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Viathon G.1 Gravel Bike First Look – Detailed & Demoed

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(dramatic music and sound effects) – Viathon is a completely new bike brand that launched in spring of this year with three models, the R1 road bike, the M

1 cross-country mountain bike, and this, the G1 gravel bike THey've asked us to take a look at it, and so in this video I'm going to be talking you through the finer points Firstly though, one thing to address, and that is that Viathon caused quite a stir when they launched One of the reasons being, they're owned by retail giant, Walmart

A brand it's fair to say, in cycling circles at least, is famous for selling really cheap bikes Hence why you may have been reading a rash of articles along the lines of, "Check out the most expensive bike "you can buy at Walmart" But what's the deal here? Because firstly you can't buy this in Walmart It is direct-to-consumer only, so you order it online, and you do so through https://wwwviathonbicycles

com, and not Walmart Well the deal is, its shouldn't really come as that much of a surprise, seeing as Walmart already sells high-end bike parts, though mainly through its Moosejaw website And so it seems like a bit of a logical step to create their own high-end bike brand And it must be a pretty cool gig to get asked to create a bike company from scratch But that's exactly what brand manager, Zach Spinhirne-Martin, was tasked with doing

Now he actually was a pretty top-notch bike racer himself, spent a few years cutting his teeth in the cut-and-thrust scene in Belgium He was actually a pro-team mechanic as well, so it's fair to say he knows his way around a pushbike Now, his first step was to select the team that he wanted to actually design these Viathon bikes, and he went with Kevin Quan Studios, who are based up in Toronto in Canada Now Quan himself, who's a former senior engineer at Cervelo, and he's got some pretty impressive bikes in his design palmares So let's see what he's come up with for this one

(dramatic electronic music) This is, as I mentioned at the beginning, the G1 gravel bike When it was first launched, there were three options available, a SRAM Force one-by edition, a Shimano Ultegra groupset edition, and also a Shimano 105, as well as a framset-only version This though, as you can see, has the new SRAM RED eTap AXS groupset on there Plus, a new colorway, which is this kind of matt black to metallic copper version

Now, we will get on to the details of the frame Firstly, a size 56 weighs just 1,010 grams, which is pretty impressive for a gravel bike The next question when talking about this type of bike is always, "How wide a tire can you fit?" In this case, you can go wide 51 millimeters on a standard 700C road wheel And it'll also run smaller diameter 650B wheels with 2

1 inch wide mountain bike tires And yes, I do appreciate I've just swapped from metric to imperial there, but I think that's actually compulsory when talking about the already complex subject of wheel sizes Anyway, to fit in such wide tires, some deft engineering going on, particularly at the back end, which if you look closely, you'll notice is actually asymmetrical, 'cos the drive-side chainstay is actually dropped a little bit And that is to allow you to get those wider tires in, but also, on the outside of the chainstay, to fit chainrings on, despite using normal-width road cranks on there And you can also, as well as running one-by like this, run it two-by, as well, for increased versatility

Whilst we're down there, another neat touch you'll see is the inclusion of a threaded bottom bracket So on a bike that's destined for dirt roads, the added robustness and ease of servicing, it's a welcome touch And some brands shy away from it, because having a threaded bottom bracket shell will add a tiny bit of weight onto the bare frame, and so it maybe doesn't look quite as good in marketing And also, it adds an extra step in the manufacturing process Other really neat practical touches are you've got fender-mounts, mudguards, and also rack-mounts on here, as well as three sets of bottle bosses

So it's fair to say that you could load this one up with some pretty heavy-duty bike-packing As well as the ability to fit those monster tires, which allowed quite a degree of comfort on rough trails, the frame itself, you'll notice, has a few little design touches that should improve the compliance and comfort So, the fact that those seatstays are slightly dropped from the seattube cluster there will add in a bit of compliance Plus, you see the cross-section of the tubes is flattened to allow them to flex a little bit more Moving back to our story about how this bike came to be, the next step on from the design process is choosing a manufacturing partner

And I think it's fair to say that being associated with Walmart opens doors at high-end factories in Asia And although brands like to keep things pretty secretive, I'm told that Viathon is made alongside some pretty well-known household names As well as the actual manufacturing itself, there's also a two-step quality-control process So the first one is in-house, actually at the factory itself, where every frameset is scanned by CT scanner, and there's also a batch-testing process that's carried out by a third-party company Now another point to mention, I was also told that part of the selection process at the factory was the conditions for the workers there

And I think that's cool It's often overlooked in the bike industry But it really shouldn't be Now, next question about this bike, should always ask it of a gravel bike, where exactly does it sit on the spectrum? Is it a dirt-loving road bike? Or is it a mountain bike with drop bars? And I think when it comes to this one, the answer is it lies somewhere in the middle You can fit those big, fat tires on, to take you towards mountain-biking

But the position you can get on the bike and the nimble handling means that it also feels a little bit like a road bike And when you look at the geometry charts, you'll see that you can get a low position, if that's your bag, but equally it's not so slammed that you're not going to find you can get comfortable on it either Back to this bike that we've got here then, this, as I mentioned earlier, is a new model in the range, with SRAM's RED eTap AXS groupset So it's going to be right at the top It feels like SRAM eTap AXS doesn't need much of an introduction

But, to summarize, it's got the wireless eTap functionality, and it's also now 12-speed at the back When you look at the finishing-kit on this bike, again it suggests to me that it's been specced by someone that knows their stuff So you've got HED Vanquish carbon wheels on here We've got Zipp bar, stem, and seatpost, We've got Conti tires, and we've got fizik saddle and bartape Now, interestingly, all the bikes are actually built by another well-established cycling industry company in California, and then shipped out, leaving you to attach the seatpost, your handlebars, pop the front wheel in, as well as needing to put some pedals on

So there we go That is the Viathon G1 gravel bike Make sure you let us know in the comments section what your first impressions are And also, if you want to see me take one of these for a spin, I got to actually sample some very, very lovely Idaho gravel myself, and there's a video on that over on GCN now

Source: Youtube

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