VIVA Bellissimo 1, £549, www.evanscycles.com
Viva is a Danish company that's been making stylish bikes for a couple of decades. More recently, Evans Cycles has started importing select models from the company’s extensive line-up, including this Bellissimo 1, which is available in a vivid cyan or a more subtle beige.
In fact, there’s more than one Bellissimo model, with a choice of either the singlespeed model tested, or a women's ‘mixte’-style design (Bellissimo 7) with seven-speed hub gear.
Looks are clearly important to the Viva designers and there’s a good deal of chrome in the finishing kit, along with those colour-matched mudguards.
A sculpted chainguard covers the top chain run, combining a curved piece of steel with a bolt-on plate behind the chainring. It sounds complicated but it’s actually effective, good-looking and rattle-free.
Our bike came with two conventional brakes on its flat bars (all unbranded kit), although there’s the option to have a rear coaster brake instead. The rear hub is the 'flip-flop' variety, though it only comes with one fixed cog (an 18T), which makes the inclusion of a rear brake on our test model fairly redundant.
The stock 48T/18T gearing combination works well around town, though as the bike's a touch heavier than some stripped-down singlespeeds, you sometimes need to put a harder dig in on the hills. It’s no porker at a touch over 11kg, but that’s still a bit weightier than many of the one-geared bikes we've tested over the last year.
Cream-coloured 28mm Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres shod to 700c wheels look pretty retro and continue the comfort and style over outright performance theme. They provide solid protection against London road surfaces though.
Overall, the Viva feels like a decent compromise between looks, practicality and pace. Available in four sizes, from 53cm to 62cm, we’re sure it will have plenty of fans.
PROS style, 'mixte' frame option
CONS tad heavy