Vielo R+1 Alto SRAM Force e-Tap AXS
The R+1 Alto from UK brand Vielo is one of the most beautiful bikes I ever had the pleasure of riding. Its comfort levels are quite simply stunning for such a performance-orientated bike, while the handling is impeccably smooth and direct. The biggest shocker for me, though, is just how well the 1x gearing works on the road.
Efficient; that's probably the best way to describe the Vielo. The R+1 isn't all about speed, but that doesn't stop it delivering a high-performance ride.
On paper its 7.7kg overall weight may not sound exceptional, but the way it responds to your commands and power input makes it feel a kilo lighter out on the road. Even when hitting a steep ascent, it feels much lighter than it should, which in fact makes climbing a lot of fun.
This is also down to the stiffness levels. The R+1's lack of an inner chainring means Vielo has been able to make the bottom bracket shell wider without affecting the Q-factor (the distance between the pedal faces). This wider shell allows for much larger tube cross-sections to mate up with it, which brings incredible stiffness.
Performance is one thing, but if the bike is going to batter you into fatigue you won't benefit much in the long term. Vielo has designed in such high comfort levels with the R+1 that is never really going to be an issue.
The handling is wonderfully composed and very smooth. It errs on the side of neutrality, which makes it very easy to ride fast even if you aren't the most confident of descenders.
The bike we have here uses SRAM's Force eTap AXS groupset, although Vielo supply a chainring in a size of your choice (from 38t to 50t) plus a second chainring in a different size to swap to as needed.
It feels a lot more efficient than the overlap of ratios from switching between large and small chainrings, and the fact the larger jumps between the sprockets come at the lower end means that cadence isn't affected on the faster sections.
If the whole 1x thing is your biggest stumbling block about the R+1, then dismiss it. Thanks to the likes of SRAM with their 12spd groupsets and Campag with their 13-spd Ekar, 1x is now a viable solution on the road, and in a lot of ways a whole lot simpler.
Regardless of how many gears the Vielo has, it's one very stunning bike. The way it rides has created one of the best experiences I've had in lycra, and the build quality is exceptional.
The R+1 is one of those bikes that just feels spot on. Every little detail and design cue just makes sense, and it all comes together to create one hell of an experience.