VYNL road frameset-feature
  • Romain Mousset

    I can’t see this frame be better than a caad10 or caad12 which are cheaper ;)
    … except for the made in USA for who’s cares on a alloy frame, no reason to buy this frame …

    • James Huang

      Why stop there? The Specialized Allez Sprint is also substantially cheaper, and more advanced in terms of the technology used.

      Like I said in the review, the argument for buying a VYNL isn’t at all logical. Everyone has their own set of priorities when choosing what they want to ride.

      • Romain Mousset

        Yes totally
        but for XCR reynolds 953 or titanium, when you can feel the difference in ride qualities I’m fine with that

        Here I’m not , but others will for shure :)

        • James Huang

          In fairness to the people at VYNL, they’re not pitching this thing as a technological masterpiece, nor are they expecting to sell a ton of frames. It *is* something a little different and unique in a sea of vanilla, though, and that’s worth a lot to some people.

          • Tony Pereira

            And we all know how boring vanilla is. ;)

            • James Huang

              Ha, I was wondering if anyone would say something along those lines :)

              • Tony Pereira

                Couldn’t resist!

        • Sean Doyle

          If you can feel the ride difference between XCR and 953 tehn NASA wants to use you as their calibrating benchmark.

          • Romain Mousset

            That’s not mat I meant sorry , but xcr or reynolds 953 VS aluminium

      • Gavin Adkins

        The argument for buying a VYNL is totally logical. This is great value for money. A hot pink and orange VYNL would be waaaaaaaaay cooler to own and ride than a Cannondale or a Specialized. You would get more street cred riding one of these than a Colnago C60. You buy one of these and when you are at the brew stop strangers are going to come up, compliment your bike and ask you about it so much it will get annoying. No one cares about a sensible Specialized.

        • david__g

          This is next level sarcasm. I congratulate you on its execution.

        • bigdo

          Aside from the Colnago shade, this was troll level 5 billion… x^D

        • velocite

          Assuming that you are NOT being sarcastic this hits the nail on the head.

      • Eugene Chan

        Ran into one of the co-founders of VYNL a month or so back at Robert’s Market in Woodside, CA. At the time I didn’t recognize the name on the frame, only that it was electric pink, sporting a simple large decal on the downtube and also blue sidewalled tires. Now I wish I’d asked about it.

        I guess it’s hard for some to understand the desire for a bit of individuality. To a lesser extent, that’s why I chose my Ritchey Swiss Cross over frames from Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc. It’s fun to own something with local roots and I’ll definitely consider a VYNL frame in the future.

    • Sean Doyle

      I think you miss the point of the low volume market and the reason why it exists. One is because it sticks the middle finger up at the big box companies and allows someone to have something a little bit different at an affordable price. Not everyone can afford to run a new 700 gram frame every year and it’s questionable whether a frame of that weight has any merits of being made anyway. They will never be as cheap as say an Allez because of pure scales of economies. Frank can only weld so many in a day.

  • Gustavo Cinci

    Hi James, well done on the review. Now pls try to get your hands on a Gaulzetti Corsa, an aluminum bike as well. It’ll blow your mind and will make you reconsider most of what you know about Al bicis.

    • James Huang

      Yep, well familiar with Craig’s work for sure! Is he still building the frames himself? I was under the impression (perhaps incorrectly) that he essentially hung up the torch a couple of years ago. If not, I’ll definitely add that to the list.

      • Gustavo Cinci

        I think that for the new revamped models he’s having them built by the Serotta folks. These bikes are no joke and are well worth your time. People would seriously rethink carbon if they could swing a leg over a Corsa. And I don’t even work for Craig.

        • James Huang

          That’s quite the endorsement! That said, it’s a sentiment I’ve heard from other people who have ridden Gaulzettis as well. I’ll see what we can do about bringing one in.

  • Jonathan Neve

    Having spent the summer on their NAHBS frame, painted by Rudi from Black Magic, I feel some very strong emotions about this bike, mostly on the adoration/love spectrum. I’ve ridden multiple Tarmac and Allez Smartweld frames, and most recently a CAAD12 frame, and while the differences are subtle and hardly distinguishable, there was a definite “something” about the VYNL that I felt on every ride. It’s very stiff and capable, but plenty comfortable. I raced weekly criteriums on it, as well as longer road races, gravel rides, multiple weekend centuries…with a decent fit by a Retul technician that I trust, I never felt the discomfort normally associated with aluminum bikes.

    For reference, I weigh 155 lbs and can hit 1500w in a sprint and didn’t ever feel like there wasn’t enough stiffness to make something happen in a race. Conversely, I took the VYNL on a few rambling, slow gravel rides with friends that ran long and took all day, and was always totally comfortable. I think that was the magic of the bike for me. My prior experience with the Tarmac and Allez were that they were a blast to ride fast and race on, but riding them slow, much less riding them back and forth to work, was not at all a pleasant experience.

    That’s my two cents. After it was time to send the NAHBS VYNL back to Sean and the crew, I had to spring for my own…it should be here soon, and I couldn’t be more excited.

