Created On: 14 May 2010

The Valdora PHX-1 is an elegant carbon frame designed by Peter Olson in Arizona, USA and manufactured like most frame sets in the Far East. But unlike some of the frame sets emerging onto the UK markets recently this one isn't an open mould, which means it is unique to the Valdora brand.

I had seen the pictures and read the North American reviews, but I was determined to try and look at the bike and ride it with an open mind and draw my own conclusions.

When the bike arrived at the Cassonz Performance Coaching Studio in Northampton, I took my time to look the bike over, paying particular attention to the paint finish, the cross section and contours of the tubes, the cable routing and detailing of the finishing kit and I have to say it has the look and feel of a quality build.

Build Quality and Finish 9/10

A few things I kept an open mind about were the wheel set and the perch, although the bike came fitted with SRAM components throughout the saddle and the basic Shimano wheel set would not have been my choice - but, BikeSales4U the European distributor prefers to market the bike as a frameset only, allowing the customer to specify the group set, the wheel set and finishing kit when they place the order, or indeed you can source your own.

Finishing Kit (as supplied for test) 6/10

As I took in the pleasing combination of naked black carbon weave and pearlescent white paintwork, I found myself pondering on what this bike is supposed to be. Is it a time trial bike? Is it a triathlon bike? Is it a road bike? Arguably if you are a triathlete and you don't have the budget for a different bike for every different type of course you might encounter then you might be interested in a bike that combines the qualities of a time trial bike and a road bike i.e. great aerodynamics and rolling speed on a fast course with the agility to handle well and accelerate on a technical and undulating course.

Close up of Chainset - in article

I must confess that this opportunity to ride the PHX-1 was the first time I have ridden an SRAM Red group set (with bar end shifters), I found the rear mech changes very precise and effortless, but I did take a while to get used to the range of movement on the front derailleur's bar end shifter. Having said that once I did get used to it I quite enjoyed the fact that I could precisely trim the alignment of the front derailleur to accommodate the chain as it moved across the cassette.

But the Valdora PHX-1 really isn't about the finishing kit, its the intriguing and innovative combination of the aero profiled tubes, cowled seat tube and the sloping top tube that sets it apart.

Styling 8/10

In Northamptonshire we are lucky (or not depending on your outlook) in that we don't really have any flat fast time trial courses, for the most part they are categorised as sporting courses! By the same token we don't have any particularly steep long sustained climbs. But what we do have is lots and lots of leg sapping rolling countryside, through lots of villages with plenty of technical junctions and challenging lines to follow.

So it was to my great pleasure to find that as I rode around the countryside on a number of group rides, handling the Valdora in the bunch, following the breaks, dancing up the climbs and accelerating to split the pack was all second nature.

Valdora Frame in article

Although riding out of the saddle on climbs isn't my preferred way to ascend, I do make a point of practising on my training rides, so that I can do it when I need to! The Valdora was very well mannered as I transferred my weight up and forwards, unlike some time trial set ups, which can be a bit of a compromise on handling and responsiveness, the Valdora behaved with the agility of a compact geometry road frame set.

As with most club rides there is always an opportunity to make a break, follow a break, sit in and conserve energy or throw the hammer down for an intermediate sprint. After riding the bike for a week I came to the conclusion that there are no concerns whatsoever that the Valdora would be the weakest link in any of these areas - it was all about my fitness and power to weight ratio, which is what you want (if you're honest with yourself) - a bike that leaves you with no excuses!!

Ride and Handling 9/10

Reflecting on my initial premise, a triathlete with a budget for one quality race machine (£1499 - frameset only), looking for an all round performer with the characteristics of a great time trial bike and a road bike combined - the Valdora PHX-1 might just have hit the nail on the head.

Value for Money 9/10

Overall 8.5/10

To find out more visit the UK distributor's website or contact Peter Deussen directly on

About the Author: Steve Casson

Steve Casson Head Shot

Steve Casson is a British Triathlon Federation Level 3 Coach and a GB Age Group Triathlete. At the beginning of 2009 Steve set up a triathlon performance coaching studio in Northampton to fulfil a vision of providing a range of 1-2-1 technical coaching sessions and performance testing services to complement his interactive coaching support package.

During 2009 Cassonz Performance Coaching helped a wide range of triathletes from Novices to Age Group World Championship medallists achieve their goals.

Find out more at

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Tags: ride,products


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