YOELEO R9 Review – Is This Chinese Aero Frame Worth It?

YOELEO R9 Aero Road Bike wtih YOELEO SAT C58|C58 PRO Wheels

This is a review of a YOELEO R9 disc road bike aero frameset equipped with a YOELEO SAT C58|58 DB PRO wheels and SRAM Force AXS groupset.

When I saw this gorgeous build, I had to reach out to its owner and ask him a few questions. 

We ended up doing a combination of a review and interview together to show you what to expect if you decide to buy a YOELEO R9 frameset and do your own build.

Before we dive in, I want to thank Robert for his time and the experience he shared.

About Robert

Hi, I’m Robert, I live in Poland, and I’m a user interface and motion designer working in the computer games industry. I’ve been riding bicycles my whole life, I was always a big fan of MTB, and my passion for bikes evolved in various ways because I love trying new things. So that’s why I bought a full suspension XC bike in 2010. 

Then a few years later, I bought my first downhill bike. Riding in rough terrain sucked me completely, so in 2017 I bought a new enduro bike and fell in love again. Those bikes are so capable, you can go up and down, and it’s amazing. I also started to be more and more interested in bike technology. I learned how to repair bikes myself, change parts, tweak settings, etc. 

As a result, I decided to assemble my first enduro carbon bike. I learned a lot, and it gave me a lot of satisfaction. For me, as a man who spends a lot of time in front of the computer, creating something physical, tangible is an amazing experience. Being able to assemble a bike according to your own idea, when you decide on each part used and you can play with the smallest details as you want, was a really extraordinary feeling.

But, road bike? How did you come to that?

Well, I’ve always had the hidden urge to buy a real road bike someday. But considering my love for off-road riding, it wasn’t easy. Because I knew that my avidity for jumping over curbs is hard to eradicate, and I knew that these bikes are made for a completely different riding style. But, after researching the topic, I discovered that there are bikes called gravel. So my next step was to buy a reasonably priced gravel bike (because I didn’t know if I would like it). 

My doubts fade away quickly. It took me a while to get used to it because it doesn’t have suspension, is stiff, and the only thing I can do to improve comfort is lower tire pressure. But what captivated me was the speed. The ease with which these bikes accelerate is something that fascinates me. I learned how to ride gravel throughout the season and felt ready for the next step. I decided to build my full-fledged road bike. Not an ordinary one but an aero bike with complete internal cable routing. 

This doesn’t mean that I did not think about buying an assembled bike, but in each of them, something did not work for me – weak wheels, lack of integrated cables, color, look, the price, etc. It only assured me that I should make another one since I already know how to build bikes. Of course, the pandemic situation wasn’t helping. Many bikes and bike parts were delayed for a few months or even the whole season. 

In the beginning, I didn’t plan to build an expensive bike, but being up-to-date with the latest trends, I wanted to build something modern and minimalistic. Finding the right frame for this type of bike is not easy. Most of the frames you can buy don’t have integrated headset cables (I really don’t like when wires scratch the frame). The ones that do are costly. e.g., Canyon Aeroad has a frame for sale, but this is the high-end version and costs around 5,000€. So when I was looking on the internet, I finally found YOELEO. Their frames offered everything I needed. They had very good opinions, European shop and the price was right. So this is how everything started.


YOELEO R9 Disc Build Summary

YOELEO sells either an R9 frameset for disc or rim brakes or a complete bike. Robert decided to go for the disc brakes frameset. He uses the following configuration.

