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How to decide on the best bike for you from the Vitus line-up

Vitus Bikes first emerged as a frame builder in 1970s France; the brand is now part of Chain Reaction Cycles, offering some highly impressive models at very good prices.

The original Vitus was a brand belonging to tubing manufacturer Ateliers de la Rive and is best remembered for the 979 aluminium frames of the late Seventies and early Eighties, produced in a joint venture with Bador and CLB-Angenieux. The bonded construction was revolutionary at the time. Vitus is also known for having been an early adopter of carbon fibre.

Nowadays the Vitus brand is owned by the Wiggle-CRC group and sells through Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle. The group's immense buying power means prices are competitively low. The current range of road bikes comprises (in escalating order of price) the Razor, Zenium, Vitesse Evo and ZX1. The Venon is being phased out of the lineup.

We'll also look at the new Substance multi-surface models and the Energie cyclocross bikes.

Prices in the description below are original RRPs while the table at the foot of the page has been updated to include any discount prices at which you can buy the bikes from Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles.

Razor — from £499.99

The Razor is Vitus' cheapest line of aluminium road bikes with prices as low as £499.99. Frames are made from 6061-T6 alloy that's double butted, meaning that the central sections of the tubes have thin walls to save weight and add comfort while the ends are thicker for strength and durability. The geometry sits somewhere between that of a race bike and an endurance road bike, so your ride position is fairly relaxed without being too upright.

RazorVR.jpg

The Razor is built with slim seatstays that are designed to flex slightly to provide comfort, and comes equipped with mudguard mounts. All models are fitted with 28mm tyres for a little more comfort than you get with 25s. The drivetrains are Shimano throughout while the brakes are from Tektro.

The opening model, simply called the Razor (£499.99), comes with a Shimano's 8-speed Claris groupset and a carbon legged fork, while the Razor VR (above, £599.99) steps up to Shimano's 9-speed Sora groupset. It's also available with women's-specific finishing kit, as the Razor VRW, at the same price. Both are bound to continue selling well.

Razor.jpg

The Razor VRX (above, £699.99) comes with Shimano's 10-speed Tiagra drivetrain, including a 52/36-tooth chainset rather than the compact chainset (50/34-tooth chainrings) found on the other bikes in the range.

Check out our review of the 2018 Razor VR

Vitus has added disc brake Razors for the first time in 2019. As with all Vitus disc brake road bikes, the brakes are flat mount standard with 160mm rotors and 12mm thru axles, and the cable routing is fully internal. 

As with the rim brake models, you get a double-butted 6061-T6 alloy frame with a carbon leg/ alloy steerer fork.

The Razor Disc (£649.99) is equipped with a Shimano Claris 8-speed drivetrain and Tektro MD-C510 mechanical disc brakes.

RazorVR Disc.jpg

The Razor VR Disc (above) is £100 more expensive at £749.99. Go for this model and you step up to a Shimano Sora 9-speed drivetrain with a 50-34-tooth chainset, the same as you get on the cheaper model, but with an 11-32-tooth rather than an 11-28-tooth cassette, giving you a wider range of ratios. You also get Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes.

Assuming that the disc brake Razors ride as well as the rim brake models, these look like great value for money.

Buy if: You want an entry-level aluminium road bike that offers lots of value.

Zenium — from £899.99

Last year's Zenium bikes were aluminium but Vitus has introduced a carbon-fibre frameset for 2019. 

The Zenium is designed as an all-rounder that can act as everything from a winter workhorse to a nippy sportive bike. The frame and fork are both made from T700 HM-UD carbon fibre.

2019 Vitus Zenium

Unlike its aluminium predecessor, the carbon model does not have mudguard eyelets. Vitus says that with many brands offering very good clip-on mudguards, it thought this a compromise worth making.

"The Zenium’s compact geometry and slender seatstays increase vertical compliance, adding comfort and a balanced ride," says Vitus.

The cheapest Zenium, equipped with a Shimano Tiagra/Sora groupset and TRP Spyre cable-operated disc brakes, is £899.99 – the same as the similarly specced 2018 version which came with an aluminium frame.

The Zenium CR and CRW (the women's version) each come with Shimano's mid-level 105 groupset, including hydraulic disc brakes, and they're priced £1,259.99. We've not ridden either of these bikes but it they're anything like as good as last year's aluminium Vitus Zenium SL VRX Disc then you're getting a lot of bike for your money here. 

