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Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:15 am
by Raffky
Can anyone offer a first hand opinion on the Vivente Randonneur? http://www.viventebikes.com/main/page_p ... evers.html
The price and specs are great but I'm having trouble finding good online reviews or user/owner comments on the forum. I'm tossing between Surly LHT, Salsa Vaya or VR. The price and specs for the Vivente Randonneur makes it a no brainer but I reckon the LHT has it on looks. An experienced comment would help a lot. Thanks.

Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:16 am
by Max
Raffky wrote:Can anyone offer a first hand opinion on the Vivente Randonneur? http://www.viventebikes.com/main/page_p ... evers.html
The price and specs are great but I'm having trouble finding good online reviews or user/owner comments on the forum. I'm tossing between Surly LHT, Salsa Vaya or VR. The price and specs for the Vivente Randonneur makes it a no brainer but I reckon the LHT has it on looks. An experienced comment would help a lot. Thanks.


I bought one for my mum a couple weeks ago (the trekking bar model). My thoughts are that it is super value for money. It ticks all the boxes: rear rack, capable of taking a front rack, dynamo lights front and back, front disc brake, strong frame, full mud guards, three bidon mounts. $1800 all up. To get all that on an LHT would have you pushing the $3000 mark. I know looks are a subjective thing, but I have seen both bikes side by side, and I really don't think the LHT has anything on the VWR in that regard.

I took it for a shakedown ride last week and was impressed with it (first impressions here: http://maximumbiketouring.wordpress.com ... iden-ride/). The only thing that works against it is its weight. And in fairness to the VWR, I've been riding a carbon roadie for the last four years. Of COURSE it's going to feel heavier.

I would also like to point out that Vivente's after-sales support is awesome. I had a problem with the tail light (that turned out to be due to a loose connection) that Vivente helped me sort out via email. They responded to my first email within a few hours of sending it, and after a bit of back and forth, it was resolved by that evening. Some of their emails were sent out of hours, which I feel showed a commitment to helping me quickly.

I plan to take it for a longer ride this weekend, maybe load it up a bit. If you're in Brisbane, you're welcome to join me for a first-hand look at it.

Max


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Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:26 pm
by Aushiker
Cavebear2 has one as well. He rode his on our Esperance to Perth tour in 2010. I believe it went well with no issues that I can recall. Maybe drop him a PM for his thoughts.

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Andrew

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:44 pm
by RonK
Raffky wrote:Can anyone offer a first hand opinion on the Vivente Randonneur? http://www.viventebikes.com/main/page_p ... evers.html
The price and specs are great but I'm having trouble finding good online reviews or user/owner comments on the forum. I'm tossing between Surly LHT, Salsa Vaya or VR. The price and specs for the Vivente Randonneur makes it a no brainer but I reckon the LHT has it on looks. An experienced comment would help a lot. Thanks.

Sorry, but as former LHT owner I couldn't agree that the LHT has better looks. Mine was truckachino - a disgusting colour, and the paint finish quality was appalling.

When my brother wanted a bike I recommended the VWR. He bought the trekking bar model also and they are very happy together.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:05 pm
by WestcoastPete
Yep, a great bike and excellent value. My mate rode one with me down the rough road to Walker Creek in Litchfield NP and it performed very well, although he would have liked some fatter tyres. On the bitumen it was excellent.

My mate's one had the 3N30 dynohub, which is pretty average quality apparently (bit more drag than others) but I couldn't notice it on the short ride I had on it. I think the new ones have a better one.

