.  This had worked as I was feeling good throughout.

    The final 20k was hugging the coastline into a head wind.  Our group was now at least 30 strong or more.  No one apart from the same two guys as before would  share a turn at the front.  As the end drew nearer and nearer everyone was trying to get to the front for the sprint.  I had been boxed in and had to come from the back.  I saw the move out on the left hand side and went for it, got away with 3 guys, just getting on to the back wheels, I was forced to go wide, as the sprint to the line had a sharp left-hand bend leading to a 100m to the finish.  I managed 4th across the line, a bit of mis calculation on my part, a bit too late, but it was an exciting finish to a great day!!!

    With an average speed of 31.2 km/h with a time of 4.36

    Average heart rate of 146bpm and max 181 bpm

    I managed 40th overall and 2nd in the Masters, very happy the bike was faultless!!!

    More adventures on the Vaaru to come!!!

    Flash

  • Gary ‘Flash’ Blesson’s Granfondo Race Report

    Here’s the latest race report from Gary ‘Flash’ Blesson on his latest Granfondo in Portugal. As National Duathlon Champion, Gary is an authority on competitive cycling.

    “The Granfondo Premium Aldeias do xisto- here in Portugal was the best one yet… Lousa.

    This was a even more special event for me as I was feeling fit and to top it off I was riding the Vaaru Octane 6-4.
    The bike felt perfect and the icing on the cake was to add an extra bit of stiffness and more pedalling efficiency with the Absolute Black Premium chain rings. Also, they look good!!

    With over a thousand riders my plan was to start off steady, then build up, having enough food and drink on me to not stop over the 157k event, with over 3000m of climbing.

    So, did it work? Was the bike up to it?

    At the start line I was the only one with a Titanium bike. So, how did that make me feel? Individual and quite cool. Everyone around me with top end carbon bikes, matt black everywhere.
    I know this bike and know how stable it is and how well it climbs and can take it to the limit feeling totally confident, plus it looks good!!

    At the start of the race I kept cool, stayed in a comfortable group in the first climb, then jumped to another group on the descent and pick my way through until I say with a group of four with a similar pace to me and we worked together.

    After around 70k we caught a large group on a very long climb which would eventually come to a nice long descent which I could get away on.

    So, after climbing for at least 10k, I attacked on my own with 200m to the top, broke away and went as hard as I could on a long winding descent cutting through the mountains around 8k, keeping the gap.

    Arriving at the bottom on my own, through the feed station without stopping as I had plenty of food and water, kept the gas on climbing out and up the next range of mountains now I was on my own with around 80k in front and had to keep on it, but in control just on the edge.

    Climb after climb the kilometres started to drop, with the occasional group of riders catching me over the next 50k. I jumped on their wheels for a while then let them go as they were just that little bit too quick and if I dug too deep I would pay the price later on the last few kilometres towards the finish, where valuable time and position could be lost.
    With head winds to contend with while crossing the mountains, I just tried to keep as aerodynamic as possible, keep my average speed up and a high cadence up the climbs, to in turn be as physically efficient as possible.
    The last 20k or so were mostly downhill so I pressed on around the beautiful sweeping roads, with an average gradient of 6%, which means you have to put the power on to maintain the gap between myself and the riders behind me. No time to relax! My legs were feeling okay and the Octane was descending like it was on rails. I felt part of the bike, faultless out of every tight bend, accelerating out of every one, constantly gaining speed.

    With the end in sight now, no one in sight, but knew they weren’t far behind but knew the chasing group weren’t far behind. At this moment I was in in no mans land also with the leading group in front, not to be seen, and me in the middle.

    “Keep pushing” I was telling myself, “nearly there”.

    The last bit to the finish was a long drag into the town of Lousa, looked around a few times still no-one!

    Finally the end was in sight, a quick loop around the square into the centre of town, then a sprint on my own to the finish line. Job done!!

    Ate enough – bike felt great – done my best – happy with everything….

