Volagi Liscio frameset  £1595.00

8/10

Well built, top performing evolution of the humble road bike that shows discs aren't just for commuters

Weight 8080g   Contact  www.volagi.com

by Stuart Kerton   August 10, 2014  

Volagi's designers may have gone down the comfort route with their Liscio frameset but over the last couple of months this modern looking carbon frame has been impressing everywhere from time trials to fast commutes and interval sessions. If you're the type of rider that likes to dabble in all aspects of road riding this may be the only bike you need.

I can remember when the Liscio was first released as it was one of the first road bikes to really take the whole disc idea head on. It was a bold move to not offer a caliper version but by designing the frame from scratch around the brakes I think aesthetically speaking it's one of the most natural looking disc-equipped bikes on the market at the moment.

The Long Bow Flex Stay, the curved seatstay, seat tube junction is certainly striking and this is one of the areas where Volagi has designed some comfort into the frame. Curved seatstays aren't a new thing, we see a lot on titanium bikes to offer a bit of damping by promoting flex though these are normally curved towards the seatstays as they need to be welded to the seat tube. Volagi go the other way allowing them extra length to bypass the seatpost and attach to the top tube. Does it work? Well yeah though like all things that do their job well you don't really notice it unless you really concentrate.

The Long Bow flexes just enough to take the sting out but not to the extent you feel any loss in the performance stakes. Maybe three times over the test period did it feel too soft at the back where I had to glance to see if I had a slow puncture. This was mostly caused by hard acceleration over rough surfaces where the seat stays were working hard against the opposing forces. Each time though it was for a matter of a fraction of a second.

The curved top tube and continuous seat stays make the frame look much more compact than it actually is. It's nowhere near as extreme as those first Giant TCRs back in the day but you do get to run a lot of the aero seatpost which also increases comfort. The rest of the lines are curved and blended which coupled with the paint job adds a flowing style to the frameset. It's definitely a product of a 3D design package rather than a builder's jig.

Our 55cm test model came with a 167mm headtube which is pretty tall for a performance road bike but you don't feel like you're sitting upright. In fact crouched in the drops with just a 5mm spacer below the stem I could still get a perfectly aero flat back position. For sportives, long club rides or fast audax treks (the Liscio will take full guards with 28mm tyres) the higher position is spot on when on the hoods or tops allowing you to keep your head up without having to bend your neck too much.

The angles of the carbon monocoque frame are a sensible compromise between stability and providing an engaging ride. The head is 72.5° which gives a very relaxed feeling to the steering perfect for carving through long descents after a hard day in the saddle when fatigue can be an issue. It tracks well thanks to the tapered steerer providing plenty of stiffness, though understeer can start to creep in if you do go into a bend a little too hot. We are talking very high speeds, sharp turns here though as I had the Volagi above 55mph on plenty of occasions and the tight front end and 998mm wheelbase make for a very positive handling bike with no surprises or quirks.

That tapered front end also helps withstand the huge brake forces generated by the TRP Hy/Rd discs and calipers our Liscio was running. These are the same brakes that we had on the Sabbath September Disc we recently tested and they are phenomenal performers. Cable operated actuating a hydraulic piston they provide almost the same degree of modulation as full hydraulics and even after repeated 50mph to 0mph stopping efforts on a local descent there wasn't any hint of fade. Volagi had fitted 160mm rotors up front with a 140mm rear which I've found to be the best combination on the road most noticeable so on a club hilly time trial through country lanes where I was able to brake much later into tight bends keeping the average speed up. A slight drag of the front or rear disc kept the bike perfectly on line.

The 50/34 chainset and 11/27 cassette certainly gives plenty of gear options, ideal for the aforementioned time trial which not only had a 50mph twisty descent but also a 25% climb chucked in for good measure. The Volagi certainly made it known here that its happy to climb whether in or out of the saddle.