You couldn't ask for more for the money I reckon.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:57 pm
by Raffky
Thanks for the comments so far. You can't beat a first hand user comment.
I would also like to point out that Vivente's after-sales support is awesome. I had a problem with the tail light (that turned out to be due to a loose connection) that Vivente helped me sort out via email quickly
Good to hear about the after sales support. I was also pretty impressed with their website. It is different from other bike sites and has a genuine bike user feel about it with good info about sizing, technical and touring. I still wonder how they can offer such good value for money with all the extras (maybe I'm just too suspicious about believing a good deal when I see one).
I plan to take it for a longer ride this weekend, maybe load it up a bit. If you're in Brisbane, you're welcome to join me for a first-hand look at it.
Max

A very generous offer, thanks Max. I'm in Brisbane but can't take up your offer this weekend. I will get in touch if I'm still unsure after help from the forum. I think I'll head down to the LBS for another look.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:15 pm
by Tandem
You can't go wrong with the Vivente Randonneur. I used my one for a 3 month tour in Europe last year. I can highly recommend it.

You can read all about the trip if you click the signature at the bottom.


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Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:20 am
by elStado
After hearing so many positive reviews I am pretty keen to test ride one of these out. Does anyone know of a store in the Perth region that stocks there or can get one in (and let me try before buying)?? Alternatively does anyone in Perth have one that might possibly be keen to come show it off to me?

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:40 am
by Baalzamon
Both Tandem and Cavebear2 are in Perth. Mind you depending on how my shoulder MRI results go, it could be my Thorn up for sale....

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:27 am
by elStado
Baalzamon wrote:Both Tandem and Cavebear2 are in Perth. Mind you depending on how my shoulder MRI results go, it could be my Thorn up for sale....


Thanks Baalza, I'll PM them tomorrow.

Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:38 am
by Max
Raffky wrote:A very generous offer, thanks Max. I'm in Brisbane but can't take up your offer this weekend. I will get in touch if I'm still unsure after help from the forum. I think I'll head down to the LBS for another look.


No worries. I have no life... I mean, I'm free pretty much every weekend, so let me know. If your LBS is Epic, see if you can talk to Mark. He's their resident touring nut and can give you lots of information not just about the bike, but about local cycle touring destinations and touring in general.

Max



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Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:48 am
by rdvmonasterio
Raffky wrote:Can anyone offer a first hand opinion on the Vivente Randonneur? http://www.viventebikes.com/main/page_p ... evers.html
The price and specs are great but I'm having trouble finding good online reviews or user/owner comments on the forum. I'm tossing between Surly LHT, Salsa Vaya or VR. The price and specs for the Vivente Randonneur makes it a no brainer but I reckon the LHT has it on looks. An experienced comment would help a lot. Thanks.


Well, I bought one late last year for my trip from melbourne to sydney.... it handles the bitumen like a dream..... and I took it over Mt Stanley, on a very wet day over very slushy gravel.... no problems with the Randonneur... excellent bike... I am looking at getting the new trekking bar bike as the one I bought was a small drop handle bar version and I think that I was not fitted correctly... going for the medium size.... I am sticking with the Vivente though...

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Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:17 am
by RonK
Raffky wrote: I was also pretty impressed with their website. It is different from other bike sites and has a genuine bike user feel about it with good info about sizing, technical and touring. I still wonder how they can offer such good value for money with all the extras (maybe I'm just too suspicious about believing a good deal when I see one).

The web site has only recently been completed and I agree it is well-designed and informative.

I'm sure the VWR is not absolutely perfect, but the value for money it offers is genuine. Perhaps the question you should ponder is why do the others offer so little value - overrated maybe?

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:01 pm
by Wingnut
I have to say I think Surly have some nice bikes (I do have a Troll) but I'm impressed by the Vivente bikes. They do look pretty boring and drab but they appear to be well specced for their price.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:12 pm
by Tim
I am 99% certain that this will be the bike that transports me and my new Hilleberg Soulo tent on many future adventures. Tried the tent out last weekend on a short kayak overnighter and it performed admirably. Easy and quick to pitch and plenty of room for one man. Now I'm just itching to take off on the road, and after lots of research the Vivente stands out as way and above the best value for money. As RonK says, why are the others so much more expensive? Interestingly, Vivente are an Australian bike company (designed and assembled) that used to make the Gemini brand, my first "classy" racer back in 1988, a Club 105.
My only concern is whether a 35mm width tyre will cope with dirt roads very well. Apparently the rim can take a 38mm tyre but I also wonder if this is wide enough for the sandy, though not deep sand, coastal roads in the areas I plan on touring?
Having spoken to St.Kilda Cycles they say they can swap out the Shimano hub dynamo for a Sun one but is this really necessary? Are Sun dynamoes that much better?

