- Light for a bike with big tyres
- Good looks
- Balanced off road performance
- Quality on road ride
Price as reviewed:
Vielo is a UK-based bike brand which looks to design its bikes to suit UK conditions, rather than shoehorn a bike designed for global distribution into the UK market.
As anyone who’s ridden on UK roads and also abroad knows, UK surfaces don’t quite match up to those in most developed countries.
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Vielo’s founder, Ian Hughes, has over 35 years’ experience in the bike trade, including running Scott’s bike division in the UK. He says that many bikes sold in the UK by international brands are simply not designed to handle the poor state of the UK’s roads and the variable weather conditions in these isles.
The Vielo V+1 is the brand’s first model and aimed squarely at the on/off road rider. It’s now been joined by the R+1, a more tarmac-oriented bike although still with big tyre clearance – Hughes has fitted tyres up to 36mm tyre to his test R+1.
Both Vielo’s bikes are designed for single-chainring groupsets, so there’s no front mech hanger. And the V+1 has the clearance for wide tyres, with the option to fit 650b as well as 700c wheels – we’ve tested the Vielo V+1 with both wheel sizes. If you choose 700c, the frame has clearance for 42mm tyres, while on 650b wheels, you can go up to 2.1 inches.
Vielo V+1 frame
One advantage of the single-ring focus of the V+1 is that the bottom bracket shell can be expanded on the driveside, leading to a stiffer pedalling interface and improved power transfer. There’s certainly a wide expanse of carbon around the PF30 bottom bracket.
The main frame tubes are pretty chunky. But that’s married to vertically flattened chainstays and skinny, flattened, bowed seatstays to help cushion the ride without compromising power transfer. The seatpost is secured via a hidden bolt in the bottom of the top tube for a clean look to the frame.
As you’d want on a bike of this type, there are lots of mounts. That includes a third set of bottle cage bosses under the down tube and mounts for a top tube bag. Plus Vielo has built in both front and rear mudguard mounts on the inside of the frame tubing.
Another nice feature for more extreme off-road riding and bikepacking is the option to fit a 180mm rotor to the fork for extra stopping power. There’s a post-mount caliper interface rather than the flat mount that’s now more normal on drop-bar disc-brake bikes.
Vielo says that other UK-specific features include internal cable routing that’s aligned for UK cabling and that it’s designed the lower headset bearing to help keep out contamination. As well as a bash guard behind the chainwheel, there are also frame protectors behind the front and rear brake rotors to help keep your paintwork pristine.
Vielo offers the V+1 frameset in either unidirectional carbon, with a frameset-only option priced at £2,999, or as the UDG option which drops the frameset-only price to £2,399. The UDG has a different carbon mix and is slightly heavier and less stiff than the UD frame, for which Vielo quotes a frameset weight of 890g. For the UD test bike, that builds up to a very respectable 8.25kg for the complete bike – light for a bike of this type.
Colour choices are either the attractive, well finished Light Blue we’ve had in to test or a very dark Midnight Blue. There’s no excess of logos: just the head tube badge and the Vielo name on the top tube.
Vielo V+1 spec
One benefit of buying from a small-volume producer is that you can customise your bike to suit you. So although Vielo offers the V+1 in a pre-defined range of specs, you can also choose other equipment if you prefer.
Our Vielo V+1 came with the top spec, a SRAM Force 1 11-speed mechanical groupset. There’s a 42 tooth chainring coupled to a 10-42 cassette, giving you masses of range, including the 1:1 ratio that many gravel bikes will offer and that’s useful when riding steep off-road or carry loads while bikepacking.
Although going from 22 or 24 speeds down to 11 may sound like a compromise, in practice the gear overlaps between the ratios provided by a two-chainwheel set-up and the huge range offered by SRAM’s cassette mean that there’s not much difference in discrete ratios available and ample gear spread for most riding situations.
Wheels are DT Swiss GR1600 Spline. DT Swiss’s gravel-oriented alloy wheelset is robust, with a 24mm internal width rim, but still competitively light at around 1800g. It’s fitted out with Schwalbe G One Speed 38mm tubeless tyres. It’s a nice tyre option, offering minimal additional rolling resistance on tarmac, but still providing enough grip off road to cope with the majority of summer riding.
