Owner review: 2012 Vivente World Randonneur touring bike (drop bars with STI levers version)





37 thoughts on “Owner review: 2012 Vivente World Randonneur touring bike (drop bars with STI levers version)

  1. Hi Karl,
    Great review. I notice you use the curly bars, did you consider the treking bars? It would also be nie have your thoughts on the ride of the bike in terms of unladen weight. I am guessing it is a very steady, comfortable bike to ride.

    • Hi Steve,
      I did consider the trekking bars however in the end I decided that I wanted the traditional drop bars so I could be more aerodynamic for when I am riding into a head wind (it happens most afternoons on my commute). I spoke a bit about my bar choice in my review; see the last paragraph of the ‘background’ section.

      In regards to the bike’s ride quality it is actually quite zippy and fun to ride while unladen. The steel frame and forks, plus wider 700×35 tyres are very forgiving on various surfaces and I have no issues taking it through grass, loose gravel etc. It is very relaxed and comfortable to ride. The VWR really comes into it’s real form when loaded up as the extra weight down low on the pannier rack makes the bike very stable and once you get your momentum up it’s easy to just keep cranking away. I haven’t bombed down any hills yet with it fully loaded so that is the next test to see how it performs. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment and taking the time to read my review.

      Happy cycling!


  2. Hi Carl

    Great review. I’m looking at buying VWR for a three month cycle tour around France latter this year. All of my research up to this leads my to agree with you opinion the the VWR is a very good option for a touring bike. I going to take one for a roe this weekend.

    I’m interested in how you are planning to get your VWR over to Europe? Are you looking a taking it with you on the plane and forking out for the excess baggage allowance? Or using some kind of airfreight? Or another option?



    • Hi Josh,

      I just wrote a in-depth response on the subject as it is quite complicated and will benefit others (I also thoroughly enjoy rambling on). 😀

      The link is here (or just go to the home page of this site).

      Thanks for checking out my blog, share it if you like it!

      Happy cycling!


  3. Pingback: Taking your touring bike overseas: My experience with excess baggage restrictions | velophileaustralia

  4. Pingback: Welcome to the VelophileAustralia blog! | velophileaustralia

  5. A great review and great to see the Vivente World Randonneur getting a write-up. We need more reviews on good touring bikes. I hope you get lots of fantastic mileage on the bike.

    • Hi aushiker, thanks for the comment. I agree, as the VWR is destined mainly for the Australian market there isn’t much on it out on the internet in terms of discussions and user reviews. Hopefully I can hep to fill this niche and assist other people who are looking to buy a good quality off-the-shelf touring bicycle in Australia with my review and thoughts. Right now I am working on my fitness and getting a comfortable bike fit, I plan to do around 1,900km on the VWR in Europe later this year, so I need to get cracking!

      Happy cycling!

  6. Great review, are you still happy with the VWR, I find its very good value. Just finished a week tour from Orange to Wollongong on my Trek FX and was very uncomfortable. The FX really struggled with the extra load and slowed up alot. I eventually want to complete the Perth To Wollongong ride and buying a decent tourer is the 1st step. The VWR or the Lng Haul Trucker ? this is the question ??? 🙂

    • Hi Peter, yes overall I am very happy with the VWR. There’s been a few small niggles, such as the seat post slipping down (fixed by thoroughly cleaning off the grease in the seat tube) and the Schrader valves being a general PITA to pump up with my Serfas FP-200 floor pump compared to presta valves. But these are only small issues. I think that generally the VWR is a better choice than the Surly LHT, it’s just as full-featured and comes in a better value package once you consider all the goodies such as dynamo hub, German made dynamo lights, front disc brake etc. Plus you are buying a bike that is owned by an Australian company, designed by an Australian tourer (who you can email if you have any issues/questions) and made in out region (Taiwan) so there’s reduced carbon kilometres on it compared to the Surly. Check out the new Surly Disc Trucker if you can take it for a test ride to compare it to the VWR, I think you will still end up the with the VWR in the end! 😉

      Be aware though that, like the Surly LHT and other steel framed tourers, the VWR is a bit of a tank. It’s made to handle heavy loads and rough roads. However there’s also few people who prefer to have a lighter alloy road bike and only the essential gear so they can ride faster, further and put less stress on the bike (due to the reduced weight). It’s worth considering. I personally prefer to have a heavy duty bike that can handle more of a load though.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, I’d be happy to help out.

      Happy cycling!


  7. Thanks for the review.

    I’m trying real hard not to succumb to upgraditis. However the VWR ticks all the boxes and the price is extremely fair, especially seeing as by all measures it’s a bike that’ll last a lifetime.

