YOELEO R21 Review: Sub 1100g Aero Frame Worth Your Attention

YOELEO R21 Review: Complete Bike Build on a Garden in front of a wooden fence

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In this YOELEO R21 review, I ask Tyler, the author of this build, about his experience with this build. 

You learn about how the build process went, Tyler’s riding experience with R21, and much more.

Continue reading to learn more!

YOELEO R21 Disc Build Summary

YOELEO R21 frameset is the latest road bike frameset from YOELEO. R21 is a racing machine ideal for criteriums, flats, or hilly courses.

It’s a modern-looking aero frame that keeps up with the trends like versatility (one bike for all terrains), fully internal cable routing, or an integrated cockpit.

It is also one of the best Chinese road bike framesets currently available.

Here is a summary of the main features of Tyler’s R21 build.

Tyler’s YOELEO R21 Build Main Features

  • Official Frameset Weight (size 54): 1025g (frame), 395g (fork)
  • Build weight (with pedals): 7.8 kg (frame size 54cm)
  • Wheels: EliteWheels ENT Disc, 45mmx28mm, Sapim CX-Ray spokes
  • Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8070, Cassette 11-34T, Crank 50/34 172.5mm arms with Stages Power Meter
  • Handlebar: YOELEO H9 400 x 90mm
  • Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Tekno Superflow
  • Tires: 28mm Bontrager R3 Hard-case lite, tubeless
  • Bottom Bracket: Hambini Race

YOELEO R21 has a racing geometry. You can see the comparison with more popular bikes below. To compare the geometry of other bikes, I recommend using the Bike Insights tool.

Geometry of YOELEO R21 and Cannondale SystemSix geometry
YOELEO R21 vs. Cannondale SystemSix Geometry | Source: bikeinsights.com
YOELEO R21 vs Specialized SL7 geometry
YOELEO R21 vs. Specialized SL7 | Source: bikeinsights.com

YOELEO R21 Pros & Cons

Below, we summarized the pros and cons of the R21 frameset. 

YOELEO R21 Frameset Pros

  • Available in 7 sizes (49, 52, 54, 56, 59, and 61 cm)
  • Available in multiple colors, you can also submit your unique design
  • High finish quality
  • You can choose the handlebar size (width & stem length)
  • Fully integrated cable routing
  • Two plug-in through-axles are included
  • Affordable price compared to mainstream brands

YOELEO R21 Frameset Cons

  • Available for disc brakes only
  • No information regarding max torque [nm] for handlebar mount bolts and stem
  • BB was a tight fit for Hambini Race, and required minor whiffling

YOELEO R21 Disc Order and Build Process in Detail

In this part, we talk with Tyler about his decision process, why YOELEO, the delivery, and the build.

YOELEO R21 frameset parts
YOELEO R21 Build parts

Why did you choose R21 and not the other YOELEO aero frames like R9 or R12?

I like the modern look of the frameset, clean lines, and dropped seat stays. I wanted the more aggressive geometry of the R21 for a racier/faster feeling ride, and as a very flexible person, I was not overly concerned about comfort. 

The oversized downtube and large BB area contribute to stiffness and power transfer. I wanted the most responsive feel I could get.

When I inquired, Zoe (from YOELEO) provided me with the following comparison of their framesets.

YOELEO frames comparison spreadsheat
Comparison of YOELEO frames (a response from YOELEO customer support agent)

TIP: You can check out my more in-depth comparison of YOELEO framesets here.

Did everything go smoothly when ordering the frame? Was the customer support helpful?

Everything went smoothly. Customer support was responsive, communicative, and very helpful. Expected ship dates were met, even with changes to the order after placing it (different paint scheme, handlebar size).

How long did the delivery take? Did you order from yoeleobike.com or yoeleoeurope.com?

Delivery from yoeleobike.com was expected in 2 weeks but took four weeks due to a delay with the carrier. Not YOELEO’s fault, but a risk ordering internationally.

What was the state you received the frameset? Any damaged parts?

Everything was well packaged and in perfect condition.

How did it go with the build of the bike itself? What about the internal cable routing?

The build process went very smoothly. Internal routing is always a little tricky, but the handlebars are well designed to help make the process smoother.

Tyler’s Riding Experience with R21

What is the first thing you think of when I say “YOELEO R21 riding experience”?

Fast, responsive, and a very exciting ride. The aggressive position makes everything feel quick and makes the bike feel like it always wants to go faster.

The geometry is surprisingly comfortable for me, and the carbon frame on tubeless 28mm tires feels smooth and supple.

Steering is so nimble the bike feels on rails navigating tight corners, though it almost borders on twitchy – I won’t be taking my hands off the bars in strong crosswinds.

YOELEO R21 Finished build 2
Tyler’s YOELEO R21 build

R21 is an aero frameset. Does it feel aero?

I suppose it does feel aero, It feels fast, and I’m probably a little faster than on my former bike – but this is hard to measure. Gaining/maintaining speed will be more of a measure of inertia and friction losses at most cycling speeds.

What about the comfort?

This bike feels very comfortable to me. The carbon frame feels smooth to ride. I assume it means that it is either stiff or compliant in the right places. The tubeless 28mm tires ran at relatively low pressure and feel wonderful to ride on. 

I’m especially surprised by how comfortable the aggressive geometry on this frame feels to me. I’ve only ever used more laid-back geometries (and on larger 56cm frames).

What are your overall impressions from riding YOELEO R21? What surprised you the most about this frameset?

This bike has been fun and exciting to build and ride, I’m very glad I decided to go this route for this bike, and I’m convinced I ended up with a lot more bike for my money than if I had purchased a major bike brand. In addition, the quality of the frame is top-notch.

The biggest surprise has been the comfort of the fit and the ride quality. I was not expecting to be so comfortable on a bike with race geometry, especially taking the risk of ordering a frame I could not see or ride first.

YOELEO R21 Alternatives

YOELEO offers multiple framesets. However, if you are interested in an aero frame, you can choose R6, R9, or R12. The R6 and R9 are pure-blood aero framesets, while the R12 is more like an all-rounder bike with wider tire clearance.

Other aero alternatives from established and reliable Chinese brands include:

YOELEO R21 Frameset FAQ


Tyler, would you recommend buying the YOELEO R21 frameset?

Yes, I’ve had a great experience, and this bike makes me smile whenever I hop on it.

And now, the info all have been waiting for. What are the overall costs of your build?

Including a few unused extras and all the bits and bobbles like foam for the internal brake hoses, nipples for the tubeless tires, etc. ~$4700.

When it is configured as a bike from a major brand (standard bottom bracket, alloy training wheels, no power meter, etc.), the costs are around $3650.

I hope you liked this combination of interview and review. If you did, please share it with your friends or comment below. 

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