What’s your experience with Vilano Road bikes?
Personally, I didn’t think much about them (most cyclists don’t), but after outgrowing my previous Schwinn, I decided it was time to get a new one.
I didn’t have a lot of cash to spend on a new Schwinn, so I looked for some budget brands.
Of all the brands I checked, Vilano caught my eye.
First, I noticed Vilano bikes came at a reasonable price on Amazon and eBay.
Price-wise, they’re near BSO, but surprisingly, they’re not cheap or poor quality as other bikes in the same price range.
Of course, I knew they would be made of all Chinese components and whatnot, but it’s a bargain for a bike for casual rides.
Long story cut short, I went ahead and got my first Vilano Shadow, and so far, I can’t regret it. It’s among the best bike purchases I’ve made.
My partner was equally wowed by the Shadow’s performance and went ahead to join me with a Vilano Urbana bike.
Simply put, the Vilano brand is now like a family affair to us, and if you’re thinking of joining our community, I’d be glad to share my experience with Vilano bikes.
In the Vilano bikes review guide below, I’ll share everything you need to know about Vilano bikes, the history, and some of the popular Vilano bicycles to consider.
Table of Contents
History of Vilano Bikes
Before we dive into Vilano bike reviews, it would make sense if we first understood the history behind the brand and what they specialize in. It’ll give better insights into the brand as a whole.
Vilano was founded in 2008, and it was the same year they released their first Vilano model. So, they’ve a reputation spanning more than a decade.
Three friends conceived the idea behind Vilano bikes. Suzana, Brian, and Mike were cycling enthusiasts who wanted to turn their passion into a career.
However, they also wanted to build low-budget but high-performing bikes for cycling enthusiasts.
Along with the need for a budget but high-performing bikes, the three partners were also inspired by their locality, St. Augustine, Florida.
They also wanted to solve the commute issues on their ever-crowded streets.
After successfully launching their first model, their popularity and brand acceptabilitygrew, and today, they’re at the pinnacle of the bike manufacturing industry.
The main highlight of Vilano bikes is that they compete with some high-end and high-performing brands, but only at a fraction of the cost.
Another highlight with Vilano is their wider range of bikes.
Traditionally, the Vilano brand was known for its entry-level and beginner’s road bikes.
With time, however, they spread their manufacturing versatility to cater to the needs of non-road cyclists.
Their diversity now spreads to mountain bikes, folding bikes, cruisers bikes, touring bikes, and even electric bikes.
Vilano’s all-around practical designs cater to a wide range of users, and it has something for everyone.
Modern-day cyclists will benefit from Vilano bikes’ durability, lightness, performance, and cost-efficiency.
So, there’s no doubt that a Vilano model will certainly meet and exceed your cycling needs.
Why Consider Vilano as your First Choice?
If you’re wondering why you should consider a Vilano as your first choice, I’ll share some reasons below.
I’ve been with Vilano bikes for a couple of years now, and they’ve not disappointed.
Of course, they’re certainly not the best in the market, but they offer a better value for money and are a bargain, especially if you’re not into competitive cycling.
Top Features of Vilano Bikes
The frame forms the skeleton of bikes.
In most cases, bike frames are constructed from four materials; aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and titanium.
The materials have their strong points and drawbacks.
For example, steel is ultra-sturdy but bulky, while carbon is featherlight but expensive.
Most Vilano bikes utilize lightweight aluminum frames for their bikes.
It’s a nice choice of material. It strikes a balance between lightness and sturdiness. But more importantly, it’s also inexpensive, aligning with the budget needs of the Vilano bikes.
The lightweight aluminum frame is handy for Vilano Road bikes, allowing them to go faster and serve a comfortable & smooth ride experience.
Vilano tires are available in different sizes, but their durability matters most.
For example, cheap tires are more likely to shred, while expensive ones are reliable.
Vilano tires aren’t at either of the extremes, with most of them averaging 80 to 85 psi.
It’s not the best rating, especially if you need solid tires for navigating the rugged and rough terrains.
However, they may also prove more than sufficient for casual rides around your neighborhood or light off-road duties.
If you plan on cycling on the smooth pavement, tarmac roads, and relatively smooth surfaces, these Vilano tires will work just fine.
Good brakes should bring you to a stop when you need to.
Unfortunately, it’s challenging to find quality brakes, especially on budget brands.
The good news is Vilano has some nice brake options that will bring you to an instant halt, even in the messy road conditions.
However, it’s also necessary to consider the brakes you need for your bike. Usually, the choice of brakes will depend on the terrain you plan to ride.
