Super Bike Vs Hyper Bike: Can You Go Faster If You Break The Rules?


(intense dramatic music) – [Narrator] In 2018, GCN made a hyper-bike. A bike that ripped up the rule book and then burned it.
(flames crackling) But after that video a key question remained. Is a hyper-bike actually any good? – [Ollie] Honestly we didn’t know. So we’ve gone and built another one. Only this time we’re
armed with power meters so we can make our tests
even more scientific. – [Si] A hyper bike is the Ventum One. A bike, that when it was launched back in 2016, it was reputedly 24%
faster in the wind tunnel than its next closest competition. It’s a bike designed purely with the
needs of triathletes in mind. Right down to on-board storage. It’s a bike that will make cycling’s
crusty old men in blazers choke on their cucumber sandwiches at the mere sight of it. – [Ollie] Ventum has kindly
supplied us with this to compare it to. Now armed with their
knowledge of aerodynamics, carbon engineering and the expertise gained
from developing the rule breaking Maverick, the One, they decided to turn their
attention to building a road bike. This, the NS1, is the result. It’s a bike that takes
aim at the holy trinity, of aerodynamics, lightweight, and versatility. A true super bike. – [Si] Yeah, but how will these two very
different beasts stack up? We are going to find out by
pitting this top of the range One against that top of the range NS1. Head to head. – Yeah. Just one little note though, Si. – Yeah? – Ventum said that we can
change anything we like on the bikes, just, we can’t change the
triathlon bars on the One to drop bars. – What? – Yeah. – Really? – Yeah. – Hm. (upbeat intense music) – Before we get started, we need to deal with some
dictionary definitions. I mean, what is a hyper bike and what is a super bike? (dream sequence music) – Well, to our mind, a super bike is in the
absolute top tier of bikes that money can buy. The world’s finest components would adorn a frame set that’s been crafted to be as good as it possibly can be, irrespective of budget. But it has to conform to the UCI rules, that set of regulations that’s laid down by cycling’s
international governing body. That means, should you wish, you can pin a number on and race it. Be that in a local road race, or the Tour de France. (fairytale music)
– Uh, regulations that are actually governed
road bike designs since the Lugano Charter of the mid ’90’s. – [Si] A hyber bike, though, is one that’s gone to another level. It doesn’t care about rules, so it can be super light or, as in this case, ultra aero. And a little bit of added bling wouldn’t hurt either. (whimsical music) – Well, for a start, the absence of seat stays
contravenes rule 1.3020 as does the oversized top tube, that won’t fit into the guide lines, also stipulated by 1.3020, point two figure one, and nor does the complete
lack of any down tube. (audible sigh) There you are, well finally, the fairings on the brakes, they’re just a flagrant
disregard for rule 1.3.02 (dramatic 80’s music) – [Narrator] Seriously, what is with that guy? Si, just, out of interest, why do you seem to think
all triathletes have blonde mullets, mustaches and
a fondness for baby oil? – [Si] Well, don’t they? – Well I guess some of them might. – Yeah, exactly. Also this is significantly
better than the alternative. – Why, what was that? – You don’t want to know. (funky 70’s music) (beep) – [Ollie] What are our
test going to be today? Well we’ve come to GCN’s semi official test track, which consists of a horrible climb, that’s mile of impossibly steep tarmac, a twisty, slippery descent, with hazards in the form of wild sheep, and then, a pan flat out and back time trial. Three short tests within
a mater of minutes will give us a snapshot
of a bike’s ability. A radar diagram of performance. Climbing, which is generally a
product of the weight. Descending, which is largely governed by the handling, the brakes, and the stiffness of a bike, and then straight line speed, which is mostly aerodynamics. – As Ollie mentioned at the beginning, the difference between this video and previous comparison videos, is that these bikes have power meters. Now Ventum recognize the
importance of solid data and then they supplied them
with Pioneer power meters already fitted, although they are actually
an option that you can choose if you’re buying from the Ventum website. One option among many, in fact. Like, your group set, your crank length, cassette size, handlebar width, et cetera, et cetera. Now, what it means is that
we will be able to ride to a set average power, and therefore any difference in times, will be as a direct result of the bikes. – Or any number of environmental factors such as the variation in wind speed, air density, or the aerodynamic turbulence created by mullets and mustaches. Run one, Si’s going to ride up the hill first, on the Ventum One hyper bike. – [Si] Yes. – [Olly] Beep. Beep. Beep. (high pitched) Beep. (intense rock music) – [Si] Because this bike
