Source: BIKE NETWORK
Images: Wayne Reiche
The Titan Racing Valerian Pro is a classic road bike in a racy look with incredible consumer value. R34 999 with complete Shimano Ultegra Disc is not only class leading value – it rewrites the books on pricing for this competitive segment. With that in mind, I gave it a hammering up and down my familiar territory in search of niggles.
The new Titan Racing Valerian Pro has clean and trendy design lines.
- Frame: New Carbon Valerian Road frame with 12mm Thru Axle
Frame Sizes: 47cm / 49cm / 53cm / 56cm / 59cm
- Fork: Carbon Valerian Fork with 12mm Thru Axle
- Crankset: Shimano Ultegra 50/34T
- Cassette: Shimano 11-28T
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra
- Front Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra
- Shifters: Shimano Ultegra Disc
- Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Disc
- Hubs: Shimano RS170 Centerlock Disc
- Rims: Shimano RS170 Disc Wheelset
- Tires: Vittoria Rubino 700x 25C Folding
- Seat: TRC TrimTech
- Seat Post: TRC Carbon 27.2mm
- Handlebars: TRC
- Stem: TRC
- Weight: 8,65kg
- Size tested: Medium (53cm)
- Stack: 550mm
- Head angle: 71 degrees
- Head tube length: 115mm
- Top Tube length: 550mm
- Seat Tube length: 500mm
- BB Height: 274.5mm
- Wheelbase: 988mm
- Chainstay length: 408mm
- Reach: 392mm
Aesthetically the bike is very clean with internal cable routing and sleek design lines around the fork, head tube and downtube area. A reasonably beefy bottom bracket area minimizes unwanted energy absorbing flex whilst the stays are clean and functional. An integrated seat post clamp, a slightly sloping top tube and neat thru axle design completes the package.
Titan Racing specced the strong and durable Shimano RS170 disc wheelset which has a 17mm internal rim width which combines well with a 25mm tyre width. The rim height is 24mm and the wheels are equipped with brass nipples, smooth rolling hubs, and a decent pickup.
With innovations from the top of the range Dura-Ace, the Shimano Ultegra groupset is a pro level, race ready groupset. The bike is specced with the larger 160mm center lock rotors front and rear. The 50/34T chainring combo with an 11 – 28T cassette is paired with 170mm cranks on the size we tested.
Seat, seat-post, bars, and stem are all in house from the Titan Racing range. The Vittoria Rubino PRO tires are a great training or racing tire which has good puncture protection with a long life.
Frame and fork weight for both the Valerian PRO and Valerian Elite model is around 1500grams – both models have the same carbon layup. Like the complete stable from Titan Racing, the Valerian PRO is sold with a 5-year multi-user warranty which is something not offered by many brands.
A marginally steeper head angle and slightly tighter chain-stays contribute to the bikes agility and race like handling. The stack height is on the racy side too, yet not ultra slammed. Overall the fit is low, stretched out, ready to perform and there is nothing too far out in terms of the geometry, in fact, it’s a classic road bike with that classic road bike racy feel.
Titan Racing is a brand built around offering you far more bang for your buck. Sold across Southern Africa, Mauritius, UAE with European availability imminent the product designers focus on forward-thinking geometry, functional and stylish designs wrapped in fair value price points. The Valerian PRO is no exception to this brand promise from Titan Racing, remarkably the bike is priced at least R15 000 or 30% lower than the average bike within its competitor set. The value is certainly class leading, but what of the ride quality?
Well well, as it happens, out on the road the Valerian Pro is incredibly capable. Descending with speed the bike offers good stability and predictability. There is no cause for a timid approach to descending on the Valerian. The slightly stretched out feel of the bike means when climbing both in and out of the saddle efforts are spacious and comfortable. There is sufficient room to move in and out of the saddle on longer climbs, stretching the legs and back out in the process. There is, of course, a noticeable and slight mute on acceleration efforts owed to the few extra grams a bike in this pricepoint carries. At this point, I remind myself that I should shut up about a couple of grams as a certain Tiffany Keep sprinted an early prototype of this bike into 3rd place in the CTCT earlier this year.
The stretched out rider position means out of the saddle efforts are not cramped.
Comfort levels are good but could be improved with a different handlebar – perhaps something with a more conventional shape and less reach. That could very well be a personal opinion though as bars are just that, personal. The cornering and overall handling of the bike is excellent. The steering is responsive, quick and light in feel.
The Shimano RS170 wheels are pretty stiff and contribute to a direct and ‘flex free’ feel of the bike.
Overall the Titan Valerian is a capable chassis with some extra bubbly in the Champagne in the form of the complete Shimano Ultegra disc groupset which adorns the bike. Shifting and braking is, needless to say, flawless and I particularly enjoy the combination of brake modulation and ultimate stopping power of the Ultegra Disc. On one of the test rides, I did my best to heat up the front rotor by dragging the front brake only, all the way down the steep Kloof Nek descent into Cape Town. No rear brake was used. I wanted to see if I could initiate any heat-induced squeaking. I can tell you the rotor was certainly warm at the bottom of the hill but there was no drag or noise coming from the system. Pure Dom Perignon I say.
The Valerian Pro is stable and predictable through the turns.
The Titan Valerian PRO is a fast, frugal and phenomenal bike. There are no niggles and I’d have no qualms in recommending it. At 8,65kg with Shimano Ultegra Disc, it is hands down the best race ready buy in town.