Three of the popular brake system among the Vilano models are hub brakes, rim brakes, and disc brakes.
But as we’ve mentioned, the type of terrain and riding style will ultimately inspire the best brakes for your Vilano bikes.
Finding the right bike size is as important as selecting the right bike.
The sizing for your bike will determine the comfort and riding efficiency.
I love the Vilano bikes because they’re not rigid in terms of sizing. Most Vilano bike models are adjustable, meaning you can change the size setting to meet your needs.
In a nutshell, it’s easier to customize your Vilano bike to adapt to your riding style.
The customizability of Vilano makes so much sense, especially if you’ve several cyclists using the same bike.
For example, I prefer my saddle seat a bit higher than the handle bars, but when my wife uses my bike, he lowers the seat height to accommodate her size. Eureka!
Along with customizability, the saddle also determines the overall bike comfort.
So, you’d also want to bike a correctly-shaped saddle that accommodates your body type and riding style.
The worst bike purchase you could ever make is choosing a bike with a weak and flimsy crankset.
The good news is that should be one thing less to worry about with Vilano bikes.
Vilano models use some of the high-quality cranksets in the market, and with some finetuning and adjustments, it’s easy to achieve your dream ride.
Why is a Vilano Bike Right for You?
Vilano is generally known for manufacturing roadies, but their repertoire extends to other categories of bikes.
For example, they now have mountain bikes, electric bikes, and cruisers.
Vilano’s diversity makes the brand the ideal choice for anyone looking for a bike for different terrains.
Whether you simply need a bike for the road, mountain climbing, or snow, you can always find Vilano.
In addition, their versatility also caters to riders of different cycling stages, starting from entry-level riders and intermediate riders to advanced riders.
The other major highlight of the Vilano bike is they’re usually built to suit the riding needs of every cyclist.
Simply put, they’ve an element of customizability, and with their adjustability feature, it’s easy to model a Vilano bike to suit your riding needs.
Vilano bikes are also reliable and will take you a lot faster and easier from one point to the other. It doesn’t matter how the conditions are, how bad the weather is or how mad traffic is. Provided you picked the right model for the task; a Vilano bike won’t disappoint.
Overall, regardless of what cycling stage or conditions you’re planning to navigate, a Vilano bike is surely a great pick. It’s a great option for those planning to ride casually or pick cycling as a hobby.
Popular Vilano Bike Models
Now that I shared everything you need to know about Vilano’s history and a brief about their bikes, we shall look at some of their popular models.
Best Vilano Road Bicycles
#1 Vilano Shadow Road Bike -- Top Vilano Road Bike
In the introduction, I mentioned I started on a Shadow Bike. It was a great first bike.
It’s a low-end road bike, but that’s exactly what I was looking for. The Shadow makes an inspiring option for those who need an affordable but reliable bike for running errands in town.
And as far as the affordable bikes go, Shadow isn’t bad as some cyclists tend to portray it. It’s certainly, much superior to the GMC Denali bikes.
The Vilano Shadow road bike is a nice-looking bike out of the box. It’s gorgeous.
It looks nice, and what Vilano did was take every aspect of a $2,000 Specialized brand bike and remake it for the less than $400 bike.
The other draw with the Vilano Shadow Road bike was its multi-purpose design.
It’s meant to serve as a racing and road bike, but I’ve no problem using mine for commuter and recreational purposes.
The bike’s design is more comfortable than a road bike and better to control on the challenging terrain.
Vilano Shadow Road Bike will certainly blow you away compared to the regular bikes.
It’s unlike my first roadie, which compared to a half-decent MTB in weight.
Vilano Shadow is lightweight and comparable to a rocket ship.
It doesn’t weigh more than 30 pounds and is perhaps the lightest model in its class.
You don’t notice even a single pound of its weight on the climbs and long rides.
The lightweight design also makes a huge difference, especially when you need to rack up miles and gain the highest speed.
Braking & Gearing System
The truth with Vilano bikes is they’ve mediocre Shimano STI shifters.
Yes, it’s a Shimano-spec’d road bike, but it uses Shimano’s lowest-end bike parts.
They’ll get the job done, but be over-ambitious with what the bike can do, especially when you need lightning shifts.
It’s probably enough for some fitness riding on the paved paths, but at least it’s not sloppy or skips like the Uber-cheap GMC bikes.
Shadow’s braking is also reliable, and the dual disc braking system doesn’t disappoint.
Assembling the Vilano Shadow Road bike is super easy and quick.
And if you allow a professional to do the assembly for you, it would be hard to know the difference between the bike and an entry-level Specialized.
