Vitus Bikes are available exclusively through Chain Reaction Cycles, and they've just sent in this brand new £1,149 carbon-framed Venon for testing. Vitus was bought by Chain Reaction Cycles a few years ago, and since then they’ve been producing a smart range of road bikes with input from 'Brand Ambassador - Sean Kelly'. Sean of course rode a Vitus to many of his great victories.
The Venon disappeared from the 2013 range but is back for 2014, having been taken back to the drawing board. It’s billed as a sportive bike and features a brand new frame constructed from T700 high-modulus unidirectional carbon fibre. Vitus say the bike has been designed with comfort in mind, as you’d expect for a sportive machine, with shaped and skinny seatstays intended to smooth out the road.
Also providing extra comfort for the rider is the taller head tube. Slotting into it is a fork also made from the same grade of T700 carbon fibre, with a tapered steerer tube, something we’re seeing trickle down to much bikes of this price much more, when once they only featured on top-end bikes.
While comfort has been a clear design criteria for the revamped Venon, it’s clear from the oversized bottom bracket and chainstays that it should deliver when the pace gets going.
Available are five sizes from 49 to 60cm, we have the 55cm in for testing. Geometry, if you’re interested, is 395.51mm reach and 482.79mm stack, 551mm effective top tube, 150mm head tube, 992.4mm wheelbase and a 73° head angle and 74.3° seat angle.
This is the entry-level Venon costing £1,149, and there are another three bikes using the same frame but posher components, stretching to the Venon VRS costing £1,699. The groupset on this model is a mix of Shimano Tiagra shifters and derailleurs with an FSA Omega chainset. It’s a compact 50/34 which in combination with the 11-28t Tiagra cassette should provide ample ratios for scaling the steepest inclines.
Braking duties are taken care of with the Tektro R315 dual pivot calipers. The Venon also features a chain catcher, mounted to the seat tube to ensure the chain can’t fall off onto the bottom bracket shell.
Wider tyres are sweeping through the industry, offering more comfort and traction with no increase in rolling resistance, and it’s good to see the Venon equipped with 25mm Kenda tyres. They’re mounted to smart-looking wheels Vitus branded wheels with a 30mm deep-section rim profile and alloy hubs.
The handlebar, stem, seatpost and saddle all wear a Vitus Elite label, the parts are all made from aluminium and a nice touch are the colour coded decals. The all-important weight is 9kg (19.8lb) on the nose.
The Venon is heading out to be tested now. We came away impressed with the £1,799 Vitesse we tested last year, so it’ll be interesting to see how the new Venon performs. The £1,000 to £1,200 road bike market is a fiercely competitive place, and we've had a few similarly priced bikes in recently. Most recently there's the Trek Domane 2.0 of course, the Mekk Poggio 1.5 road bike and also the HOY Sa Calobra 003. We'll let you know how we get on soon.
More at www.vitusbikes.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.