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This is my in-depth YOELEO R12 complete bike review. I share my experience from the unboxing, first ride impressions, and experience after 1000 km.
YOELEO doesn’t only offer wheels, framesets, and bike accessories but also complete bikes.
I decided to give them a try and ordered their R12 all-rounder road bike with the highest specs they offer:
- YOELEO SAT 50|50 PRO DB Wheels
- Ultegra Di2 groupset
- Custom paint
And the result?
My overall impressions are positive, but there are a few shortcomings.
Continue reading to learn more.
The Order Process & Delivery Time
I ordered the bike on the 29th of October 2021 and received it on the 3rd of January 2022. This period would probably be much shorter if I order one of the default paint schemes, but I decided to go for the custom paint. Here is how it works:
I sent YOELEO an email that I wanted a custom paint with a few examples and waited for their designer to send me the first draft.
We exchanged a few emails because I wanted to choose the right color. My inspiration was a Factor Aqua Blue:
Once we agreed on the color, they sent the info to their paint shop. The limited operations due to COVID caused around a 2-month delay.
Anyway, once they finished it, the bike went to their assembly line, and they finally sent it on the 13th of December. So the shipping that included the import fees took about two and a half weeks from China to the Czech Republic.
YOELEO R12 Unboxing
I shot an entire unboxing video so that you can watch it here:
I received two boxes – the wheels and the frameset. Both packages were packed securely. I didn’t find any damage caused by the transport.
The frameset was packed really well. All its parts (including the chain) were wrapped with foam. It took me about 15 minutes to unpack it.
Here are a few pictures I took from the unboxing video (unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures during the unboxing process, haha).
YOELEO R12 Specs
Below, I list the main specifications of my bike:
YOELEO R12 Specs
YOELEO R12 has a relatively relaxed geometry. See the following comparisons (source bikeinsights.com):
YOELEO R12 Pros & Cons
Here are the pros and cons of the R12 bike I found so far. Below, I explain them more in-depth.
YOELEO R12 Pros
- Available in 7 sizes (43, 47, 50, 52, 54, 56, and 59 cm)
- You can choose the size (width & stem length) of the integrated handlebar+stem
- Available in multiple colors, you can also pay extra for a custom finish
- High-quality finish
- Fully integrated cable routing
- Highly comfortable geometry
- Tire clearance for up to 32mm tires
- Carbon bottle cages and computer mount (for Garmin, Wahoo, Bryton, etc.) included
- UCI approved wheels
YOELEO R12 Cons
- Available for disc brakes only
- No decals regarding max torque [nm] for handlebar mount bolts and stem
- Unbranded saddle
- Tricky access to some bolts (seatpost clamp)
- Low attention to details (seatpost rubber, wrong handlebar tape color choice, no through-axle covers)
YOELEO R12 is available in plenty of sizes suitable for short people, even tall riders. However, what I find helpful is that you can choose the handlebar width and the stem length.
The integrated cockpits are often criticized because you can compromise your comfort if you don’t choose right. Furthermore, they offer zero possibility to make further adjustments.
Mainstream manufacturers usually ship larger bike sizes with wider handlebars and longer stems. So naturally, this approach increases the chances the bike won’t fit you.
For example, there are plenty of tall riders with narrow shoulders but relatively long arms like me. Therefore, I opted for a 380mm handlebar and 120mm stem. Let me just remind you that the frame size is 56cm. This would probably translate to a 420mm handlebar and 110mm stem with other brands.
Another area where YOELEO collets valuable points is customizability. They do customized paint for an extra fee.
I don’t like the current color schemes, so I decided to order the custom color (spoiler alert: I LOVE IT!).
The truth is that we had to exchange a lot of emails before I approved the color. This is where I see room for improvement. It would be great if they could make the color palette more accessible.
You can also choose the wheelset line (more about their differences in this YOELEO wheels comparison). I went for their highest-end wheels, YOELEO SAT 50|50 PRO.
Great Comfort and Design
This frame’s geometry falls into the more relaxed category. Although R12 looks like an aero bike, YOELEO markets it as an all-rounder because of the geometry and tire clearance for up to 32mm tires.
I find this wider tire clearance pretty handy because I can ride with wider tires (for example, in autumn/winter, or if I decide to ride on rougher and dirt roads).
