Vivelo Arc RS Ultegra review£2,975.00

Long distance cruiser with pro pedigree

BikeRadar score3/5

For riders who like some pro peloton bragging rights for their bike Vivelo’s Arc RS is the machine ridden by the Polish CCC and Spanish Caja Rural teams – the latter racking up a stage victory in the 2012 Vuelta.

    It’s ideal if you want to look similarly pro, with the option to have your name and national flag on the top tube, plus 10 colour options for tube flashes, seatpost top and stickers. Vivelo will even do custom club colour bikes and the co-ordinated bottle cages on our bike were a really neat finishing touch. 

    There’s a classy continental feel about the generous top tube stretch too, leaving you plenty of breathing space when spinning up a long climb. The hefty frame weight – much higher than Vivelo claim – means you’ll be blowing a bit harder than on some bikes if it goes up steeply. 

    Despite short, massively deep chainstays and lightish wheels it’s also a muted rather than muscular machine when it comes to acceleration. The super-skinny snaked seatstays also mean you can get the back wheel grazing the pads if you’re really grinding your gears up a steep one. 

    It’s these stays and the front end that give a big clue to where this bike does work well. What can make it bounce under power also means it takes a lot of sting out of even the roughest roads so you can stay on the power with the wheel hooked up rather than rattling around on top of the saddle. 

    The curved top tube offsets the huge triangulated down tube to keep the front end comfortable with well-mannered and accurate handling from the near-perfectly aligned chassis. Our favourite Schwalbe tyres are a clear benefit when it comes to whipping the short wheelbase through corners, and while the bottom bracket is slightly higher than some it never felt precarious through turns. 

    Prologo’s saddle is firm but extremely comfortable:
    Prologo’s saddle is firm but extremely comfortable:

    Prologo’s saddle is firm but extremely comfortable

    The Marchisio wheels don’t do anything worrying to undermine confidence, and at 35mm they’re deep enough to reduce drag without surrendering to sidewinds. The aero profiled front end, smooth-rolling tyres and firm but comfortable Prologo saddle all help save energy and increase ergonomic efficiency on long hauls. 

    As well as complete bikes from Shimano 105 to SRAM Red, Vivelo also let you choose crank length, chainrings and cassette to suit your riding. 

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

    Guy Kesteven

    Freelance Writer, UK
    Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
    • Age: 45
    • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
    • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
    • Waist: 76cm / 30in
    • Chest: 91cm / 36in
    • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
    • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
    • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
    • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
    • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
    • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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