The updated Ventum NS1 is a multifaceted road design, focused on speed but able to hang on dirt roads and gravel. The more road bike categories splinter into subcategories — aero road, all-road, endurance-road, etc. — the more we need bikes like the Ventum NS1: one bike with many personalities.
Ventum NS1: Frame Updates
The updated Ventum NS1 has more refined frame shaping than the previous model. The headtube features a recessed design and has an hourglass sculpted look. The down tube gets slightly boxy, adding to the stiffness of the new frame design. The seatstays are similar to the updated GS1, with a slight flair back before dropping down.
On the more practical side, the updated Ventum NS1 gets a threaded T47 bottom bracket and SRAM UDH compatibility.
The updated frame has two fittings at the top tube/seat tube junction for saddle height adjustment. One is keeping the wedge plate in place (a great idea if you’ve ever lost one in a frame), and one is to tighten the wedge to keep everything in place.
The seatpost is a D-shaped Ventum design with a grippy outer coating to keep it in place effectively.
The tire clearance for the updated Ventum NS1 is in the cyclocross category — a whopping 35 mm. This clearance is nearing the all-road category, but the NS1 is squarely focused on the road race category.
Plenty of domestic teams are racing the NS1 frame to victories in criteriums to stage races; CS Velo, EMPYR, and Cynisca. The adding of updated clearance without dumbing down the handling makes this a very versatile frame.
Ventum One-Piece Bar
Bike companies offering a one-piece bar/stem combo are in vogue now, and Ventum is right on trend. The bar/stem offered in the NS1 is the all-road version, more focused on compliance but still fairly stiff.
Ventum offers its in-house out-front computer mount that is easy to install and fits Wahoo or Garmin-style mounts. A tight routing system that works nicely with a new recessed headtube is hidden underneath the bar. The cabling is held tight with a removable piece to guide the cables into the headset. The standard orientation of the mount is slightly upward facing, but it’s easy to bend (not while installed, of course) to have a nice flat presentation.
Ventum NS1 Build and Specs
- Frame: Ventum NS1 MED
- Fork: Ventum Road 45mm offset
- Shifters: SRAM Force AXS 12 spd
- Crankset: SRAM Force
- Front Derailleur: SRAM Force AXS
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM Force
- Chain: SRAM 12 SPD Flattop
- Cassette: SRAM
- Rotors: 160 F/R
- Wheels: Zipp 303S
- Tires: IRC Formula 30 mm
- Stem/Bars: Ventum Road One-Piece
- Saddle: Fizik Argo
- Weight: 16lb 10oz (7.5kg) without pedals
- Price: $6,900 as tested
Ventum NS1: Initial Impressions
I was given no details of the update to the NS1 before receiving the bike. I was excited because I’ve tested both ideations of the GS1 and had great experiences. Unboxing the NS1, I was similar to the tube shapes of the GS1; Ventum bikes have developed a distinct style, and it’s apparent at first glance.
The bike came packaged like all Ventum bikes, built to suit the customers, dialed in at the shop in Utah, and shipped out. The package arrived with a Ventum branded torque wrench, a Ventum bag, and an NS1 nicely secured in the box.
The torque wrench is a nice touch. If you’re a bike manufacturer wanting to ensure your customer doesn’t over-torque their new carbon seatpost and bars, the best way to ensure that is to supply the tools. Building the bike was pretty simple. The new combo bar/stem was initially slightly tricky to wrangle, but I eventually got everything dialed.
The build is similar to the GS1 we recently reviewed; SRAM Force AXS, Zipp 303S wheels, and IRC tires. It’s solid, race-ready, and will cover many road terrains. The IRC Formula 30mm tires are a nice touch. 30mm tires are a very versatile width, enough for fast road riding and tarmac but equally ok on light gravel and dirt. The Zipp 303S has an internal rim width of 22.5, putting them in a sweet spot for road and gravel tires.
Regarding shifting, the SRAM Force AXS 12-speed groupset is reasonably straightforward. It’s a hard-working group that’s lightweight, can take a knock, and keeps rolling. The rear derailleur is a medium cage and takes a max of 33T cassette. Pair that 10-33T cassette with the 48/35T front chainset, and you can climb a decent amount in the saddle.
Ventum NS1: Ride Impressions
Most of my rides on the Ventum NS1 were on rolling country roads, a nice mix of fresh pavement and chip-and-seal asphalt. The NS1 was right at home on both, though with the familiar look of the GS1, I leaned more toward the latter.
Exploring the Ventum NS1 on climbs and descents, the frame has a predictable ride quality. Stiff and snappy when you punch the gas, but it has a soft quality on harsh roads. This differential ride quality comes from the frame, with reasonably short 410mm chainstays and a more extended wheelbase at 994 mm for a Med (54).
The geometry from the original design is the same, and it’s very clear why Ventum chose to keep it. Descending felt natural like the bike was stable without needing to guide it beyond natural turning inflection. No surprises, just guided speed with each acceleration.
The bar/stem combo (from the look of it) exudes an uber-stiff vibe, sprinter stuff. But when you get on the NS1 with a Ventum one-piece bar, it’s more in the other direction. The bar is very compliant, almost to the point of being slightly flexy. The compliance and soft ride quality is what you’d like on harsh roads, but the bars were not the best asset for the town line sprint. That being said, they are an all-road bar, so one should expect some give.
Regarding components, the SRAM Force AXS spec is right on the money for the personality of NS1. I was never looking for more gears on the climbs, and the shifting was dialed from the day the bike arrived.
Zipp 303S wheels are a mainstay with Ventum bikes, and it’s understandable why. The wheels accent the stiffness of the frame and transfer it into speed. The wheels are race ready, with an excellent aerodynamic profile, but not touchy in a crosswind. The Zipp’s 22.5mm inner rim width mixed well with the supple 30mm IRC Formula tires.
The Formulas have a classic-style tread with enough traction to keep you confident in a rainy descent and plowing through rough roads. These rides were my first time on these tires, and I was impressed. The ride feel is smooth and competitive to a high-end, cotton-cased tire.
Ventum’s NS1 is a bike that offers a high-end ride experience with a choose-your-own-adventure for components and upgrades. This bike is for someone looking for a road race bike that can keep up with the big-box bikes but without the price.
The best bang for the buck in the NS1 line is the SRAM Rival AXS or Shimano 105 Di2 builds for $4,199, and adding the Zipp 303S for $900 extra. If you’re looking for a road bike that will deliver on many fronts with a predictable and snappy ride, the Ventum NS1 should be on your shortlist.
Check out the full line at VentumRacing.com.