There is a lot of stiffness in the frame for an endurance orientated bike especially at the bottom bracket area where you've got some pretty chunky chain stays and the profiled down tube meeting the BB30 arrangement. Volagi have used a mix 30T/24T which has a lower tensile strength and stiffness than the more usual 40T plus grades used on out and out race bikes which has resulted in a good balance of comfort and performance.

You can ride the Liscio for hours and while it still feels a little harsh compared to a titanium or steel frame it doesn't beat you up at all. At the end of a six or seven hour ride you really do feel pretty relaxed in the upper body thanks to the geometry and carbon layup.

For short efforts the Volagi responds well to hard accelerations thanks in part to a lightweight set of wheels. The Ignite EL's are Volagi's own and come in at a claimed weight of around 1600g, which makes them some of the lightest road disc wheels we've tested. They have a 135mm spacing on the rear hub which has become the adopted norm for disc wheels and frames. That width can cause a few heel clearance issues on short chainstays but thankfully on this model and with the caliper positioned out of the way there are no such issues.

There is a lot of talk about wheels being strong enough to take the braking forces from discs but I haven't seen any issues on the bikes we've tested so far. These Ignite ELs stayed perfectly true and the spokes maintained their tension throughout the test period. The hubs are pretty striking with their bright red paint and the sealed bearings ran smoothly and quietly.

As a frameset including headset and seatpost the Liscio will set you back £1,595 which I think is on the money for a quality built frame which offers so much diversity. Some R&D costs will have to re-couped to as this certainly isn't an open mould frame design.

Ours came will a full Ultegra mechanical groupset which suits the frame nicely, I'm more of a Campag man myself but the softer feel and more chunky styling of Shimano's second tier group complements the curves of the frame. 'Eye of the beholder' and all that. The shifting worked faultlessly over the entire test period without any need of adjustment.

Obviously being a frameset you can build it up however you so desire and the frameset is Di2 compatible should you want to go down the electronic route. There are a couple of places to bolt the battery and the wires will be fully internal just as they are with standard cables.

Overall, the Volagi Liscio is a really well built, solid feeling frame that's brilliantly finished. This transfers into the ride as the Liscio feels nicely planted at both high and cruising speeds with plenty of feedback. Carbon fibre is not necessarily the go to material for the long distance rider but with some clever design and material lay ups Volagi have created an all day cruiser which won't embarrass itself when you stamp on the pedals.

The Liscio is pretty perfect for 95% of the type of riding I do. Commuting, day rides, quick blasts and the odd sportive were all taking in its stride and its only if you spend the majority of your time on the absolute limit are you going to noticeable the bit of stiffness you're going to be giving away to a full on race bike. Kind of irrelevant anyway really considering discs aren't allowed in races.

Add to the fact that it'll do all that come rain or shine thanks to mudguard mounts and clearances and you really do have an all year round machine.

Verdict

Well built, top performing evolution of the humble road bike that shows discs aren't just for commuters.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Volagi Liscio

Size tested: 55

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame -

24T/30T carbon fibre,

disc mounts

mudguard eyes

Di2 ready

Internal cabling

aero seatpost

Fork -

Full carbon

Disc compatible

Internal cabling

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

The Liscio is designed as an endurance machine with plenty of comfort in the frame from carbon fibre lay up and the Long Bow Flex system. It also works well as a performance machine or winter trainer thanks to full mudguard clearance.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The quality looks really good and it certainly feels solid enough. There were no rattles or worrying sounds over rough ground and I think the paint finishes it off completely

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

24T and 30T carbon fibre mix is used as a mid tensile strength material to sacrifice some stiffness for comfort

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The 55cm comes with an 549mm effective top tube with snesible angles to provide a quick handling yet balanced riding machine.

