Viathon is the latest US company to offer high-value, high-end carbon bikes at reasonable prices based on a consumer-direct sales model. But what sets them apart isn’t really their three new road, gravel & mountain frames, but the fact that the brand is owned by mega-retailer Walmart.

Are these carbon Walmart road & mountain bikes?

It’s not a huge surprise to see Walmart with their own line of bikes, they already sell tons of budget bikes through their retail network & online. But Viathon is something completely different, a standalone brand leveraging the buying power, sourcing & distribution expertise of the retail giant to create high-end bikes for serious cyclists. You won’t find carbon Viathon bikes in Walmart stores or even on Walmart.com anytime soon, as they get their own independent e-commerce site and separate design, development & bike builds befitting the premium cycling market.

Viathon G.1 carbon gravel bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc brake all-road adventure gravel bikepacking bike frameset
c. Viathon

Walmart recruited longtime cycling industry veterans to redevelop their position in the bike market with a premium lineup to complement the entry-level bikes they sell in stores. The newly created small Viathon team was then tasked with developing a simple performance range that could appeal to a wide range of cyclists. So Viathon designed & engineered three bikes – the R.1, G.1 & M.1 – each new carbon frames unique to the brand (designs owned by Viathon, ie. not open molds.) Each then share much of the same tech that transitions from a modern road bike to a light trail hardtail.

Viathon R.1 carbon road bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc-brake road bike frameset

All of the self-style high-performance carbon frames sell for the same $2000 pricetag (more than any complete bike Walmart.com offers), claiming to be at the same time rugged, durable, and utilitarian.

Viathon R.1 carbon road bike

On the road the R.1 is pretty much what we come to expect from a typical modern disc brake road bike. It gets shaping somewhat influenced by aerodynamics with an integrated fork crown, tapered carbon steerer, oversized downtube, pressfit BB30 bottom bracket & massively tall chainstays, plus thinned & dropped seatstays for more comfort flex at the saddle.

Viathon R.1 carbon road bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc-brake road bike frameset

The R.1 features modular, internal cable routing that can work with mechanical or electronic drivetrains, includes 2-position cage bosses for optimal aero bottle setup on the downtube, and offers removable front derailleur braze-on.

Viathon R.1 carbon road bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc-brake road bike frameset

The road bike is built around a max 28mm road tire, with flat mount discs and 12mm thru-axles.

Viathon R.1 carbon road bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc-brake road bike frameset geometry

Viathon calls the full carbon frame optimized for light weight & efficient pedaling, claiming a frame weight of 870g a size 54 with all hardware. The R.1 is available in five stock frame sizes (52-59cm), and three complete bike build in addition to the $2000 frame & fork.

Viathon R.1 carbon road bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc-brake road bike frameset

A 105 build starts at just a few hundred dollars more at $2300, with the R.1 Ultegra climbing to $3575, and R.1 Dura-Ace at $5850.

Viathon G.1 carbon gravel road bike

While the overall flexing dropped seatstay profile of the carbon all-road G.1 gravel bike looks similar to the R.1, this bike looks more likely to live up to Viathon’s claims of ruggedness & versatility. Again sharing a carbon frame & full carbon fork, the G.1 adds in many more braze-ons and the possibilities of more wheel, tire & drivetrain options.

Viathon G.1 carbon gravel bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc brake all-road adventure gravel bikepacking bike frameset

Much of the key to that is an asymmetric chainstay design that maximizes both tire & chainring clearance. The G.1 is designed to fit up to 700x51mm or 650×2.1″ tires, while still also clearing a 46T 1x setup or a road compact 50/34 double.

Viathon G.1 carbon gravel bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc brake all-road adventure gravel bikepacking bike frameset

Like the road bike, the gravel G.1 features carbon dropouts with a replaceable derailleur hanger, an oversized BB cluster, a stainless chainsuck plate, and modular internal cable routing.

But unlike the road bike which is aimed at shedding grams, the gravel bike seeks more versatility sticking with a standard & serviceable threaded BB. Plus, the G.1 gets mounting points for front & rear racks and fenders, two battle cages in the main triangle, and a third under the downtube.

