review

Storck Visioner C road bike

9
£2,209.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Amazing frame that encapsulates everything about riding a bike fast; upgrade the wheels to get the most out of it
Weight: 
7,800g

With its less stratospheric price the Visioner C may have brought the owning of a Storck to a larger demographic but don't go thinking it's a soft option. The Visioner proves itself out on the road as a worthy contender against its siblings and more importantly against its competition. If you're lucky enough to have around two grand burning a hole in your pocket while hankering for an unadulterated race machine the Visioner C is pretty much the definition at this price.

Performance, Power & Precision

The Sunday morning club run became the defining moment of the Visioner C's ride for me. A poorly timed gilet removal meant I was on the back foot for the town sign sprint. Giving the Storck a good kick through the pedals didn't launch me to the front but it highlighted the fact the bike I'd easily covered fifty miles on so far in comfort and without much thought had now turned into this super stiff sprinter's machine with pin sharp handling.

The Storck isn't just stiff, it's composed too and delivers your power in a very smooth manner. You feel everything through the bottom bracket and it's just power, power, power, not a single hint of flex. The seat and chainstays flexing a little to just tame the rear end so the wheel stays planted on even rough tarmac.

You get these same benefits when climbing too especially out of the saddle. The DT Swiss R23 wheels retard the zing a little due to their weight but the Visioner is a joy to ascend on. The geometry allowing any easy transition from standing to seated.

When it comes to descending the Visioner C doesn't disappoint either. The long top tube allows you to get your centre of gravity low and take twisting downhills at speed with precision. The massive head tube keeps the front end feeling tight and the Stiletto fork barely moves a millimetre.

I'm a fan of descending. It's the only reason I climb to the top in the first place and the Visioner C is one of only a handful of bikes that I felt confident enough to really push to its limits knowing that if you go past them you'll be able to get it back.

As I mentioned above though, it's not a balls out ride all of the time. The Storck is happy to tap out the miles and it is very easy to ride. The Visioner C is based on the Scentron model in Storck's same Performance category but with remodelled narrower chain and seatstays providing some flex for comfort. It takes the sting out of the oversized front end and the large diameter 31.6mm seatpost.

It all adds up to be a perfect club run, sportive style machine to cover long summer miles on.

Frame & Fork

The 'C' part of the Visioner's name stands for Carbon, differentiating it from its alloy counterpart, and it uses a uni-directional layup process to get the characteristics of the frame dialled in. The tubes, as with all Storcks, are proportional meaning that wall thicknesses and the like are tweaked for each frameset size to give the same stiffness to weight ratio and ride quality. Quoted frame weights of 1,250g are impressive also showing that Storck haven't sacrificed the ride quality in a bid for ultimate light weight.

Just looking at the Visioner you know it's going to be high on stiffness thanks to the massive downtube and bottom bracket area. The BB uses PressFit 86,5 bearings which as the name suggests press into the frame thus allowing a wider BB area for stiffness and a bigger bonding area for the downtube diameter.

The geometry is quite simply race, taking the 55cm as an example the compact frame has an effective top tube length of 566mm with just a 138mm head tube giving that low slung, long aero position. The angles are steep too with head and seat matching with a 73.5° angle, pair that with a short fork rake of 38mm highlights where the direct handling comes from.

The Stiletto fork is full carbon fibre and has a claimed weight of just 360g so it's certainly in the lightweight camp. Its slender profile and size wouldn't have you believe it's going to be so stiff but there is so little movement from the dropouts and legs when it matters it keeps the front end super tight.

Future proofing the frame, Storck have used internal cable routing that is set up for both mechanical and electronic shifting. Ours was running Shimano 105 mechanical and I'm happy to confirm that even on a bike as stiff as this there are no cables pinging on the inside of the tube walls.

Should you crash the Visioner C has a replaceable gear hanger to take the brunt rather than the frame as the rear mech takes the impact. While you are at the back you'll notice the rear facing dropouts which, once you get used to them, allow fast wheel changes.

Kit Level

Shimano's 105 11-speed is used throughout, including the brakes and crankset. That's always good to see; a full group always makes the bike look more complete in my eyes.

It's a great groupset as we've said many times before and apart from giving away a bit of weight and slickness to Ultegra the shifting and performance are among the best on the market. Being available in a black finish also suits the Storck's bold blue paintjob too.

The wide range cassettes available give a good spread of gears for climbing and descending when paired with a compact chainset and the shifting is always spot on, staying that way even after covering a fair few thousand miles.

We've reviewed the 105 groupset in full before so we won't go into too much detail here but suffice to say that although it might seem like a low spec for a £1799 bike it's definitely up to the job in hand.

Storck use their own brand components on their bikes and the Visioner comes with an alloy seatpost, stem and handlebar combo. Ours has had a little bit of an upgrade getting carbon bars (£230) and post (£180) to boost comfort and save a little weight. The RBC 180 bar has a pistol grip shape and is very comfortable with little flex for a carbon setup. The winged tops give a wrist-friendly platform for covering long miles as well.

