The V+1, a road plus/gravel/adventure carbon bike from new brand Vielo, is a triumph of design. It offers a highly impressive ride: smooth and composed, fast and fun, and bristles with smart details that make it as practical as it is intoxicating. At £5,499 it's not cheap, but if you've got deep pockets and want a versatile and highly capable bike for taming rough roads and going wild in the back of beyond, you're in for a real treat.
- Pros: Smooth, comfortable, fast, versatile, very capable, looks great
- Cons: Very expensive, reserved paint jobs
Vielo is a new brand founded by father and son duo Ian and Trevor Hughes, who between them boast an impressive 35 years of experience in the bike industry. After years of promoting other bike brands they've decided to bring together everything they've learnt into their own offering, and in the V+1 have produced a bike that really is of the moment. There's space for wide tyres, geometry intended to work well on and off the road, versatility baked into the beautiful carbon frame... it's an exciting new offering in a crowded marketplace.
Ride and handling
What's it like to ride? In a word – or rather, three – it's fast, exciting and fun. The way it responds so lightly to your input at the handlebar and the awesome cushioning effect of the fat tyres give you the first hint that the V+1 is something special even before you reach the end of the road.
The pretty horrendous weather that accompanied my time with the Vielo meant that I mainly tested its 'road plus' capability, since all my local off-road routes resemble a quagmire at the moment, and nothing short of a tractor is going to cut through that gloop. I hope to be able to swing a leg over the bike again in the summer when the trails dry out to really put it through its paces on a wider mixture of terrain and challenges.
Even confined mainly to the roads, and a few harder packed off-road tracks, the V+1 still shone. Think of it as an endurance bike on steroids and you're pretty much there.
It's clear the V+1 has its sights set on the Open UP, one of the foremost bikes in the fledgeling but rapidly expanding gravel and adventure bike market. So it's useful to draw some comparisons, since I spent a good deal of time aboard the UP and it's one of the standouts of all the test bikes I've reviewed in the last couple of years.
First of all, let's look at the numbers. The V+1 comes in a better spread of sizes, five in total, compared to four for the UP, from XS to XL. The medium test bike I rode has a 71-degree head angle, 1,026.9mm wheelbase, 48mm fork offset, 52.5mm bottom bracket drop, 150mm head tube and 380mm reach and 554.2mm stack.
Compared to the Open UP, the V+1 is slacker, longer and lower. Those differences, though slight, are noticeable on the road. The V+1 displays a superb stability: show it a fast descent and it carves easily through the bends; rough roads don't unsettle its composure; loose surfaces don't shake and rattle your confidence. Vielo has clearly achieved its stated aim of producing a bike for the road cyclist fed up with being shaken to pieces on poorly maintained tarmac.
There's clearance for wide tyres and the big 38mm Schwalbe G-One Speed tyres, inflated to about 45-50psi for my 65kg bodyweight, combined with the slender tube shapes of the frame, intended to enhance compliance, really help to deliver a satisfyingly smooth ride. It simply glides over rough patches of broken tarmac. Nothing fazes it. Potholes, cracks, cattle grids, sunken drain covers – it handles them all so well.
Those small dimples all over the G-One tyres enhance traction in bad conditions. Rain-soaked and mud-covered lanes are their forte. They give you a good sense of just how much traction there is to play with on the road, making you feel safer travelling at speed. Add in the tubeless setup, and the peace of mind is fabulous. But mud tyres they are not, so if you plan to venture far from the road at this time of year you might want to consider a tyre change first. Or wait until the mud dries out. Vielo offers the meatier G-One Bite tyres if you want to venture off-road more frequently.
Don't for a second think those big tyres trade speed for comfort, though, because boy are they fast. Get moving and the effort required diminishes and they zip along the road at a decent pace. It was little slower than an endurance bike on 28mm tyres. The V+1 has the feeling of speed and comfort usually expected of an endurance bike but with the comfort dial turned up to 11.