As an alternative, Vielo provided 650b DT Swiss M1700 Spline wheels with WTB Byway 47mm tyres. It says that around 50 per cent of buyers select a set of 650b wheels, often in addition to a 700c pair. The Byway tyres are also a good on/off road option, with a slick central tread for fast on-tarmac action, paired with a filetooth side tread and grippy edge lugs. It’s a tyre we’ve also ridden on the Kona Libre at its launch in Madeira and copes really well with damp mixed terrain.
The test bike comes with a RockShox Reverb dropper post, which adds £200 to the top spec V+1’s price. It’s a nice option if you plan to ride steeper off road descents, getting the saddle out of the way and letting you lower your centre of gravity and shift your weight aft for more stable descending. The dropper is operated using the left shift lever – otherwise redundant on a single ring build.
Sitting atop the seatpost is a Fabric Scoop Shallow saddle with titanium rails. It’s a choice I still don’t find very comfortable, but is nevertheless popular with bike manufacturers. Testing a second bike specced with the same saddle at the same time as the Vielo V+1, I had no respite from the Scoop.
Vielo has its own-brand alloy stem and carbon bar. They look stylish and the bar has an 8° flare for extra leverage when riding in the drops as well as a backward sweep, making for a comfortable hand position when using the tops.
Riding the Vielo V+1
The Vielo V+1 provides lots of confidence when riding off road. The bike’s geometry is well weighted and it’s easy to cope with the usual trail obstacles and keep your momentum up over more tricky terrain.
The in-built compliance in the rear triangle means that you’re not too beaten about by bumpy terrain. But that doesn’t lead to sloppy handling or lack of power delivery, thanks to the frame’s substantial front triangle.
Even in the 700c option, there’s plenty of air in the V+1’s 38mm tyres, which also helps ride over bumps. The Schwalbe G One Speed tyres provide the grip you need to keep moving over dry summer trails. They’re also fast on road, so you can roll along at a good speed over any sections of metalled road which you encounter on your rides.
The dropper post is a really useful addition when descending off road, both on steeper, more technical drops and on fast, straight downhill runs. It lets you get your seat out of the way, making it much easier to shift your weight back and down for better off-road handling.
On the 700c wheelset, the Vielo V+1 is quite nimble. Switch to 650b and the ride becomes much more directional. There’s a lot more momentum behind the wheels that, combined with the even larger air volume in the 47mm WTB Byway tyres, will carry you over the majority of obstacles.
The slick central tread means that the tyres still roll fast on harder surfaces. But get the pressure right and the file-treaded side bands will come into play on less smooth surfaces, adding grip on soft sections and through corners, while the side knobs will help propel you forward through muddy areas.
With either wheelset, the Vielo V+1 provides a well balanced ride that will let you explore more over a mix of road and off-road terrain, as well as providing the option to take on more serious adventures. But whether riding 700c or 650b, you’ll probably need a more grippy tyre choice to handle wetter winter conditions.
Vielo V+1 value
At £5,499, there’s no doubt that the Vielo V+1 is a pricey option, particularly for a bike that you’re likely to hammer if you’re planning any off road riding. But for the cash you’re getting a very versatile machine that will improve your comfort when riding dodgy C roads, as well as taking you off the black stuff and on bikepacking adventures with ease.
Go for the UDG frameset and you can get a Rival build with a non-dropper post for £3,400, so there are cheaper horses for different courses if you don’t need the premium features.
The Vielo V+1 provides a good option for mixed surface riding in the UK. The frame is complaint and comfortable to ride for extended periods, without losing its handling edge. Both the 700c and 650b options feel fast-rolling on road too and there is enough flexibility to take on more serious adventures or just to fit mudguards and ride tarmac through a UK winter.
Frame: Vielo V+1 UD carbon
Fork: Vielo V+1 UD carbon
Size range: XS-XL
Size tested: S
Groupset: SRAM Force 1
Gear ratios: 42, 10-42
Wheels: DT Swiss GR1600 Spline 700c/M1700 Spline 650b
Tyres: Schwalbe G One Speed 38mm 700c/WTB Byway 42mm 650b
Brakes: SRAM Force hydraulic, 160mm rotors
Bar: Vielo Carbon
Stem: Vielo Alloy
Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb dropper
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow, Ti rails