First things first:
- The company name is pronounced vol-a-jee
- The name roughly translates to the will to go in Latin
- The bike’s name means trip, or journey in Spanish
Volagi was founded on the premise that conventional bicycles designed for racing simply weren’t practical for, or well-suited for the type of riding done by endurance cyclists. Having completed events like the 1200-kilometer Paris-Brest-Paris randonnée, and setting fixed-gear records for the Furnace Creek 508 race, the company’s founders knew a thing or two about what was needed for the long haul.
Designed to be both comfortable and nimble, the gravel-capable Viaje utilizes many of the design features first introduced on the company’s full-carbon Liscio model. The Viaje’s TIG-welded 4130 CroMo double-butted frame features Volagi’s patented LongBow Flex™ stays, an extended headtube, and tapered carbon fork with alloy steerer. Fender and (rear) rack eyelets extend the bike’s versatility and functionality, while the press-fit BB386 bottom bracket shell and integrated headset offer compatibility with a wide range of components. To accommodate the wider tires often preferred by gravel riders, Volagi spec’d the Viaje with clearance for 700x40C rubber.
Riders can purchase the Viaje as a frameset or a complete bike. The frame, fork, sealed-bearing bottom bracket and headset retails for $1495, and complete bicycles start at $2535. Our 57cm test bike came equipped with Shimano 105 and XT components, a Full Speed Ahead cockpit, and Volagi’s Ignite EL 24-spoke wheelset. Braking was provided by Hayes’ CX Expert mechanical disc calipers. Customizing your Viaje is easy using Volagi’s online bike builder, with components available from Campagnolo, Shimano, SRAM, and TRP.
Climbing on the Viaje was a breeze thanks to the SRAM 11-36 cassette and 34/50 Shimano 105 crankset. The 10-speed Shimano integrated levers pulled plenty of cable for the CX Expert mechanical disc brakes, and the combination offered a good balance of power and modulation. The frame’s 135mm rear dropout spacing and the brake caliper’s outboard-routed cable housing did occasionally result in some heel rub, however. With full-length housing, the Viaje’s cables required virtually no maintenance during our test period.
Fitted with lightweight 25mm or 28mm tires, the Viaje exhibited the smooth ride that steel-framed bikes are known for. Chipseal pavement all but disappeared, and the bike handled predictably on hard-packed dirt roads. The well-mannered Volagi quickly became the preferred bike for my 12-mile, mixed-terrain commute. And on weekends, stripped of its commuting accouterments, the Viaje saw plenty of spirited, recreational riding (on- and off-road). Don’t let the Volagi’s comfortable ride fool you, though. When it’s time to hammer–in or out of the saddle–there’s no unwanted flex.
On dirt and gravel, the Viaje excelled when ridden hard on non-technical terrain. Off-road, the handling would best be described as quick, but not nervous. On rougher terrain and steeper descents, I noticed some reduced comfort and control–probably due to the bike’s relatively short wheelbase (101.4cm) and stiff carbon fork. This is not entirely unique to the Volagi, however. I’ve ridden the same trails on similarly-spec’d bikes, and the ones equipped with steel forks did offer improved comfort (albeit at a weight penalty over carbon fiber).
Volagi has succeeded in delivering one of the most versatile bikes on the market. It can be configured as a dedicated road bike, gravel grinder, commuter, or anything in between. The Viaje successfully blends utility and performance without exhibiting the shortcomings often found on competitors’ do-it-all models.