Viathon G.1 carbon gravel bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc brake all-road adventure gravel bikepacking bike frameset

The G.1 still claims a light 1010g frame weight for the 54cm with hardware, and is also offered in five stock frame sizes (52-60cm).

Viathon G.1 carbon gravel bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc brake all-road adventure gravel bikepacking bike frameset

The do-it-all all-road, gravel G.1 also gets a budget $2300 road double 105 build, with a $3300 G.1 Ultegra double version also available. At the top for just a couple hundred bucks more, the G.1 Force switches it up to a lighter SRAM Force 1x drivetrain for $3550.

Viathon M.1 carbon XC/trail mountain bike hardtail

Lastly, in the new Viathon lineup is the carbon 29er M.1 mountain bike hardtail. It promises almost XC race level weight at a claimed 1035g (size M w/ hardware), but Viathon developed it as more of an all-rounder trail hardtail.

Viathon M.1 carbon mountain bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon XC trail mountain bike hardtail frame

Designed with modern long and slack trail geometry, the M.1 geometry is tailored for a 120mm travel fork, paired to wider light trail tires. The carbon hardtail gets a bit of an oversized bottom bracket, again with a standard threaded BB, and slightly asymmetric chainstays to make way for up to 29×2.4″ tires.

Viathon M.1 carbon mountain bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon XC trail mountain bike hardtail frame

The 1x only M.1 also features modular internal cable routing that can work with mechanical or electronic drivetrains, as well as with a stealth routed dropper seatpost. The trail hardtail gets three bottle cage mounts with one at a rubberized rock guard under the downtube, plus molded rubber chainstay protection.

Out back 12mm Boost spacing and post mount brakes keeps wheels in check, while flattened seatstays offer enough vertical flex for comfort on rough trails.

Viathon M.1 carbon mountain bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon XC trail mountain bike hardtail frame geometry

The carbon M.1 29er trail hardtail comes in three frames sizes (S-L) and sells for $2000 for the frame only, including seat clamp for a 30.9mm post but possibly not the drop in integrated headset.

Viathon M.1 carbon mountain bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon XC trail mountain bike hardtail frame

Complete mountain bike builds all feature SRAM Eagle 1×12 drivetrains, starting at $2400 for a M.1 GX Eagle build. Next up the M.1 XO1 Eagle for $3500, or the top-spec M.1 XX1 Eagle for and even $6000.

Viathon bikes availability

Viathon G.1 carbon gravel bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc brake all-road adventure gravel bikepacking bike frameset

Buying them online with free US shipping, cyclists get a generous 60-day return policy that does let you ride the bike for a while and ship it back for a refund if you aren’t satisfied. Complete bikes are said to be built up completely & adjusted by qualified mechanics, and then only minimally disassembled for shipping out of Carlsbad, CA (for easy home mechanic reassembly.)

Viathon G.1 carbon gravel bike affordable, performance Walmart premium carbon disc brake all-road adventure gravel bikepacking bike frameset
courtesy Viathon

The three new carbon Viathon frames come with a 2-year warranty, and both framesets & complete bikes are available exclusively through the Viathon e-commerce website. As for more models in the pipeline… Viathon tells us that “There are no plans for any additional models or full-suspension frames right now.”

ViathonBicycles.com

24 COMMENTS

  1. The bikes look nice. Given the overall impact of Walmart on american society, and their treatment of their workers… hard pass. Hardest pass imaginable.

    • Completely agree. They (Walmart) obviously are clueless as to how much of an impact brand has, especially when it comes to road bikes. Doesn’t matter if I had the Dura-Ace equipped version, I’d honestly be embarrassed to ride one of these.

      The industry veterans they hired did a nice job but this is like slapping a Chevrolet badge on a Porsche. Immediately devalued it by 50%.

      • Of course the funniest part is the whole purpose of their direct marketing approach is to allow would be purchasers to avoid the exact type of stigma and judgement exemplified by your comment.

