Vitus bikes

A French company with a racing pedigree, Vitus is now owned by online giant WiggleCRC Group, whose direct sales model keeps prices keen.

Vitus started building bikes in St Etienne, France, in 1970. The first ones were steel, not only because that was the dominant material but because bicycle tubing manufacture is how the brand began. Despite this, it’s aluminium that Vitus bikes are better known for.

The aluminium bikes the company made in the 1970s used small diameter tubes that weren’t welded together but bonded into lugs with adhesive. These bikes, such as the 979 favoured by classics rider Sean Kelly, were lightweight and comfortable. They flexed more because aluminium is less stiff than steel. As it also lacks steel’s resilience, the aluminium frames didn’t last as long. Later Vitus designs, like the 992, used ovalised tubing to make the frame stiffer. Fatter, non-round tubes are standard in aluminium bikes today.

When interest moved to carbon fibre as a frame material, Vitus again used smallish diameter tubes bonded into lugs. Carbon can be much stiffer than aluminium and doesn’t have to be made into tubes. Hence the moulded, monocoque carbon fibre frames Vitus subsequently produced.

Modern Vitus bikes use all three materials – steel, aluminium, and carbon fibre – as price and performance needs dictate. The company is still involved in racing, supporting the An Post Chain Reaction pro team from 2014-2017 and now the Vitus pro team. Road and mountain bikes dominate the Vitus line-up; all of its e-bikes are mountain bikes. Yet Vitus also makes kids’ bikes, cyclocross bikes, adventure bikes, and city bikes.

Vitus Dee 29 VR

Vitus Dee 29 VR

An urban mountain bike with easy-rolling 29er wheels, the Dee 29 VR is a sturdy runaround equally at home on overgrown canal towpaths and pot-holed city streets. The drivetrain uses a three-speed Shimano Nexus hub gear, whose chain and sprockets should easily outlast those of a derailleur bike. Shimano M396 hydraulic disc brakes provide pin-point stopping in all conditions. It doesn’t come with mudguards and or a rear rack, but there are mounts for both on the aluminium frame and steel fork. Vitus also makes a derailleur version, the Dee 29 (£349.99), and a singlespeed, the Vee 29 (£299.99).


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Vitus Substance FB

Vitus Substance FB


Not so much a flat-bar road bike as a flat-bar gravel bike, the Substance FB is a hybrid with better provision for luggage and bad roads than its skinnier-tyred competitors. The tough chrome-moly steel frame has fittings for a rear rack, and both the frame and full-carbon fork can be equipped with proper mudguards. The wheels are less likely to buckle as they have 32 spokes apiece, while the tubeless-ready rims are shod with comfortably wide 38mm Schwalbe Little Ben tyres. The gearing is 2x9 Shimano Sora with a range that suits faster riding on roads and tracks. Brakes are decent mechanical discs: TRP Spyres have two moving pistons instead of one for better modulated braking.


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Vitus Substance CRX

Vitus Substance CRX

Commuter, all-roads bike, adventure bike – the Substance CRX is a do-almost-anything drop-bar lightweight. A carbon fibre frame and fork keep the weight to just 9.3kg yet it’s no fragile race machine. There are mounts for mudguards, luggage, and several bottles, and the 650x47B WTB Horizon tyres will iron out bumps and vibration on road or off. The handlebar flares wider in the drops for better control on bad surfaces, and the SRAM Apex hydraulic disc brakes are as good as a mountain bike’s. The SRAM Apex drivetrain has a huge 10-42 tooth cassette, giving wide range gears in an intuitive and lightweight 1x11 package.


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Behind the Brand - Vitus

This month we head to Ireland and chat to Vitus, a brand that has gone through some huge changes from it's road roots, to emerge as a serious contender in high performance mountain bikes.

My first experience of Vitus bikes was last year, when I swung a leg over their Escarpe 29er, and was instantly hooked. A medium travel big wheeler with modern geometry and a great spec, it was a fantastic ride. Looking back it's clear that they were ahead of the curve, as this year has seen a boom in the 29er trail bike market. Vitus is a bike brand that is most definitely on the rise, having been quietly reinventing themselves over the past few years.

Perhaps not as well know as the big global players, they have been earning a reputation as manufacturers of modern, capable mountain bikes at affordable prices. With increasingly good results from their sponsored riders, and bikes receiving rave reviews, the future is looking bright. Most recently we've seen a move to a carbon frame for their Sommet enduro bike, a sure sign they mean business and are serious about pushing technology forward. 

