The Vielo V+1 UDG Rival Edition is a smooth and stable road plus bike that's a lot of fun whether you're riding smooth tarmac or broken tracks. It's not quite as light as the original V+1 that we reviewed last year, but the difference is small and it exhibits that same assured performance and attention to detail.
- Pros: Smooth, stable, excellent ride quality
- Cons: You'll always have to pay more for a bike from a boutique brand
Dave Arthur reviewed the original Vielo V+1 – called the UD version – here on road.cc and was hugely impressed. "The V+1 is a triumph of design," he said. "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. 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."
Dave's only real reservation was down to the price; it's currently £5,299. With that in mind, Vielo has brought out the V+1 UDG Rival Edition at a considerably lower £3,499. There are a lot of similarities with the UD and some key differences, so let's take a look at how they compare.
The heart of any bike is the frame, of course, and the V+1 UDG comes out of the same mould as the UD, meaning that the tube profiles and the geometry are identical. The difference is in the layup.
"The carbon layup we use is more economical meaning it's slightly heavier but also reduces the price. In the end, the difference between the frames is only an extra 220g."
We're talking about a claimed weight of 880g for the V+1 UD and a claimed 1,100g for the V+1 UDG.
The other difference is the components package. The more expensive model is equipped with a SRAM Force 1 groupset and DT Swiss CR 1600 wheels, while the V+1 UDG has a next-level-down SRAM Rival 1 groupset and DT Swiss CR 1800 wheels – although, just to complicate matters, our review bike is fitted with the CR 1600s. Whichever model you go for, Vielo's carbon handlebar and seatpost and 3D forged alloy stem are the same.
Okay, so now we all know where we stand, let's crack on with the review.
How does it ride?
I've been using the V+1 UDG Rival Edition for a whole lot of different types of riding over the past couple of months: regular road circuits, a 14-mile commute to and from the office twice a week, blasting across gravel tracks and even a bit of muddy trail use. It's a lot of fun across the lot of them, feeling smooth and sparky and always in control.
As mentioned, the V+1 UDG's geometry is exactly the same as that of the V+1 UD. I've been riding the large model with a 513mm seat tube, a 570mm effective top tube and a 170mm head tube. The stack on this one is 575mm and the reach is 394mm. Those figures are similar to ones that you'd get on an endurance road bike although the head angle is slacker at 71.5 degrees and the wheelbase is a lengthy 1,045mm.
The result is that you can easily get your head down and your upper body flat when you want to eat up the miles on the open road. The V+1 wouldn't be your first choice for the local crit but it's certainly quick and efficient across tarmac. It's sprightly, accelerating keenly when you put in the power.
I said above that the UDG model is heavier than the UD, but the difference is small. The complete bike weighs 8.87kg rather than the 8.54g of the original V+1 that we reviewed last year, although that bike did have a dropper seatpost fitted while we have a standard seatpost here. Granted, with the correct wheels on the difference is going to be a little greater, but according to DT Swiss's official figures the CR1800 wheels are 17g heavier or, in technical terms, next to nothing.
The V+1 is designed as a 1x bike – it has a single chainring, no front derailleur, and a wide-ranging cassette. The 42-tooth chainring is matched to a 10-42t cassette, so the largest gear is roughly the same as you get on a compact chainset (50/34 chainrings) with a 12-tooth sprocket, allowing you to keep pedalling at a not-ridiculous 100rpm even when you're descending at well over 30mph. You'll easily have sufficient gearing for haring it along flat asphalt.
At the other end of the scale, the big ol' frisbee of a 42-tooth large sprocket gives you a super-low gear – the equivalent of a 34-tooth sprocket with a compact chainset. That'll get you up any slope you're likely to encounter on the road. The only time you could possibly struggle would be if you had the bike fully loaded up for adventure. If you'd rather have a different chainring size you just tell Vielo when you put in your order.
The V+1 is stable. Point it in the right direction and it largely takes care of itself. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. It handles rough and loose road surfaces with composure, keeping its line well while everything is trying to prod it off course. This gives you the confidence to lay off the brakes and tackle second-rate and downright manky surfaces at speed. This makes it a delight on everything from pockmarked tarmac to battered gravel tracks. The V+1 doesn't quite glide around with an air of serenity – that would definitely be going too far – but it takes holes, ridges, cracks and other irregularities in its stride and asks, "What else have you got?"
