Ventum’s NS1 is built for speed

We wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t heard of the Ventum name until now. The direct-to-consumer brand got its start in 2015 with an exotic, Lotus 108-like, non-UCI-legal tri bike. From there they grew the line to include a single road and gravel bike. In its push to the drop-bar scene, Ventum partnered with pro road and gravel teams like CS Velo and the Abus Pro Gravel squad. Bringing in even more headlining status, both Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie jumped in to provide helpful input. While you can find Lance extolling the virtues of his NS1 and GS1 during the promotional bits of his “The Move” podcast, we’re here to dig into how Ventum’s flagship aero road bike stands up to a critical review from miles spent riding it on our local roads.  

Ventum is able to provide SRAM’s wireless 12-speed Rival AXS drivetrain at a competitive price point, thanks to its direct-to-consumer sales model.


Ventum calls its first foray into the road market the NS1. The frame sports a modern look with semi-aero shaping on the downtube, a D-shaped seat tube, lowered seatstays and a sloping top tube that aids in compliance. A silicone EPS molding process is used to achieve the desired stiffness and compliance of each tube during construction. This allows Ventum to shape the internal walls, as well as the outer walls of each tube to tune the amount of stiffness in key areas like the bottom bracket, head tube and fork. 

Looking at the geometry numbers, we’d place the NS1 near the middle of the racing category. Our medium-large frame has a 99.6cm wheelbase with a 73-degree head tube angle. The wheelbase bordered on the long side for a pure race bike, while the head tube angle is steep and on par with other bikes in the category. The 39.5cm reach is paired with a stack height of 55.2cm. This is a fairly low stack number with a typical reach. Notably, the 45.9mm trail measurement is quite aggressive. 



Rather than the usual stock builds most brands offer, Ventum’s direct-to-consumer nature allows it to offer a selection of mainline SRAM and Shimano components with a choice of wheels from Vision, Zipp and Enve. Our test bike was equipped with a SRAM Rival AXS drivetrain. Rival AXS is SRAM’s entry-level wireless product at a similar level as Shimano 105. It’s worth mentioning that the forged aluminum crankarms add significant weight (about 100 grams more than SRAM Force) to the system. However, one of our favorite aspects of the Rival AXS system is the option to add a single-sided power meter to the left crankarm for just $250.

A one-piece carbon aero handlebar is equipped and notably comes pre-assembled in the box during shipping, which saves time during setup.

Matching the performance-oriented design of the frame, the 48/35 chainrings are paired with a 10-33t cassette, which is our preferred spec for modern race bikes, and one that we were keen to see a young brand like Ventum choose. 

A pair of Zipp’s 303 S wheels were set up with 28mm IRC Formula Pro TL tires. The Zipps have become a fairly common sighting, as they are among the most affordably priced carbon wheelsets on the market from a big-name brand. Ventum offers them as an upgrade over Vision’s Team 30 alloy wheels for $1000. They feature a 45mm rim depth with a 23mm internal measurement with a rim shape that is aero-optimized for 28mm tires. As the rims are hookless, you’ll want to only run tubeless-compatible tires with or without a tube.


We were a bit surprised at the size of the large bike box from Ventum that arrived at the office, but after opening it up and putting the bike in the stand, we were pleased with how quick and easy it was to assemble. Ventum’s one-piece carbon handlebar is pre-installed, leaving one to simply attach the wheels, check the bolts and run through the gears to ensure nothing was damaged during shipping. This was one of the simplest assembly processes we’ve encountered and a reassuring start to our time on the NS1. 

On the road, we felt like there was a bit too much vertical stiffness in the front end.

Out on the road, there are a few stand-out characteristics of the Ventum. First, the NS1 is highly responsive. We credit this to the short trail and steep head tube angle. It results in precision cornering but relatively twitchy handling. Other flagship race bikes like Specialized’s Tarmac SL7 and Giant’s TCR have moved towards a more subdued handling style that is easier to control. This highly responsive ride is something we’d recommend for experienced riders rather than beginners or anyone looking to make the transition from triathlon to road riding. In short, the NS1 performs best at speed, and its stiff qualities and tight handling aid in that aspect. 

Second, the ride is noticeably less compliant than other modern road bikes. While it’s not overly jarring, the NS1’s vertical compliance could use some improvement, especially in the front end. It’s one thing for a race bike to be focused on stiffness, but we found the NS1 ride to be relatively rough on bumpy roads. We’d recommend upgrading to 30mm tires to aid in compliance. Wider tires are the easiest way to attain a lower/usable tire pressure to eke out a bit of pneumatic compliance that could help offset the stiffness of the frame.


Someone with advanced handling skills will be able to make the most out of the NS1, while its quick-handling nature may hold newer riders back. It is a top-of-the-line road bike, and we came away impressed with the overall build and its performance on fast group rides and in races. Still, in our opinion, the Ventum lacks some of the modern refinements some other manufacturers have adopted in recent years. We like the competitive pricing and variety of component spec. It’s a promising beginning for a brand that’s new to the performance road bike category.

As big mainstream brands continue to struggle with the consumer-direct approach, Ventum has clearly shown themselves capable of delivering ready-to-ride bikes at any consumer’s doorstep. There are three base colorways, plus a premium paint option for the NS1, although we’d still like to see some added colors in the future. Sizes range from XS to XL ,with complete bike prices starting at $4499, and frame sets available for $3699.


• Spec’d to order

• An aggressive geometry

• Stiff, highly responsive ride


Price: $5499

Weight: 18.06 pounds

Sizes: XS, S, M, ML (tested), L, XL


Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.