Please, note that the tires in the following pictures are Tufo Calibra 4TR 28mm (but their real width, as in the pictures is 31mm).
What I like the most about this bike is its clean, minimalistic design. The integrated cockpit and hidden cables are super cool.
I didn’t like the frame design in the pictures but looks much better in person and it started to grow on me. It’s original and I got a lot of compliments already.
The complete R12 also comes with YOELEO carbon bottle cages and a carbon bike computer mount.
Although I find the mount longer than it needs to be, the good news is that it comes with adapters for multiple cycling computers brands like Garmin, Wahoo, Bryton, etc.
A Low Attention to (Some) Details
Honestly, I couldn’t find many disadvantages of this bike but there are some. I feel like YOELEO doesn’t give too much attention to some details. Let me explain.
Some bolts (seatpost clamp, saddle clamps) are difficult to access. See the following pictures:
A big question mark is a rubber protecting the seatpost. Will it wear out over time? Will I be able to get the replacement? Only time will tell.
The rear through-axle seems longer than necessary and there is no cover for it.
And the last thing, I think the golden handlebar tape doesn’t match the rest of the bike. Except for these details, I didn’t find anything else that would bother me.
First Ride Impressions
I couldn’t wait to hop on the bike to try it. I planned a local loop to test everything – ride on the flat, descent, steep climb (over 10%), smooth and harsh tarmac.
Look, I only rode an aluminum road bike before. So of course, the first ride felt out of this world. The biggest difference I noticed was the comfort (also thanks to 28mm tires, I’ve been using 25mm until that point) and stiffness.
I felt like riding a tank. I couldn’t feel bumps, cracks, etc., so the ride felt really comfy. The only thing I didn’t like was the saddle.
Although it’s the same shape as the Specialized Power Comp I used on my previous bike, after two hours or so, it was uncomfortable. So, I decided to replace it.
The higher stiffness was noticeable especially when climbing or accelerating. It feels like every watt is transformed into a forward motion.
My friends with older (aluminum) bikes have to work noticeably harder in some sections of rolling terrain).
Review After 1000km
I’ve already clocked some kilometers on local roads and in Croatia on the R12. I also rode some longer rides exceeding 5 hours. So, did something change from my first impressions?
Probably the only thing that changed is that I started to enjoy cycling even more. The YOELEO SAT PRO 50mm wheels are great for steady efforts and for flats. They are excellent at maintaining speed and pretty stable in crosswinds (compared to other Chinese wheels I used).
When I wanted to ride 40km/h (around 25mph) on my old bike, it took a lot of effort. But on R12, not so much. When I get a tailwind, it feels like the bike wants to go faster and faster.
One of the most surprising things for me was that my friends without deep-section wheels have sometimes issues staying in my draft. I didn’t expect the bike to ride so well.
Regarding comfort, I am still tweaking the fit, but I am getting closer to the desired outcome. I can ride longer on drops and hoods with arms at a 90° angle.
Thanks to the narrower handlebar (380mm), I am also more aero and feel more comfortable than with the previous 420mm handlebar.
The geometry is not too aggressive, so even longer rides (3 and more hours) are more comfortable than on my old Canyon Endurance AL.
I can’t comment much about R12’s ability to corner because of two reasons. First, I don’t push it to its limits due to safety reasons. Second, I don’t have many reference points.
I feel confident at high speeds (around 70km/h [43.5mph]) because I trust the material) and the bike doesn’t shake or vibrate. It’s perfectly stable.
YOELEO R12 Compelete Bike FAQ
My overall impressions of the complete YOELEO R12 road bike are positive. It is super comfortable even on harsh roads or during longer rides (3 and more hours).
I am a huge fan of the color I chose, and the finish quality is excellent. I also like the design – the bike looks clean thanks to the integrated cockpit that is better made than on some road bikes of western brands. I get a lot of compliments.
The frame and wheels feel pretty agile and stiff. They want to move forward with every pedal stroke.
There are a few things I don’t like, though. Some bolts are difficult to access (especially the seatpost clamp bolt), and I doubt the rubber protecting it will last long. We will see.
Anyway, I hope you find this review helpful. Feel free to share it if you do and contact me or comment below if you have any questions.
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