Although they may be part of the Chain Reaction family, they still manage to retain their own identity and heritage, having both a strong commercial focus while maintaining strong links with their local riders, trails and race scene. We caught up with Ian McIntyre, David Pattern and Dale McMullen from Vitus to find out more about the brand, bikes, racing and the future.

Vitus started in France in the 70's yes? How has a French road brand ended up in Ireland making carbon enduro bikes?

You are right; Vitus has a proud history that dates back to the 1970’s when it was one of the top road brands using innovative lug bonding techniques to develop very lightweight frames.  The French company developing Vitus bikes lost its way, and Chain Reaction Cycles purchased the brand in 2008. Since that time we have been building the brand across MTB and Road by developing better and better frames and bikes. To be making top quality carbon framed enduro bikes shows that we are restoring the reputation that Vitus had in the 70’s for high-tech products.   

Whereabouts are Vitus based now?

The Vitus product development team are based in Northern Ireland as part of Chain Reaction Cycles but operate as a separate team concentrating on designing, specifying and testing Vitus bikes

CRC is, of course, a huge company, but how big is Vitus on its own?

In terms of staff dedicated to Vitus then we have a team of 5 comprising of designers, engineers and a brand manager but being part of CRC we are able to tap into a wider team that manages all of our logistics, warehousing and customer service. CRC’s global reach enables us to meet demand from all over the world for Vitus bikes although our primary markets continue to be the UK and Ireland. 

What are the advantages of being part of the Chain Reaction family?

Being part of Chain Reaction Cycles does provide some real benefits for Vitus. Apart from the funding, the bigger business can provide to enable us to invest in the brand it also gives us access to a big market of keen mountain bikers that shop on CRC.  We get great feedback from that large, worldwide customer base and can see and respond to the trends. On top of that, Chain Reaction Cycles has many competitive mountain bikers on the staff who regularly help us test and develop the bikes.

How would you describe the culture or ethos behind Vitus? You have a big range of Enduro, Trail and DH bikes, but also some entry level hardtails and even one carbon XC hardtail. There are definitely a few gaps in the range, is this intentional?

We are trying to develop a broad range of MTB’s to suit a variety of riding types. The ethos remains the same throughout so, for example, if we develop an entry level hardtail we want it to have the best geometry for that type of riding and to be the best value for money. The team developing our MTB’s are all experienced riders and engineers. They are always working with the major component and wheel brands bring the latest innovations to our bikes but are very aware of the fads that don’t translate into better bikes.   

The past few years have seen some significant changes to suspension design and aesthetics. What or who brought about these changes and how did the current suspension platform came about?

The current suspension platform on the Vitus Escarpe and Sommet models was developed jointly by our R&D Manager, Dale McMullan, concept designer Enrique Repolles and CAD engineer Alan Boyd. It is a

Horst link suspension with horizontal floating shock mount.  To compete with the latest frame developments available, we knew we had to come up with something good aesthetically and technically different but all for the right reasons, not just another 4 bar! The first thing was to sort the kinematics, the way that the suspension operates, and geometry. Once we were happy that we had ticked the boxes for desirable anti-squat, brake squat, leverage curves and rearward axle path we handed the geometry and linkage points over to Enrique to add the aesthetics. We then spent a long time making the 3D Solid Works model to check fitment of all bolt-on parts and make changes before sample stage. The computer package also enables us to simulate mechanical stress testing so that we can ensure that we have the strength in all of the right places before a sample is built and subject to actual tests.

Are these frame changes led by rider input, technological advances or something else?

Vitus frame advances are predominantly driven by rider requirements and the type of riding and events currently evolving. Our development team are continually assessing frame development trends, and they are riding and competing to test what works best. All of our bikes tend to end up having a more aggressive geometry because that’s what we like to ride. We know from our testing that, for example, our Sentier hardtail with an “aggressive” head angle of 66.5deg will handle better for the majority of trail riders than any 68-69deg bike.

You recently released you new Carbon Sommet, why have you chosen to go down the carbon route with this frame? Why did you decide not to tweak the geometry for the carbon? Are the numbers perfect?

We know from the positive customer feedback and press reviews that we had a superb bike with the new Sommet. Producing the same frame geometry in carbon made perfect sense as it saves weight, gives improved stiffness/compliance where required and looks really cool!  

I spent some time on your Escarpe 29er last year and thought it was great. Are there plans to make a carbon version of the Escarpe?

We have no immediate plans for a carbon Escarpe 29er, but we are developing a new version of this frame in alloy.

