Claud Butler Vicenza review

Eye-catching and comfortable ride

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £899.99 RRP

Our review

Smooth-riding cruiser, but heavy wheels and flexy cranks won’t suit riders in a hurry
Skip to view product specifications


While most of the people who buy the Vicenza will be in the love-at-first-white-highlighted-sight category, that included more of our testers than we expected – illustrating the fact that the potential appeal of this UK-designed bike runs more than skin deep.

Advertisement
  • Highs: Smooth-riding, comfortably equipped, affordable and attention-grabbing mile-eater
  • Lows: Soft character and heavy wheels are slow to respond to short, sharp efforts
  • Buy if: Your days out are more about comfort than competition

With a short head-tube, 30mm-deep semi-aero rims and a good frame weight, you’d be forgiven for thinking this bike sits on the race side of Claud Butler’s race/touring range. But as soon as you settle into the deep, soft-padded saddle there’s a clear message that the Vicenza is rigged for comfort, not speed. Not only is the seat more hammock than hard shell but, if you’ve got big hands, the drops of the super-shallow compact bar are more like thumb loops.

The deep white rims might stand out on the shop floor, but they kill any acceleration and altitude-gaining efforts stone dead. The Kenda Kampaign tyres are heavy as well, although it’s a tribute to the rest of the bike’s ride that they don’t feel as dead as we expected. The skinny arms and axle of the FSA Omega chainset feel flexy underfoot, though, and climbs definitely require a ‘gear down’ rather than ‘stand up’ approach. 

On the subject of gears, the use of fancy green cables rather than Shimano wires also has a detrimental effect: they require a noticeably greater effort at the lever compared with the normal shifting efficiency of the Tiagra shifters, although this isn’t as much of an issue on a naturally sedate bike as it would be on a more race-orientated option.

Utilitarian welding, and those cables don’t match shimano’s for performance
Russell Burton

We always seemed to appreciate the sights and sounds of our test routes more on the Vicenza, and found ourselves contesting the climbs and sprints less than on some of its price rivals. The Claud Butler’s character isn’t just a result of the components either – the frame and handling also add a distinctively smooth, unhurried undertone to the bike.

This was a bonus on rougher sections of road, and calmed traction-threatening chatter on weather-ravaged descents. The longer the test rides, the more our team tended to linger on the Vicenza.

In summary, the Vicenza’s heavy wheels and soft power delivery don’t match its racy looks, and it isn’t the first choice for anyone wanting to unleash their inner Mark Cavendish. But if you’re looking for a friendly, fatigue-reducing ride, then this Butler is a faithfully friendly retainer.

Advertisement

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Vicenza (13)
Brand Claud Butler

Description 50, 53, 56, 59cm, Wheels: Jalco DRX3000 30mm rims, Quando white hubs, 32 plain gauge black radial front, 32 plain gauge black 3-cross rear, tyres: Kenda Kampaign 23mm
Rear Wheel Weight 2050
Top Tube (cm) 56
Standover Height (cm) 76
Seat Tube (cm) 56
Chainstays (cm) 41
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (kg) 9.64
Stem Claud Butler 10.5cm
Shifters Shimano Tiagra
Seatpost Claud Butler 31.6x350mm
Saddle Velo Plush
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Bottom Bracket FSA External
Headset Type FSA Orbit II
Handlebar Claud Butler aero top compact 42cm
Front Wheel Weight 1540
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Frame Weight 1426
Frame Material 6061 T6 alloy
Fork Weight 570
Fork CB carbon blades, alloy steerer and dropouts
Cranks FSA Omega compact 50/34 175mm
Chain KMC X10
Brakes Tektro R540 white dual pivot cartridge pads
Wheelbase (cm) 99