In this article, we’re going to check out an economical bike company that you may not be so familiar with – Vilano. Vilano has a wide range of bikes worth considering, and we’re going to examine whether they are worth your money. We’ll outline some of their most popular models of bikes, and give you the pros & cons of each. Our goal is to help you decide if these bikes are for you!
What is Vilano?
Founded in 2008, Vilano is a bicycle company that specializes in making budget bikes of all kinds. Bike companies tend to position themselves in different categories of price and quality. Vilano is very much positioned at the “budget” end of the spectrum. They specialize in making a variety of bike models at affordable prices.
What Are Budget Bikes Best For?
When it comes to buying “budget” bicycles, there are a few worthwhile considerations. Of course, you can probably imagine that these bicycles are not going to have all the high-end premium construction that you might expect from a top-of-the-line bike manufacturer. However, even within this category of bikes, there is a wide degree of variance when it comes to quality. When buying a budget bike, you want a bike that works.
Because, even though you’re purchasing an affordable option, you still want a quality piece of manufacturing that will hold up to regular use. In this article, we’re examining these bikes under this lens. We’re keeping in mind where these bikes are positioned, but we still want to help you make a worthwhile choice! Because an “affordable” bike shouldn’t mean that you have to sacrifice quality too much!
Our Favourite Vilano Bikes
Let’s get to our favourite Vilano bikes. Vilano specializes in making a variety of different bike types. In this section, we’re going to give you a taste of all their offerings. We’re going to take a look at each major category of bike offered by Vilano, and see how they hold up:
Vilano Shadow Road Bike
First up, we have Vilano’s top road bike model – the Shadow.
The main consideration in whether you need a road bike is how you plan to use your bike. Road bikes are designed for maximum speed and efficiency across flat, even terrain (roads!). Road bikes utilize lightweight frames, high-pressure wheels, and a leaned-forward riding position for maximum aerodynamics. Among other things, road bikes are designed to be the most efficient ride for building and maintaining speed over long distances.
The Vilano Shadow Road Bike has a lot to offer in this regard. It utilizes a lightweight 6061 Aluminum Double Butted Frame. It is also equipped with Shimano components, which are a trusted manufacturer of bike parts. It is equipped with Shimano brake levers and derailleurs.
Overall, this bike has most of what you would expect from a budget road bike. Lightweight, efficient design, and all the components and parts that are standard of a road bike.
Pros & Cons
We’re going to check out some pros & cons of each bike on our list. The best way to make an informed decision is to consider the advantages and drawbacks of a product. By taking a balanced look at what each product offers, you can decide whether it offers the features that make it worthy of a purchase for you, which is really the most important factor.
As far as the pros of this road bike, it is simply a well-constructed road bike that works. We were impressed by the lightweight design and the actual functionality of this road bike. You might be pretty surprised that you can actually get a functional road bike at this price point. You definitely shouldn’t expect anything along the lines of a premium road bike, but this is quite functional for the price.
As long as you keep your expectations in check, then this bike should offer significant quality for the price point. It’s especially impressive when you consider that road bikes tend to cost well over $1000, and some even go into the tens of thousands!
However, that being said, some have experienced pretty significant problems with this bike. We drew on customer reviews to get a varied perspective, as it is often the case that budget products tend to vary in quality. Most of the issues with this bike come from specific issues with certain components. Some expressed concerns that the tires tended to deflate faster than usual. Others were less than impressed with the stopping power of the brakes. Overall, it seemed to vary based on the person, which leads us to believe that it is a “luck of the draw” situation. Your best bet is to have this bike properly tuned-up at a bike shop before you take it out for a ride!
But that’s the case with budget bikes. You kind of have to take the good with the bad. You can expect hiccups here and there, but as long as the bike is functional overall, then we think it is worth the low price tag.
Vilano Retro City Commuter Hybrid
Next up, we have Vilano’s most popular hybrid bike model – the Retro City Commuter. This bike is popular not only because it is a discount all-around hybrid bike, but because it has that retro appeal with its neat design.
This bike places focus on efficiency and comfort for commuting and general bike transportation. The frame is designed so that the rider sits upright, which allows for superior maneuvering, and also added comfort.
This bike comes equipped with a hi-ten steel frame. It has 700c wheels, which are a standard size for a hybrid bike.
This bike also has linear pull brakes and a twist-grip shifter with 7 speeds. All things said, it has pretty basic components for a hybrid bike.
The design of this bike is definitely focused on simple transportation and commuting. It emphasizes comfort and maneuverability above all else.
Pros & Cons
For the pros, we are quite impressed with this hybrid overall. Considering its low price-tag, it is a well-built, highly functional hybrid bike.