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:44 pm
by WestcoastPete
I'd just stick with the XT front hub. The SON is probably marginally better quality and lower drag, but I've got a bike with a SON and a bike with the Shimano 3N80 (same internals as the XT) and I can't tell the difference when riding. The bike I'm putting together at the moment is getting the 3N80, not the SON.

As far as the tyre width goes, I'd personally prefer something that could take a wider tyre, but it depends on where you're going. I rode out to Walker Creek in Litchfield NP on a mountain bike with 2" tyres with my mate on a VWR - we both got wobbly in the sandy bits, we both found it bumpy, we both made it and we both had a blast.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:13 pm
by il padrone
SON dynahubs are lower drag but it'll be hard to notice the drag on either as far as I know. The main advantage of the SON is long-term lifespan and quality - the SON will keep going for up to 100,000kms while the Shimano may only last 30,000. Also the SON has better quality connectors, simple metal spade connectors. I've heard of the Shimano plastic connector distorting with time and no longer working well.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:42 pm
by Raffky
You can't go wrong with the Vivente Randonneur. I used my one for a 3 month tour in Europe last year. I can highly recommend it.
Nice work Tandem. A great trip by the look of it and certainly makes your recommendation a valuable one. I read about the water bottle training rides in your journal. Nice idea. You can get the weight exactly as you want.

If your LBS is Epic, see if you can talk to Mark. He's their resident touring nut and can give you lots of information not just about the bike, but about local cycle touring destinations and touring in general.
Yeah, Mark is a very helpful bloke and has VWRs on the floor. He likes his Salsa Vayas too.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:46 pm
by elStado
Meh. Apparently Fleet Cycles Freo and Quantum cycles are the two official dealers of the VWT in the metro area.

Quantum don't like giving info over email and Fleet's email is down.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:53 pm
by Tim
I emailed Noel McFarlane, the owner of Vivente last night and had a reply at 10 o'clock this morning, pretty good service. I basically asked him if I could buy a Vivente through a local bloke, Warren Mead (who only builds and repairs bikes these days), rather than having to go to Melbourne. Noel had already contacted Warren prior to replying to me and the wheels are now in motion. I like the snappy service, very impressive.
Not far off joining the touring ranks, can't wait.

Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:31 pm
by Max
Awesome, Tim. :D Noel is the fellow who helped me with my lighting issue. As you've seen, very helpful!

Max


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Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:50 am
by cavebear2
Sorry folks I haven't logged on for a while.

Robert I don't work in the CBD anymore.

Raffky there is an excellent review of the VWR in 'Ride On' magazine about October's 2011 edition I think. They were pretty impressed with the package also. 84 or 85 /100 from memory.

My circa 2008 model doesn't come with the front disc brake but has SKS mudguards which are better quality than the current Bike the Planet? mudguards. My VWR also came with front rack. All in all a very good bike for touring (forget weight, about 15kgs) Carried 30kgs on it from Norseman to Hyden, including 12 litres of water from Norseman. I did change the flared Nitto handlebars though as the hoods were too close together (36cm!) for good control with a dynamo and front panniers. My VWR is a medium size.

Rides well particularly on a free fall descent down Welshpool Rd with 15kgs of weight on board. :>)

Regards
Perry

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:34 pm
by elStado
Apparently Quantum cycles have (at least they did a few days ago when I called) a medium VWR. Might try to go there tomorrow and check it out pending weather.

