Vilano Bikes Reviews of 2018 & Buying Guide

Vilano, a small but growing company in the industry, produces bikes of all types and sizes for riders all over the world.  They believe in great bikes at prices anyone can work into their budget, and effective designs tailored to each purpose.

Our buyer’s guide will take an in-depth look at the Vilano brand, and assess a few of their most popular models to start your research on a reliable—but affordable—new bicycle, no matter what your needs or preferences.

Buyer’s Guide:

What is Vilano?

Founded in 2007 in St. Augustine, FL, Vilano is a smallish company with a big following.  Employees love it as much as consumers (their office is even dog-friendly!), and they’re committed to cycling with passion you’d want in a bike company.   

They produce bikes for off-roading, commuter use, road bikes, hybrids, kids’ bikes, and even folding models.  They also sell panniers, saddlebags, and more, including a wall mount for convenient bike storage, whether you live in a spacious house or cramped apartment.  They even offer cycling shoes for racing and mountain biking, if you’re so inclined.

Vilano Shadow Road Bike

Vilano Shadow Road Bike

What makes Vilano different from other companies?

Vilano Urbana Single Speed Folding Bike

Vilano Urbana Single Speed Folding Bike

Vilano makes no secret about the fact their bikes are mid-level or below, which is a rare find in today’s cycling industry: all too often, companies try to convince customers their bikes are the best of the best, regardless of price (or customer reviews to the contrary).  

Vilano, however, is upfront with the fact their bikes are designed for the highest performance for the most affordable price—they work towards an allusive balance of inexpensive, but well-made.

What kind of budget can afford a Vilano bicycle?

What’s their customer service like?

Vilano Ridge 2.0 Mountain Bike

Vilano Ridge 2.0 Mountain Bike

The web page is a little hard to navigate, if only for its novelty: one link at the top, Categories, products a drop-down menu for all their bike types, and the Contact link is only featured in the bottom navigation bar.

When clicked, the Contact link takes users to a standard email submission form.  On the right side of the page, you’ll find an address and telephone number.

We submitted an inquiry via the contact form and received a reply within 12 hours.  The representative was friendly and fairly knowledgeable, although not as much as we’ve seen from other bike brands.

The company is also on Facebook and Twitter, so customers can reach out through these platforms instead of/in addition to the email form or support line.  

Vilano Women's C1 Comfort Shimano Road Bike

Vilano Women's C1 Comfort Shimano Road Bike

Our only grievance is the About Us section on their website (as in, it doesn’t exist), and the one on their Facebook states nothing other than the founding year and location.  For a brand with an entire decade under its belt, it’s quite surprising Vilano doesn’t share its history.

Vilano Bikes Reviews

1.  Vilano Shadow Road Bike Review

Don’t let the name fool you: the Shadow will not go unnoticed out on the road.  True, it has a clean design and simple color options that grant it an understated appeal, but in terms of performance, it definitely calls attention to itself in a good way.  Its drop handlebars and seat are adjustable, so riders can find the riding position that works best for them.

Pros

  • Double-butted aluminum frame with threadless steel fork.
  • 14 speeds; Shimano derailleurs and lever shifters in brakes.
  • 700cc tires, double-walled.
  • Drop handlebars for comfortable control at fast speeds.
  • Available in multiple sizes, and black or white finish.

Cons

  • Brakes may require upgrade for more seasoned riders, or people planning to use this bike in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

For an entry- to mid-level road bike, the Shadow delivers and then some.  The only downside is its braking system, which—if reviews are any indication—will require an upgrade to suit most needs.  Other than that, we think this option is solid, and would recommend it most to new riders looking for their first road bike.

2.  Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike Review

Pros

  • Aluminum frame.
  • 21 speeds; thumb shifters.
  • Caliper pull brakes, standard for road bikes.
  • Arrives partially pre-assembled so customers can finish assembly themselves, although the company does formally recommend it be checked and tuned by an expert.

Cons

  • Customer reviews indicate the potential for recurrent tire blowouts; might require upgrade.