    When I was done I waited for some friends from the UK who also took part.
    Had some food then headed home to Delucci Retreat.

    After a cold beer back at Delucci Retreat I get a call from the organiser to say I had got second in the Masters and 41st overall. I knew I had gone well, but not that well…

    Missed the Podium which was a disappointment but Antonio, the event organiser, sent me my trophy.

    Thanks to Vaaru for getting the bike spot on, it just felt perfect!!” Gary ‘Flash’ Blesson

     

    Photo credit: Agnelo Quelhas

  • John’s review of his MPA after 18 months

    Thank you to John for taking the time to write a review of his MPA having owned and enjoyed it for 18 months. The first section is the review he wrote having recently purchased the bike and the second section is his review after 18 months.

    Vaaru MPA

    First impressions from a demo ride.
    I am looking for a bike for club rides occasional sportives and touring. That would cover distance and offer comfort with speed. That would be agile handling but have a confident feel.
    My current bikes are: Trek Carbon road Bike and a Scott Carbon MTB.
    After an engaging and informative discussion with James at Vaaru I was offered a ride of the Vaaru MPA Titanium Road bike.

    I visited James at Barnham near Chichester in West Sussex. And after attaching my pedals of choice I was off.
    My ride took me across West Sussex to Chichester, then north passed the Goodwood hotel up on to the South Downs, over to East Dean, then west to Singleton, then back up over the downs passed Goodwood race course, Goodwood house to Chichester and back to Barnham.

    First impressions were of how comfortable I was over all road surfaces including some sadly poorly maintained roads, the bike seemed to absorb most of the vibration and shocks with very little of the expected buzz reaching the rider but still gave good feedback of what was under the wheels.
    The bike was nicely stable through the turns, with very natural steering but agile enough to feel fun through the twisty corners.
    The bike also climbs well and is very responsive to accelerations out of corners or climbs.

    All in all a very satisfying mount, so much so that I will be taking delivery of one built to my specifications in the near future.
    I will let you know how I get on with it in the longer term.

    MPA review Part 2
    18 months ago following my demo ride on the Vaaru MPA I took delivery of my own custom built version.
    My Vaaru frame came with Kinesis carbon forks. The Group set is Shimano Ultergra with hydraulic disc brakes. Rotor 3D chain set with Q rings, Kinesis Racelight wheels, USE carbon bars and a Selle Italia saddle.
    Working through what I wanted with James was a great deal of fun and a very rewarding experience. James knowledge and attention to detail is second to none and you are assured of a bike that is tailored to your exact requirements.

    The result is a well-balanced, neutral handling very comfortable ride which really does live up to its name and has covered a good number of miles per annum.

    I have taken the bike on several trips over and above the very regular day rides, from long weekends away, 8-10 day tours, to a couple of long trips, notably London to Nice in June 2016, using the ‘Velo en France’ route and most recently, this year, a circular route from London taking in parts of Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany France and the UK covering 2700Km’s in 23 days, solo and carrying my own luggage.

    The overwhelming feature of this bike is its comfort, over my tours I have had some fairly long days. This year’s trip I averaged well over 70 miles a day with a couple of days over 90 miles. But moreover, day on day riding with up to 15 days without a rest day and still completely comfortable.

    The comfort does not come at the cost of a fun ride. This bike is inherently stable over all surfaces but agile and precise when taking on twisting fast descents. Long alpine passes can be attacked in full confidence and bring a big smile to your face even with Luggage!
    This in part due to the great feel and feedback the bike provides ensuring you know exactly what is going on under the wheels in any conditions.

    The MPA is also very responsive to rider input. Accelerations show another aspect to the agility of the bike with all the riders effort seamlessly transferred into forward motion. Climbing also shows the frames capabilities where, even over rough surfaces, the rider’s effort is transmitted to the road driving you positively forwards.