Robert’s YOELEO R9 Build Main Features

  • Official Frameset Weight (size 56): 1170g (frame), 390g (fork)
  • Build weight (w/o pedals): 7.7 kg (frame size 56cm) 
  • Wheels: YOELEO SAT C58|58 DB PRO, 27mm wide, DT Swiss 350 Straight Pull hubs (1617g)
  • Groupset: SRAM Force eTap AXS 2×12, Cassette 10-28T, Crank 48/35 175mm arms
  • Handlebar: YOELEO H9 420 x 100mm
  • Saddle: TOSEEK full carbon saddle
  • Tires: Pirelli P Zero Velo Classic 700x28C (with continental race light tubes) 
  • Pedals: Bontrager Comp MTB Elox
YOELEO R9 build parts
YOELEO R9 build all parts

As Robert mentioned, he wanted to build a minimalistic and clean road bike. I like his attention to detail – how he matched the handlebar tape with the tires. I am also a huge fan of matt black, so his build immediately caught my attention. I have to admit, Robert built a bike that I envy him.


YOELEO R9 Pros & Cons

Below, we highlighted the main advantages and disadvantages of the R9 frameset. 

YOELEO R9 Frameset Pros

  • Available for rim or disc brakes
  • Available in 6 sizes (46, 49, 52, 54, 56, and 59 cm)
  • Available in multiple colors, you can also submit your unique design 
  • You can choose the handlebar size (width & stem length)
  • Fully integrated cable routing
  • TÜV certified
  • Unmatched price-value ratio 

YOELEO R9 Frameset Cons

  • Boring color palette (I should go with custom painting)
  • Not interesting painting schemes

Use the following code ‘cyclistshub‘ on yoeleobike.com or yoeleoeurope.com to get 2% off your purchase.


YOELEO R9 Disc Build Process in Detail

In this section, we dive deeper into Robert’s build. You find out why Robert decided to go for YOELEO, if he encountered any issues when building its new machine, and much more.

Why did you decide to go for YOELEO R9 and not for YOELEO R6? 

I wanted thru-axle wheels that I have on my other bikes—fully integrated cables and hydraulic disc brakes.

Note: YOELEO R9 and R6 differ in these features. R9 has fully integrated routing, while R6 does not.

Another decision you had to make was whether to go for disc or rim brakes. Was it a tough decision for you?

No, it wasn’t. I love hydraulic disc brakes. I know that opinions are mixed about them. For sure, they are heavier, but I didn’t have a plan to build the lightest bike on earth. As an experienced downhill rider, I knew that disc brakes perform much better in steep descents or rainy weather. So, the decision was simple, especially that bleeding brakes are not a mystery for me.

Could you describe the order process? Did everything go smoothly?

I’ve ordered everything on November 6th from yoeleoeurope.com. I immediately received an email confirmation with details that my order will be sent in two batches – wheels first and then the frameset. I received the wheels on the 25th of January and the frameset 18th of February. So, the whole process took around 3.5 months. It wasn’t too bad, especially with pandemic situations around the globe. Some of my friends needed to wait almost 6 months for their bikes.

No shipping costs and no customs fees, and of course, all items were sent directly from China because these were already included in the price.

YOELEO R9 frame box
YOELEO R9 frame box

What about the build itself? Did you experience any issues? E.g., with internal cable routing, etc.?

I started with the wheels. They were perfect, the spokes were stiff, so I installed tubes and tires on them (next season, I plan to go tubeless). 

When the frame arrived, I was finally able to start putting the whole thing together. The frame is very well made. The internal structure is also solid. The bottom bracket is round, and I did not experience issues with the press-fit hub.

Hydraulic cable installation was easy. I had special magnetic tools to pull the cables through the frame, but they were not so useful because it was easy without them. I’ve also used a jag wire and an internal housing damper because the internal cable system with a carbon fiber frame can rattle on rough terrain.

One problem appeared with handlebars, the in-drilled holes that hold head spacers were in the wrong positions, and screws were damaged. I immediately contacted YOELEO with a description and photos. I got an answer the next day, with apologies, and they send me new bars. I didn’t wait long. I could finish my build after around 10 days.

Of course, installing internal cables in the handlebar is a bit tricky. You need to measure everything perfectly, and if you cut too much, you are doomed. That’s why this process requires patience and precision, and it’s always like that, no matter which brand you choose. As a benefit, you have a beautiful and clean-looking bike.