It's a lot of fun to ride too. As you can tell so far, the V+1 is highly adept at smoothing out poorly surface roads and providing a very stable and composed ride, but throw loads of rapid direction changes at it and the bike comes to life, showing an agility and sprightliness that makes it a really enjoyable bike to ride. Slow and pondering it's not.
For its first frame, Vielo has pulled a blinder. It's an impressive accomplishment. There's a high level of design and attention to detail on display, with the years of experience really shining through. It brings a lot of features and design cues that are increasingly common on such bikes, with a couple of extra ones that are often omitted.
As you'd hope for the money, it's one very light frame. A claimed weight of 890g for the frame and 400g for the fork is competitive with the new Open UPPER and it's much lighter than the 3T Exploro. It's in the same ballpark as endurance bikes like the Cannondale Synapse.
As is common with bikes of this sort, it's designed to accommodate 700C x 42mm or 650B x 2.1in wheels and tyres, allowing the bike to be tailored to the requirements of any rider and terrain. With thru-axles and disc brakes, you could easily have two sets of wheels to suit different requirements: fat slicks for road riding, chunky gravel or mountain bike tyres for off-road exploits. The supplied tyres lean towards a road preference with some off-road capability provided it's dry and hard-packed ground.
It's a lovely looking frame, with squashed oval tube shapes and a slender elegance to the way the tubes all come together. The profile of the top tube, down tube and stays is aimed at providing the best balance of stiffness and compliance, with the down tube increasing in size as it heads towards the press-fit bottom bracket. I'd wager that bottom bracket will lose it some fans, but it presented no issues during testing.
An oversized head tube accommodates a tapered steerer tube and a fork with curved round blades and a lack of bulk compared with some fork designs. It's all very pleasing on the eye, as is the paint job and reserved graphic treatment.
The frame is brimming with neat details. The front brake hose is routed inside the fork. The rear brake hose and derailleur cable enter one of two available ports on the flat down tube. There's even internal routing for the dropper post, an optional extra on this bike, with the left gear shift lever put into action to activate the RockShox Reverb seatpost. The seat clamp is tucked away inside the seat tube and accessed below the top tube, and a rubber seal around the seat tube opening prevents mud and water ingress.
Protecting the expensive carbon fibre are small metal plates on the chainstay, both behind the crankset and also near the disc brake, the latter to prevent accidentally dinging the brake rotor into the frame when installing the wheel.
There are all manner of bolts across the frame and fork for attaching racks, mudguards, bottles, tool boxes and food pods. SKS mudguards can be fitted easily, there's an extra bottle cage mount on the underside of the down tube for those rides when the standard two inside the front triangle aren't enough, or for adding a tool keg, and there's a bento box top tube mount.
I'm less convinced of this last one (pictured below) simply because there don't seem to be that many bags/boxes designed around this two-bolt fixing, but there are loads of strap-on top tube bags from the likes of Alpkit, Apidura, Miss Grape and so on. The V+1 will even take a Tubus rack if you prefer to go against the trend for bikepacking bags and fit some panniers. It has all the bases covered, perhaps except a dynamo routing in the fork, but that's straying away from what this bike is designed for. Though it would be an ideal bike for a ride like the Transcontinental Race.
A common sight on adventure bikes are 1x11 groupsets. The simplicity, extra mud and tyre clearance, one less thing to go wrong, and wide-range cassettes making up for the reduced chainring number, are all very appealing on bikes designed to duke it out on any surface. Vielo goes a step further than most brands and has designed the frame entirely around a 1x11 drivetrain; there is no provision for a front mech at all. Freed from the constraints of having to accommodate a front mech, it allows the seat tube and bottom bracket to be better optimised in the pursuit of frame stiffness.