Read our review of the 2018 Vitus Zenium SL VRX

The Zeniums are fitted with 28mm wide tyres although there is clearance for 30mm if you want to swap in the future.

Buy if: You're after a disc-equipped bike that's suitable for everything from commuting to big rides at the weekend.

Vitesse Evo— from £1,999.99

The Vitesse Evo is a lightweight race bike that's now available only in disc brake options, Vitus having ditched the rim brake models for 2019. All models are fitted with 25mm tyres but they have clearance for 28s.

The UCI certified frame is made from T700 carbon with an oversized down tube and bottom bracket, and a tapered head tube, and the fork is made of the same material. As you'd expect, the geometry puts you into a low and aggressive ride position – a traditional race bike setup. All three models come with Shimano groupsets, including 52/39-tooth chainsets and 11-30-tooth cassettes.

_Vitesse Evo CR.jpg

When we reviewed the 2017 Vitus Vitesse Evo Disc Ultegra we described it a "fast and responsive race bike that excels on descents and is no slouch on climbs". We called it "an affordable package, backed up by superb performance".

Check out our review of the 2017 Vitus Vitesse Evo Disc Ultegra

The most affordable model in the 2019 range is the Vitesse Evo CR Disc (above) at £1,999.99. Alongside the very reliable Shimano 105 groupset you get DT Swiss P1800 Spline DB 23 wheels.

Vitesse Evo CRS.jpg

The £2,599.99 Vitesse Evo CRS Disc (above) is good value with Mavic's reliable Ksyrium Elite Disc CL 25 wheels. Vitus really hasn't skimped on the spec here with Ritchey bars and stem and a Prologo Kappa EVO saddle.

Vitesse Evo CRi.jpg

If you can stretch to £3,199.99 you can get the Vitesse Evo CRI Disc (above) with electronic shifting and Prime RR-50 V2 carbon wheels.

Buy if: You're looking for a responsive carbon race bike that performs well across the board.

ZX-1 — from £2,099.99

The Vitus ZX-1 was a carbon fibre monocoque race bike launched way back in 1991 by Vitus 1.0. The name was revived in 2018 on this model. Like the original, this version has aerodynamic features: the Kammtail tube profiles are designed to reduce drag, for instance, and the fork crown integrates with the frame. The ZX-1 takes disc brakes, comes with an asymmetric bottom bracket and chainstays and the wheels are held in place by thru axles front and rear.

ZX1 CR.jpg

The most affordable model is the £2,099.99 ZX-1 CR (above) which is built up with Shimano’s mid-range and highly regarded 105 groupset. The wheels are Mavic Cosmic Elite CLs fitted with Continental’s entry-level Ultra Sport II tyres.

ZX1 CRS.jpg

Step up to the ZX-1 CRS (above, £2,799.99) and you get Shimano’s second tier Ultegra groupset and Prime’s Black Edition wheels with 50mm-deep carbon rims. 

The ZX-1 CRI (below, £3,399.99) is a similar build but with the electronic version of Shimano Ultegra.

ZX1 CRi.jpg

The highest specced ZX-1 is the CRX (£4,599.99) which comes with the mechanical version of Shimano’s top tier Dura-Ace groupset along with DT Swiss ARC 1100 DiCut wheels in a 48mm depth.

Read our review of the 2018 Vitus ZX-1 CRi Aero Disc Ultegra Di2

Buy if: You’re after a race bike with aero features and plenty of value.

Six Track Bike — £699.99

The Six is a new track bike that you can either ride at the velodrome or on city streets (if you fit the supplied brakes).

SIX Track Bike

The frame is 6061-T6 aluminium alloy and the fork is alu too. You get reinforced dropouts and built-in chain tugs.

The wheels are Vitus's own with a flip-flop rear hub so you can run the bike fixed or with a freewheel.

Buy if: You’re after a steel fixed/singlespeed bike for the track and/or urban streets.

Substance — from £849.99

There are three Substance bikes in the range, two built around a 4130 chromoly steel frame and the other carbon fibre. All of them have mounts for racks and mudguards.

