Viathon G1 Bike: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
The Viathon brand was unveiled at Sea Otter 2019 to a surprised audience. The brand, under the Walmart umbrella of companies, is a Direct To Consumer brand (DTC) featuring high end, well engineered frames made of carbon fiber. While there is a connection to Walmart, in corporate terms, that’s where the connection ends. These Viathon bikes are high quality, serious bicycles and the team that makes up the brand reflects this with their experience in the cycling industry.
We were asked to check out their G1 model, the gravel/all-road bike within their line. This particular test bike features Viathon’s new Rival 1 spec. All Viathon G1 gravel bikes are based upon the same frame and fork. The frame and fork are also available separately, should you want to build up your own bike.
What It Is: The G1 is a carbon fiber frame and fork designed by the Kevin Quan Studios and the namesake of this company, Mr. Quan, has done designs for Cervelo, Diamondback, and other well known cycling companies. So, we are to assume that this is a high quality carbon frame and fork with good design. That said, it is difficult to find anything out on the Viathon website about the nature of the carbon frame and fork, We do know it is a reasonably light frame with the size 54cm (tested) weighing in at 1010 grams claimed with water bottle hardware and derailleur hangar installed.
The other frame features are ones becoming ubiquitous in the ‘gravel bike’ category. Rack and fender mounts along with three bottle mounts give the owner some versatility in set up. Note that the fork does not have the water bottle mounts so common now, but it does support a front rack. Viathon also went with a threaded bottom bracket, which is preferred by most mechanics. The G1 also has internal cable routing with front derailleur compatibility. You also can run up to a 700 X 40mm tire or a 650B X 2.1″ tire safely in this frame and fork. The Mercury wheels come shod stock with the tubeless ready IRC Boken 700c X 40mm tires which we reviewed here.
As noted above, the Rival 1 level group is new to the G1 range. In fact, it isn’t even up on Viathon’s site yet. It is on the Walmart website only for the time being. This set up is very much like the Force 1 group. The Rival G1 is spec’ed with a 1×11 Rival drive train, Mercury G3 wheels, and Zipp Service Course cockpit. MSRP on the G1 with SRAM Rival 1 is $2498.00 USD. Viathon expects stock on these bikes sometime this Fall.
The Viathon G1 comes in five sizes ranging from 52cm to 60cm in 2cm increments. Our test bike is a size 54cm, which was all Vaithon had to offer at this time. Usually we ride 58cm rigs, but fortunately for us, our technical sponsor, Andy Tetmeyer of Andy’s Bike Shop, is a 54cm. So Andy will be the test pilot on this review.
First Impressions: The box the G1 comes in is designed to make it easy for the consumer to unbox and to get the bike put together. The bars are off, the front wheel is off, and you’ll need to insert the seat post/saddle assembly. Pretty standard fare. Tuning and small adjustments are walked through for you via video on Viathon’s site, in an included instruction manual, or you can take it to a bike shop and have it checked over if you are not familiar with, or are uncomfortable with, doing mechanical work. Andy said it was a pretty easy assembly.
The bike is handsome with its flat black and copper colored paint scheme. The IRC tires set up on the Mercury wheels tubeless easily. Andy did a couple of fitting swaps- the stem on this was a 110m and Andy opted for an 80mm, and the saddle wasn’t to his liking. So the stock one came off in favor of the WTB Silverado which Andy prefers. His pedals were threaded into the Rival 1 crank arms and he was off. We’ll hear more from Andy about the ride in the upcoming “Checkpoint” post.
Checking out the geometry chart in the meantime shows that Viathon went with a design leaning more toward the cyclo-cross side than the all-road side. The head angles get progressively steeper as you go from small to large. The bottom bracket drop is listed as 69mm, a tick high for all-road. Viathon claims the frame is ‘off-road tuned’, so we’ll see how this all translates once Andy has had a few good rides on it.
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.