Vaast R/1 road bike review: Magnesium tubing offers a distinctly cushy ride

Story Highlights

  • What it is:Vaast’s dedicated road riding adaptation of Allite “Super Magnesium” frame materials.
  • Frame features:Innovative magnesium TIG-welded construction, semi-aero tube shaping with matching aero carbon seatpost, full carbon fork, partially internal cable routing, T47 threaded bottom bracket shell, hidden wedge-type seatpost binder.
  • Weight:1,250 g (claimed, unpainted medium frame only without hardware); 420 g (fork only, claimed, uncut); 8.94 kg (19.71 lb), as tested, medium size, without pedals or accessories.
  • Price:US$2,300 / AU$TBC / £2,300 / €2,900.
  • Highs:Remarkably damped ride quality, appropriately quick handling, competitively stiff chassis.
  • Lows:Muted ride quality borders on dead, some questionable spec choices, disappointing assembly quality.

Vaast is continuing to build its collection of magnesium-framed bikes, with its latest addition being the R/1. As compared to Vaast’s existing drop-bar model – the versatile A/1 all-roader – the R/1 is a more purpose-built steed intended solely for paved surfaces. As is often the case with road bikes, speed is the focus here, with a semi-aero welded magnesium frame, full-carbon fork, and a variety of performance-minded build kits with aero wheelsets. 

It looks good on paper, it looks good in person, it’s a solid value, and previous experience with the A/1 has proven magnesium’s worthiness as a higher-end frame material. So why am I not more excited about this thing?

All-in on magnesium

I’m not sure if this is strictly an American colloquialism, but “one-trick pony” comes to mind when I think of Vaast. To be clear, I don’t intend for that to be a disparagement, but there are few other bike brands in recent memory that have hinged so much of their identity on a single attribute.

Much as Niner banked everything on 29″ mountain bike wheels early on, Vaast is betting the farm on magnesium. In fact, the brand’s entire existence is predicated on the stuff, as the public-facing construct of parent company Allite Inc., the manufacturer of Vaast’s so-called “Super Magnesium” alloys. Allite is targeting a range of applications for its magnesium products, including aerospace, consumer electronics, marine, and even construction, and whether you want your magnesium for forgings, castings, machining, welding, or extruding, Allite can apparently fill that order.

The magnesium material is truly impressive, offering an incredibly well-damped ride.

But why magnesium in the first place? Looking strictly in terms of material properties, it’s about one-third lower-density than aluminum while also boasting higher strength. And while it’s technically more flexible than aluminum by volume, it’s stiffer than aluminum by weight – and either way, the difference isn’t so great that it can’t be compensated by slightly increasing tubing diameters. It also generally damps vibrations more effectively than aluminum, which can yield a smoother ride.

That’s all well and good, but isn’t a magnesium bike basically going to melt if it gets wet, or even worse, catch on fire like I’ve seen on TikTok??? 

In short, no. Allite claims its proprietary alloys and electrolytic surface treatments make the stuff far less prone to corrosion than people

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