Where are your bikes designed, built and assembled?

We develop the frames ourselves and have them made and assembled to our specifications in Asia (as do most bike brands). By sourcing directly and then selling directly to customers on CRC, we can keep costs down and offer great value for money to our customers.

You must have some great trails local to you, do you test bikes locally? What is it about your trails and the riding in Ireland which makes it so good?

There have been some great new trail centres developed in Northern Ireland in recent years (Rosstrevor, Davagh, Castlewellan) but until then it was mostly natural trails. We have been riding steep, rooty and “sometimes” dry natural trails. We tend to head south towards the Mourne mountain range we have some amazing natural and man-made trails.

You support both the national enduro series' in Ireland, how important is it to be involved in racing, and what do you as a brand get out of supporting them?

It’s great to be able to support both of the Enduro series in Ireland, one in the south and one in the north. As Vitus is still a relatively young brand in MTB, it’s crucial for us to build credibility. We know we have very capable bikes, so having some really talented Vitus riders competing in both series has definitely raised our profile and dramatically improved brand awareness. We also get very valuable feedback from our sponsored athletes.

Who is currently on your books as Pro riders? Which discipline are you focussed most on at the moment?

Currently, we have five factory Vitus supported riders:

Killian Callaghan – Enduro

Michelle Muldoon – Enduro

Jack Devlin – Enduro/Downhill

Sacha Bickerstaff – Downhill

We are pushing slightly harder in the Enduro market as we see this as an area of growth, but we are committed to both gravity disciplines.

Were any of your riders at the EWS round in Ireland? It must be great to have a round of the EWS so close.

Yes, Killian Callaghan, Jack Devlin and Michelle Muldoon are our Vitus factory riders, and all did exceptionally well at the Emerald Enduro, with Killian taking the win in the under 21 categories with Jack Devlin finishing 11th. Michelle finished 11th in the open women.  We also had some other great results with brand ambassador, Colin Ross, 33rd and Vitus First Tracks riders Nathan McCombe 44th in the open men category and Alastair Baron 27th under 21 men. So all in all a very successful weekend for Vitus bikes.

Have you got any plans to get involved with the E-bike or plus sized 'revolution'?

Absolutely, we are currently working on a short travel trail/enduro e-bike. The growth of e-bikes has been substantial over the past few years, and we believe that this is set to continue. I haven’t, to date, spoken to anyone who has tried one and didn’t thoroughly enjoy the experience.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for what you have up your sleeve next, good luck with the rest of the race series and thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

By Ewen Turner

Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

  1. Where is impressions vanity located
  2. Matplotlib imshow colormap
  3. Forged fitness

Vitus (bicycle company)

French bicycle manufacturer

Vitus is a French bicycle manufacturer best known for its steel cycle frame tubing, and its frames built with aluminium tubes joined to aluminium lugs by bonding - a construction method the company pioneered in the late 1970s.[1]


Compared to modern aluminium bicycle frames, early Vitus aluminium frames, such as the 979, offered more comfort because of the small diameter of the tubes.[2][3] As a result, the frames lacked some degree of lateral stiffness compared to their steel counterparts.

The Vitus 992 improved on the 979 design by pinching the aluminum tubes into an ovoid shape at certain critical places, greatly improving stiffness.

In the early 1980s, Vitus began producing frames using carbon fiber tubing, but did so in keeping with the company's method of using small diameter tubing and bonding lugs.

The company later expanded its product offering with carbon fiber semi-monocoque frames (made with more than one monocoque element), like the ZX-1. The ZX-1 was one of the first monocoque carbon fiber bikes made.

Since being purchased by WiggleCRC group Vitus bikes became a direct-to-consumer brand selling exclusively on Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle websites.

Frame tubing[edit]

Vitus also supplies tubing to other bicycle manufacturers.


It is based near St. Etienne, France. It has manufacturing in Cambodia.


  1. ^Bicycle Accident Reconstruction for the Forensic Engineer, by James M. Green, published by Trafford Publishing, page 6.[self-published source]
  2. ^[1]. Joe Young Custom Wheels, article "Rescue a Classic Bike". Accessed on 16 December 2007.
  3. ^Bicycle Frame Materials Comparison with a Focus on Carbon Fiber Construction Methods, by Craig Calfee and David Kelly.

External links[edit]


Forty years ago competitive cycling was enjoying a Golden Age. What is nostalgic now was transformative then – a fresh generation of international riders, new materials and methods for cycle manufacture, more efficient components, aero designs and specialised time trial machines.