    • Definitely. It’s a very versatile and capable bike. You could easily modify it to your liking as I have been doing, but it comes close to perfect off the shelf to suit a variety of purposes. For loaded touring, light touring/randonneuring and all-season commuting it’s one of the best options on the market. I’d like to eventually put a 14-speed In-Gear-Hub on it with either a protected chain or a belt drive for all season durability and simplicity, although the latter option would require the frame to be cut and have couplings installed which adds to the complication and cost. I’ll wait for the current components to wear out first though before making this significant upgrade.

      Glad to hear this review was useful. I’ll be updating it soon with my thoughts and experiences after a couple of months use. I have had some issues with fitting my large 7L Ortlieb bar bag due to the STI cables getting in the way and I have also had issues fitting my Tubus Nova lowrider front rack on due to the disc brake mech getting in the way. There’s work-arounds and alternatives though, so it’s not the end of the world. Just something to be aware of.

      Happy cycling!

  8. Pingback: How to keep your electronic devices charged while on tour: Busch & Müller E-WERK overview | velophileaustralia

  9. Hi Karl

    Thanks very much for your in depth review. I come from an adventure motorcycling background, but have just committed to a two month tour bicycling through India and Nepal. So I’m now trying to get my head around bicycle touring and work out which bike to get! Like you I live in Perth and are weighing up a few different bike choices – specifically whether to go for the World Randomeur trekking option, or go for more of a mountain bike setup, for example the Surly Karate Monkey (given it is not always likely to be sealed in the Himalayas..).

    I know the stock tyres on the World Randomeur are 700 x 35C. Do you know if the World Randomeur can take 700 x 38C or 700 x 40C tyres? I think there may be an issue with the mud guard clearance.

    Thanks for your help and for such a thorough review!



    • Hi Matt

      Your upcoming trip sounds exciting! Makes my trip around Germany and France sound positively tame. 🙂

      I recall an article on Crazy Guy on a Bike where a guy cycled from Korea to India, via Tibet, on his fairly stock Surly Long Haul Trucker. He didn’t have any major issues. Steel frames and wider tyres are pretty good even on bumpy roads. I would however consider something from Salsa bicycles as well, might be difficult and expensive though. The Salsa Fargo 2 is a pretty awesome off-road touring bike.

      In regards to the tyre width, you should be ok to fit 700x38c tyres on the stock rims that come on the VWR. There’s a bit of extra clearance. However as they explain on the Vivente website 700x35c is the preferred size and width as it is the most versatile. The tyres that come on the bike can be run as low as 40PSI and as high as 80PSI. I usually run them at around 70PSI.


      I’d highly recommend that you at least go find a VWR to have a look at it and take it for a test ride though. I think you’ll probably be pretty impressed with it. Good luck with your planning and preparation. Let me know how you go with it.

      Happy cycling!


  10. Hi Karl,
    Thanks for a great website and reviews. I just bought the VWR yesterday and I am very happy so far. I decided to go for this bike because it was the complete package and had all the specs I was after at a good price. I tried the Surly LHT but didn’t want the additional costs with the add ons. Also buying an Australian made bike is also good.
    Will provide more feedback on my trip next year in Europe.
    Happy riding!

    • Hi Rowan

      Thanks for the compliments. I’m glad to hear that you bought yourself a VWR, welcome to the (ever expanding) club! Please note though that Vivente is an Australian company, and designed/tested by an Australian.. however it is made in Taiwan to Vivente’s exact specifications and design to keep costs reasonable. It’s a bit ironic though, as I bought my tent from an American company as I didn’t want something made in Taiwan or China. It’s all about the quality control though.

      I just got back from a big trip to Europe. I plan on doing a re-cap article soon on this site. Just a matter of finding the free time in-between work, play and all the rest.

      Happy cycling!


      • Hi Karl,
        Its great to be able to share experiences with the bike.
        I am going for another test ride today around Melbourne, and planning where to go in Europe next year. I am looking at a trip of about a year, but will see how it goes. I will probably get the Busch and Muller E werk to power devices. Still have to decide on a tent and other gear. If there are any great places you would recommend visiting that would be great too.

      • Have a look at this discussion thread here which has a lot of useful information about charging your devices with a dynamo hub device:

        Also, unless you have some specific areas in Europe that you would like to cycle in (e.g. mountain passes etc) I would highly recommend you have a look at following a EuroVelo route as they are generally well sign-posted, go through nice areas, have mostly dedicated paths, and are generally not too hilly. A few descents are always fun, but it isn’t so fun climbing a big hill with a fully laden touring bike. Have a look here: http://www.eurovelo.org/

        All the best with your planning and adventures! 😀


  11. Hi I just wanted to know if you received the free extra spokes with your bike, and the free clamp for the front mounting of the handbrake .
    Also I notice in your picture of your bike, that the hand brake cable to the rear brake is not as recommended in the VWR manual. Have you had it redone on warrante yet or just have not noticed it.

