If you are getting on the bike for the first time, or returning to cycling after some time away you may be tempted to go in at the entry level for a bike. About the cheapest road bike around at the moment is the Vitesse Sprint 21 speed road bike available from Amazon. At £160 it’s tempting to pitch in if you are going to have to leave it padlocked in a public space or you don’t want to commit too much cash too early.
Read the user reviews on Amazon & it looks like a viable bargain, you can even get over the slightly quirky Revoshift gear shifters given that the whole unit comes in so cheaply.
Open the box and what strikes you first is the weight, the alloy frame with its oversize tubing is pretty substantial and with 28mm tyres they start to look a little more like touring wheels. As with most part built bikes it’s a fairly easy job to construct, though you’ll quickly notice where some of the savings have been made. No quick release skewers available so you will need to sort your wheels the old fashioned way.
The metal cage pedals are something you can live without, we tried some VP toeclips avoiding the need for dedicated shoes which performed well enough.
Another thing to be aware of is that this bike comes with Schrader valves (car tyre type) so you will need to have a pump appropriate for the task.
As far as the ride is concerned, its comfortable enough, the thicker tyres (running at 85psi max) will afford you a slightly softer ride than a higher end road option. The gear shifting at the centre of the bars is a little odd, but after you have covered a few miles it is easy enough to get used to and the gear change is reasonably accurate as you would expect from anything bearing the Shimano name. 21 speeds also provides quite a nice range, making most hills doable on the way up & quite fast on the way down.
The weight of the bike and friction from the wider tyres prevents this from being a particularly fast bike, if you are riding with others on more accomplished road machines you will certainly have to work a little harder to keep pace.
So it starts to sound like an option if the budget is tight or you want a machine that you are not overly concerned about leaving out in the open. However, we did experience a significant problem with the bike when we got to about the 300 mile marker – the spokes around the entire rear wheel went completely slack and it became like trying to ride a bike on a bouncy castle. It seems that the machining on the spokes or the materials used is just not up to the job of covering decent mileage.