Full specs here - http://www.volagi.com/bikes/liscio-disc-road-bike/

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

STack is tall at 574mm due to the long head tube though it never feels like you are sitting upright. A reach of 379mm is pretty spot on for a 549mm top tube (effective)

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes very much so. There is some buzz from the beefed up front end but it's minimal and the Liscio is a very relaxing bike to ride.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

All in all the Volagi has plenty of stiffness for fast and powerful riders. The Long Bow seatstays can feel a little soft but it's rare and barely noticeable

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Well, it likes to climb and sprint.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral,

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The Volagi was very easy to ride whether in traffic or the open road thanks to the balanced steering. Banking it over through the turns seen plenty of grip and it tracks very well.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

I liked the Volagi saddle as it had minimal padding and a long narrow design plus our frameset had 3T carbon handlebars which worked well with the frame soaking up the bumps.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The aero section seatpost felt stiffer than a round alternative though thankfully the flex around the seat tube reduced any harshness.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

Ours came with an Ultegra build and the chainset, bottom bracket combo really laid the power down. The whels were impressive to.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10

instant response through the frame

Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10

acceleration was swift away from the lights

Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10

At the absolute top end you will feel some flex but it doesn't detract from the performance of an endurance frame.

Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10

A hint of understeer at very high speed.

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

Ultegra is solid and provides consistent shifting and braking performance. This review is for a frameset only though so these scores don't count for the overall.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
8/10

Very impressive weight for disc brake wheels

Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
8/10

standing up well to braking forces and day to day riding

Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

Volagi's own wheels certainly feel up to the job and they look smart to. Just over 1600g for a set is impressive plus there are also carbon fibre versions to

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Volagi's aero seatpost is certainly stiff and offers loads of height adjustment. The simple saddle adjustment is a winner to. The 3T carbon bars our test bike came with offered plenty of performance and were also clip on tri bar compatible.

Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)

The components seen on our test bike are just an example of the build possible, you can go as bling or sensible as you like.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
8/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

It was a brave decision when Volagi designed the Liscio from the ground up to take disc brakes and while there is still some opposition to the concept, it's something we're going to see a lot more of. While I've ridden lighter or faster, better handling, even more exciting bikes very few have had the solid, dependable, consistent, do everything kind of ride the Liscio offers. The Volagi would be a loyal workhorse in your stable.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course!  My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

18 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Volagi was initially running 130mm rear disk wheels (dumb), am I correct that the made the move to 135mm?

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [302 posts]
10th August 2014 - 14:44

10 Likes

pedalpowerDC wrote:
Volagi was initially running 130mm rear disk wheels (dumb), am I correct that the made the move to 135mm?

It would appear so....

The Ignite EL's are Volagi's own and come in at a claimed weight of around 1600g, which makes them some of the lightest road disc wheels we've tested. They have a 135mm spacing on the rear hub which has become the adopted norm for disc wheels and frames.

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [1220 posts]
10th August 2014 - 15:16

5 Likes

Have TRP changed the design of the HY/RD brakes? Early reviews remarked on the lever pulling a long way back to the bars.

posted by richcc [54 posts]
10th August 2014 - 20:33

5 Likes

richcc wrote:

Have TRP changed the design of the HY/RD brakes? Early reviews remarked on the lever pulling a long way back to the bars.

Apparently they changed the little gasket thing that sits under the reservoir lid. Probably made it a bit larger, so it would have the same effect as adding more fluid. I've still got the first version, but simply filling the reservoir with slightly more mineral oil than what the brakes came with made the lever throw issue disappear for me.

Got milk? Doesn't fit in your bottle cage? Get a Carton Cage.

Video: we put a GoPro on a sparrow.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [446 posts]
11th August 2014 - 12:15

4 Likes

It doesn't have reach and free stroke adjustments like those on the Shimano R785. And on my setup, it feels like the Shimano setup "feels" much better in terms of pull compared to SRAM, buthing not too drastic.