is built specifically to optimize aerodynamics, it does mean that the frame
set weighs more than on the NS1, which, is not surprising in
that the NS1 is something of a featherweight, but also, because there is a lot of
carbon fiber in this giant beam, and that’s to make sure that the bike is nice and stiff, even though you’ve got rid of that down tube, which would otherwise act as a nice brace forming a triangle, and obviously the same is true at the rear end as well. But however much carbon
is in this machine, it certainly seems to be doing its job, because you can’t actually tell that bits of this bike are otherwise missing. Unlike my mustache. – Run one. On the super bike. (grunts) Go. (heavy rock music) (bike braking) – Run number one average power 408 (catches breath) down to the bottom for a quick outfit change. (bikes passes by) It’s not quite so much
pain when you’ve got a power meter on though, that looked remarkably controlled. I think we maybe need to
shake things up a bit. – It’s pretty hard, it’s pretty steep in the middle, but I’m not looking forward
to doing it on that now. – (laughs) Here you go, mate. The ‘tache is just on the floor somewhere about 400 meters that way. Right. Run number two. Super bike. Can you give me some bleeps? – Beep. Beep. Beep. (high pitched) Beep. – [Si] I can tell, even though that’s just a bleep, that he wasn’t happy doing that. (rock music) – Beep. Beep. Beep. (high pitched) Beep. – [Si] Go Ollie! Up! Up! Up! Up! Up! Up! Up! (beeping from gadget) (bike brakes) Still not trying anywhere near
hard enough for this climb. – Well I’ve got the times on my Wahoo, and, just then, ten ten, I did it in. – [Si] On the one? – [Ollie] On the one, and, I did a power of 354 watts. On that one, I was 20 seconds quicker, so I did nine 50. But the power was about the same, so I’m quite pleased with myself, I did 352 watts. – [Si] Nice. Well, interestingly, so, I was 17 seconds faster on this one. But I can’t claim to be quite
so consistent on this one, the power was a little
bit more on the NS1, so seven watts more, but it was still 17
seconds faster this one, compared to the One. Unsurprising, perhaps, that the NS1 has dominated this test, because it is one point
three kilos lighter than the One. Isn’t it, so, a featherweight next to an
out and out time trial rig. But, yeah, there we go. Number one, NS1 has it. (sedate music) – [Si] While our triathlon
bike is carrying a little bit of extra weight as
a result of its exotic aero design, the fact is this NS1 is really pretty light on its own merit, and part of that is down
to an exotic material used in its construction. It’s only the second bike
to have ever come our way that has Graphene added to it. Now, that’s not a simple
compound to explain in the context of carbon composites, at least not quickly anyway, but essentially a very
small amount of Graphene is added to the resin that then bonds our
carbon fibers together. Now though it’s a small amount, it actually has a
disproportionately large effect on the overall strength and
stiffness of the material, meaning you can actually
use less material in your finished product, which is why this aero disc
frame weighs a little over 800 grams, and yet still has that
lateral rigidity that you need in order to get a fast feeling, responsive bike. – [Ollie] On to the descent. Although there is a problem here, we probably don’t need to point out that you can’t really
race down in an open road, but we will do anyway, and the fact is, neither do we fancy
riding down on the limit. On paper, you’d think there might be
a difference between them. The One has rim brakes neatly
hidden away behind those very slippery fairings, the NS1, on the other hand, has been designed from the ground up with disc brakes, and only disc brakes. Yes, that means braking
performance is much improved in poor conditions, but it also means you can run wider tires, up to 30 millimeters in fact, so not an out and out gravel bike, but that’s plenty big enough
to venture away from tarmac should you wish, or, run lower pressures for a comfy ride and shed loads of grip. (funky upbeat music) – It’s time for the final showdown. A flat, time trial. The ultimate out and out test of speed for any bike and a test that the Ventum One
was designed to unashamedly excel in. The slight compromise
in it making it heavier, because of losing the
down tube and seat stays, well that, that doesn’t matter here. In fact, the only slight issue is that Si has taken the tri bars
off and put drop bars on. – [Si] Seriously, Ollie, you have got to let that go mate. You are going to get me in trouble if you keep going on about it. – [Ollie] Yeah, well, I mean, they’re probably not going to notice. – [Si] No. Anyway, this NS1 though, should not be underestimated, because while it might be UCI compliant, Ventum said they spent 500 hours honing the design in CAD, FEA, whatever that is, and CFD, plus a further 40 hours in the wind tunnel to make sure this is as aerodynamic