Once everything is assembled, you’ll also gain confidence in the bike and love its durability.
Vilano isn’t only significantly faster than your traditional mountain bike but fairly comfortable on mod range rides.
It allows plenty of adjustability on the crucial elements, so it’s easy to customize the bike.
The only thing I would change is to swap out the adjustable seat. It starts to feel rock solid for longer rides, even with shorts.
But overall, the Vilano Shadow is an amazing bike, especially for the price and a bargain. I would buy it again!
#2 Vilano R2 -- Top Vilano Commuter Bike
The Vilano R2 entry-level road bike is the Honda Civic of bikes.
It’s an affordable price purchase, and as its name suggests, it’s built mostly for commuting.
I got the R2 for simplifying my commute, and so far, it has served me without a problem.
As I pointed out earlier, the Vilano R2 Commuter is a commuter bike.
So, while it’ll get you around town, don’t expect too much from the bike. It’s nothing more than a commuter. Most cyclists confuse the bike for a road bike or cruiser bike, only to be disappointed.
However, you can make a couple of upgrades to the Vilano R2 Commuter to adapt it to real-life cycling challenges.
For example, the first upgrade I did was to change the tires. The stock ones could only hand 85PSI max and felt like plastic.
I swapped them with 110 psi tires, and I no longer have to worry about flats or navigate the gnarlier terrains.
If you’re also planning on taking long-distance riding, consider swapping the saddle to a narrower option, to be exact. Otherwise, you’ll have a sore a$$ fast.
Out of the box, the Vilano Commuter has a neat paint job, and I’ve had many people comment on the color scheme.
If looks are your thing, you’ll love the R2 because it’s far from the typical Walmart bikes.
As with most Vilano bikes, the R2 Commuter is also lightweight.
The 6061 double-butted aluminum frame makes it featherlight, which is nice, especially for cyclists looking for speed.
On the road, it’ll be easier for you to keep up on group rides, and on traffic, you won’t miss an appointment or get late.
Ease of Use
R2 Commuter bike features thumb shifters Shimano gear, which may take some time getting used to, especially compared to integrated shifters.
But once you get used to the Shimano Shifters, you’ll love changing gears and appreciate the great performance.
The only issue with the integrated shifters is they provide no room for mounting accessories on the handlebars, so you have to put them on top of the frame.
The bike is awesome, and I’ve had no problem with the frame, drivetrain, or any other part.
R2 rides well and feels quite stable.
The 21-speed crankset is superior to the traditional single-speed bikes and makes it a great option for taking on hilly climbs.
On the other hand, a Shimano front derailleur and a Shimano Tourney rear derailleur make gearing fun.
On the other hand, the alloy caliper braking system ensures you can halt with the least effort.
Overall, the R2’s performance is reliable, and don’t let clowns talk down to you because you’ve a Vilano.
R2 is a versatile bike, and I love that it can handle different conditions with relative ease.
While I’d still recommend swapping the stock tires, the available 700c can still perform on light to the intermediate road.
They can also navigate any road situation, whether it’s dry or hot.
R2 comes mostly assembled.
All you need is to assemble the front wheel and saddle and attach the shifter to the handlebar.
Overall, I’m impressed with this Vilano purchase, and I would recommend it to those who make medium-long commutes to work.
#3 Vilano Urbana Folding Bike -- Top Vilano Folding Bike
My partner needed a small folding bike to commute to work, and after doing exhaustive “research” on the available options, the Vilano Urbana Folding bike came out on top.
It’s a shining star in the folding bike category and comes with everything you need for a lightweight and portable option.
The Vilano Urbana bike features a nifty folding design, meaning it can compact into a small design for storage or portability.
If you’re town and space are a major concern, then the Urbana folding bike is a great bike because it doesn’t take up much of your space.
My partner loves it because she is mostly on a multi-mode commute and will quickly fold the bike when getting on and off the train or bus.
And the good thing is that I can fold it within seconds.
The other plus with the folding bike design is that it can also fit into her VW Passat’s trunk. It can also fit in the back of most compact hatchbacks without dropping seats.
Along with the folding design, the Vilano Urbana also comes with an ultra-simple and frill-free design.
The minimalistic design on this bike doesn’t have any bearing cables, suspension fork, gear, shifter, or brake levers.
It doesn’t have a braking system, so you’ve to pedal backward to stop.
Simply put, there’re no fiddly parts to deal with, and the bike is a great low-maintenance pick.
The Urbana folding bike was among the lightest bikes we could find, weighing a measly 21.5 pounds.
