Vilano Forza 4.0 Review: Is It A Good Starter Bike

Vilano Forza 4.0
vilano bikes logo
9/10

The Vilano Forza 4.0 offers several advantages over earlier versions of the bike, and over similar bikes in the same price range. It’s a good balance between high-end parts, a reasonably lightweight frame, and entry-level pricing. 

It’s not a bike which is going to enable you to compete at the Olympics. However, for your average commuter, anyone who is looking for a good bike to start training for racing, or as a training aid for other sports, the Vilano Forza 4.0 is a good option. 

In this review, we’ll discuss some of the most important features of the Vilano Forza 4.0. We’ll talk about its key strengths and weaknesses, and what each feature really means to riders. We’ll also discuss a couple of close competitors and see in what ways they differ. 

This review is designed to be accessible to new cyclists as well as experienced riders, so we’ll start at the beginning. 

Things to Consider Before Buying A Road Bike

Before we get into the details of the Vilano Forza 4.0, it’s important to highlight the differences between a road bike and other bike types. Road bikes are the speed demons of the cycling world. They are lightweight and designed to accelerate quickly. 

However, this also means that they don’t perform well on gravel roads and other kinds of rough terrain, because they lack the grip and control to remain stable. 

Good road bikes also have finely tuned components which require a reasonable amount of upkeep if you want to keep your bike in good condition. You should expect some ongoing costs when you buy a road bike.

Lightweight is the name of the game when it comes to road bikes. The best bikes have exceptionally low weights. They’re superbly well balanced, but this also means that you’re likely to be more top-heavy when riding. This changes your riding dynamics, compared to a mountain bike or a hybrid bike. 

Road bikes are best for users who live in the city or urban area, who want to go distance riding or commuting, and who have at least a little prior experience on a bike. 

Features & Benefits

Now that you know what to expect from a road bike, let’s talk about the Vilano Forza 4.0 specifically. This bike is one of the most affordable entry-level road bikes there is, and doesn’t make any major quality and performance sacrifices. 

It’s not perfect by any means, but considering its low cost, it’s a good option for new cyclists who are on a budget. Rather than trying to tackle the bike as a whole, we’re going to take a more detailed look at the individual components of the bike. 

Frame

Frame of Vilano Forza 4.0

The frame of the Vilano Forza 4.0 is a rather plain design. It’s not meant to be particularly eye-catching, and it doesn’t have the classic lines of some other brands. However, the plain design works well, and sometimes that’s more important than the look. 

It’s made from a sturdy aluminum alloy, which gives you a relatively lightweight frame which is durable enough to resist scratches and dents. It’s not quite as lightweight or sturdy as carbon fiber, but a carbon fiber frame would increase the cost significantly. 

Overall, this is a good option if you don’t want the added cost of a carbon fiber frame, but it’s heavy enough to get in the way once you reach competition level. 

Suspension

Unlike the mountain bike version of this bike, the Vilano Forza 4.0 doesn’t have a very complex suspension system. Realistically, it doesn’t need adaptations like a telescoping fork as the other features of the bike aren’t designed for conditions where good suspension is necessary. 

That being said, it’s far from a rough-riding bike. The Forza 4.0 is smooth the first time you ride it and will remain that way as long as you take good care of it. Riders generally notice slight improvements with regular maintenance and appropriate height adjustments. 

Wheels

Wheels

The wheels on this bike are fairly standard. They are double-walled and made from a durable alloy of metals. They work well with the braking system, which we’ll discuss later. They’re reasonably durable and unlikely to bend or warp through normal use. 

The wheels are also unlikely to develop burrs or rough spots which can reduce the life of your tires. Overall, they are a good system choice. They aren’t very heavy or likely to hinder the performance of the bike and are more durable than most wheels in this price bracket. 

Gear System

Gear System

For a low-price road bike, the Vilano Forza 4.0 has an impressive gear system. It’s a 24-speed gearing bike, and can easily handle the hilliest cities, as well as long straightaways and flat terrain. 

With a brake-integrated Shimano shifter, you get a significantly higher quality of shifter than you usually see on bikes in this price range. The Shimano shifter offers smooth performance, and integration with the brakes means that you don’t need to sacrifice control when changing gears. 

Combined with Shimano Claris derailleurs, both front, and back, you have one of the best gear systems on a bike in this class. In fact, it holds up against significantly more expensive road bikes in this regard too. 

More: Vilano R2 commuter review: Is It good Beginner Bike?

Brakes

Brakes

The brakes are an alloy caliper system which is very effective with the wheel design. They offer good grip and have plenty of space to function on the wheel, so you don’t need to worry about slippage or poor performance. 

However, the brakes will need a little extra maintenance on this model of bike. 

This is because the brake pads can wear somewhat unevenly, and they’ll need to be adjusted to compensate for this. You should make sure your brakes are tuned up regularly and check your brake pads whenever you notice a performance difference in the brakes themselves.