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:10 pm
by elStado
OK.. so I went to Quantum cycles today to have a look at the Vivente bikes. They had two in stock, both medium sizes, one with the trekking bars and the other with the drop bars + STI levers.

My thoughts were that they are very well designed and thought out touring bikes. Many features on these bikes have obviously come from solid product testing and store/customer feed back, e.g. three mounting areas for bidons, ability to mount a traditional v-brake on the front fork, stable/comfortable touring geometry, dynamo hub and front/rear lights, Schwalbe marathon tyres, strong and sturdy rim/spokes etc. The fellow at Quantum cycles mentioned that the owner of Vivente was a keen tourer himself and was always looking at ways to improve the VWR as a good value touring bike (apparently he is coming to Perth after the Taipei expo).

On the actual bikes, I found the disc brakes to not be that effective and on the drop bar version it was rubbing a bit - this is probably more of a fine tuning issue rather than the bike though. The frame was heavy alright, but it still feel extremely study and stable while riding. I had some minor issues with toe overlap, however the mudgaurds that come with the bike still had around 20mm left of adjustment in order to give a bit of extra clearance. On the topic of the mudguards they seemed sturdy enough and even had plastic mudflaps on the bottom. I doubt that I would replace them with SKS guards as they seem fine. Aesthetics wise this bike is really focussed on being a practical touring and commuting bike, so it isn't going to win any awards for style. The paint work and decals was bland but good quality, with a shiny smooth finish. Gearing range was pretty good (Sugino Alpina 600T 48/36/26T) although I would really need to full load it up and then ride up some hills to see how it would fare, I'm thinking that something lower like 44/32/22T would be nicer for steep hills on the fully loaded bike. The B&M front/rear dynamo lights were a nice touch and quite bright, even when in stand-by they are clearly visible. I didn't notice any drag at all from the Shimano dynamo hub. In regards to sizing I found the medium sized frame (490mm seat tube C-top, and 566mm top tube) to be pretty much spot for my height/in-seam ratio. Only thing I noticed was that the trekking bar model was a little too short and cramped, putting excess pressure on the palm of my hands. Apparently this can be easily corrected by putting on a longer reach stem if I chose to go the trekking bar version.

So all up I am very impressed with the VWR. I would really like go for the IGH option, but I think I might just hang tight for now and stick with the standard derailleur option. Only thing I will need to do with this bike is swap out the provided saddle and rack for my own gear I already have, get a front rack (apparently about $80 for a front rack from Vivente, or $95-130 online for something decent), and then spend a bit of time with the guys at the shop getting it fit properly and tuned/run in. For the price this is an amazing bike. I am also looking to get a price on a frame with the Ritchey Break-Away system which was featured on the previous model STI VWR but dropped in the new model as they were having too many complaints about it. Apparently the issues people were having with it were mainly due to incorrect assembly/tension of the brackets - i.e. user error, not a product fault. I am also still tossing up between the trekking bar model or the drop bar STI model as I want to use a front bar bag to hold my personal gear and maps, I have heard there are issues with it interfering with the front cables on STI bikes. Not sure if there's a way to work around this?

Re: Vivente Randonneur

Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:50 pm
by Uncle Just
Good post elStado, seems the VR is giving the LHT a run for its money. It just provides so much bang for your buck. As an aside I have a Ritchey Breakaway feature on my roadie so your comments are of interest. I would agree it is probably user error as in nearly four years of use, I've never had an issue with mine. Initially I wondered if it would hold together on descents and rough terrain but that has proved totally without foundation. It simply never moves and I check the clamp and bolts about once every three months.

PS is the issue with the VR that it still has the exposed gear cables hence interfering with a barbag unlike the hidden cables of the latest STI levers? That would correct it but you'd have the expense of going 10 speed or more easily I've seen how some instal longer cables with V brake pipes to move the cables further away and down.