Foldable Vello Gravel Bike Looks Built on the "If It Works, It Isn't Stupid" Principle

Vello Gravel 12 photos
Photo: Vello GmbH
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Officially, it would appear like we've exhausted almost all possibilities to make things more interesting than they may already be. Such would appear to be the case for the timeless bicycle. Or is it?
Folks, the machine before us has been dubbed the Vello Gravel. Gravel? Yes, believe it or not, this blasphemous device is built to be your go-to answer for gravel adventures, well, almost. In truth, this Frankenstein can achieve a tad more than just be taken out for an off-road spin; It could very well be the answer to any urban mobility issues you've been having in the past few years.

Jumping right into the thick of things, what makes this bicycle so intriguing or defines it as being out there would be the fact that it's built around 20-inch tires. Wait a minute, aren't 20-inch tires typically reserved for urban settings? Well, yes, that's usually the case; however, Velo, the manufacturer behind this multifaceted trinket, decided that this is as good a base as any for a versatile and useful urban machine.

So, what the heck are we getting for almost €2,300 ($2,300 at current exchange rates)? That's precisely what we'll be exploring today, and to do that, I want you to imagine that you spent this cash and currently own your very own Gravel. Once you have it in your possession, perform a pre-ride checkup and hop on.

Vello Gravel
Photo: Vello GmbH
Once you do so, you may wonder if you've enrolled in the local circus act. Why would I say something like this about this bicycle? Simply because of the way the frame, tires, and tall seat post work together to give off, well, a sort of AT circus bike.

Ok, maybe I've been a bit too harsh on this trinket because once you really get into the thick of things, versatility is this bugger's middle name. Starting from the ground up, the wheels for this bike require a tad of attention. Why 20-inch tires for a bike that's designed to ride gravel? I have no dang idea, but once we factor in the fact that this bike's frame is a foldable one, the size of the wheels starts to make sense.

Now, all that defines this bike as an urban machine, but Vello chose to take things even further. So to ensure that you can also take this bike with you on those Saturday treks, the manufacturer decided that a pair of gravel tires and a set of flared drop bars is all that's missing. Throw on a 10-speed drivetrain from Shimano, and this bugger is almost complete. Yet, the cassette will boast only a range of 11-36T, so we're a tad limited there. Coupled with those 20-inch tires, you may have difficulty keeping up with your buddies with larger wheels. At least the Gravel only weighs 11.9 kg (26 lbs).

Vello Gravel Folded
Photo: Vello GmbH
Aside from a folding frame, drop bars, and highly elevated saddle, there's one other trick you need to know about: a suspension system in all of that hunk of steel (Chromoly frame). Behind the seat post and at the base of the seat stay, you'll see a large chunk of something. Well, it's here that we find a shock absorber, taking up some of the rattles that typically accompany a 20-inch-tire bike.

The minds behind such a twisted contraption? Vello is a team from Austria that has been in this industry since 2014, when their first bicycle was unveiled to the world. Sure, it's a relatively young cycling team, but with the sort of cash that flows through their native country, this manufacturer is sure to have pumped considerable cash into R&D to offer safe and versatile machines.

Still, I can't shake the fact that this machine looks so dang different than what we may be used to. However, if by taking a test ride, you find that the geometry works out, then, by all means, go for it. You just have to worry about finding one of these buggers in some local shop. Wear a helmet and drop a comment regarding the experience.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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