An Icon of 1980s cycling was France’s Vitus 979 frame which exemplified many of the innovations of the decade which it outlasted to become one of the most successful racing bicycles ever. 

One of the last triumphs of the French racing bicycle, the 979 is instead best remembered for its participation in the globalization of the pro peloton.  This was the machine that the “Foreign Legion”— Australia’s Phil Anderson, Ireland’s Sean Kelly and Colombia’s Luis Herrera— rode to tête de la course of the Continental 
racing circuit. 

So pop-in a cassette of Kraftwerk’s Tour de France in your Walkman, and rediscover the 1980s when the Neuf Sept Neuf and the Foreign Legion ruled pavé and peloton. 


Although the first effort at an aluminium bicycle dates to 1890s, none had the strength and rigidity required of the competitive racing cycle due to ineffective means of joining the tubes by screws. 

The Second World War saw enormous advances in bonding alloy in aviation and the adoption of the technology to other applications after the war. By the late 1940s, alloy components were in widespread use on racing cycles. 

After TI Reynolds wrung the last ounce out of steel  with its 753 tubing in the 1970s, Italy and France adopted new advances from the aerospace field in bonding  alloy to finally produce an all-alloy racing frame.

In 1972 the Italian Alan led the way with a “screwed and glued” alloy frame which was the first used in pro racing.


Rival French efforts with bonded alloy frames were centered on Saint-Étienne where in 1886 where the Gauthier brothers built the first French bicycle, and the heart of the national cycle industry.  One of the many companies located there was Ateliers de la Rive, makers of the Vitus brand of cycle tubing. In 1970 the Bador firm, also of Saint-Étienne, acquired a majority share of the company and under a new President, Antoine Dumas, Vitus introduced the new Super Vitus 971.

Vitus/Bador joined forces with Angenieux-CLB, Péchiney (France’s leading manufacturer of alloy tubing) and America’s 3M Company (leaders in adhesive technologies and products) to develop a new process of bonding alloy tubes to precast alloy components without additional screws or pins.

In 1975-76 the first prototypes were designed and built by local frame builder Roger Roche.  It was Roche who developed the idea of fitting the lugs or frame ends into the tubing as a press-fit male-female joining socket. This not only reduced the labour of construction, but permitted the even flow of adhesive on the entire joint.  Here was a cycle frame not only built of novel materials, but constructed in a wholly new fashion, ideally suited for mass production. 

On 31 July 1978 Paule Defour (CLB) and Antoine Dumas (Bador) were awarded a French patent for a new method of dry heat activated epoxy bonding  alloy tubing to slip-fit cast alloy lugs, drop-outs, bottom bracket and brake bridge made by CLB.  Bador also patented a jig-based production process.

Bador assembled the frames from the outside supplied component parts and sold them as Vitus branded framesets or to the French cycle companies (and many foreign ones), cycle distributors and large retail outlets which “branded” them under their own names and fitted out by them as complete machines.


The timeless aesthetics of the Vitus 979 frame are owed to Roger Roche who turned the unique concept and materials into a perfect combination of traditional frame design and artisan craftsmanship and modern methods and materials.   Finally, here was an alloy frame that didn’t seem derived from the pipefitting trade. 

The Vitus 979 frame was new and distinctive.  Its conventionally sized tubes gave a traditional appearance offset by the quietly contemporary shaping of the cast alloy stays and fork, all rendered in a natural satin finish and contrasting with the anodised coloured or natural alloy main tubes. The fork was especially attractive with its oversized blades designed to blend harmoniously with the head tube.  The lack of painted finishes made the frame cheaper to manufacture and maintain as well as more durable. 

The advantage of aluminium, its light weight, was fully achieved in the new Vitus 979 frame which weighed about 30% less than a steel one. A 59 cm (c-c) frame and fork tipped the scales at just 1.8 kg or 4 lbs.  A fully fitted top-class 979 racing bike weighed about 18-19 lbs.

The Vitus 979 featured an aggressive geometry with 74° head/74° seat angles, a resilient short rake (1 9/16″) fork, short 16″ chain stays and vertical drop-outs giving a wheelbase of just 38.5″ and making for an exceptionally light handling machine. Provision was made for Allen recessed bolt short reach (38-47) brakes. This was all very forward thinking in 1979 and enabled adoption of the same alloy castings on later carbon fibre models.


Characteristic of the 979 was the inherent flex of the duralinox tubing which was conventional metric size and less laterally strong than steel tubing. This was more apparent in larger frame sizes and most frames were made 59 cm and smaller.  But this also gave it superb dampening qualities on bad road surfaces, making it popular on grueling day events like the Paris-Roubaix and the spring classics. 

