CKT by Virenque offers frames and branded cockpit parts to assemble a frameset, with a range of road bike models to suit most tastes. The 589 was the real eyecatcher, with a monocoque frame, integrated seatmast and integrated TRP mini V-brakes. The color matched wheels and spokes didn’t hurt it visually, either.
If this one looks fast, there are plenty more below that look even faster…
Frame weight is claimed at 920g, which seems OK considering the girth of the tubes, the shaping around the rear brakes and the ISP. Virenque’s website consists of two things: a full resolution PDF catalog download or a low resolution PDF catalog, neither of which tell much of the story about the brand. And, since this is showing up in our roundups, it means we didn’t have a ton of time to chat ’em up about the bikes. VeloDeRoute did, check out their coverage for the story (in French).
Richard Virenque is the face of the brand, but it’s a Taiwanese company.
All of their frames will have a lifetime warranty.
The Diamante model is their lightweight carbon racer, and it has a pretty nifty headtube design. Shown here with the integrated headset cap and shaped spacers to march the stem’s profile, it keeps a clean appearance for those who want their cockpit a little taller. But, remove all of that and you can bury the stem into the frame, having it sit partially recessed below the top tube for a very, very slammed look:
The spacer actually houses the upper bearing, and it sleeves into the headtube, so there’s no loss of stiffness when its used. Without it, the upper headset bearing sits in the frame and the stem acts as the bearing cover.
While we’re on wild carbon bike designs, here’s the Rafael single-sided TT/triathlon bike. If you’re looking to reduce drag, nothing works quite so well as just removing tubes altogether.
It won a Eurobike Gold award.
If bespoke carbon aero frames aren’t for you, then La Piovra’s smooth-welded alloy track bike might be more in the budget at £395. It’s from Brick Lane Bikes, who also make this:
A simple, elegant looking track bike for boards or streets.
Speaking of elegant, Van Nicholas’ titanium road and touring bikes bring us back to the expensive side of things.
Note the subtle shaping of the tubes and minimal machining of the headtube to make it a bit more slender through the middle.
The dropouts are minuscule and connect to the stays by way of small cylinders. The wider, rounder profile of the cylinders gives the stays a bigger platform to weld onto.
The Yukon touring bike featured a Rohloff internally geared rear hub with a Gates Belt Drive and matching rear rack. The twist shifter was placed inboard of the grip tape on the top of the handlebar.
This seatstay bridge was on one of their mountain bikes. Note the flare on the lower end of it to bring its thickness up to that of the seatstays. Usually when we see a flat piece like this, it’s kept flat and welded into slits in the seatstays, so this is pretty special. They also had a beautiful fat bike, check it out in our mountain bike roundup.
Last up is Raleigh. Yes, you’ve seen these bikes before, the frames are the same as Raleigh’s North American collection. But, much to the chagrin of the US marketing guy, they get different paint schemes, graphics and…
…different model names in some cases. The UK’s Maverick is the US’s Tamland.
Sorry, Sally, but these things look fantastic! Check out the UK collection here.