This bike has all the functionality that you probably want from a budget hybrid. It’s comfortable to sit on and ride, the gears shift easily, and the brakes have solid stopping power. Everything works fine, which is pretty high praise for a bike in this price range.
Additionally, we really like the design. It nails that retro aesthetic of a classic commuter. While this is more of a personal preference, we thought it worth mentioning here.
As far as cons, there are some people who have experienced issues with this bike. Firstly, it’s quite heavy. The steel frame is definitely one of the heavier frame types out there. While this does make the bike a bit more durable, it also compromises on speed. Then again, this isn’t the bike you want if speed is your top priority anyways.
Certain consumers also had issues with the stopping power of the brakes. They found that the brakes were not fitted tight enough, and the bike itself took too long to brake properly. As with all the bikes on this list, we recommend that you get it properly tuned at a bike shop upon purchase. This is always a good idea with a discount bike, as it helps to address any potential issues before they become a bigger problem.
Vilano Step Through City Bike
Here’s another Vilano retro hybrid bike that we like. The Vilano City Bike has a “step through” design, which means that the frame is positioned very low. This makes it easy to step on and off the bike, which could make it ideal for frequent trips around town.
This is mostly a no-frills bike design, which places comfort and efficiency as a top priority. The rider is meant to sit upright (as opposed to leaning forward), which is considered the most comfortable position to ride a bike. Additionally, it allows for added maneuverability, making it more ideal for city riding.
The bike is made with a sturdy hi-ten steel frame. There are linear pull brakes, and a twist grip 7-speed gear shifter. The wheels and tires are 700c. Overall, this bike has a basic design which you would expect of a hybrid commuter.
It’s quite similar to Vilano’s other hybrid that we examined above, with the main difference being the step-through design.
Pros & Cons
When it comes to buying a discount bike, this is about what you can expect from a discount hybrid. It has all the basic features you would expect from a hybrid bike. Multiple speeds, durable frame, upright riding position, and more. Basically, it’s a standard hybrid, and more importantly, it rides quite well.
When evaluating a commuter bike, you’re probably mostly concerned with whether or not it works well. We’re happy to report that this one, for the most part, does! It’s a solid hybrid, and it will stand up to regular commuting and trips around town. You can’t ask for much more for the price tag.
Of course, as with any discount bikes, consumers have had their share of issues. Most of the issues were with certain parts of the bike’s functionality. Some customers found that the brakes were a bit loose, which lead to less-than-ideal stopping distance. Others were a bit upset that tires seemed to deflate faster than normal.
As with the other bikes on our list, we recommend you take it in for a tune-up upon purchase. A professional bike store can evaluate these issues, and ensure that they don’t become a bigger problem down the line, or even replace parts if necessary.
Vilano BlackJack Mountain Bike
Finally, we have Vilano’s take on the mountain bike. If you’re planning on off-road biking on trails, hills, and rugged terrain, then a mountain bike is probably going to be your top choice. The BlackJack is a surprisingly capable mountain bike for the price range.
This bike is equipped with a 6061 Alloy hard-tail frame. There is a front suspension fork with lockout. There are mechanical disc brakes for solid stopping power.
The BlackJack is also equipped with Shimano parts, including an 8-speed shifter and a brake lever. Overall, the design is pretty extensive for a budget MTB.
Pros & Cons
It is usually a little hard to recommend a budget mountain bike. The reason is that these bikes have so many moving parts, and so much necessary functionality, that it becomes very important that they are built up to rigorous design standards. Additionally, because you are taking them off-road on dangerous and intense terrain, you really don’t want them to fail you when it matters most.
However, this bike is actually pretty solid as far as budget MTBs go. It is quite functional, and can get you through a wide variety of off-road trails. We were impressed by how smoothly this bike actually rides. It doesn’t have the versatility or lightweight design of a premium mountain bike, but it would function pretty well as a beginner MTB.
It really depends on what you plan on using this bike for. Experienced mountain bikers will likely require a mountain bike with more capable suspension and more responsive brakes. If you plan on riding advanced mountain biking trails, this bike probably won’t cut it. However, for beginners, this bike should be more than enough.
We really can extend this advice to all models of Vilano bike. They are solid, functional, budget bikes. They don’t have all the bells and whistles of a premium bike, but they get the job done. So whether you’re a beginner, or you’re simply looking for a basic bike for getting around, a Vilano is a surprisingly good choice. From their road bike, to their hybrids, to their mountain bikes, there is a lot on offer, and we will admit that we were surprised at how well these bikes actually ride!
That being said, it’s your choice, and we wrote this article with this in mind. We intended to give you enough information to know whether these bikes are right for you. Don’t expect top of the line bikes, but if all you want is a functional bike at a fair price, then Vilano could be for you!
Last Updated on December 1, 2020 by Matthew Carpenter