    The bikes come with the cable continuous straight from the factory but the LBS is supposed to cut the cable to suit the brazed on eyelets on the frame. It appears that the LBS in a lot of cases don’t know this and just zip tie it to the frame. I reckon there are enough ties on the bike without unnecessary ones. I can send you pics if you like. I have just bought a VWR in Melbourne and have had quite a few issues with it. Mostly due to the LBS not following the manufacturers recommendations.

    • Hi Paul

      Sorry to hear you’ve had some issues. Unfortunately as good as these bikes are the LBS is a major factor of how well it will perform and how you enjoy it.. poor LBS = poor experience. As I know from personal experience the quality of service and knowledge at many bike stores in Australia is pretty average to poor, at a high price too! This is why I try to do all my own maintenance work myself. I always contact Noel at Vivente if I have any issues as he is always reliable to help me out as much as possible. E.g. the the saddle post that came with my medium sized VWR was only 250mm and too short for my requirements. I spoke to my LBS and they wanted to sell me a 300mm replacement for $25! I emailed Noel advising of this and he had a new 300mm post express posted to me the next day free of charge.

      Now, your questions:
      1. Yes I did recieve a bunch of free spokes (about 6 I think it was) for both the front and rear wheel with the bike, as well as the mount for the front brake. However these didn’t come with the bike and I had to go back to the LBS a week after getting the bike to get the last bits. I also had to pick up the cable shrink wrapping which came later and the LBS wanted a few days to do it. I did it myself that afternoon in an hour.
      2. I also noticed that about the rear brake cable. However I have spoken to both Noel and the LBS about it and it was confirmed that although against the provided instructions it is beneficial as it keeps the cables covered and protected from dirt, water etc.

      Which bike store did you buy yours from?

      Hope you get your issues sorted out and get to have some fun on this bike. All the best and happy cycling!


  12. Pingback: Beer and baguettes: A wrap up of my trip from Bonn (Germany) to Marseille (France) | Velophile Australia

  13. Hi Karl,
    That’s good to know that you had the info and got the bits. I purchased the bike through st.kilda cycles in Melbourne. I live in Dandenong. It was put together very poorly and I had to show them from the actual site info what was required, but felt I had to fight all the way to get them to understand why it was recommended in a certain way. The bike it self is perfect and every thing resolved now. I was a bit upset with the front forks and the stupid little O Rig continually falling out and was advised to just cut it off.
    The only one who made any sense in the whole time of sorting the thing out has been Noel and he is a nice bloke.
    Any way it is nice to see your site and learn a a bit more about the bike.
    this is how they wired up the light . If the pics take up your band width just delete them. I just couldn’t explain it another way. Regards Paul.

    • Hi Paul

      Wow… they really did do a bodgy job of your cables! The pictures say a thousand words. Poor form.

      Glad to hear you got it all sorted in the end. I know that Noel struggles a bit with some of the bike shops even after vetting them first. He needs stores to sell the bikes, but he also needs them to do a good job otherwise they will tarnish his brand. It’s a delicate balance. Always good to know that the owner of the actual company that makes the bikes will try and get you sorted out and happy.

      I also had that rubber seal fall out, I just rolled it back into place. It isn’t really critical, just helps to keep dust and water out.

      And no, those pictures don’t use up the site’s bandwidth as they are hosted externally.

      Thanks again for stopping by. I hope you get some good riding out of the bike and that these issues become a thing of the past! All the best! 🙂


  14. Hi Karl, I was unfortunate to break the chain on my VWR the other day, I was able to get her back together on the side of the road but the chain was too short. Rather than put extra links in I decided to put a new chain on my bike and keep the old one for spares. My bike mechanic recommended I upgrade to a “Shimano 105”. At $9 extra than the chain that came on the bike. The difference in gear changing is well worth the extra cash. So when it’s time to change the chain I recommend upgrading to the 105

  15. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly feel this website needs a great deal more attention.
    I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the advice!

  16. Pingback: User review: Mirrycle Road Mirror for Shimano STI levers | Velophile Australia

  17. Pingback: Beer and baguettes: A wrap up of my trip from Bonn (Germany) to Marseille (France) | Velophile Australia

  18. Pingback: Taking your touring bike overseas: My experience with excess baggage restrictions | Velophile Australia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s