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.
Well built, top performing evolution of the humble road bike that shows discs aren't just for commuters.
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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.
24T/30T carbon fibre,
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
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?
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.
instant response through the frame
acceleration was swift away from the lights
At the absolute top end you will feel some flex but it doesn't detract from the performance of an endurance frame.
A hint of understeer at very high speed.
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
Very impressive weight for disc brake wheels
standing up well to braking forces and day to day riding
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
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.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.
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.
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,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.