In the past decades, vascular tissue engineering has made great strides towards bringing engineered vascular tissues to the clinics and, in parallel, obtaining in-lab tools for basic research. Herein, we propose the design of a novel dual-mode bioreactor, useful for the fabrication (construct mode) and in vitro stimulation (culture mode) of collagen-based tubular constructs. Collagen-based gels laden with smooth muscle cells (SMCs) were molded directly within the bioreactor culture chamber. Based on a systematic characterization of the bioreactor culture mode, constructs were subjected to 10% cyclic strain at 0.5 Hz for 5 days. The effects of cyclic stimulation on matrix re-arrangement and biomechanical/viscoelastic properties were examined and compared vs. statically cultured constructs. A thorough comparison of cell response in terms of cell localization and expression of contractile phenotypic markers was carried out as well. We found that cyclic stimulation promoted cell-driven collagen matrix bi-axial compaction, enhancing the mechanical strength of strained samples with respect to static controls. Moreover, cyclic strain positively affected SMC behavior: cells maintained their contractile phenotype and spread uniformly throughout the whole wall thickness. Conversely, static culture induced a noticeable polarization of cell distribution to the outer rim of the constructs and a sharp reduction in total cell density. Overall, coupling the use of a novel dual-mode bioreactor with engineered collagen-gel-based tubular constructs demonstrated to be an interesting technology to investigate the modulation of cell and tissue behavior under controlled mechanically conditioned in vitro maturation.