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