Robert’s Riding Experience with R9

How do you rate the stiffness of R9 and the wheels compared to your gravel bike? How responsive is it? 

The bike is very stiff, much stiffer than my aluminum gravel bike. And it’s very responsive. You feel that every watt of your energy is used efficiently.

YOELEO R9 R9 Complete Build
YOELEO R9

How it handles cross-winds? Does it maintain speed easily, or do you have a feeling it slows down?

Since the frame is aero, which means that it has a thin profile, its sides are much wider than on a normal road bike, so it is prone to crosswinds, especially with wheels of this size (58mm). I guess it’s pretty standard. The bike carries speed very easily. It’s very fast.

Does it descent well? How quickly it gains speed once you get to the top of a hill and start descending?

Yes, descending is pure pleasure. The bike accelerates quickly and maintains speed for a very long time while riding on flat terrain.

How comfortable is it on a scale from 1 to 10? Does it absorb road vibrations? Does the riding comfort change on a rough tarmac?

I would say that comfort is around 8, it definitely absorbs small vibrations, but I try no to ride on rough terrain, especially on such a high tire pressure. The bike is designed for quality roads, and it would not be so smart to ride on B-class roads.

I spent some time setting everything up to my taste since this is my first real road bike. There are some elements that I will need to adjust or change, like the headset height or the saddle.

What is your overall feeling from the ride?

When I first rode on R9, I felt at home. The size of the frame turned out to be perfect. The bike is designed to be fast. It loves to accelerate and likes to turn. I love how it looks. It’s clean, simple but very advanced.


A Few Words About the YOELEO C58|58 Wheels…

Robert bought YOELEO SAT C58|58 DB PRO clincher (tubeless-ready) wheels for his built. 

YOELEO SAT PRO line is the most advanced line of YOELEO road bike wheels. They differ from SL and STD lines in the hubs and weight. You can choose either DT Swiss 350 Straight Pull or pay extra for better DT Swiss 240S Straight Pull hubs.

YOELEO R9 complete bike with C5858 PRO wheels
YOELEO R9 complete bike with YOELEO SAT C58|58 PRO wheels

The weight difference between YOELEO SAT PRO and SL is marginal. However, STD wheels are about 100-200g heavier. So, the main difference is in the quality of hubs that influences their longevity and the overall ride quality (check out the full comparison here).

Main Features

  • Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • UCI Approved
  • SGS certified

Technical Specification

  • Weight: 1617g
  • Rim depth: 58mm 
  • Rim width: 27mm
  • Hubs: DT Swiss 350
  • Spokes: Black Sapim CX-Ray

Use the following code ‘cyclistshub‘ on yoeleobike.com or yoeleoeurope.com to get 2% off your purchase.


YOELEO R9 Alternatives

YOELEO produces three aero framesets – R6, R9, and R12.

  • R12 aero frame is about 220g lighter than R9 and also has an internal cable routing.
  • R6 aero frame is about 20g lighter than R9 but has external cable routing.

It is a matter of your preference which frameset do you prefer. I like the R9 and R12 the most. If you want to learn more about the differences, check out my comparison of all YOELEO road bike frames.

r6f 1
YOELEO R6
r12f 6
YOELEO R12

YOELEO Carbon Products FAQ


Summary

Would you recommend buying a frame or a wheelset from YOELEO?

Yes, I can recommend buying products from YOELEO. Especially for people looking for quality products at an attractive price, a unique appearance that can be personalized, and those who like to assemble their bikes themselves. It’s super fun!

What are the overall costs of your build?

It cost me around 5000€.


We hope you liked this ‘intereview.’ If you did, please, consider sharing it with your friends. You can also follow Robert on his Instagram, or get in touch with him at robertbielecki.com.

Use the following code ‘cyclistshub‘ on yoeleobike.com or yoeleoeurope.com to get 2% off your purchase.

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