Fast descents are handled with the same degree of confidence and the V+1 UDG Rival offers a ton of comfort, largely thanks to its WTB Riddler 700 x 37 tyres. Being tubeless, they can be run at low pressures without you having to worry about pinch flats. It's good to have the option of experimenting with all kinds of different pressures depending on the surface. Going fast doesn't mean you'll get rattled around and find yourself riding with shaky vision.
The frame is also designed to take the edge off the lumps and bumps, with flattened chainstays and almost ribbon-like seatstays that bow along their length. Being a disc brake bike, there's no need for a brake bridge between the seatstays or for that area to be bulked up in order to handle the braking forces. That allows for quite a lot of up/down movement at the back end.
As with any other saddle, whether you get on with the Fabric Scoop Radius Sport is going to be a matter of taste, but it's a medium width with a decent depth of padding and quite a bit of flex in the nylon shell. I found the softness particularly welcome when riding on tracks and trails. As well as deadening vibration, it helps to make sure you don't get too bounced around by any unseen bumps.
One of the V+1 UDG's major features is its versatility. It comes with eyelets for fitting mudguards, for example, and I used it for a while with Vielo's custom designed SKS mudguards (£55) fitted. They're satin black and wide enough to accommodate 700C x 40 and 650B x 47 tyres (the bike will take 700 x 42 or 650B x 2.1in tyres without the mudguards), and they work very well to keep you and the bike dry on wet roads.
As mentioned, there's no brake bridge between the seatstays so the rear mudguard uses a three-rod fixing system. It's a bit fiddly to fix first time around, but it's fine once you get the hang of it and the black rods are hardly visible against the black spokes. The bottoms of the front and rear mudguards sit level with one another, which adds to the neat appearance, but if you want a longer extension to the front mudguard, Vielo can offer a 15cm SKS Spoiler to help keep spray off your feet.
You can see close-ups of the fixings in our sister site off.road.cc's first look, here.
Unusually, the brakes are post mount rather than flat mount. Shimano's flat mount standard has pretty much taken over on the road, but post mount still rules over in the mountain bike world. Vielo recognises that the gravel market is pushing towards flat mount but sees post mount as offering "superior set up and function over flat mount for this style of bike".
I've already mentioned the level of comfort offered by the WTB Riddler 37mm tyres, and I've got on well with their all-round performance too. They have a whole bunch of low-profile knobbles down the centre, with a more aggressive tread at the shoulders that bites in well when cornering on semi-compact surfaces like the (usually wet) gravel roads I've been riding.
There's no such thing as a perfect tyre for all conditions, though. The Riddlers give something away in terms of efficiency on tarmac and the tread isn't deep enough to give you a firm hold if the going gets mushy (if you take in a section of towpath, for example, or the track you're riding gets muddy). Don't get me wrong, this is a good compromise tyre for a variety of different conditions, but as with any bike of this type, you'll be better off having a couple of wheel/tyre combos on the go at any time. That's easy for me to say, of course; you're the one who'd be stumping up the cash.
There are no rack mounts, just the mudguard mounts, Vielo being of the opinion that if anyone wants to use this bike for adventure, there are many options out there for strap-on frame, handlebar and seatpost bags. A Tubus rear rack will also fit to the eyelets on the inside of the seatstays (down by the dropouts) and a seatpost clamp.
You do get eyelets for a toolkit on the underside of the down tube, and more for a bento box/storage bag on the upper side of the top tube, just behind the head tube junction. I can't say that I've ever used one of these outside of triathlon, but some people like them.
The attention to detail throughout is superb. You get a wedge-type seat clamp with a bolt tucked away underneath the top tube – so it's invisible unless you go looking – and integrated stainless scratch guards at the head of the driveside chainstay (between the chainset and the frame) and on the inside of the non-driveside chainstay, close to the brake (to avoid scratching the frame with the brake rotor when installing the wheel).
The rear brake hose and the cables for the gears and optional dropper post (controlled by the otherwise redundant left shift paddle) are routed so as not to touch and potentially scratch the head tube, before disappearing into the frame at the top of the down tube, and the front brake hose is routed through the fork.
The original Vielo V+1 is built up with a SRAM Force 1 groupset which is a level higher in the hierarchy than the SRAM Rival we have here.
Rather than carbon fibre cranks and brake levers, Rival has aluminium, but it works in exactly the same way. The most important part of the groupset is the Rival 1 X-Horizon rear derailleur which features a clutch mechanism that prevents unwanted chain movement. It eliminates chain slap when you're riding over bumpy terrain. Essentially, Rival performs just as well as Force, it's just a little heavier.
