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Walmart’s new high-end Viathon bike wants to compete with Cannondale

Did you know that Walmart recently launched a high-end bicycle manufacturer, called Viathon? We’d forgive you if you didn’t (we were surprised to find out the company did, too). But don’t think low-end here: these bikes have the functionality of high-end mountain bikes at extremely competitive prices. The Viathon R.1, G.1, and M.1 bikes can compete with the Cannondal bikes.

Viathon sells three different bikes, each aimed at a specific use case. Its R.1 bike is intended for road use, while the G.1 is for gravel. There’s even a mountain bike option, called the M.1. In every case, we found the prices of even the most expensive models to be cheaper than comparable bikes from other retailers. And if you can believe it, these prices are lower now by about 20% or so all around since their launch earlier this year, making them an even better buy.

Viathon R.1 – $1,498-$4,898

With the R.1, Viathon aimed to build a race-ready road bike that didn’t break the bank, and from what we can tell from the reviews we’ve seen, it succeeded in doing so. While the spartan graphics of the bike make it look generic, you’re not buying the bike for its flashiness at these types of price points. How it performs is the biggest concern, and in this department, the R.1 wows. It feels and rides like a high-end bike, if not a little rough around the edges. Steering response is decent (although those who prefer more reactive steering may want to look elsewhere), and the bike overall was responsive and supportive in sprint tests by reviewers.

You can purchase the frameset alone for $1,498 but the bike comes in three different builds if you want a premade bike. A version with Shimano 105 components retails for $1,998 while a version with Ultegra components sets you back $2,998.

Those looking for a top-of-the-line experience should go with the $4,898 Dura-Ace model instead.

Viathon G.1 – $1,998-$2,998

Those finding themselves off the beaten path frequently might be better served by the Viathon G.1, the manufacturer’s gravel bike. Reviewers praise the handling of the bike, finding it handles rough gravel surfaces better than some road bikes do on chip-seal pavement. You can push this bike to its limits, and it seems like it begs for more — making it an attractive choice for more aggressive riders. Its road-bike characteristics, though, might make this a good option for road bikers looking for a gravel bike that performs more like their regular ride. But the inclusion of top-end components and again the price make the G.1 attractive for a large number of riders.

Walmart has a model with Shimano 105 components for $1,998 which is the same price it’s selling the more road-centric R.1 for with the same parts. a version with an Ultegra 2x drivetrain is priced at $2,998, while the top of the line Force comes with a SRAM Force 1 x 11 Drivetrain and sells for $2,998.

Viathon M.1 – $998-$2,998

Viathon didn’t forget about mountain bikers: there’s a line of three bikes here dubbed the M.1. Again, like the R.1 and G.1, the M.1 is equally praised for its surprising performance as a top-tier bike for its price point. Getting a high-end, race-ready mountain bike for under $5,000 is pretty damn hard to do, but Viathon’s done it anyway. The M.1 handles nearly anything you can throw at it, and its handling through rough terrain instills confidence in its abilities. Shifting is buttery smooth, especially on the high-end models. But comparing the various M.1 models to similarly spec’d competitors will be your biggest impetus to buy — there’s a significant difference for sure.

You can purchase just the M.1 frame for $998 to build your own bike. There are also three pre-built models to choose from. The GX Eagle with SRAM GX Eagle Drivetrain is $1,998, while the X01 Eagle comes with the SRAM X01 Eagle Drivetrain and retails for $2,998.

For the best experience however, you’ll want to consider the XX1 Eagle drivetrain model, which sells for $4,898.

Top Bike Deals at REI

We understand if you’re skeptical of Walmart’s capabilities to build a high-end performance bike. If that’s the case, we do have a few suggestions from REI from Salsa and Cannondale. Select models there are 20% off, some as part of end of summer clearance sales.

Among the mountain bikes on sale, the well-reviewed Cannondale Habit Carbon 3 is on sale for $3,200, while the equally well-rated Cannondale Fat CAAD 1 is selling for $2,688. You may want to check out the $3,120 Salsa Beargrease Carbon GX Eagle Fat Bike, especially if you’re looking for a more agile ride. Of these, we’d recommend the Habit Carbon 3. It is perhaps one of the best mountain bikes of 2019, with one bike reviewer calling it the “trail bike of the year.”

There are also some great deals to be had on road bikes too. The Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Dura-Ace Bike gets you Dura-Ace components in a package $600 cheaper than Viathon. REI’s currently selling that bike for $4,200. The Cannondale SuperX Ultegra matches up well with the Viathon R.1 Ultegra at $3,094 and the one you want if you’re looking for a cyclocross bike. Those that don’t necessarily need a race bike might find the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc 105 a solid choice at $2,280, though.

Looking for other great end-of-summer deals on not only outdoor gear but lots of great tech? Be sure to check out our curated deals page.

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