Vilano Blackjack 3.0 Mountain Bike Review
While I was in college my housemates loved blackjack. Though I am not a big gambler myself after playing with them from time to time I must admit that it was quite fun. That is also how I would describe riding the Vilano Blackjack 3.0, fun. If you have read our Vilano Diverse 3.0 review, you will know that it is one of our teams absolute favorite bikes for commuting and we decided that after reviewing the Vilano Diverse 3.0 that it would be worthwhile to buy and test a few more in the Vilano lineup.
Vilano Blackjack 3.0 Mountain Bike Analysis and Review
Next on our list of bike to test was the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 and throughout the rest of this review I will take you through our teams experience buying, assembling, and riding the Vilano Blackjack 3.0.
Ordering and assembling the Vilano Blackjack 3.0
As with the Vilano Diverse 3.0, ordering and receiving the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 was a simple and stress free process. One of the things that I am always wary of when it comes to online shopping is the care that company’s take when shipping their products. Often items will arrive in crushed boxes, with scratches or dents that may not make a difference in performance, but always give me second thoughts about buying from that brand again. While I know that it is not always the manufactures fault, seeing a product that is poorly packages immediately gives me a bad impression. Thankfully, with both the Vilano Diverse 3.0, and the Vilano Blackjack 3.0, this was a complete nonissue. Our Vilano Blackjack 3.0 arrived at our office in a medium sized box that had no noticeable damage and was relatively easy to maneuver.
The Vilano Blackjack 3.0 weighs around 35 pounds and moving the box with the bike in it by myself was very easy. Some big box bikes are extremely heavy making it difficult to move with one person but for an entry level mountain bike the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is super lightweight. This is great to know because while we have a team of people to help move and assemble our mountain bikes, if you do not have anyone to help you moving a cumbersome 60 pound box can be quite frustrating. Luckily for you that is not the case with the Vilano Blackjack 3.0.
After opening our new mountain bike we decided to have only one person assemble the bike to make it more representative of what you would go through when assembling the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 at home. One of our team members meticulously assembled the bike and after around 45 minutes it was ready to ride. Although this is probably slightly faster than the average person at home, if you are even slightly familiar with any sort of handiwork, assembling the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 shouldn’t take you any longer than around an hour. If you are interested in learning more about the parts of a mountain bike, be sure to read our article that goes in depth about everything you need to know about what makes a mountain bike ride properly.
Riding the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 Mountain Bike
As we stated earlier in this article the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 mountain bike is an entry level mountain bike, however for the price you are paying (less than $400), it is, in our professional opinion, one of the better deals you can find. Entry level mountain bikes will never be able to compete with high end professional grade mountain bikes like the Mongoose Tyax Expert however, that does not mean that you should settle for poor quality bikes. Although we try and only review bikes that we think are worth buying, occasionally we do run into very low quality bikes and are not afraid to steer you away from them, we feel its our job to give you honest and unbiased reviews of the bikes we test. The Vilano Blackjack 3.0 however is not that. It is one of our favorite entry level mountain bikes and is perfect for anyone looking to get into the sport of mountain biking.
The first thing that needs to be mentioned when it comes to riding the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is how effortless it feels while you’re riding. Because of its low weight and high quality suspension, riding the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 on trails and rugged terrain felt very easy, something that is not very common for an entry level mountain bike. Like the Vilano Diverse 3.0, this bike rides like a mountain bike that is 1.5x or 2x its price, which is made possible by Vilano’s direct to consumer approach to mountain bikes. Unlike other competitors they do not spend money on costly advertising or retail storefronts, instead your Vilano Blackjack 3.0 will be shipped to you straight from their manufacturing facility, allowing you to save tons of money on your new bike.
Before we I start praising the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 too much I want to say again that this is an entry level mountain bike and although it is one of the better entry level bikes I have ridden, it is simply not suited to handle hardcore trails. Personally, after taking this mountain bike down beginner and intermediate trails, I would recommend using the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 on nothing harder than intermediate level trails. If you woul like to learn more about trail rating systems click here.
Riding the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 on some southern California trails was a ton of fun and due to its light weight and 29 inch wheels I was able to tackle some intermediate level trails that I wasn’t sure would be possible. For any level rider I would fully recommend getting 29 inch wheels like the Vilano Blackjack has. They make riding far easier and more exciting as you build up speed going down hills. The standard brakes on the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 mountian bike also performed better than expected and although they are not the most high quality mechanical disc brakes, I was fully satisfied with their performance. Responsive and reliable these brakes will do what you expect but nothing more. Personlly they were more than sufficient for my needs but I would never fault someone if they decided to upgrade to higher quality disc brakes.
Now for the somewhat underwhelming side of the Vilano Blackjack 3.0. Keep in mind that for less than $400 what you are getting in this mountain bike is pretty execptional however, as with almost everything there are some parts of the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 that could be improved. First and foremost is the seat. This is probably my biggest complaint for most entry level bikes however because it is so easy to make you bike seat more comfortable, it is not usually something I mention however in this case I felt the need. The standard seat on the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is very stiff and uncomfortable and after each of my four test rides on the bike I was quite sore. If you are going to upgrade any part of this mountain bike I would say start with the seat, either with a gel bike seat cover, or just a new saddle all together. The other major complaint that I had with the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 are its standard issue pedals. They simply are not very designed and I was a bit disappointed with how slippery they were. We replaced the pedals on our Vilano Blackjack 3.0 immediately after our first test ride around our warehouse and would recommend you do the same.
Thankfully our complaints are things that can be fixed for less than $50 so in total you would be spending around $400 for an extremely high quality entry level mountain bike. Of course if you would like to spend tons of money upgrading the crankset and suspension as well to turn your Vilano Blackjack 3.0 into a bike capable of handling hardcord downhill mountain bike trails that is possible however, if you are looking for an entry level bike for a very reasonable bike the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is an excellent choice.
Overall our past three weeks with the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 have been very enjoyable. An easy to assemble, inexpensive entry level mountain bike that also performs quite well is not something that comes around very often and that is exactly what you will get in the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 mountain bike. We would recommend this bike to anyone that is looking to get into mountain biking but it is also a great bike for someone who is simply looking to try a new type of mountain bike while not spending tons of money. I believe that you really can’t go wrong with the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 and if you spend a few more dollars to upgrade you seat and pedals you will be left with a very high quality bike that will last you for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 made?
The Vilano Blackjack 3.0, like all other Vilano mountain bikes is made at their facility in St. Augustine, Florida, USA.
Is the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 mountain bike good?
For an entry level mountain bike the Vilano Blackjack 3.0 is about as good a bike as you will find for its price, and if you upgrade the saddle and pedals you will take the Vilano Blackjack to the next level in terms of performance and comfort.
How tall should I be to ride the Vilano Blackjack 3.0?
The Vilano Blackjack 3.0 mountain bike has a 17” frame and the recommended height for a rider is between 5’7” and 6’2”.
- Vilano Blackjack 3.0 Mountain Bike Analysis and Review
- Frequently Asked Questions