TRP replaced my first gen Hy/Rds with the updated version. The lever throw is still the same, but it compensates for pad wear much better now. This time I don't have to top off the reservoir anymore.

posted by ginoledesma [2 posts]
11th August 2014 - 15:28

3 Likes

Thanks both. Quite interested in the TRPs but was concerned about lever pull reports. Sorry to derail the frame review but the brakes are a bit more attainable.

posted by richcc [54 posts]
11th August 2014 - 20:28

3 Likes

richcc wrote:
Thanks both. Quite interested in the TRPs but was concerned about lever pull reports. Sorry to derail the frame review but the brakes are a bit more attainable.

The TRP's were great on the Volagi, plenty of pressure and very little lever pull even under heavy braking. They were the same to on the Sabbath September Disc and the Pretorius Outeniqua Disc I've recently finished testing so I reckon if you do go for them you won't be disappointed.

Twitter - @StuKerton

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [353 posts]
12th August 2014 - 10:16

6 Likes

I have a fun size over this. It may be full wood.
Any idea of the full price on this build?
I've got Avid BB7s on two of my bikes, I really rate them.
I've read so much good stuff about the TRP Spyres, are these semi hydraulic ones much better?
Do they add weight compared to the fully mechanical ones?
Finally, call me an old git, but I do like the option of being able to fit mudguards particularly in the winter for commuting - are those mudguard mounts on the rear, and are there mounts fitted on the forks? (couldn't see in the pics but wondered if they are hidden as they are on my Domane)

Nick0's picture

posted by Nick0 [116 posts]
12th August 2014 - 11:36

8 Likes

Nick0 wrote:
I have a fun size over this. It may be full wood.
Any idea of the full price on this build?
I've got Avid BB7s on two of my bikes, I really rate them.
I've read so much good stuff about the TRP Spyres, are these semi hydraulic ones much better?
Do they add weight compared to the fully mechanical ones?
Finally, call me an old git, but I do like the option of being able to fit mudguards particularly in the winter for commuting - are those mudguard mounts on the rear, and are there mounts fitted on the forks? (couldn't see in the pics but wondered if they are hidden as they are on my Domane)

it'll take full guards, the mount on the fork is on the inside face

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7829 posts]
12th August 2014 - 14:58

3 Likes

I've had a Volagi Liscio for nearly 3 years now - the very first in the UK - it's a fabulous bike. I fitted Di2 from the off and ran BB7s (OEM) until recently when I swapped the front brake to HY/Rd. TRP had to swap it though because I literally ran out of brake descending Alpe D'Huez - the 1st gen simply didn't compensate enough for pad wear (personally I was glad to still have the BB7 on the rear and think TRP should have done a recall on the HY/RD)
Back to the Volagi though - an amazing bike: I've done Ireland E2E, London to Edinburgh, Inverness to Edinburgh in a day (reaching 60mph coming off Glenshee Ski Centre), and, this June, Alpe D'HuZes (6x up Alpe D'Huez in a day - great on the way up and unbeatable on the way down). As for speed, it's a quick as my Scott Foil.
The guys at Volagi are great - really passionate.
And, if you want steel or Ti, they do the Viaje - a real do anything bike.

posted by Meanredspider [14 posts]
12th August 2014 - 18:39

3 Likes

Can it take a rear rack?

posted by gr3g0ree [71 posts]
13th August 2014 - 17:06

1 Like

I've had my eye on this frame for a while, one thing is bugging me.

Can it handle internally routed hydraulic brakes if so what is the maximum outer diameter of the hose?

posted by Initialised [258 posts]
13th August 2014 - 20:35

2 Likes

userfriendly wrote:
richcc wrote:

Have TRP changed the design of the HY/RD brakes? Early reviews remarked on the lever pulling a long way back to the bars.

Apparently they changed the little gasket thing that sits under the reservoir lid. Probably made it a bit larger, so it would have the same effect as adding more fluid. I've still got the first version, but simply filling the reservoir with slightly more mineral oil than what the brakes came with made the lever throw issue disappear for me.

