Viathon G1 Bike: At The Finish

Viathon G1 Bike: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted with Andy T.

The Viathon G1 has been ridden a couple of months now by Andy T, and so we are ready to give the final verdict on this Walmart distributed bike. For the last update and a link to the introductions, Click Here. Now on to the final word on this carbon fiber crushed rock roller.

Detail of the Viathon G1 stem area
A Redshift Sports ShockStop Stem tamed the harsh vibrations coming from the Viathon’s beefy carbon fork.

The last time we posted on the Viathon G1 we mentioned that this bike might be the perfect candidate for the Redshift Sports ShockStop Stem. It just so happened that I have one of these stems to spare so that Andy T could check it out on the Viathon G1 to see if that might tame the harshness of the massive carbon front fork. Andy T fitted the ShockStop stem and immediately felt the benefits.

It’s a night and day difference!“, exclaimed Andy. He said that he originally felt that the rear triangle was fairly smooth, but now that the excessive vibrations have been tamed up front, the rear stiffness jumped out as something he didn’t feel was as comfortable. “Of course, you can always install a nice, compliant carbon post. There is certainly a fair amount of seat post extension to work with there.“, explained Andy T. He’s right too. A fine example might be the PRO Discover Carbon Seat Post which we reviewed, but there are others that would do the job well also. One could even go as far as to install Redshift’s own ShockStop Seat Post for the ultimate smoothness out back.

A bike laying on a gravel road

At The Finish: So, what we have here is an interesting sales model and a fine bike for those who crave the ultimate in efficiency that carbon fiber can bring to the table. As a straight-up road bike, we’d have no issues with the Viathon G1. It does all those things a really good racing bike should do. Andy T described the handling as stock as being ‘razor sharp’, so from that standpoint, riders looking for a more road racing leaning gravel bike should be satisfied with the G1.

However; on crushed rock and rough surfaces, the overly-stiff front fork can be a liability when it comes to rider comfort. The initial feel is that of being a disjointed one- the front being very stiff while the back is not so much, at least on gravel. We tested ways to dial out that feeling, like installing a ShockStop stem, and even to the point of using ridiculously low tire pressures, but as is, this bike is on the harsh side.

Viathon G1 leaning against a building

The finishing kit and drive train on the G1 option of the Viathon gravel bike is decent and should be seen as a good value. The SRAM components and Zipp cockpit pieces are quality bits that should last the rider quite some time. While you could swap to 650B wheels, and the bike can carry a front rack, there isn’t a lot of versatility built in here beyond that. We’d like to see fork mounts for extra water bottles, for instance. The tire clearances are a bit on the restrictive side as well.

The value from Viathon is good- not a spectacular deal– but decent. You do not get the benefit of having a face-to-face resource for things like minor adjustments, tune-ups, or advice, as you would in a bike shop experience, but maybe that doesn’t matter to some of you? That’s a call you’ll have to make. The point is, a Viathon purchase does not include some intangibles that are benefits of buying in a traditional model.

So, we feel this is a ‘good’ bike, but maybe that stiffness and the specifics on spec and business model are not for everyone. This segment of the gravel bike market has fierce competition for your attention, and Viathon’s G1 doesn’t strike us as being ‘outstanding’ from much of what is offered now. It’s not a bad platform though, and for the right situations, it would serve the rider spectacularly well.

At any rate, the Viathon G1 is an interesting option that we hope to see developed into something more refined in the areas of rider comfort, versatility, and geometry in the future.

Note: Viathon sent over the Rival 1 G1 bicycle for test and review at no charge to Riding Gravel. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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9 thoughts on “Viathon G1 Bike: At The Finish

  1. Same price as the Grail 7 AL right now, both have quite race-y aspects to them. Does it seem like a no-brainer to spring for Viathon for people interested in that? Or is the front-end harshness that pronounced?

    1. @alex – There are better bikes in regard to front end compliance than the Viathon. I have noted that we are not the only ones saying this, for what it is worth. I will also say again that for the extra money, a RedShift ShockStop stem cures that front end issue.

      For those who don’t want to deal with immediate upgrades and want a more compliant bike, I would advise to look elsewhere.

  2. Thanks for your site. Very glad for your fair judgement and perspective.

    Re: Viathon G1 Rival being good (but not spectacular) value — Was that determination based on list price ($2,498)? Or did you have its sale / closeout pricing in mind ($1,599)?

    Appreciate your time and work!

    1. @MDZ – Thanks for checking out Riding Gravel and for that feedback.

      We cannot predict, or really have a way to know, when, or by how much, a brand is going to discount a product. Therefore we have nothing really to go by but the suggested retail and maybe current internet pricing at the time of publishing a piece.

      1600 is still not going to mitigate the way this bike rides, and that is maybe something some folks wouldn’t be willing to compromise on at any price. Or on the other hand, that lower price may be just the ticket to smooth out the ride. Again- something we cannot make a call on.

      1. That makes sense. I did hear you and Andy mention 2300 on podcast 65. But like you say: prices and perceptions of value vary.

        Bike MSRP vs. what people actually pay is a whole ‘nother conversation.

        Thanks again!

  3. Hi all… Thanks for the reviews and updates. Did you have any issues with clearance between the spokes and rival caliper in the front? When flexing the wheels on hard pedaling, I get some rubbing which viathon attributed to spokes being out of tension, but the clearance is ridiculously minimal.

    1. @Greg B – We did not experience that issue, but as you say, the clearances are minimal, and that is not an uncommon issue with many combinations of calipers/wheels. For instance, TRP Sprye calipers are known for having a part in this issue with many other combinations due to the wider caliper designed to accommodate the dual moving pistons on that design.

      I’m sure you can find wheels that wouldn’t clear, depending upon hub design, and wheels that would be just fine. It’s a fine balance caused by the nature of disc brake calipers, front wheel spacing, hub flange spacing, and wheel design. Lots of things coming from different directions can sometimes become out of whack enough to cause a problem.

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