… Phil Anderson was the first Australian to wear the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France, riding a PX-10DU 
(the Peugeot 979 model)…

What proved remarkably effective was the glue bonding although in hard competitive cycling, most teams replaced the frames each season. And it was said that powerful sprinters like Sean Kelly swapped out his Vitus frames every month or so before they “got soft”. 

The original alloy steerer tube, prone to vibration in hard braking, was replaced by steel by the early 1980s. One weakness of the original design, the cracking of the alloy “ears” for the seat post binder bolt, led to redesign of the seat post lug in 1985 to incorporate an internal grub screw to hold a newly designed 25 mm seat post. 


The Vitus 979 was introduced in September 1979 at the Salon du Cycle, Paris, so yes, the 979 came out in 9.79!  Motobecane, Peugeot and Bertin were among the first to offer it badged and sold as complete machines such as the Motobecane Prolight and Peugeot PX-10DU.

…Vitus created two aero models in 1982 by shaping the seat and down tubes to achieve an aerodynamic profile with an oval (“Arcor”) or lozenge (“Losange”) contour…

The 979 was an unqualified success.  In 1984, annual production hit a high of 17,000 frames a year and that May the 50,000th frame left the Bador factory.   In all, over 145,000 were manufactured by the time production finally ended in 1997.


Further enshrining the 979 into the 1980s era was its figuring in the “aero” craze.  Vitus created two aero models in 1982 by shaping the seat and down tubes to achieve an aerodynamic profile with an oval (“Arcor”) or lozenge (“Losange”) contour and the seat stays were flattened to give an aero profile.  These, however, were not successful and only produced for a few years. 

By the mid 1980s, the 979 was available in a ladies frame model as well as “lo pro” time trial designs for road or track. 

The 979 paved the way for bonded Vitus frames incorporating carbon fibre, first in the main triangle (Vitus Plus Carbone in autumn 1983), then all nine tubes (Vitus Plus+9 in 1986) which the same cast alloy components of the 979. 

A new design, the 992, with an integral headset and ovalised aero Duralinox tubing, was introduced in September 1991.

The Vitus 979 was the first dominate non steel frame in pro racing.  Ridden to its first professional win by Herman Van Springel on 18 May 1980 (Paris-Bordeaux) and its last by Sean Kelly on 20 April 1988 (Ghent-Wvelgam), the 979 proved itself with more wins than any single racing cycle for over eight years. 


If the 979 is remembered today, it’s mainly as being the mount of choice of cycling’s “Foreign Legion”, the new crop of international riders that burst on the Continental racing circuit in the early ‘eighties, including:

• Phil Anderson (Australia) 1981-1982 (Peugeot)

The first Australian to wear the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France, 7 July 1981, riding a PX-10DU (the Peugeot 979 model).

• Sean Kelly (Ireland) 1982-1988 (France-Loire, KAS)

The greatest Vitus champion who won 80% of his victories riding the 979 including seven wins Paris-Nice, 33 total wins alone in 1984 including Paris-Roubaix and most of the spring classics. 

•Luis Herrera (Colombia) 1984 (Varta-Café Colombia)

Riding a 979, the first non European and amateur rider to win a stage of the Tour de France 16 July 1984 Stage 17.

•Marianne Martin 1984 (U.S. National Team)

The first American and first woman to win the Tour de France Feminine in July 1984 riding a 979.


Size: 56cm

Model: Year 1987

Groupset: Shimano Sante

Finish: Brushed Alloy

Price: Whatever a dedicated enthusiast / collector will pay.



Bikes vitus


"For 2019 we are delighted to be launching the best looking and best-performing bikes we have ever made. Countless hours of testing and refining have delivered the best performing suspension and component specifications to date, all wrapped in confident colour ways and designs. The result; honest, performance-driven rider focused bikes, the Vitus way of doing things." – John Thompson – Vitus Bikes MTB Product Manager

Nucleus – From £499.99

Welcome to the Nucleus, MBR magazine £500 hardtail of the year three years running. Don’t be fooled by the price, the Nucleus isn’t your run of the mill entry-level mountain bike. It’s the foundation of the Vitus mountain bike range, with aggressive geometry designed to get you hooked.