    • Well not really. You don’t buy one of the most premium cycling clothing brands just to launch a cheap line of so so bikes. Also, Walmart didn’t buy Rapha, the grandsons did on their own. While I know for many it’s hard to see it otherwise, these are two very much unrelated brands with different owners.

  2. Or…. You can buy a Canyon CF SLX 9.0 with a similar DA9100 build and better DT Swiss carbon wheels for $850 less and it too will ship from Carlsbad. Wonder which would have a better resale….

  3. The cheap bikes sell to people that aren’t really cyclists.
    Cyclists, or we are very much snobs when it comes to kit and bikes, there is no way on earth I would ride a wall mart bike , id rather walk. I cringe to think how many of these frames will be going direct to landfill.

    • Why wouldn’t people who buy these not be cyclists? You’re better than them because you buy a bike thinking about its resale value or how better perceived the name on the downtube is?

      There is no doubting that Wally World is a blight on society. But what if these bikes are fine, or even good? I don’t get what is so offensive about generic bikes.

  4. Walmart should start by doing the world a favor and selling decent commuter bikes optimized for communting instead of $100 piece-of-crap-mountain-bikes-for-the-road.

    • Why? I do not get it. If the fine folks at Walmart know one thing for certain it is the cash value of every sq/ft of retail sales space. They dont care if you buy a turd if the sq/ft has an ROI attached. To that. you simply cant necessarily create a demand for a reasonable or practical item…if you could, they would not sell smokes and booze….

      The fact is I know MANY folks who have purchased Fuji/Nashbar/Scattante and many other bikes just for the groupset to go onto another frame. To that, as much of a -not cheap- person I am, no way I pay $3.00 more for the same exact Jiff Extra Crunchy at the other (chain) grocery store as opposed to WalMart.

      If the only thing this does is create more cyclist, we all win. Price comparisons to the LBS, they dont need to worry about Walmart being as the Internet already killed off most of their profits.

  5. Comparing these to similar bikes, these are as good as most anything else. From there, belief in a brand may decide what you buy.
    From what I read in numerous articles, the Walmart heirs behind these bikes have donated so much towards cycling advocacy. If you posters are so passionate about morality within cycling, these bikes would be close to the top of the list of what to buy.
    Just Google, “walmart heirs trails”, and read.
    People are acting like Specialized, Treks, etc, are made by people in the best conditions.

    • I think the problem (for me at least) is that Walmart is a deeply destructive corporation. They intentionally minimize their obligations to workers (e.g., scheduling few enough hours to exclude many from benefits) and then leave local communities to pick up the tab through expenditures on the social safety net.
      Walmart is a textbook example of how a corporation can deliver low prices (i.e., what you pay at the register) at an extremely high cost (i.e., huge negative externalities).
      My sense is that Bentonville, AR has become a nice place to ride bikes in large part due to the efforts of the Walton family. That’s nice and all, but for me it doesn’t outweigh Walmart’s immoral, rapacious business practices. The Waltons have accrued vast wealth at the expense of society. I wish them nothing but the worst, and would never consider becoming a customer of any of their ventures.

      • Well, millions of people choose to shop and work there. And without those jobs, they may not be able to feed their families. And without being able to stretch those dollars, they may not be able to feed their families. It’s easy to judge, but…

        • The whole point is that _with those jobs_ they are not able to feed their families, and that neither consumers nor employees have a meaningful choice about whether to work or shop there. Walmart’s anti-competitive practices destroy decent jobs and suck money out of communities.
          All of which to say, it’s not brand snobbery that makes me reject this venture, it’s the fact that Walmart is a fundamentally parasitic enterprise.

  6. On the mountain bike side, I’d much rather go with an Ibis DV9 frame for half the price, better geometry and full 2.6″ tire width capability.

  7. I wonder if this will turn out like any of Walmart’s other adventures into ‘enthusaist’ markets, the PCs and laptops they released last year looked excellent on paper, then were cartoonishly bad once the review units started arriving in people’s hands. I can easily see high end bikes suffering a similar fate.

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.