The new Votec VRC Carbon: Redefining Modern Road Bikes
The Votec VRC Carbon is back on the road, offering a unique perspective on the look and feel of modern road bikes. Following the success of their VRX gravel bike and VR road bike, the German direct-to-consumer brand has once again focused on handlebars.
Votec VRC: A Modern Carbon All-Road Bike
Ready to take on any type of road, the Votec VRC Carbon aims to redefine the modern endurance road bike as a blend of quick handling and comfort, with enough tire clearance to tackle any road. From smooth asphalt to fast gravel, you have speed when you want it, and comfort and control when you need it.
Votec has had a presence in the road biking scene for years, even with its original roots in mountain biking. But road cycling has changed a lot in recent years, for the better enjoyment of almost everyone, so they thought it was time to redefine their solution for the road as well. According to Alex Bethge, Votec’s brand director, they didn’t want a road bike confined to good roads. The beauty of modern changes towards tubeless road tires, disc brakes, and carbon frame construction means that a high-performance road bike can now also be an all-road bike. “A dynamic bike that offers an authentic road bike feel from asphalt to cobblestones, but can also handle off-road roads.”
Votec Endurance All-Road Geometry
To achieve this, Votec started by combining a fast yet stable endurance road geometry with clearance for up to 35mm tires. This is primarily achieved through a medium head tube angle of 72.5° and a seat tube angle of 74°, with a frame reach leaning towards the longer end of the spectrum to achieve generally longer and more stable wheelbases, even with relatively short chainstays of 414mm. From there, they partnered with German custom carbon bike builder Rafael Hoffleit to shape a unique production carbon frame, which, while mostly conventional in silhouette, incorporates several original and functional details when looked at closely.
Unique Functional Details of the VRC
The VR-Knot seat cluster is the first of these unique details that catches the eye. It’s not an entirely new idea to decouple the seatstays from the seat tube to allow for more vibration-dampening flex and to divert rear wheel impacts before they reach the seatpost – we’ve seen it a few times before. But the VRC also combines this with a slightly lower seat clamp on the 27.2mm round seatpost to provide more post length for flex, which is also not unique in itself. But there’s a third element tucked into this solution: Votec also combines the best of traditional seat clamps and wedges. The seatpost itself is held in place by a fairly conventional collar, but that collar doesn’t actually grip the carbon frame. Votec wanted to avoid potential damage to the carbon frame and ensure secure seatpost retention.
So, after securing the seat clamp collar directly to the seatpost, that clamp rests on top of the carbon upper tube of the frame, and a second set of bolts secures it in place from underneath the top tube. The result is that if those bolts loosen, the seatpost won’t slip. There are also no threads in the frame or carbon that you can overtighten into the frame (only the seatpost itself). And if you want to remove the seatpost to fit the bike in the car or a travel bag, you don’t even need to readjust the height or alignment of the saddle.
There are also smaller creative details here and there. Votec really wanted to minimize the number of threaded inserts bonded to the carbon frame, so front derailleurs are directly mounted on an alloy tab that’s inserted into a carbon cavity at the base of the seat tube, held in place by a few external bolts. And if you opt for a 1x drivetrain, a simple cap creates a seamless replacement. The aluminum rear derailleur hanger is also fitted into a cavity in the carbon frame to act as a receiver thread for the rear thru-axle, and Votec does it in a way that the hanger doesn’t immediately fall out when you remove the rear wheel.
This is also useful, as it serves as a connection point for Mavic’s Speed Release 12mm thru-axle system, which is easy to remove. Both the frame and fork incorporate the Speed Release system for quickly removing wheels without removing the axles from the hubs. And although all complete VRC bikes come with Mavic wheels, a simple thru-axle adapter makes any other modern 12mm wheel compatible.
All-Road Technical Details of the VRC
Beyond its unique details, the VRC Carbon UD is also designed to be versatile in all seasons. As such, the bike features discreet and hidden mounts for full-coverage fenders, and each complete bike actually includes a matching Curana 35 fender set when you purchase it. The VRC Carbon features modular internal cable routing through a single port on the down tube and a sculpted widening at the fork crown for direct front brake routing, compatibility with both electronic or mechanical drivetrains, an internal tapered headset, BB386 pressfit bottom bracket, and two standard bottle cage mounts. The bike incorporates flat-mount disc brakes, using a high-mount flat-mount front brake bracket on the fork to work with 160mm or 180mm rotors with a standard flat-mount adapter plate.
Votec VRC All-Road – Prices, Specifications, and Availability
The VRC is available in five sizes (S-XXL) and three colors depending on the specifications: Vader Black, Norwegian Blue, and Spanish Copper. The all-road bike is available on its own in black as a frame set for €1,500, or in one of four complete versions with compact double road groups and 19mm internal UST wheels and tubeless-ready tires (not set up tubeless).
The range starts with the Votec VRC Comp at €2,500, which features a full Shimano 105 groupset, a Zipp Service Course alloy frame, and Mavic Aksium Elite wheels with 32mm Conti GP500 TL tires.
The Votec VRC Pro, priced at €3,000 and weighing 8.4kg, upgrades to Ultegra, Service Course SL cockpit and carbon seatpost, and Mavic Ksyrium wheels with 30mm Vittoria Corsa Control tanwall tires.
The Votec VRC Elite, priced at €4,000 and weighing 8.3kg, further upgrades to a mechanical Dura-Ace groupset with the same Service Course SL frame + carbon seatpost, but now with Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels and 30mm tanwall Vittoria Corsa Control tires.
Alternatively, for the same price, you can get a SRAM wireless eTap 2×12 configuration with the Votec VRC Evo at €4,000 and 8.5kg, which includes a SRAM Force AXS double groupset with its wider 10-33T cassette and 48/35 chainrings, with the same finishing kit as the Elite.
The new line of VRC models is available direct to consumer at…