as it possibly could be, even the fact that the
cables are completely hidden, is going to save, what, a watt or two? And when I say completely hidden, I mean completely hidden. I mean, I literally don’t know where they are. I’m going to have to take this apart and find out where they’ve gone. – This one looks faster though, doesn’t it? – Well, I dunno mate, I really am partial to the red. That is fast. – [Si] Are you ready? Beep. Beep. Beep. (high pitched) Beep. (rock music) (laughs) Beep. Beep. Beep. (high pitched) Beep. (rock guitar music) – [Si] Well, I’ll do my own then. Beep. Beep. Beep. (high pitched) Beep. (funky rock music) (sedate piano music) – [Ollie] Didn’t think we’d spend all day out in the cold by
the roadside, did you? We’ve come inside for a brew. – That’s right. Now just to recap, the results from our
climb are on screen now, the question is, how much did our hyper
bike manage to recoup on the flat time trial? – Well, Si, on both runs, I did 325 watts. – Nice. – Right, and on the super bike, I did it in eight minutes two seconds. – Okay. – On the hyper bike, seven minutes 53, so, nine seconds quicker. – [Si] Nice. – [Ollie] Not a huge amount, but, I mean if you extrapolated that
to a 40 kilometer time trial that’d be pretty significant I think. – Yeah, what, just over
a minute, isn’t it? – Yeah
– Because ours was about 5k. So, the difference in my runs was slightly less. Seven seconds between the two bikes, but I covered this
fractionally quicker as well, so I guess it’s still within – [Ollie] Ball park – [Si] The realms.
– [Ollie] Similar. – Absolutely. So, we have found that our
super bike has the edge when climbing, it probably has the edge when descending, but we couldn’t test that
because of rogue sheep, and then, the hyper bike clearly
has the edge on that fast, flat, time trial. – Intriguing. But what do you think the
results actually mean? (both laugh) – Well, for my money, mate, I think a super bike should
be a fantastic all-rounder. In fact, if we created a radar diagram, we can see that a super bike
should tick all the boxes and perform well in all areas. There might be slight
fluctuations I guess, depending on whether
manufacturers actively pursue that 6.8 kilo weight limit, or purely gone after aerodynamics, in which case it might
weigh a little bit more, but I think, for a hyper bike, to make any perceptible
performance breakthrough, it’s going to have to specialize, if it’s super light weight, you won’t get your disc brakes, and you won’t get aerodynamics. If you go after aerodynamics, you won’t make it super lightweight. – [Ollie] That’s right, and although we love to blame the UCI for stifling bike design, – Yeah, and sock height. – And sock height, you can’t escape the fact that the classic double diamond frame is a very elegant and
simple design solution to a two-wheeled vehicle
that has to steer. – [Si] Yeah,
absolutely, and then of course, when you add in things like the best materials currently available and advanced manufacturing techniques, like EPS molding, and actually you end up
with a bike that is a genuine all-rounder but
that can push the boundaries in all areas too. – Yeah, and as for the One, our hyper bike, – [Si] Yeah, – [Ollie] Well, I have to
admit that I do love the outrageous look of a beam bike, I just think they look so aerodynamic and kind of futuristic. To be honest, I’d quite love to use one
as an every day road bike. (laughs) – You’d look very good on it, Ollie. You’ve also go to give it its dues, haven’t you? The fact is, it is incredibly good at
what it’s been designed for, which is non-drafting triathlons. Ventum have been able to
make some pretty amazing claims about it, some of which, I was thinking, would actually translate to my commute to and from work, which is predominantly flat, very fast, – [Ollie] And devoid of UCI officials. – That’s right. (laughs) You want to see the height
of my socks when I cycle home from work, oh yes. – But, you have to say that, to most people, they’re going to want a
bike that’s versatile, versatility is key, and the all round performance
that is offered by a double diamond frame at the top of its game, it can’t be beaten. – [Si] No. Performance and also looks as well, because let’s face it, that’s a look that we can all get behind. Make sure you let us know
what you think though, down in the comments section. We know hyper bikes
tend to polarize opinion but what do you think about this latest, or, are you an absolute fan of that NS1? Get involved. – I want the One because
then I can win my commute. That’s about all I can win. – Your commute’s quite short, Ollie. Like, one and a half kilometers. (laughs) I think a skateboard would
probably do quite well, but anyway, that’s beside the point. If you would like to see
another comparison video here on GCN, super bike versus mid range bike, you can click on the screen just now.

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