Vitus have just sent us details of their 2013 bike range and there are several key revisions and updates in there. Here are the highlights…
Vitus, available through Chain Reaction Cycles, have 10 road bike models in the lineup for 2013 compared to eight last year, although they’re now based on four different frames rather than seven – the Decium, Razor and Venon have gone.
Top of the tree is Vitus’s Sean Kelly, named after Ireland’s four-time Tour de France green jersey winner and classics specialist, of course, who is now an ambassador for the brand.
The Sean Kelly VRi is far and away the most expensive Vitus in the range with a price tag of £5,000 (well, £4,999.99 if you want to get pernickety). It’s built around a T700 unidirectional carbon-fibre frame that weighs in at 950g (Vitus’s claimed weight) and a matching full-carbon fork.
The groupset is Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (electonic shifting), the wheels are Mavic Ksyrium SLS and the bars, stem and seat post are all from 3T. Vitus really don’t appear to have cut any corners here… you wouldn’t expect them to on a five grand bike.
The Sean Kelly LTD Edition (main pic) is the same bike but rather than Di2, the groupset is SRAM Red. That brings the price down to £3,499.99. The complete bike in the 54cm size weighs in at 6.9kg (15.18lb) according to Vitus (they don’t have a weight for the Di2 version, although it’ll be a little more).
The three Vitesse bikes form the next level down in the Vitus road bike range, and they’re each built around the same T700 unidirectional carbon-fibre frame as the Sean Kelly bikes – same material, same geometry, same weight.
Last year there was just one Vitesse model, in a Dura-Ace build. There’s a Dura-Ace model again this year, although new 9000 Series 11-speed DA rather than 10-speed 7900. This one, the Vitesse VR, comes with a standard (53/39-tooth) chainset and a Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels for £3,399.99.
The Vitesse VRi comes in an Ultegra Di2 build with a compact (50/34-tooth) chainset. That aside, it’s exactly the same as the VR, at £2,799.99. The straight Vitesse (above) has a mechanical Ultegra group and cheaper Ksyrium Equipe wheels for £1,799.99
We reviewed the 2011 version of the Dark Plasma and we were impressed by the quality of the frame. Vitus have upgraded it since then. This is actually a very similar frame to that used for the Sean Kelly and Vitesse bikes, but Vitus have added a cut out on the seatstay bridge for 2013. The idea is that this adds a little extra compliance and reduces road buzz – they’re aiming the Dark Plasma at sportive riders who value long-distance comfort over all-out stiffness.
Like the Sean Kelly, the Dark Plasma has a claimed frame weight of 950g, and it’s available in two different versions. The more expensive of the two is the £1,399.99 Dark Plasma VR which comes with a Shimano 105-based spec, although the chainset is a compact option from FSA. If you hang around road.cc much, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Shimano’s mid-level groupset. It’s hard to beat in terms of the performance you get for the price.
Mind you, if anything does offer better value that 105 it’s Shimano Tiagra and that’s what you get on the straight Dark Plasma (above) at £1,199.99.
Vitus’s sub-£1,000 bikes are the Zeniums, each built around an updated version of the frame used for last year’s single Zenium model. The 2013 frame is 6061-T6 hydroformed alloy with a sporty geometry that’s very similar to that of the other Vitus road bikes. Unlike many brands, Vitus haven’t shortened the top tube or lengthened the head tube for a more relaxed ride position at the lower price points, they’ve stuck with a performance-focused set-up.
Each of the Zenium bikes comes with a full unidirectional carbon forks, while the base model is equipped with a Shimano Sora/FSA groupset and Shimano R501 wheels. That one is priced at £699.99. The VR model is £100 more expensive, the main difference being that you get next-level-up Tiagra components. Go up to the £949.99 Zenium VRS (above) and you get yourself 105 level shifters and mechs.
Go to www.vitusbikes.com for details on the entire range.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.