This sound like a version of a common trick used for all TRP/Tectro hydraulic brakes, you give it just a little extra fluid at the caliper end once you've closed the lever bleed port to get rid of lever travel and firm up the lever. I can't see how you'd do it on HY/RDs

posted by Initialised [258 posts]
13th August 2014 - 20:40

1 Like

Initialised wrote:
userfriendly wrote:

Apparently they changed the little gasket thing that sits under the reservoir lid. Probably made it a bit larger, so it would have the same effect as adding more fluid. I've still got the first version, but simply filling the reservoir with slightly more mineral oil than what the brakes came with made the lever throw issue disappear for me.

This sound like a version of a common trick used for all TRP/Tectro hydraulic brakes, you give it just a little extra fluid at the caliper end once you've closed the lever bleed port to get rid of lever travel and firm up the lever. I can't see how you'd do it on HY/RDs

Basically all you have to do is remove the reservoir cap (you'll need a T10 torx wrench), remove the gasket, drip some mineral oil into the calliper, put the gasket back and screw the cap back on. It's pretty simple.

Here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0i4aQ8S34w

I got a litre of Shimano mineral oil from Wiggle for £17. Works perfectly and will do me for a wee while (a lifetime, probably).

One thing you should be careful with that I learned the hard, messy way - if you squeeze the actuator to get rid of air bubbles in the system while you're fettling with the calliper, make sure you have something stuck in between the pistons that keeps them apart! Otherwise one of them might pop out and you'll have mineral oil in places where there should be no mineral oil (i.e. everywhere!)

Got milk? Doesn't fit in your bottle cage? Get a Carton Cage.

Video: we put a GoPro on a sparrow.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [446 posts]
13th August 2014 - 22:11

3 Likes

Initialised wrote:
I've had my eye on this frame for a while, one thing is bugging me.

Can it handle internally routed hydraulic brakes if so what is the maximum outer diameter of the hose?

Volagi do a full-hydraulic version of the complete bike so I guess yes. Get in touch with Volagi to confirm: they are still small enough to care and to respond quickly

posted by Meanredspider [14 posts]
14th August 2014 - 19:14

1 Like

I have one of these frames and absolutely love it. I did a bit of a dream build with Shimano R785 DI2 Hydraulic discs and am very happy with the performance of the bike.
It is better than my Cervelo RS that I had before, and I love the braking offered by the discs. It hasn't changed me into the fastest descender out there, but has massively increased my confidence on the descents.
I have a set of SKS full length guards ready for winter and will be using this as my year round bike.

posted by Shred [17 posts]
18th August 2014 - 16:48

2 Likes

Shred wrote:

I have one of these frames and absolutely love it. I did a bit of a dream build with Shimano R785 DI2 Hydraulic discs and am very happy with the performance of the bike.
It is better than my Cervelo RS that I had before, and I love the braking offered by the discs. It hasn't changed me into the fastest descender out there, but has massively increased my confidence on the descents.
I have a set of SKS full length guards ready for winter and will be using this as my year round bike.

Nice one. I actually think a set of nice full length SKS guards would nicely complement the lines of the frame. Sounds like something I would build, but I will wait for Campagnolo to release their hydraulic disc brakes instead (or rather for me being able to scrape up the monies required for such a build). Day Dreaming

Got milk? Doesn't fit in your bottle cage? Get a Carton Cage.

Video: we put a GoPro on a sparrow.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [446 posts]
18th August 2014 - 17:20

1 Like

Stuart, How can you refer to the Ignite EL wheels while the pictures clearly show the SL wheels? Carbon rims are ~ $1000.= upgrade over the EL. As such, the quoted weight for the wheel set (~1600 gram) is incorrect. Even though your review is intended to just assess the Liscio frame set, your write-up describes the complete bike in great detail. Therefore a correction should be made in your review to reflect the components tested.

Harald

posted by harald [3 posts]
19th August 2014 - 17:13

1 Like