    A few parts of this year’s trip, particularly across Belgium, took me along some rough gravel tracks and regular sections of Cobbles. Even with luggage the MPA seemed to glide over the surfaces. The feel and feedback from the bike gave you full knowledge of what was happening under the wheels but still went a long way to protect me from the pounding I would have experienced on my other road bike. This has to be experienced to be believed!

    All in all this bike is a virtually flawless all-rounder. It climbs superbly, descents are fast and fun. It’s quick and agile and above all supremely comfortable. I covered well over 7000 miles last year on this bike. Let’s see how it goes for the rest of this year.

    You owe it to yourself to give a Vaaru a try, you won’t regret it!

  • Bikes Etc Magazine May 2017 VAARU cover shot Bikes Etc award the MPA 10/10

    We were delighted to see that our MPA had been chosen for the cover shot in May’s edition of Bikes Etc magazine. We were even happier to see that they had awarded the MPA frame 10/10.

    ” VAARU has succeeded in creating a bike that’s almost flawless. The attention to detail and the thought that’s gone into the bike is fantastic and perfect for the type of riders it’s targeted at. Supremely comfortable and incredibly confident descending ability make it a buzz to ride”

    Click on the images below to read the full review…

     

  • Cyclist Magazine review Cyclist Magazine review the VAARU V:8 Di2 Disc Road Bike

    Peter Stuart of Cyclist Magazine reviews the VAARU V:8 Di2 Disc Road Bike. Read the detailed full review which is now available online as well as in their May 2016 printed edition.

    Here are a few of our favourite comments from Peter, we’re delighted it’s a ‘zinger’ and that it exceeded his expectations!

    The V:8 sits in the middle of VAARU’s line, below the race legal Octane, and above the similarly priced but touring-minded MPA distance road bike. While I was skeptical of how “racy” the V:8 could be given its relaxed geometry, relatively low cost and bulky 8.5kg total weight, it proved to be a zinger…

    I was surprised to find it sat in the same league as the best titanium frames I’ve ridden”       Peter Stuart, Cyclist Magazine, May 2016

  • Singletrack Magazine review 650 Switch Singletrack Magazine review our 650 Switch

    Singletrack Magazine review our 650 Switch titanium mountain bike. Have you read Greg May’s review of our 650 Switch mountain bike? If you missed it in issue 103 you can read the full review below.

    If you haven’t got time to read the whole article make sure you read the ‘Overall’ section on the second page for a good summary of the ride quality of the VAARU 650 Switch.

    “Overall: Riding the Switch was always a pleasure. That feeling you only get from titanium or really high-end steel whereby it dampens trail chatter without any loss in power during climbing is something I really enjoy. The Switch climbed well with the longer travel fork, but once you pointed it downhill it came into its own. A short back end with such a light build allowed the bike to be moved about at ease – a real godsend after the unpredictable trail damage we’ve had from all the rain of late. Popping out of corners faster than I’d expected on more than one occasion had me doing an auto-manual before I realized it and took a slight readjustment in body position to compensate. Once done the ‘up front and push into turns’ feel of the Switch started a game of ‘how hard can I lean before it all goes wrong?’ It really is a case of get into the bike and drive it, not sit on and be a passenger. This is how I want a fun bike to ride. Engaging.” Greg May Singletrack Magazine Issue 103.

    Singletrack review of 650 Switch

    Singletrack review 650 Switch

  • Gary Blesson and Vaaru V:8 V:8 Di2 disc road bike review by Gary Blesson for Lexham Insurance

    One of the first things I noticed with the Titanium frame was the ride, I found it smoother than that of an aluminium build yet more forgiving on rough roads when compared to Carbon.

    Gary Blesson,  recently reviewed the VAARU V:8 Di2 disc road bike for Lexham Insurance.

    We were pleased to hear Gary appreciated the unique ride quality that titanium gives,

    “One of the first things I noticed with the Titanium frame was the ride, I found it smoother than that of an aluminium build yet more forgiving on rough roads when compared to Carbon.”

    For more information read the full review on the Lexham Insurance website.