We love road bikes, especially road bikes, that give good value for money. The Vilano Aluminum Road Bike, in particular, doesn’t cost a ton of money, and we’ve heard good things about it. So, naturally, we wanted to see for ourselves if the rumors are true.
The bike is budget-friendly, but since many bikes in the same price range haven’t performed up to our standards, we didn’t know what to expect with the Vilano Road Bike. Nevertheless, we’ll try to run this hunk of aluminum through a fine-toothed comb, discuss its pros and cons, give you our overall thoughts, and tell you exactly who this bike will be perfect for.
In a nutshell, we want to know if all the good things that we hear about this bike is true, or whether it’s all hype.
Table of Contents
Vilano as a Brand
Vilano is no stranger to the bike industry. They’ve been around for a while, and are known to produce quality bikes. Indeed, the online reviews of their bikes are predominantly good, which was, for the most part, what made us decide to go review one ourselves. To be sure, we’ve heard about Vilano Bikes for longer than we can remember, and their biggest appeal is definitely their value for money. But, yeah, none of us here have ridden one prior to this review, so we expect it to be interesting.
Although Vilano manufactures bikes that pretty much run the gamut (from fixed-gear bikes all the way to electric bikes, they make them all), our research suggests that it is their road bikes that get the most attention and praise. Indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find an unhappy Vilano Road Bike customer. They are out there, to be sure, but seem to be few and far between.
Vilano Aluminum Road Bike Construction
Our initial impressions of the construction and the components of the bike are excellent. The frame, which is made from 6061 Double Butted Aluminum, is lightweight and durable. The shifters and the 21-speed derailleur is a Shimano, both of which exude quality and confidence. Overall, there’s nothing to complain about this bike from an aesthetic perspective, and we particularly liked the red on the black look of the saddle, which added to the bike’s racing feel. Also, the whole bike put together weighed less than 25 pounds, which is awesome for this price range.
The ride, in a word, is smooth. There are none of the rattling sounds one would expect to hear from some of the department store-bought bikes in this price range. The shifting was smooth, too, which wasn’t totally surprising given that it’s a Shimano. Also, we already mentioned how light the bike is, but we have to say that it’s definitely among the lightest starter bikes that we’ve tested, if not the lightest, and one can absolutely feel the difference when riding the bike. The lightness of the bike makes it all the more responsive in our opinion—all the more agile. Granted, lighter bikes exist, but in this price range, one would be hard-pressed to find a bike as light, responsive and as agile as a Vilano Aluminum Road Bike.
Commuting on the road will be a breeze on this bike. Personally, it felt as though I was riding a bike that was three times the price. With the quality build and the level of comfort this bike offers, it is, for the price, literally a steal in our opinion.
If one intended to do a little off-roading, however, we’d recommend swapping out the 700c x 25c tires the bike came with for something more suitable. To be sure, the tires can handle rough roads or even tough trails, but you can expect them to wear out much faster since they weren’t made for those purposes. Of course, you don’t need to worry about tire wear and tear for a long while if you ride on tarmac, which is what this bike was primarily designed to do.
A Few Reservations
Ok, so we’d like to discuss a few cons we’ve found for the bike that are worth prospective buyers’ attention. One is the tires it comes with. They’re just ok. They’re not horrible by any stretch, but judging from their quality, we don’t expect them to last very long for someone who likes to go off-roading often.
Another is the placement of the gear shifters. Some of us had an issue with the fact that they have not been integrated onto the breaks, which makes reaching them a bit… awkward. The shifters work great, to be sure, but their placement might be an issue for more experienced riders, most of whom will prefer their shifters to be closer to the breaks.
Our Final Thoughts
The hype is real—we repeat—it is real! I guess it’s true what they say that when there’s smoke, there’s fire, because people have been praising Vilano Road Bikes all over the internet, and now we can confirm that what they’ve been saying is true.
Who is this bike for? Well, for anyone who wants a good deal. But mostly for novice riders, or the everyday commuter, who intends to do trails on occasion—although, again, we’d recommend swapping the tires out for better ones for rougher trails.
Prior to taking it for a spin, we initially thought that we’d be reviewing it as a starter bike, but no, it’s a good road bike period. And it’s an excellent bike for the money, so much so that some of us here think it’s a literal steal.
We are, needless to say, thoroughly impressed with the Vilano Aluminum Road Bike. And we’d include this on our shortlist of Best Road Bikes Under $400 should we ever decide to do a roundup in the future. The components are quality, the frame is light and well-built, and the ride is smooth. Sure, it has a few cons, which we’ve dutifully mentioned above, but none of them are deal-breakers—and all of them can be resolved quite easily.