Low in price but high in performance, the R2 from Vilano is perfect for beginners; intermediate skill levels might prefer something a little higher on the scale for racing, but commuters of all levels will enjoy this.  Its design is 100% committed to speed, from the tapered fork to the close-to-frame pedals, so navigating crowded streets en route to work (or, more importantly, coming home from work) is no problem.

3.  Vilano Urbana Single-Speed Folding Bike Review

For commuters low on space, frequent travelers, or fans of all things tiny, the Vilano Urbana is a foldable bike that reduces to less than half its size in a matter of seconds.  

At only 21.5 lbs., it can easily be carried onto buses or subways, nestled in the trunk of a car, or even slipped into your front seat, to tag along wherever your journey takes you.

Pros

  • Foldable aluminum frame is also adjustable to suit multiple heights and seating position preferences. Lightweight and easy to store/carry,
  • Single-speed; capable of coasting. Less complicated to operate than multi-speed functions, and easier than fixed-gears.
  • Coaster brakes (pedal backwards to stop); no wires to tangle while folding/unfolding.
  • Arrives mostly assembled and requires very little to finish; company recommends professional tuning before riding.
  • Has room for water bottle mount and rear rack; not clear how these components would affect folding capabilities, however.

Cons

  • Single-speed functionality limits this bike on inclines.
  • Only available in grey or matte black.

Foldable bikes are more than a novelty or trend—for many commuters and travelers, they’re the only viable option for owning and storing a bicycle.  Even if you have plenty of space for a standard frame, a folding model might hold serious appeal.  They’re easy to carry in and out of buildings, which can prevent theft and keep the bike safe from the elements (which gives it a longer lifespan).  As a result, we recommend this to all commuters and urban riders, whether they’re short on space or have room to spare.

4.  Vilano Ridge 2.0 Mountain Bike Review

Pros

  • Double-butted aluminum frame with suspension fork and lockout, so you can ride on smooth surfaces with greater pedal efficiency.
  • 21 speeds, Shimano shifters.
  • Disc brakes for reliable stops, even on compromised terrain/downhill areas.
  • Suitable for daily commuting as well as trail riding.
  • Partially pre-assembled; easy to complete.

Cons

  • Not ideal for steep/very rugged riding, but might suit some riders’ needs in this arena just fine.

While we personally wouldn’t attempt any extreme mountain biking on the Ridge 2.0, some riders will find the light frame suits their needs just fine.  All in all, we think this is best for commuters or students who need a reliable bike for getting around, but like the option of taking it on trails, across grass, or on gravel without worry (or buying a second bike).

5.  Vilano C1 Women’s Comfort Road Bike Review

With leanings towards a beach cruiser, this road bike offers both comfort and efficiency.  It’s not going to perform with top speeds like standard road bikes, of course, but some riders are willing to make the sacrifice for a bike with a more relaxed geometry and seating position.  

The handlebar is a low riser-style for less wrist strain, and includes brown faux-leather handlebar grips to match the wide saddle.

Pros

  • Frame is high-tensile steel; heavier than aluminum but strong. Step-through design for easier mounting.
  • Suspension fork for smoother riding.
  • 21 speeds (cruisers only have 1; some have 3 or 7 at best) to make traversing hills a breeze. Trigger shifter system.
  • Seat is anatomically designed for women’s pelvic bone structure; more comfortable than typical road bikes, even on longer rides.

Cons

  • At 39 lbs., bike is lighter than cruiser-styles, but heavier than most road bikes.

The C1 is stylish, yes—but it’s also incredibly comfortable to ride, and doesn’t skimp on the gears.  It’s refreshing to see a bike that focuses on performance and relaxation, not just one or the other.  We recommend this to both casual riders and commuters who need an upright sitting position, either to reduce back pain or just because of preference.

To Conclude:

Vilano is a quality brand with entry-level prices, but models that can accommodate intermediate riders, as well.  Whether you need a commuter bike, one to handle trails, or a more casual ride for leisure, chances are Vilano has what you’re looking for.  They certainly live up to their tagline: “Affordable quality bicycles for everyone.”