2019 Vitus Nucleus VR

Alloy frame with modern geometry – (long, slack, low)
120mm fork (27) / 100mm fork (29)
Increased standover clearance
ISCG 05 chain guide mounts
Internal dropper post cable routing
Large volume tyres on 29mm inner width rims

Sentier – From £849.99

Playful. Capable. Nimble. Aggressive. Confidence inspiring. Just some of the words from satisfied test pilots that have had the joy of experiencing our award winning Sentier hardtail. With a long, slack and low modern geometry the Sentier is ready to be ridden harder and faster than ever before. It’s a bike you can push to the limit, whatever your skill level.

2019 Vitus Sentier VRX

Alloy frame with modern geometry (long, slack, low)
140mm fork (27) / 130mm fork (29)
Tyre clearance for up to 2.8″ tyres/PLUS compatible on 27.5inch frame
ISCG 05 chain guide mounts
Internal dropper post routing
BOOST 148mm Bolt through Rear Axle
Tubeless ready with tubeless rim tape fitted and valves included

Rapide – From £899.99

New for 2019 the Rapide takes all the great characteristics from its Carbon big brother. It’s fast, it’s fun and will put a smile on your face. The alloy boost frameset features tried and tested geometry to allow you to reach your true potential.

6061-T6 Modern Alloy BOOST Frameset
29” wheels
Rockshox 100mm fork inc Lockout
Maxxis 3C Tyres
Tubeless ready with tubeless rim tape fitted and valves included

Rapide Carbon – From £1799.99

Ready to race the Rapide Carbon is a dedicated race proven machine aimed at riders looking to reach the podium or the most efficient bike on that all-day adventure. The Ultra-Light T700 HM-UD carbon frame features modern geometry and impeccable handling characteristics optimised for 29” wheels. The Rapide Carbon was born fast

Photo Cred - Laurence Crossman-Emms

Ultra-Light HM-UD Full Carbon Frame
SRAM 1 x 12 groupsets
29” wheels
Rockshox 100mm fork inc Lockout
Maxxis 3C Tyres
Tubeless ready with tubeless rim tape fitted and valves included

Escarpe – From £1599.99

From pushing the limits at your local trail centre to all day epics behind bars, the Escarpe combines the perfect balance of fun and efficiency. With 140mm travel the Escarpe makes the perfect trail bike, holding its own when the going gets rough thanks to its modern geometry. The Escarpe doesn’t believe in one size fits all, that’s why we offer you the choice. 27.5” or 29”. There’s an Escarpe for the way you ride.

2019 Vitus Escarpe VRX

6061-T6 alloy frame with modern aggressive geometry (long, slack, low)
140mm suspension travel
ISCG 05 chainguide mounts
Internal dropper post on all models
BOOST 148mm Bolt through Rear Axle
Metric Trunnion mount shock with sealed bearing upper shock mount
Tubeless ready with tubeless rim tape fitted and valves included

Sommet – From £1699.99

The Sommet, much like it’s Carbon brother is everything you need in an enduro bike at a more accessible price. It’s confidence inspiring and handles technical downhills with ease thanks to its modern aggressive geometry. If you’re aiming for the enduro podium or want to push your riding to the limits on your favourite trail, the Sommet is with you all the way.

2019 Vitus Sommet

Modern alloy frame with advanced geometry – (long, slack, low)
170mm fork travel, 160mm rear travel
Tyre clearance for up to 2.6″ tyres
200mm front 180mm rear brake disc
ISCG 05 chainguide mounts
Internal dropper post on all models
BOOST 148mm Bolt through Rear Axle
Metric Trunnion mount shock with sealed bearing upper shock mount

Sommet Carbon – From £2999.99

The Sommet Carbon is the choice of 4-time Red Bull Fox Hunt winner Colin Ross, it’s a confidence inspiring 160mm enduro bike. The Sommet handles technical downhills with ease, thanks to the modern aggressive geometry. Take your riding to the limits on your favourite trail or reach for the podium at your local enduro, the Sommet is with you all the way.

2019 Vitus Sommet CRX

Modern carbon frame with advanced geometry – (long, slack, low)
170mm fork travel, 160mm rear travel
Tyre clearance for up to 2.6″ tyres
200mm front 180mm rear brake disc
ISCG 05 chain guide mounts
Internal dropper post routing
BOOST 148mm Bolt through Rear Axle
Metric Trunnion mount shock with sealed bearing upper shock mount

E-Sentier Electric Trail Hardtail – £2399.99

E-Curious? Open up new adventures, a new kind of fun with the E-Sentier, based on the hard charging geometry of our award winning Sentier hardtail. If you’ve ever wondered if bionic legs would make trail riding even more exhilarating you need to ride our E-Sentier. Combining the turbo charged pedal power of the Shimano Steps drive system with the trail blasting fun of the Sentier_

