By Stefan Abram
Ex-professional cyclist and founder of CHPT3, David Millar has teamed up with Vielo, a British father and son outfit, to create what they believe is the perfect gravel bike.
David Millar’s input centred around the paint and the spec. He said: “The moment Campagnolo released their Ekar groupset, specifically designed for gravel riding, I realised we’d found our perfect match. Campagnolo represents everything about cycling, they were the pioneers.
"My first professional bike was equipped with Record, and the thumb down shifter is one of my favourite things in the world. The carbon Shamal wheels and WTB Riddler 45 tyres make all roads become a playground, and there’s something beautifully mechanical and analogue with Campagnolo that fits our vision for CHPT3 DIRT. Robust and elegant."
As for the paint, Millar explains: "Eduard [has] painted my bikes and helmets for years; I wanted the CHPT3 Vielo V+1 to look dirty when it was clean and smart when it was dirty. [He] uses a technique that involves multiple thin layers that are then lightly removed to create a disruptive identity to each frame. No two frames will be painted the same, just as no two rides are similar."
The Vielo V+1 is a 1x specific gravel bike, with clearances for gravel tyres up to 50mm wide in 650b or 45mm wide in 700c. The frame eschews traditional mudguards and pannier mounts, opting instead for extra bosses on the top tube and the underside of downtube to increase carrying capacity. Although currently none of the builds feature a fork with triple mounts on the legs.
The geometry has a definite nod towards stability with a slack 70.5° head angle in a size medium and longish 435mm chainstays. The bottom bracket isn’t super low, though, with its drop of 70mm below the axles.
The front end is a little on the aggressive side for a gravel bike, with a reach of 393mm and a stack of 572mm – although this is still quite relaxed compared to a road bike.
The bikes will be made in small batches with a total of 50 pieces and will be retailing at £7,000, when it officially launches on September 24. They'll be available to purchase directly from Vielo.cc, as well as from a selected number of CHPT3 Vielo dealers. You can find the stores stocking the CHPT3 Vielo V+1 gravel bike via the link here.
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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