The brakes are mounted at the front and rear, so you won’t have any of the control issues which come with a single brake system. 

Saddle

The saddle on this bike isn’t anything special. The bike comes with a men’s saddle, but we recommend upgrading to a better, more thickly-padded saddle. The existing saddle will be harder on your back than it needs to be and isn’t well suited to long-distance riding. 

Fortunately, making the change is very easy, and you can find a better saddle in the $40-50 range, if not cheaper. 

type DETAILS What it Means Who it’s Best for 
Type of Bike Road Bike The Forza 4.0 is a lightweight and highly streamlined road bike. It comes with reasonable tires, but you’ll want to replace them to get the best performance. This bike is incredibly affordable, considering its quality. This is best for commuters, cyclists who are interested in boosting their fitness but who are not particularly invested in racing, and triathlon participants.
Weight Approximately 32 lbs This is a lightweight bike, but not a super-lightweight bike. There are both heavier and lighter models out there. This is best for a casual rider who is looking for better performance than most bikes, but without a high price tag.
Gears 24 There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to the gears on this bike. It’s suited to riding up and down hills, as well as being smooth on straightaways. This is best for moderately experienced riders who are looking for the flexibility to go up and down on a variety of terrains.
Gender Men The bike tends to be a little on the tall side and comes with a men’s saddle. However, it can also function as a unisex bike with a different saddle. Works best for men, or taller women.
Frame Materials Aluminum Alloy More lightweight than steel, but not as light as carbon fiber. This option is durable and effective, but not the most high-performance choice. Works for any cyclist who is not trying to compete, or who is willing to work harder in order to overcome additional weight.
Size Ranges from 5’6”-6’6” The Vilano Forza 4.0 comes in a range of sizes and is generally suitable for anyone around 5’6”-6’6” tall. Best for taller cyclists.
Star Rating
9
This bike is a good balance of performance and price but doesn’t hold up to the standards of a premium or competitive road bike.

Social Proof

Of course, you don’t need to just take our word for it. This bike is popular with new and experienced cyclists. Take a look at these reviews to see what other users like you really think:

Social proof from biker

Alternatives

As we mentioned in the introduction, no single bike is perfect for all users. With that in mind, we’ve selected two other bikes from Vilano to review in comparison with the Forza 4.0. If the Forza 4.0 isn’t quite the right bike for you, perhaps one of these alternatives will be the right choice. 

Vilano Shadow vs Forza 4.0 

In most respects, the Vilano Shadow line and the Forza line are relatively similar. Both are road bikes, both use Shimano shifters and derailleurs, and both have aluminum alloy frames. However, the Forza 4.0 is generally better for taller riders than the Shadow 3.0. 

They also have different brake systems. The Forza 4.0 uses an alloy caliper front/rear braking system, and the Shadow 3.0 uses a mechanical dual disc braking system. The Shadow 3.0’s brakes are a little smoother than the Forza 4.0’s in most applications, as well as being more effective. They don’t quite hold up against hydraulic brakes, but they are better than a caliper-based system. 

Both require regular maintenance and tune-ups, and you should expect regular maintenance costs from both bikes. 

In terms of flair, the Vilano Shadow looks flashier and more eye-catching on the road than the Forza. 

Vilano Forza 3.0 vs 4.0 

It’s only natural to compare the Forza 4.0 to its predecessor, the 3.0. As with most bikes, the differences between the two models are relatively minor, but we still favor the Forza 4.0. 

The main advantage of the 3.0 is that it has a carbon fiber fork rather than steel. However, this adds to the price and is more expensive to replace when required than the steel version. Neither has a huge suspension system, and the weight difference between the two is relatively minor, so the Forza 4.0’s steel fork gets the job done just as well. 

The other difference is that the Forza 3.0 has a carbon frame. This lowers the weight and makes it a better bike for cyclists who want to compete in the near future. It’s not a true high-end bike, but it is a little bit closer. 

That being said, for casual users, fitness users, and those who are looking for an affordable commuter bike, the Forza 4.0 has a better balance between high-quality parts and features and is an affordable price. 

More: Best Vilano Bike Reviews: Are Vilano Bike Good To Have?

Conclusion

Overall, the Forza 4.0 is a good addition to this line. Its slightly lower price point than its predecessor, the 3.0, is a welcome change to the world of road bikes. The Forza 4.0 has proven that the price of a good road bike can be lower than we previously thought. 

That being said, it’s far from perfect, and functions best as a training bike or a beginner’s bike, rather than one which pros and competitors are likely to want to use. 

This isn’t due to the performance of the bike, but rather because of its weight. In terms of maneuverability and parts, it does well. With a few upgrades to items such as the saddle and tires, you’ll have a bike which is equivalent to one almost twice the price of this model. 

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