Rival (and Force) rivals
The road plus/gravel/adventure/gnarmac/gradventure market is getting ever more vibrant. Of the bikes that we've reviewed here on road.cc lately, Orbea's Terra M21-D 19 (£3,199) is closest to the Vielo V+1 UDG Rival Edition in terms of price. It has a SRAM Force 1 drivetrain – a level higher than the Vielo's Rival 1 – and Fulcrum Racing 500 DB wheels.
Canyon's Grail CF SL 8.0 SL was £3,249 but spec changes have brought it all the way down to £2,549. This bike is now built up with a SRAM Force 1 groupset and DT Swiss C 1800 Spline DB wheels. A boutique British brand like Vielo is never going to go toe to toe with the likes of Canyon in a spec sheet/price comparison.
On the flip side, the 3T Exploro Team Rival – also with a SRAM Rival drivetrain – has an RRP of £3,900, although you can pick one up for £3,000.
Another interesting comparison is with Vielo's own V+1 UD. The original is a touch lighter but not so much that you'd notice in use, and anyway, weight isn't at the top of my list of priorities for a bike of this type. The slight performance benefit is outweighed by the Vielo V+1 UDG Rival Edition's far better value.
The Vielo V+1 UDG Rival Edition is a great bike for many different types of riding, from smooth tarmac to jagged tracks. It offers a stable and comfortable feel without taking away the fun and excitement of tackling challenging terrain and varying surfaces. It might not stack up against the big boys in a direct spec sheet comparison, but the versatility, ride quality and attention to detail make this an excellent contender.
Smooth and composed road plus bike from a British brand with exceptional attention to detail
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vielo V+1 UDG Rival Edition
Size tested: Large
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame: Vielo V+1 UDG
Chain ring and crank: SRAM Rival 1x 42T
Rotors: SRAM Centre line R140mm F160mm (or up to 180mm)
Brake lever / Shifter L: SRAM Rival
Brake lever / Shifter R: SRAM Rival
Brake caliper R SRAM Rival post mount
Brake caliper F SRAM Rival post mount
Rear Mech: SRAM Rival 11sp Long cage
Chain: SRAM 11sp
Cassette: SRAM Rival XG1150 10/42
Saddle: Fabric Scoop radius sport cromo
Bottom Bracket: SRAM GXP
Wheels: DT Swiss C1800
Tyres: WTB Riddler 37mm
Bar Tape: Fabric Silicon
Complete SRAM Rival 1x Build kit
Vielo Carbon handlebar with 8 degree flair
Vielo Alloy stem
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Vielo says, "When we launched the V+1 we built what we considered to be the ultimate performance bike, in the ultimate specification. Since then, we've look at ways to offer a Vielo frame with a more affordable group set.
"The V+1 UDG frame comes from the same mold as the V+1 UD. The only difference? the carbon layup we use is more economical meaning it's slightly heavier but also reduces the price. In the end, the difference between the frames is only an extra 220g. Crucially the ride performance and characteristics are the same.
"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."
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
This model sits beneath the original V+1 UD (£5,299) which has a slightly lighter frame and a SRAM Force groupset rather than the SRAM Rival you get here.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The build quality is high.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
They're both carbon fibre. The frame has a claimed weight of 1,100g compared with 880g for the original V+1.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is largely similar to that of an endurance road bike but with a slacker head angle and a longer wheelbase.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The fit was about what I expected. The front end is higher than that of a road race bike but it's a lot lower than something like a Specialized Roubaix.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes, it's very smooth and comfortable. Even if you put a high pressure into the tyres, there's enough give in the frame to keep you feeling good in the saddle.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Yeah, the bottom bracket (press-fit, non-creaky!) area feels particularly stiff.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
No problems at all in terms of efficiency.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Lively enough.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It's a very stable bike, but happy to respond.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The 37mm tubeless tyres have a big effect on comfort – they're bound to.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
There's nothing I'd be dying to change.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
It works really well. A lot of bikes at this price have a SRAM Force drivetrain, a level higher than you get here, but the differences are minor.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
Our review bike came with DT Swiss CR 1600 wheels rather than the CR 1800s which are the correct spec, so I won't mark them here.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes, I would.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Orbea's Terra M21-D 19 is £3,199 and Canyon's Grail CF SL 8.0 SL is £2,549, both with SRAM Force groupsets; the 3T Exploro Team Rival has an RRP of £3,900.
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a great bike with a smooth and stable feel and plenty of versatility. It's not cheap but there are more expensive bikes out there with similar specs too. I think that the ride quality justifies an overall score of 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.