I'm in the market for a new SWB that I can commute with and put into the train and bus racks. With my current budget, I've test rode a Rans V-Rex and Bacchetta Giro-20. There is nothing negative I can say about either, however there are personal preferences that I like on each bike that currently has me split between the two.
Now to muddle up the issue further, there is a dealer that is 3 hours away that has a Volae Tour. Has anyone ridden a Volae tour? Is is similar to either the Rans or Bacchetta or shall I take a test ride and make it a three way contest.
I bought a used 2005 Volae Tour late last Summer. I've only managed to put about 500 miles on it to date but for the last four weeks I have been using it as my commuter. I'm loving it more and more each day.
I definately believe you should test ride one before making any decisions. I can not compare it to other SWB's as my other rides are either LWB or upwrongs.
Happy Hunting & Good Luck
EDIT: Can you locate a dealer that handles all three brands? It could be worth traveling out of state for and would certainly make comparisons easier to make. I'm fortunate to have The Bicycleman (Alfred NY) near me and he handles almost everything on the market. Shopping in that kind of a shop is always a special treat.
A potential plus for the Volae is the quick release feature of the seat. I just pop mine off and take it right into work with me. It stays dry, clean and makes the bike a little less desirable to theft IMHO.
As a V-Rex owner, I say, go with the King! (V-Rex = Velocitas Rex = Speed King) But seriously, all three are great bikes. The Volae will be a lot like the Bacchetta. I personally think the Rex has better handling, and it has a shorter wheelbase that's more likely to fit in a bus rack. Definitely test ride all three and ask questions.
As long as you're looking at SWB's you might want to muddy the water a little more and consider a Lightning Phantom. I have a P-38 (upgraded phantom) with about 2000 miles on it and just rode it across most of Virginia (440 miles). I test rode several Bachetta's but chose the Lightning over them because the crankset is lower. That seemed to make a difference climbing a hill and starting from a dead stop on a hill. I honestly think I deliver more power with the lower crankset. I would also consider a change in gearing before you buy. Most of the bikes come with a standard 30 tooth small chain ring. That is not small enought if you are going to be climbing any significant hills on a regular basis. I was greatful to have my small 24 tooth ring in the Appalachians. Trust me, you will be too. My crankset is 50/38/24. Most dealers will give you any gearing you want for little or no extra cost.
I am exceedingly pleased with my '08 V-Rex.