  • david__g

    Can we just talk about how VYNL is a terrible name for a bike company? Actually for anything. It’s also the name of a pretty sketchy record club for millennial hipsters and at least one retro-chic low quality restaurant in every major city (perhaps I exaggerate a little)

  • theblackgecko

    I hate vowel dropping company names. I hereby christen this company to be pronounced as “vaynal”, rhymes with anal.

  • Robert Merkel

    I see our reviewer is going for extra troll points by bringing up the alleged superior sound of vinyl records compared to digital…

    For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t go near a buzzy frame – vibrations through the hands and wrists get very painful on a long ride. But to each their own!

    • James Huang

      For the record (no pun intended), I’m not saying that vinyl is *better* than digital. There’s no denying they sound different, though. Which of the two you prefer is a matter of choice, just as it is here.

      • Robert Merkel

        Cheers James.

        Again for the record, I think it’s a nice review that makes the character of the bike clear. I’m sure there are people out there that don’t have sensitive wrists who will love its ride and handling – not to mention the opportunity to paint their bike up to their tastes for a small extra cost.

    • I think that’s an interesting note: I think fit has a lot to do with how your touch points feel too, regardless of frame material. I’ve encountered “buzzy” hands/wrists on steel and titanium, and it was fixed/sorted with better fit in the front cockpit.

      Not to say that overall aluminum is comfortable comparatively, but geometry too and style of bike, in addition to component choices (using carbon wheels, touch points, suppler/lower pressure tires) can negate or cancel out some of those characteristics. This is probably my favorite thing about bicycles — fine tuning the feel.

      • Robert Merkel

        Agree totally.

        I once hired a Specialized aluminium bike with 25mm tyres and the Zertz inserts in the forks and seat post. I dunno whether the inserts actually had anything to do with it, but it’s probably still the smoothest bike I’ve ever ridden.

  • Laurens

    Back to the future?

    • Wily_Quixote

      I don’t know what hurts most: the colours or the prospect of riding a saddle on that angle.

      Although i do appreciate a good non-slammed quill stem, wheel reflectors and low saddle combo, brings out the rage in 2016 assosoles. If only the bars were flipped.

      • James Huang

        You’re bothered by a level saddle? If it seems otherwise to you, I assure you it’s just a funky camera perspective.

        • Wily_Quixote

          Not your photo, james, – the one that Laurens posted…. riding that 1990s Giant would be like being repeatedly struck on the perineum by a ball pein hammer.

          • James Huang

            Ah, ha ha, totally misread the comment string! No, that wouldn’t be my preference, either.

  • kamoteQ

    Still nice to see a frame that has a round seat tube all the way to the bottom bracket without a front derailleur braze on. Choice of cranksets to use can range from a big 53 to a big 44 triple.

  • JG

    What are you impressions with Chorus? Its price point seems to be halfway between Ultegra/Force and Dura Ace/Red (maybe closer to the DA/Red side of the spectrum). Would you say its performance and durability line up with its price when compared to Shimano and SRAM? Thanks in advance.

    • James Huang

      I can’t say that I’ve used this groupset long enough to judge its durability, but prior experience with other Campagnolo groupsets has been very positive in that respect.

      Performance-wise, I find it essentially identical to Record or Super Record in terms of shifting, braking, and ergonomics. The only difference is weight and, perhaps, bearing smoothness.

      • JG

        Thank you very much. And of course one can’t quantify Chorus’ class.

    • Chorus is arguably Campagnolo’s best value groupset since it offers much of the same performance as the higher priced groupsets in Campag’s catalogue at a much lower price. I’ve compared its performance previously https://cyclingtips.com/2016/01/jaegher-interceptor-frameset-review/, and my experience mirrors that of James. Durability is as it should be for a high end groupset.

      Putting it up against other brands, it becomes a matter of preference for each brand’s mechanisms (ie shifting and braking) and aesthetics. Each has its own set of idiosyncrasies too, which can make for quite a brouhaha over post-ride coffee, but they all work well and make for durable products, so you really can’t go wrong.

      • James Huang

        Agreed. Ultimately, the decision often comes down to which system feels the best in your hands, and which shifting style you prefer.

  • Sascha

    I’m sorry but these are just so much cooler than the generic GIANT’s, CAAD’s and Allez’s…

    • Wily_Quixote

      Cooler in the 1980s fluoro euro-trash sense you mean.

      If you like shouting at people and sporting a curly mullet this is indeed the bike for you.

      • Sascha

        No it’s not just the colour but the straight tubing, large beaded welds and it’s made by FTW, not in a mass produced factory in Asia…

        • Wily_Quixote

          There is no way a vnyl frame can top what cannondale were doing in the mid 2000s.

          Made in the usa with curvaceous alu tubing, smooth double pass welds and non-shouty colours.

          As a bonus the dale is comfortable.

          if you are going to go retro, and custom, FFS do it right. Better off fleabaying a 2005 CAAD than buying this ill-executed trophy bike.

          i don’t quite know what you are inferring by ‘mass produced factory in Asia’. A bike is well crafted, or its not – the ancestry of the welder has nothing to do with it.

          if you want something unique AND state of the art buy a caad 12 frame, spraypaint it pink orange and purple and get some custom stickers.