It’s an important element because my partner is 5’1 and weighs 110 pounds, so she needed a lightweight bike that she could carry to her office building with some stair steps on it.
The Urbana is easy to pick and easier to carry with its carry straps.
It also makes a great choice for smaller cyclists.
Urbana folding bikes are perfect for short commutes, grocery runs, and other short rides.
It rides comfortably, but I wouldn’t recommend it for long trips or hilly areas.
My partner has been using it to get around shops and run errands within a couple of miles, and it seems perfect for that.
What’s more? It features a rear rack, water bottle mount, and a ready-to-carry bag strapped on top, so you can easily use it for weekend rides or urban commutes.
Urbana is a quick-ride bike. We love how it rides smoothly and how fairly easy it takes on the small bumps, curbs, and uneven roads.
It’s also quite sturdy and high-quality.
The 20″ wheels seem well-suited for the 1-5 miles rides, whereas the coaster braking system can bring you to a halt when needed.
Overall, the Urbana folding bike is an awesome little bike. It comes at a great price point, has excellent performance, and I would recommend it for cyclists looking for the “last mile” option.
#4 Vilano Blackjack 3.0 Mountain Bikes -- Top Vilano Mountain bike
The Blackjack 3.0 is an incredible 29er hardtail entry-level bike.
It compares to the more expensive Diamondback bike, only that it comes at a fraction of the price.
The Blackjack mountain bike is a great option for a hardtail that can navigate gnarly terrains, dirt tracks, and some tricky trials.
Control and Performance
Blackjack 3.0 also offers an outstanding level of control and performance.
Some highlights that promote the incredible performance include the 29″ wheels. You need to try a 29er on the trails to understand how awesome the wheels can be.
They roll just about on anything and everything and offer a smooth ride.
Brakes aren’t any different. Yes, they’re the cheaper Tektro mechanical braking system and don’t have the best rap.
But here’s the thing, I’ve been riding mechanical brakes all of my life and can tell you the ones on the Blackjack 3.0 are of much higher quality than those on the low-end bikes.
Granted, hydraulic bikes arguably have a better performance, but I still love the mechanical brakes because they’re more reliable. I’ve greater confidence in these brakes as I don’t have to worry about leaks or service the hydraulic leaks.
The handlebars are also large with a slight raise, thus giving riders better control, especially around corners.
With its superior suspension fork, Blackjack has a nice shock absorption system that makes the rough terrain more exciting to roll on.
Assembling this bad boy is a breeze and doesn’t take much effort or time.
However, for a mountain bike, I’d suggest you take it to the local bike shop for some finetuning, especially on the brakes and the wheels.
It’s well worth getting the bike in shape before riding, considering many mountain bikers don’t baby their bikes, so it needs to be 100%
Future of Vilano Bikes
The forward-thinking leadership at Vilano isn’t settling for anything less but the best.
And with the increasing popularity of e-powered devices, Vilano has also jumped onto the e-bike bandwagon.
They launched their Vilano Quark project, essentially a hybrid bike e-bike concept.
Their bikes are more than the regular electrical bikes because they combine practicality, ease of use, and an affordable price tag.
More importantly, some of their e-bike innovations are also foldable.
The Quark folding electric bike has played a critical part in the e-bike evolution and promises to cater to the last-mile cycling solution for cyclists on a budget.
Vilano Bike Maintenance Tips
Of course, as with any other bike, proper bike maintenance is necessary for the longevity and performance of your bike.
Now, when your bikes arrive, it’s probably going to come disassembled and in parts.
The first thing to do is to assemble it correctly. It’s a necessary step because failure for proper assembly may put you in harm when riding the bike.
Therefore, if you’re not a DIYer, I’d suggest you visit your local bike shop for bike assembly. Having a professional do the assembly is useful in keeping you safe while riding and makes the process effortless and easier.
Once it’s assembled and you start riding, you’ll also want to ensure you make scheduled servicing to keep the bike in good condition.
For example, ensure the chain is thoroughly oiled to prevent friction and wear. Also, consider cleaning the brakes once they get dirty or hear noises.
Keep the tires in good riding conditions to ensure they provide traction and performance on different terrains.
Finally, it’s always good to have a tool kit whenever your bike takes you to save you from emergencies.
If you’re scouting and looking for cycling options, I highly recommend Vilano bikes.
Our Vilano review shows that the brand has some exciting options that may intrigue you.
Whether you need a road bike, a hybrid bike, or a mountain bike, the brand has something for you. And it also doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional, commuter, or casual rider!