Naturally, it's a disc brake only bike, with 12mm thru-axles and post mount brake fixings and the option to fit a 180mm disc rotor on the fork. There's nothing wrong with post mount, all mountain bikes still use this standard, but the road market, because of Shimano's might, is largely moving over to flat mount. It's smaller, neater and lighter, but that aside there's no great advantage. Still, I'd hazard a guess that riders might prefer flat mount on this bike rather than the ability to fit a 180mm rotor, something I see no evidence of in the gravel and adventure bike market. Maybe that's the next big trend and Vielo has simple future-proofed the frame... But do you really need more power/heat management than a 160mm currently offers?
Much has been made of the bike's UK focused design, but many were quick to question precisely what that means. In the case of the V+1, it's in regard to such details as the cable routing, intended to suit our preference for moto-style brakes (front brake right) and the addition of mudguard eyelets, something that is missing on several high-end carbon gravel and adventure bikes in the market. Whether that's enough to warrant the UK specificity is open to debate, but there's no denying mudguard eyelets and neater cable routing are a good thing.
You can buy the V+1 as a frameset (£2,999) or the complete bike in the same build as the bike tested here for £5,499, or without the RockShox Reverb seatpost for £5,299.
SRAM is enjoying a lot of exposure with its single ring groupsets on bikes like the V+1, and the Force 1x11 is a natural choice here: powerful hydraulic disc brakes with a mechanical rear derailleur presiding over a wide-range 10-42t cassette, and a choice of 38 or 42-tooth chainrings up front. It all works as seamlessly as usual, but top marks to Vielo for making the shifting extra silky, smoother than I've ever experienced with a SRAM Force or Rival groupset. What's your secret Vielo?
A solid and dependable list of equipment is a prerequisite on a bike like this, and the DT Swiss CR 1600 Spline 23 wheels are a prime choice. This wheelset comes straight out of DT's cyclo-cross and gravel range and combines proven DT Swiss 350 hubs with the company's star ratchet freehub, straight pull spokes and a 22mm internal width, tubeless-ready rim.
Weighing in at 1,720g they're not the lightest wheels but durability and strength trump such concerns on a bike designed to take some abuse. These wheels are certainly strong. If you're feeling flush, Vielo will happily upgrade to some Lightweights...
I've already mentioned the tyres, which are superb on the road, but if you do plan to embark on more off-road riding, Vielo will supply 38mm Schwalbe G-One Bite tyres, which offer a bit more, erm, bite in slippery conditions. The 38mm Schwalbe G-One Speeds are just fine for predominantly road-based action. You can read a review of these big-chamber tyres here.
As well as developing its own frame, Vielo has also designed its own handlebar and stem to complement the frameset. While the stem is made from aluminium, the handlebar is moulded from high-modulus carbon fibre and has a 65mm reach, 120mm drop and 8-degree flare, and weighs a claimed 200g. It's a really comfortable shape when riding on the tops, and the flared drops provide a little extra control when descending.
The RockShox Reverb seatpost allows you to drop the saddle down out of the way, handy when tackling steep descents that have you off the back of the bike. It's neatly controlled by the redundant SRAM front shift lever, neat because the Reverb is normally activated by a hydraulic push button. For road riding it's of little use, and I'd steer towards the regular carbon seatpost if you don't plan to stray too far off the road, but if you have desires to really get adventurous then the ability to lower the saddle is a boon.
The saddle in question is a Fabric Scoop Shallow Race with carbon fibre rails. It's very comfortable. Enough said.
All that little lot adds up to 8.54kg (18.82lb) on the scales.
The Vielo V+1 is pitched into the same space that's currently occupied by the likes of the Open UP/UPPER and 3T Exploro, two very high-end, highly capable and highly accomplished adventure and gravel bikes. And like the Vielo, they come with correspondingly hefty price tags. But the Vielo does enough, and more, to hold its head high in such company.
I haven't ridden the Exploro, but I have the UP, extensively, and in my view the Vielo just nudges ahead. It's noticeably smoother than the UP on rough roads, the handling feels more natural on the road, and it's more versatile with the addition of mudguard eyelets, a godsend for UK cyclists.