Eco, trail or Boost Power modes
140mm Front suspension
2.6” Maxxis 3C Tyres (Compatible up to 2.8”)
Dropper Seat Post
4 piston brakes

Frame: 6061-T6 Alloy
Fork: ROCKSHOX Recon RL 140mm
Motor: Shimano e7000 STEPS
Groupset: 1×10 Shimano Deore (11-42T)
Chainset: Shimano FC-E8000 34T
Wheels: WTB ST i29
Brakes: Shimano M520 4 piston 203-203 Rotors
Seatpost: Nukeproof/Vitus
Tyres: MAXXIS Minion DHF 27.5 x 2.6 F / MAXXIS Agressor 27.5 x 2.5 R
Finishing Kit: Nukeproof/Vitus

E-Sommet – From £3199.99

E-Curious? Supercharge your ride with the award-winning E-Sommet. Designed by passionate mountain bikers to handle the most technical descents thanks to its aggressive geometry based on our hard charging Sommet enduro bike. The E-Sommet puts a smile on your face when you realise you are gliding back up for another run after smashing your local downhill trail. Experience the buzz of carving corners with pedal assist on both the climbs and the descents_

Aggressive Enduro Geometry (long, slack, low)
Eco, trail or Boost Power modes
Fast charging battery, 80% in 2hrs
170mm Front / 160mm rear suspension
2.8” Tyre Clearance
4 Piston Brakes
Tubeless Ready

Vitus Bikes are available exclusively on Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle.

Check out the 2019 Vitus MTB Look Book.

Photo Cred - Laurence Crossman-Emms


2021 Vitus ZX-1 Evo road bike review: Aero, affordable, and available

Vitus first announced the rebirth of the ZX-1 three years ago with a disc-only aero road frame featuring truncated tubing and partially internal cable routing. Vitus has now updated the ZX-1 with an all-new frame featuring even wider truncated tubing, dropped seatstays, and entirely internal cable routing, which, with the large seat tube/seatstay cluster, bears a remarkable resemblance to the original ZX-1 from 1992. 

Story Highlights

  • What it is:An aero road frame that’s said to offer 45% less drag than the previous model .
  • Key features: Aero tubing, integrated front end, internal cable routing, Reynolds wheels.
  • Weight: 8.3 kg (18.2 lb, size Large, without pedals)
  • Price: US$5,399 / £4,199 / AU$7,199 / €5,799
  • Highs: Feels fast, handles well, looks fast, good spec levels throughout the range.
  • Lows: Harsh ride, internal cable routing headaches, round spokes on aero wheels, poor saddle clamp choice.

Vitus was reborn in 2012 when Chain Reaction Cycles acquired the brand name and unveiled a range of new bikes. CRC wasn’t long in bringing the Vitus name back to the international racing scene, sponsoring the Sean Kelly team from 2013 until the team’s demise in 2018. 

The first year of that partnership overlapped with my last year as a full-time rider and gave me a taste of the Vitus range. That 2013 Vitus Vitesse was forgettable at best, and I am not unfair in saying it was the worst bike I ever raced. Fast forward eight years, and thankfully, my second taste of Vitus road bikes is much sweeter. 

The Vitesse model has gone through several updates since then and now exists as the Vitesse Evo. However, it is the new 2021 ZX-1 Evo I had in for test over the past few months. 

The ZX-1 is Vitus’ outright aero bike, which is obvious with one look at the new bike. With 60 mm deep wheels, integrated aero handlebars, truncated airfoil-shaped tubing all over, internal cable routing, and a down tube wide enough to hide a water bottle behind, all add up to a bike clearly designed with speed as the focus. 

Vitus says that “the goal [was] to make this bike aerodynamically fast, feel fast, and look fast.” However, in a shift from the norm for aero bike marketing, Vitus has decided not to tell us how much faster the new bike is. Instead, Vitus says the new bike is “up to” 45% faster than the outgoing ZX-1 complete bike. Vitus also points to real-world influences, which render the usual seconds-gained-per-kilometre marketing gumpf less transferable when looked at on an individual rider level. 

“We know there are plenty of other ‘real world’ factors that can’t be accounted for in a wind tunnel, like what height your socks are, what helmet you’re wearing, can you ‘super-tuck’, or are you not quite flexible enough to get ‘really low’,” Vitus says. “We will however tell you that we’ve tested this bike’s aerodynamics to validate our own design decisions. It exhibits up to 45% less drag than the previous ZX-1 when built as a full bike. Trust us when we say we’ve done our bit and this bike is fast … the rest is up to you.”

