Chris Richards

marketing | branding | tech | startups

Vilano Single Speed Bike: Reviewing the Good and the Bad

7 Comments

I’ve been meaning to write a review of the Vilano Track Fixed Gear / Single Speed Road Bike for a while now. I’ve enjoyed it a lot since buying it in the fall, but honestly, it’s been tough to ride!

Vilano Track Single Speed Bike Built

Excuses, excuses, but it’s true. Literally, it’s been difficult to ride! The area of Philadelphia around me is known for its hills. It’s not in “the city” with flat ground, so truthfully, I’m now realizing that buying a single speed bike might not have been the wisest choice.

That’s where my review starts: hills. This Vilano is an awesome bike for the price, but its single speed gear makes my legs feel like exploding whenever I encounter the hills around here (and that’s often). Hills are bad news for single speed. I should have known that, having grown up riding on bikes with dozens of gear choices. As a kid, I would have never made it without those precious gears to save me.

On flat ground, though, this bike flies. The single gear seems to be set at just the right ratio for flat-land travel. I reached an open half-mile stretch along a bike path and was able to make it up to around 22 mph with some vigorous pedaling.

But, aside from the inability to ride up hills, I have very few complaints about this simple ride. Like I said, it was cheap (only a little more than $200 on Amazon!) It came in a big box, right to my door. I opened it, to find the bike in several pieces well-protected by packaging and ready to set-up. Building it was a breeze, and Vilano just included a piece of paper with a link to their instructions online (in the form of YouTube videos) in case you needed extra help assembling the parts.

Vilano Track Single Speed Bike Assembly

At first glance, the bike frame is a conversation starter. I ordered a bright orange frame, though they had a variety of choices. It definitely stands out from the other bikes I’ve owned which have more subtle coloring. This thing isn’t quite neon, but it’s close.

There are no labels on the bike. No branding. Which I hear is what the hipsters like. No branding means there’s ample room to add your own little personal touches. I’ve added a few stickers, but the bike is still mostly just nice and orange.

The tires are very thin. I’ve never ridden a bike with such thin tires and wheels. Coming off a mountain bike, this thing feels absolutely rail-like. It’s thin, fast, and the tires are meant for speed. That being said, I’ve had issues keeping the tires inflated. I think replacing the stock tires with something a little more substantial would be a good first move for anyone buying this bike.

Speaking of upgrades, I also added a few accessories after receiving the bike. The stock pedals are cheap and laughable. I ordered some Avenir Ultralight Pedals with toe-clips and those did the trick. I, personally, love toe-clips and grew up using them, so it made sense that I install them on this new Vilano too. And, not that it’s totally necessary, I bought a cheap water bottle holster to screw onto the frame.

Basically, having moved to a new city, I was looking for a fun, cheap bike to get around. Though I don’t use it as my primary means of travel, this Vilano bike has served me well so far. As long as I remember to avoid the hills, it’s all good!

 

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Author: Chris Richards

Chris Richards likes writing about technolgy, startups, and marketing. Follow him on Twitter @seerichards

7 thoughts on “Vilano Single Speed Bike: Reviewing the Good and the Bad

  1. I live in quite a hilly area too so have opted for a slightly easier gear ratio on my single-speed, which is a godsend on those hills!

  2. I love the bike, but after 6 months I had a couple of spoke nipples break off, I took the wheel into 3 bike shops to try and find the correct size nipple and none of them had nipples that fit. It seems the spoke/nipple sizes are non standard and while I found reference to this online I can not find where I can get matching replacment spokes and nipples. Have you seen this? Plus the single gear freewheel is not notched for a 12 spline tool or a 4 notch tool… when I contacted the seller they said “these typically require a chain-whip tool and a flat head screw driver to be removed. We HIGHLY suggest having it removed at a local bike shop and not doing so at home”.

  3. I bought one second hand, other than the rear brake being impossible to adjust or center properly, I love it. And, yeah, the peddles were the first to go.

  4. I love the bike, but after 6 months I had a couple of spoke nipples break off, I took the wheel into 3 bike shops to try and find the correct size nipple and none of them had nipples that fit.

  5. Chris, what tire width are you running?

    Regards,
    Rob

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