Vilano Shadow Road Bike
with STI Integrated Shifters

There’s something about a black bicycle that’s always caught my imagination. I owned a black BMX growing up and I was absolutely convinced it was the coolest looking bike on the block – many of my friends agreed and it wasn’t long before they were chasing their parents to get them a black BMX as well. I may be a little older, but I still find the look of a black bicycle to be a great eye catcher, and that was one of the first things I noticed when looking at the Vilano Shadow.

This is a really sharp looking bike and not just because of its slick black design. I love the way the bike is contoured, and the shape of the handlebars add to its overall appeal as well. Depending on where you purchase this bike it’s likely to cost you somewhere in the $400 to $650 range. It’s certainly more expensive than most models you’ll find at your local department store, but it’s nowhere near as expensive as some of the top models you’ll find in a bike store which can easily cost you thousands of dollars. It’s a great choice if you’re ready to make the move from one of those department store bikes to the next level.

A Name You Can Depend On

If I was to put a number on the percentage of bikes in the beginner to mid-level range that come equipped with Shimano derailleurs I’d be surprised if it wasn’t well above 70%. This manufacturer is one of the most prolific producers of gear-changing and braking equipment on the market. The Shadow comes equipped with a Shimano STI integrated shifter that’s designed for quick reaction times as you bend into a turn.

The bike I’m currently replacing makes some strange noises when changing gears and it takes a second or two before it kicks in. I’m not too worried about the embarrassment of all that noise, but I do find it a little irritating that my bike doesn’t react the way I want it to; that’s the kind of problem that you no longer have to worry about when you upgrade to a bike like the Vilano Shadow. With its reliable Shimano shifter this bike makes changing gears seem like a simple extension of your own thumb – it feels entirely natural.

Lighter Than Your Average Ride

When it comes to the weight of the frame this bike is no slouch either. It features an aluminum Aero frame that’s not only lightweight, it’s also highly durable. In fact, this bike weighs in at less than 30 pounds. That makes it highly maneuverable and built for handling some fast-paced road riding in just about any conditions.

If you’re like me you won’t let a little bit of rain come between you and your ride and that’s why it’s great to have a bike with an aluminum frame. As you may or may not be aware, the traditional steel framed bike is much more prone to rust; another good reason an aluminum framed bike is a much better choice. If you going to be riding in inclement weather you want to make sure that you’ve not only got a lightweight ride, but also one that can resist anything that mother nature has to throw at it.

The Wheels Keep You Moving

There are so many things you need to consider when you’re looking at buying a road bike, and it may seem a little overwhelming. But one thing you don’t want to overlook are your rims – you want a pair of rims that are not only durable, but also lightweight and the right size. The Shadow has a great set of 700c rims with a 29-inch wheelbase. If you’re not sure what that means, consider that 26-inch wheels are the standard on most average bikes, so that extra 3 inches can really mean a big difference in speed as you pedal down the road. If you get the opportunity, go for a ride with a friend that has a 29-inch wheelbase on his/her bike and see if you can keep up!

Doesn’t Always Handle the Higher Gears

I’m always interested to see what complaints people have about a bike; anytime you find an issue that more than one person has had, you have to take it seriously. In the case of this Vilano model, one concern that more than one customer has raised is that the gears don’t always perform as you would expect them to. In particular, when you’re trying to shift into the higher gears you may have a tough time. That doesn’t mean that it won’t shift into those gears – it just means that you have to work at it a little bit. Personally, I’ve had bikes with their fair share of gear-changing issues and this doesn’t sound like a huge problem to me, but it is certainly one to consider.

I Do like Its Style

In spite of one or two issues this bike really does have a lot going for it. I love its slick black style and its overall appearance. How a bike looks certainly shouldn’t be the overall deciding factor in your purchase decision, but you have to like the look of a bike if you’re going to be riding it regularly, so it is an important factor. The Vilano Shadow’s also a good choice because it has a lightweight aluminum frame and a reliable Shimano STI shifter. This may not be in the class of some of the more expensive road bikes out there, but it is a big step up from your department store bike.

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