At risk of contradicting myself, I agree with Vitus: what is fast for one rider might not necessarily be fast for another. But part of me still wants to know how much faster the new bike is for a test rider in test conditions. On top of that, “up to 45% less drag”, has that marketing gumpf feel to it anyway. Perhaps an industry-wide standard test rider, clothing, conditions, power output, and cadence for aerodynamic testing could solve these claimed time-saving questions? One can dream.  

Also immediately obvious is the high-level components Vitus has equipped its new bike with throughout the range. I was expecting to see sister brand Prime components supplying wheels, handlebars, and stems. Vitus has instead turned to Reynolds for its AR58/62 wheels, and Vision for its Metron 5D ACR integrated bar and stem. In fact, Prime handlebars appear on just three of the six new models, and its wheels only appear on one of those bikes. 

Add to that SRAM Red, Force, and Rival AXS builds, plus Shimano Ultegra Di2, Ultegra R8000, and 105 R7000 options, and Vitus has a very well spec’d bike at a range of price points. This spec level extends all the way to the tyres, an area where some brands target to save a few dollars. Vitus has opted for Schwalbe ONE tubeless tyres throughout the range. Not Schwalbe’s fastest tyre, but a solid choice nonetheless. 

So impressed was I with the spec level, I thought it might be interesting to check the total suggested retail price of just the components on the CRS Force Etap AXS model I had on review. While I understand the cost-saving buying a complete bike can offer versus buying the frame and components separately, I was still surprised to learn the sum of the components SRP was just £151 less than the £4,199.99 Vitus is offering the complete bike for. That £151 accounts for the frame, forks, seat post, saddle, bar tape, and tubeless accessories. 

Pick two

As the old saying goes, “affordable, light, stiff; pick two”. If we update this saying to “affordable, light, and fast”, Vitus has very clearly picked “affordable” and “fast”, as the new ZX-1 is certainly not light. I weighed the size large test model here at 8.3 kg with Elite Vico carbon bottle cages. Add your pedals of choice and the complete bike will be 8.5 kg+. 


That weight is certainly underwhelming when you first lift the bike. It’s heavy and it feels it. However, hop on the bike, and that weight seems to fall off. The bike is agile and responsive under me and feels spritely on any gradient below 7-8%.

On these shallower gradients and climbing out of the saddle, where aero still has a significant impact, the bike seems to float below me, and it actually feels light when I flick the bars left to right under my hands. 


While it is not light, the bike certainly feels fast. Really fast. The ZX-1 pairs that impressive agility on steady climbs with brute force on the flats. Get the ZX-1 into its natural habitat on flat and rolling roads, and it feels like a juggernaut refusing to slow down. The ZX-1’s willingness to hold speed on a flat road is impressive, and when the road points downward, I find myself challenging KOMs without even pedalling. 

I took the ZX-1 to a 200 km Audax ride around the Dark Hedges (of Game of Thrones fame) recently, and it was on the long flat sections of this ride I really felt the bike come into its own. When up to speed on these flat roads, the bike seemed very willing to sit there and just tick off the kilometres. As expected, with 60 mm deep wheels and an aero frame, the fight against wind resistance seemed notably easier than it might have been.

Vitus engaged TotalSim in Silverstone to conduct CFD analysis on the frame during the design process, validating the designs created in house by Vitus in Belfast and translating them into an aerodynamically fast frame. 

One area Vitus looked to gain some aero efficiency in is the cable routing. Vitus worked with FSA to integrate its ACR (Aerodynamic Cable Routing) system with a headset top cap specifically designed for the ZX-1. 

Here at CyclingTips, we have voiced our concerns about fully internal cable routing through the upper headset bearing countless times now, so I won’t rehash those. The internal cable routing creates a noticeably clean front end and is faster than having brake hoses out in the wind. 

The use of split spacers (which can be added or removed without removing the stem) and SRAM eTap (which means only the brake hoses route through the headset) will reduce the headache of changing headset or bar height a little. But when the time does come to replace that upper headset bearing, don’t be surprised with a bigger bill at the local bike shop. 


Now discussing:

It was necessary to relieve the tension that had accumulated over several days. As I often had in the morning again, there was no time to satisfy my lust. I had to take a quick light shower to cheer up, brush my teeth. Well at least there was no need to cook anything.

Mom cooked borscht yesterday, so all I had to do was burn it.

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