With the advent of 12-speed gearing for SRAM’s AXS groupsets (not to mention Campagnolo’s 13-speed Ekar), along with a huge variety of cassettes and chainrings, 1x is now an option for some riders on the road.
Vielo certainly thinks so, at least: its road bikes and gravel bikes are all designed around a single chainring, with an uncompromised back end that’s perfectly symmetrical, enabling it to concentrate on stiffness and low weight, rather than having to worry about chainlines and the like.
This Alto version of the R+1 comes with a claimed frame weight of just 880g (56cm painted and all hardware in place). A more cost-effective carbon frame (the R+1 Strato) weighs in at a still-light 1,100g.
With its distinctive stepped seatstays, D-shaped seatpost and clearance for 32mm tyres, the R+1 bears all the hallmarks of a thoroughly modern road bike.
Vielo R+1 Alto e-Tap AXS frame design
Despite some familiar features, the frame design is noticeably different.
The back end’s radically dropped seatstays meet a horizontal yoke that joins the Kammtail-profiled seat tube, which is shaped to curve around the rear tyre.
This seat tube helps keep your ride position long, and the bike’s back end short, aiding the R+1’s agility, while still allowing you to fit a 32mm-wide tyre.
According to Vielo, the symmetrical frame, and especially the bottom bracket, help make the heart of the bike stiffer than an equivalent 2x-ready frame.
That could mean a hard ride, but Vielo has built a slender fork with some compliance to smooth the road ahead at the front, while the dropped stays and D-shaped carbon seatpost help at the rear.
Vielo R+1 Alto e-Tap AXS geometry
The long reach (415.5mm on my size-large test bike), low stack (566.4mm) and tight back end (thanks to its short 400mm chainstays) all make for a bike that’s swift to respond.
Despite that, its relaxed (for a road bike) 71.5-degree head angle, and a 47mm fork offset that produces a 66mm trail figure, put it firmly into stable endurance/all-road territory.
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.25||74.75||74.25||73.75||73.25|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.25||70.75||71.25||71.5||71.75|
|Seat tube (mm)||420||455||490||520||550|
|Top tube (mm)||505||530||555||580||605|
|Head tube (mm)||100||120||142.5||165||187.5|
|Fork offset (mm)||47||47||47||47||47|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||77||74.5||72||72||69.5|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||270.5||273||275.5||275.5||278|
Vielo R+1 Alto e-Tap AXS ride impressions
The intentions of the R+1 can be felt as soon as you’re riding. The bike feels supremely taut; it responds with brutality, surging forward with every pedal stroke.
However, it doesn’t convert any of that stiffness into a harsh ride. The 30c tyres specced do increase comfort, but the clever frame and fork here are doing a chunk of the heavy lifting.
In short, it’s a bike that’s perfect for the demands of swift riding on British roads; imperfections don’t make the R+1 stumble or deviate from the fastest line.
That gives a power-pushing gear of 118 inches, or a little taller than a 52/12 on a more traditional 2x drivetrain, with a 52/36t semi-compact crankset.
Commonly used gears are kept close in ratio, with a 10 and 11 at the fast end of things and then two-tooth jumps up to the 21.
Up from this, they do spread, but I’m not worried about changing gear frequently at that point, when there’s a gear I can spin comfortably in.
A 1x setup isn’t for everyone, but here it’s all about simplicity: push one button to upshift and the other to downshift.
There are no gear duplications, nor cross-chaining causing rubbing or rattling on the front derailleur.
Plus there’s very little in the way of maintenance (especially now you can adjust the gears on AXS on the fly using the clever app).
Vielo does provide a second chainring should you want it though, or you can have a smaller, tighter cassette of 10-36t from the standard Rival.
The basic price is £5,699 with alloy DT Swiss wheels. Adding Zipp 303s (as we did for this test) is a £600 upgrade, and worth it if you can afford it. They have a hookless carbon rim and are superbly stiff and responsive without being harsh, which makes them the perfect partner for the R+1.
Vielo R+1 Alto e-Tap AXS bottom line
The Vielo R+1 Alto is a brilliant bike, proving that 12 gears can be ample for the road. It’s built perfectly for its intended purpose.
As a small producer with a built-to-order service, Vielo’s bikes cost more than comparable machines from big firms, but the unique positioning – and superb ride quality – of the R+1 may just be worth it for riders looking for a 1x-specific road bike.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, GBP £6299.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 8.36kg (L), Array, kg|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Vielo|
|Available sizes||br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Bottom bracket||br_bottomBracket, 11, 0, Bottom bracket, Token Ninja Evo|
|Brakes||br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, SRAM Rival, 140mm/160mm Paceline Rotors|
|Cassette||br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, SRAM XPLR 10-44 12-speed|
|Cranks||br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Vielo Alloy with 44t CNC chainring|
|Fork||br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, Full Carbon|
|Frame||br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, Full Carbon|
|Front derailleur||br_frontDerailleur, 11, 0, Front derailleur, SRAM Rival eTap|
|Handlebar||br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Vielo carbon one-piece 110mm length|
|Rear derailleur||br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, SRAM Rival eTap|
|Saddle||br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Selle Italia Boost SLR steel rail|
|Seatpost||br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, Vielo Carbon Kamtail|
|Shifter||br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, SRAM Rival eTap|
|Stem||br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Vielo carbon one-piece 110mm length|
|Tyres||br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Schwalbe One TLE 30c|
|Wheels||br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Zipp 303s|