British titanium bicycle brand Vaaru will use the upcoming Cycle Show at Birmingham’s NEC to showcase its new SRAM eTap-specific Octane SL and, built for going the distance, the MPA.
Vaaru was founded in 2013 by James Beresford, who has utilised his 11 years experience of designing and engineering cycling products for top brands in the industry to produce no-compromise titanium road and mountain bikes that, he tells us, put design first and cost of manufacture second. These are very much premium products with the focus on attention to detail and custom finishes and builds.
“The result [of this approach] is the highest quality frame I could possibly produce,” says James. “For example, my tapered head tubes cost a lot to produce because the bearing seats are machined from the same piece of titanium, where others may bond in aluminium inserts to reduce cost of manufacture. These little things add up to a superbly detailed quality frame which I can then add extra value to the customer by doing something I really enjoy, custom finishing.”
So what can you expect to see on his stand at the Cycle Show this week then? There will be the brand new MPA, an all-new distance bike that focuses on comfort and versatility. So there’s clearance for 28mm tyres with full mudguards fitted and rack mounts as well. As befits a modern touring bike, it comes with disc brakes.
The frame is compatible with mechanical and electronic groupsets and hydraulic disc brakes can be added. Weight is a claimed 1,500g and it uses a 3AL/2.5V titanium tubeset with double butting, forged and CNC-machined dropouts, a threaded bottom bracket and thru-axle setup.
On its own, the frame costs £1,799 and Vaaru can build a complete bike from £3,300, with Shimano 105 5800 and TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes.
Also on display will be the new Octane SL, a frame that is built specifically around SRAM’s wireless eTap groupset. It’s a frame that will only be made to order and it has tried to reduce the weight as much as possible, with the thinnest tube wall thicknesses it can get away with whilst maintaining the ride quality that titanium is famous for, as well as the required stiffness in the bottom bracket and head tube.
How light is it? A 56cm fully built bike comes in at a claimed 6.85kg. But it won’t be cheap, with a price of £7,999 putting it right up there with the most expensive bikes in the market.
“I’m really pleased,” says James, “since it has titanium bars, stem, seat post, etc, I could make it a few hundred grams lighter by using lighter components, but it’s a well balanced, great handling bike.”
Talking about the future for the company, James says he has “exciting plans for the future of the business in terms of location and premises, I’ve certainly outgrown my current location. Regarding my products, I will always try and remain low volume but the highest quality possible for my bicycles. I enjoy the interaction with customers and I never want to loose that moment when a customer comes to pick up their dream bike, it's got to be the most satisfying part of my job.”
“I will also still produce any frames or components in the best place for the manufacture of those parts, Taiwan, UK, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. The world is a small place so why not utilise the skills from around the world? I’ve recently been working with a company in China, their main business is precision casting titanium parts for the Aerospace industry, an industry where quality is not taken lightly. I’m working on a new fork and stem designs with them so exciting new products are being worked on. 3D printing is a huge benefit for prototyping and it has just started bridging the small batch production runs, but the price is still very high for a questionable advantage. The price will only come down as new technologies emerge so it’s exciting times ahead,” he adds.
Remember, if you're going to the Cycle Show, you can get discounted tickets by using the code roadcc. Buy your tickets here
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.