The seatpost is the Platinum Edition MLP135 which weighs a mere 135g. Going carbon is a worthy upgrade on a frame as stiff as this but that upgrade price is a little eye watering.

 

Wheels are DT Swiss R23s. These are the only real sign of cost cutting on the Visioner C as they don't quite match the performance of the frame. They're good wheels mind, strong and robust with lovely smooth hubs but the weight of the rims just takes the edge off of the Storck's acceleration and climbing.

The Schwalbe One tyres are grippy and seemingly puncture resistant as we had no issues on the mud strewn country lanes giving them any trouble. The 25mm width gives plenty of confidence in the corners and low rolling resistance to boot.

 

The Prologo Nago Evo T2.0 saddle is comfortable. The narrow profile is spot on for big thighs and the minimal padding takes the sting out without being spongy.

Conclusion

The Visioner C would be an awesome bike at any price but is especially so at this one. The frame outshines everything else so whatever components you stick on it the carbon frame won't be found wanting.

The ride feedback is brilliant. You know exactly what the bike is doing the whole time and the whole machine just feels balanced and perfectly planted. Descending is amazing as it just goes where you point it instantly. Even right on the tyre's limit of grip the bike is controllable with the tinniest amount of body movement to get it back from the point of disaster.

Despite of the stiffness and tight handling you've got a bike though that is very comfortable that you can tap out a century on with the greatest of ease, well relatively.

This Visioner C could do with a few tweaks though and the bike as a whole would be spot on. Personally I'd forget the upgrades, as good as they are, which push our test model up to £2209 and spend that extra £410 on a decent set of wheels. The R23s are the only real niggle in the Visioner's off the shelf spec list and rob the rider of the top end performance the Storck is capable of.

Verdict

Amazing frame that encapsulates everything about riding a bike fast; upgrade the wheels to get the most out of it

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Storck Visioner C

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.

*UD Carbon Fibre Frame

*UD Carbon Fibre Stiletto Fork

*Shimano 105 Groupset (11spd)

*Prologo Nago Evo T2.0 Saddle

*Storck ST115 Alloy Stem

*Storck Platinum Edition MLP 135 Seatpost (Upgrade)

*Storck RBC 180 Carbon Handlebar

*DT Swiss R23 Wheelset

*Schwalbe One Tyres

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?

As part of Storck's Performance range the Visioner C is designed to offer a racy ride while maintaining comfortable riding position also. This isn't a Sportive style bike you find from a lot of manufacturers, the Visioner C is about performance first.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

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

Storck say "The Visioner C is a full Carbon frame and fork. Based on the Scentron mainframe with revised layup and new comfort seat and chainstays, plus new Stiletto fork, the Visioner Carbon is no entry level performer.

All the traditional features of the Storck brand are included. Proportional tubing ensures each frame size offer exactly the same stiffness to weigh ratio and ride quality, so the smaller rider gets the same riding experience as an XL rider. Super stiff bottom bracket offer direct drive for rapid acceleration, whilst the seat and chainstays offer vibration dampening to reduce harsh road

vibration frequency. The fork and steering geometry provide the (now) legendary precise and confident inspiring handling you would expect from Storck."

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Steep angles and a long top tube make for a low slung race position. Full charts and size guide here :- http://www.storck-bicycle.cc/road-bikes/visioner-c-g2-2015#tab_tab4-geo

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

The reach was on the long side for me due to the slightly longer than usual top tube. Full stack and reach measurements are on the above geometry page.

Riding the bike

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

Yes surprisingly, considering how stiff it is.

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

Yes the front end is all about stiffness without a whiff of flex anywhere when it matters.

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

Awesome, it lays it down smoothly.

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

Yes but not really an issue.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Quick but controlled.

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

The whole bike is very well balanced and as the speed increases the handling weights up nicely, perfect for flowing descents.

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

The carbon bar and seatpost upgrades provide some more flex therefore comfort than the standard alloy offerings would.

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

The stem and bar combo worked well together under load.

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

The heavyish wheels rob the bike of some acceleration. These would be my first upgrade.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
10/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
10/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
9/10

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

105 is a great groupset and as far as value for money is concerned there is little to touch it. Special mention goes out to the brakes as these have excellent power and modulation.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
7/10
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?

They are decent enough wheels but are found a little lacking in relation to the frame quality. The tyres are impressively grippy and puncture resistant.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
6/10

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

The handlebar is a comfortable shape and provides stiffness without being harsh but it's hell of a lot of money for a carbon option. The same applies to the seatpost.

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:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
7/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

This test sample drops a mark in terms of value due to the upgrades which I don't think are justifiable but as the standard alloy based package of £1799 I would say it's a good deal. The frameset is absolutely beautiful though and highlights how great carbon fibre is when it's done right. Comfortable and full of performance isn't always easy to pull off.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

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,

 

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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