The new Vielo V+1 taps into the growing appetite for bigger tyres and increased versatility, with a beautifully designed and lightweight carbon frame and fork that provide splendid handling and performance. It's fast and smooth and can be considered an alternative to an endurance bike as it's no slower but the comfort is noticeably better, yet it has the potential to be taken off-road with the right tyre choice.
Formidable road plus/adventure/gravel/gnarmac bike with speed, comfort and lovely handling
road.cc test report
Make and model: Vielo V+1
Size tested: 55cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
SHIFTING - SRAM Force 1
REAR MECH - SRAM Force 1 long cage 11 speed
CHAINSET - SRAM Force 1 42T 30mm axle
CASSETTE - SRAM XO1 XG-1195 10/42 Black
CHAIN - KMC DLC 11 Diamond Black 271g
BB - Stainless Double sealed PF2BB30
AXLES - Vielo A2T alloy QR fast thread 145gm
DISC - SRAM Force hydraulic 170mm
ROTORS - Front, 140mm Rear
DT SWISS - CR1600 Spline 23
TYRES - Schwalbe G-One speed 700x38C
BAR - Vielo High Modulus Carbon fibre 8 Degree flair, 65mm reach, 120mm drop, 200gm
STEM - Vielo 3D Forged 7 degree 133 gm
BAR TAPE - Fabric Silicon
SADDLE - Fabric Titanium Scoop Shallow Race
VIELO - Premium double sealed with lower bearing protection / Push-n-turn fork expander
VIELO - Carbon bearing cap with 2x10mm / 1x5mm carbon spacers
SEAT POST/ CLAMP
VIELO - Carbon 30.9mm 206gm
INTEGRATED - Alloy seat clamp
OPTIONS (NO COST)
STEM - 80mm, 90mm, 100mm, 110mm, 120 mm
BAR - 40cm, 42cm, 44cm, 46cm
CRANK LENGTH - 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm
CHAINRING - 42T, 38T
TYRES - Schwalbe G-One speed 700 x 38C / Schwalbe G-One Bite 700 x 38C
OPTIONAL UPGRADE (EXTRA COST)
WHEELS - Lightweight Wegweiser
SEAT POST - RockShox Reverb Stealth 30.9mm
SADDLE - Fabric Carbon Scoop shallow
A2T AXLES - Custom Vielo Carbon 59gm (pair)
Tell us what the bike is for
The Vielo V+1 has been a long time in the making - a product of ideas, theories and extensive know-how gained from thirty years working with some of the world's most coveted ultra-performance cycle brands.
Designed for British cyclist, the V+1 has not suffered compromises to meet the demands of global markets. Instead we have single-mindedly engineered the V+1 for riding on rough British roads plus off-road gravel tracks.
We think of it as a go anywhere speed machine. But in reality, it's much more than that.
The V+1 is an exercise in painstaking attention to detail. A quest to find the perfect combination of compliance, stiffness and acceleration that helps British riders go where they want, as fast as they want
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Super high quality.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
UD Carbon Fibre 870 gm
Size scaled performance and geometry
Passive rear suspension
Integrated stainless scratch guards
Replaceable rear mech hanger
UK specific internal cable routing
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Provides good handling on and off the road, stable in a straight line and on the rough, but lively through the bends.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Good, compares well with other bikes.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The V+1 provides an astonishingly smooth ride.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Couldn't detect any flex, tricky with such wide tyres at such low pressures, of course.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
As efficient as it needed to be.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively Lively and lovely.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Very easy handling, stable and composed.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I'd swap the dropper post for a carbon setback post if I was mainly using it as a road plus bike, and save a bit of weight at the same time.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Impressed with the wheels and the tyres.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
There's nothing I'd want to change, it's all top notch kit.
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? If I had the money, yes.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a delight to ride and is packed with useful features that will make it immensely versatile for blurring the line between road and off-road riding and yes, it's expensive, but it's cheaper than the 3T Exploro and Open UPPER.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.