The Salt Lake City upstart aims to change the experience of buying a bike.
In early 2014, Diaa Nour, a successful telecom entrepreneur and amateur triathlete, was approached by a group of engineers with a passion project. After glancing at their designs for a faster triathlon bike, Nour saw an opportunity for something much larger.
Later that year, the Ventum One, a patented Z-shaped carbon bike frame, came to market and immediately found success at high-level races, including the IRONMAN in Kona.
In the 4 years that followed, Ventum rolled out a gravel bike (GS1), and a road bike (NS1). While the aero designs of all three Ventum bikes are beautiful to behold, they don’t make the brand unique on their own. Many top-tier manufacturers have their own version of all-carbon, ultralight race machines with minimal wind drag.
So, instead of trying to differentiate itself entirely on the virtues of bike design, Ventum leaned into a new business model. And in so doing, it pushes against the industry standard of selling exclusively through bike shops.
Ventum isn’t the only bike brand to sell directly online. In the last decade, Fezzari, YT, Alchemy, and Evil have spearheaded a movement that is challenging the B2B bike shop model, allowing customers to order online and receive bikes directly in the mail.
However, Ventum takes the idea two steps further than other brands — it gives shoppers the ability to customize their build and have it hand-delivered to their door, fully assembled.
Ventum Bikes: Buying From Your Couch
Even before the COVID-fueled bike boom emptied warehouses around the world, buying a bike was a convoluted process. Bike shops, the power brokers of the industry, can be hit or miss. Some bike techs offer a wealth of knowledge and fine attention to detail; others are 20-year-olds working their first job.
A good shop will educate and streamline the buying process for you, but this isn’t always the case.
Nour saw an advantage by cutting out the middleman and delivering orders directly and efficiently. From the comfort of your own home, you can compare options, ask questions, and purchase your next bike. For most orders, it takes a week or less to be delivered to you.
By keeping the point of purchase on its website, Ventum establishes a direct relationship with the customer, rather than relying on shops for the same level of care and personal experience.
Delivered Fully Assembled
Recognizing that assembling a bike without all the tools and knowledge is a serious burden, Ventum partnered with Kitzuma Cycling Logistics, which developed a model that delivers bikes fully assembled. This also allows owners to ask questions in person as they test ride their bike for the first time.
The aim of the entire buying journey, from buying online to ongoing service and maintenance, is to provide white-glove service, a first in the bike industry.
By serving as both a bike retailer and manufacturer, Ventum is able to quickly resolve post-sale problems. If a customer has a problem with a component or part’s warranty, they can work directly with Ventum’s customer service team to fix it.
That way, customers avoid the struggle that often happens between shops and manufacturers: who is to blame and who has to pay for the fix?
Ventum: All Bikes Custom
Bike technology has exploded in the last decade, from revolutionary drivetrains to new suspensions, disc brakes, dropper posts, and wheelsets. Most brands offer tiers for each of their bike models, usually broken out by the quality of the components.
Ventum gives customers the ability to customize a bike with much more detail, running the gamut from frame color, handlebar width, crank length, and so on. Using a 10-step online tool, customers can visualize, refine, and order their dream bike.
Ventum offers over 60,000 different spec combinations, creating some of the most personalized bikes on the market. Effectively, no two Ventum bikes are the same. Mechanics are on hand during delivery to make any last-minute adjustments, so the bike is a perfect, ride-ready fit.
Ventum Bike: First Look
The bike we tested, the NS1, weighs 15 pounds — as light as a race-legal bike can be. It’s fast and fun, on par with some of the best road bikes we’ve ridden. It’s also in stock right now, with either SRAM or Shimano components, which makes it a rare breed in the bike industry these days.
Hopping on the NS1, it’s quickly apparent the bike was built as a race machine. With a streamlined geometry and tight handle, the NS1 feels as aerodynamic as it looks.
The all-carbon bike we tested (frame, stem, handlebars, wheels, and fork) is light and incredibly responsive. As with any carbon build, the downside to the speed is the stiffness. In turn, you feel every bump in the road.
This base-level NS1 comes in at $3,699 (with some high-end builds nearly double that), far above an entry-level price point for new cyclists. Due to that factor alone, it’s hard to imagine the NS1 being used by many first-timers.
That said, if money isn’t a concern, the unique level of customization and high level of customer service make this an ideal bike for riders looking for a truly personalized fit. Ventum also offers a program it calls Trade Up, which allows you to sell your current bike to Ventum (via the Pro’s Closet) and get credit toward an NS1.
Yet, what made the whole experience different was how fun it was to work with the Ventum team to make sure we were getting the right bike. The brand seems to truly care about its customers, loves riding, and wants others to have the best experience possible. This is evident in almost every step of the process, from quick online help chats to in-person conversations.