          • Sascha

            A CAAD really? Never mentioned retro and why would you want a CAAD anyway? I rode a 2.8 and a CAAD years ago and would much prefer a Vynl or a Klein to those…

            You don’t get it…sometimes it does count where your bike comes from and who’s hands it has moved through…

            A repainted CAAD 12…mew

            • Wily_Quixote

              ‘You don’t get it…sometimes it does count where your bike comes from and who’s hands it has moved through…’

              So you probably wouldn’t want the fizik saddle or campagnolo groupset then. Both coming from ‘mass produced factories’ and the fizik coming from asia.

              I suppose you could get your own groupset forged by artisanal blacksmiths in milwaukee.

  • Adam Schwarcz

    I have an aluminum rock lobster that is very similar to these bikes. 44mm head tube, threaded bb, external cables, 27.2 seatpost, clearance for 28s, and a styling that falls between classic and modern… There was nothing on the market that matched what I wanted, every bike by larger manufacturers seems to have a gimmick or a catch to it, and did not tug at the heart strings. Im just not a cannondale/s’ed/giant/trek kind of guy. The 7 month wait for my frame was a long summer on a CX bike, but I’ve been very happy with the bike and have no regrets! Had I known about VNYL and been in a bigger rush it would’ve been on my short list for sure. Ive only seen two in person so far, but the paint work is killer every time!

    • Adam Schwarcz

      Also, now that FTW is involved it’s basically a west coast reincarnation of Spooky which is kind of awesome. I always loved their bikes.

  • velocite

    My 1981 Apollo IV routs the gear cables over the top of the bottom bracket. Better than having them in the wet and dirt?

    • Wily_Quixote

      you have a 1981 apollo? is there a support group for that?

      Jokes aside, I thought that I was the only one on this site with a bike older than 2010 that wasn’t an officially retro merckx or gios.

      • velocite

        It’s not retro to me: I bought it new!

  • Wily_Quixote

    There is this thing in the world. It is called class. You know it when you see it or, more precisely, you know it when you don’t.

    A 40 year old hubbard in matching kit on a spesh MAMIL-chariot doesn’t have it, that is for sure.

    But what to make of a bike that is so strident in its need to be different that it perversely uses an old technology to build a custom frame when excellent, cheaper stock frames already exist, that decides on jarring colours that would nauseate a Lewis Carrol character, that blithely sports chunky single pass welds and an 1970s glam rock aesthetic? if you are sporting a curly mullet, insipid porn star moustache, fluoro bike shorts and 1990 rudy project glasses: step right up.

    It is like the builder has decided to make frames that no-one would want in an ironic offhand strategy of making people want them. Well, it’s clearly worked.

    me – i’m just puzzled at the atonal decade-blending, genre-bending, chromatic-juxtaposing narcissist chariot that i behold.

    • Sean Doyle

      You talk if what you are berating is a bad thing. That is the whole point of the bike. People don’t always need or want what the big box bike manufacturers are offering. Is it really going to destroy your riding experience if someone else is riding the bike of your choice. Should we all be riding around on the same bike as yours to validate your choice of ride?

      • Wily_Quixote

        I think that you’re overeacting. I think it is an ugly bike with retrograde technology that costs too much. That’s all. It was an opinion – i don’t really care that people make it or buy it.

        ‘Should we all be riding around on the same bike as yours to validate your choice of ride?’ – of course not. But that doesn’t make the vynl any less narcissistic and ugly.

  • Daniel Tan

    Instead of comparing to the large manufacturers, it might be a better idea to compare this frame to the Bowman Palace – small companies, small volume, high end aluminium frame. Except the Bowman is considerably cheaper…

  • bigdo

    I like alu frames, my commuter is an alu Speshy Allez from 01′, but the main reason I like it is due to the fact that it feels a lot like carbon in many spots… lol.. this frame looks cool, but the fact that the ride is bumpy… ehh, makes it an easy pass for me…America’s infrastructure is crumbling, and where I live specifically, the roads are awful.. I never really want to go back to unforgiving alu frames or even shoddy carbon frames that don’t dampen those sketchy ass roads…that all said, that is one beautiful bike… it would tug at your heart strings simply on aesthetics alone. I suppose if you have an iron ass and could care less about possibly breeding one day, than whatever, grab it.

  • Mark Fletcher

    Hmmmm, aluminium.
    Had an Alan frame back in the 80s (OK, not a brilliant buy).
    Then a Cannonade SR1000 in the mid 90s (still hanging on the wall under the house).
    Got a Cervelo Soloist in 2007, which is still my main ride. Love that bike.
    The VYNL is a little loud for me.

  • “Recent advances in metallurgy and processing has made modern aluminum more reliable than ever..” I’d be really interested in reading tech article giving more info behind that statement. Anyone got more info?

    • James Huang

      Cracks in high-performance aluminum tubing often originate in tiny microstructural imperfections: an unusually large grain here, an impurity there, etc. Newer alloys have fewer of those imperfections, and often finer grain structure in general, which makes cracks less likely to initiate.

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