Vitus sees the Substance as a tough adventure/all-rounder lineup with models that can handle various different road surfaces, the idea being that you can use them for everything from commuting to bike packing. 

Vitus Substance-Steel-Flat-Bar 2019

The Substance range starts with the £849.99 Substance FB (above) – the 'FB' standing for flat bar. It has a geometry that's specifically designed for a flat bar, with an increased length of top tube. 

The Substance FB is built up with a full-carbon fork, Shimano’s fifth tier Sora groupset and TRP’s cable operated Spyre disc brakes. The 48/32-tooth FSA chainset is paired with a 9-speed 11-32-tooth cassette to help you get up steep hills fully laden. 38mm-wide tyres will keep the ride comfortable even over rough roads.

Vitus Substance-Steel-Drop-Bar 2019

The £949.99 Substance (above) is a similar build but it gets a drop handlebar and WTB wheels and tyres.

Read our review of the Vitus Substance V2 Apex 1

The £1,799.99 Substance CRX ​(below) has a T700 carbon frame and a full-carbon fork. With mounts for racks, mudguards and multiple bottles, it’s designed for adventure riding.

Vitus Substance-Carbon 2019

The Substance CRX is built up with a SRAM Apex 1 groupset with a single 40-tooth chainring matched to a wide-ranging 10-42-tooth cassette. 

It is also fitted with 650b WTB Frequency wheels and big volume WTB Horizon 47mm tyres. The wheels and tyres are tubeless ready. If you want to go tubeless the necessary valves and sealant are included.

Buy if: You’re looking for a multi-surface bike with plenty of versatility.

Energie — from £799.99

Vitus offers four Energie cyclocross bikes, two with aluminium frames and two with carbon fibre frames. They all feature disc brakes, SRAM 1X drivetrains and Novatec hubs laced to WTB rims, although the level of the wheel components varies.

Vitus Energie 2019 (1)

The entry-level model, simply called the Energie (£799.99), is built around a triple-butted 6061-T6 aluminium frame with a T700 unidirectional carbon fibre fork. This one comes with Sram's Apex components, including hydraulic disc brakes.

Check out our complete guide to Sram road bike groupsets.

The Energie VR uses a 6061-T6 aluminium frame and you step up a level to SRAM's Rival groupset, although this time it'll cost you £999.99.

For £1,279.99 you jump up to a T700 carbon fibre frame and the Energie Carbon CR Rival 1, with SRAM's Rival components.

Vitus Energie CRX 2019 (1)

The £1,419.99 Energie Carbon CRX, above, has the same T700 carbon frame and fork. It still gets a 1x drivetrain, in this case Force, which is second only to Red in SRAM's hierarchy.

Buy if: You’re after a race-ready cyclocross bike with a 1X drivetrain.

Vitus Bikes full 2019 road range and latest prices

Prices in bold indicate a price drop since this guide was last updated in late April.

Model Bike type Frame material Groupset Brakes Price
ZX-1 CRX Aero Disc Aero Carbon fibre Shimano Dura-Ace Disc £4,599.99
ZX-1 CRi Aero Disc Aero Carbon fibre Shimano Ultegra Di2 Disc £3,399.99
ZX-1 CRS Aero Disc Aero Carbon fibre Shimano Ultegra Disc £2,799.99
ZX-1 CR Aero Disc Aero Carbon fibre Shimano 105 Disc £2,099.99

Vitesse Evo CRi Disc

Road Carbon fibre Shimano Ultegra Di2 Disc £3,199.99
Vitesse Evo CRS Disc Road Carbon fibre Shimano Ultegra Disc £2,599.99
Vitesse Evo CR Disc Road Carbon fibre Shimano 105 Rim £1,999.99
Zenium CR Road Carbon fibre Shimano 105 Disc £1,259.99
Zenium CRW Road Carbon fibre Shimano 105 Disc £1,259.99
Zenium Road Carbon fibre Shimano Tiagra Disc £899.99
Razor Disc VR Road Aluminium Shimano Sora Disc  £749.99
Razor Disc Road Aluminium Shimano Claris Disc £649.99
Razor VRX Road Aluminium Shimano Tiagra Rim £699.99
Razor VRW Road Aluminium Shimano Sora Rim £599.99
Razor VR Road Aluminium Shimano Sora Rim £599.99
Razor Road Aluminium Shimano Claris Rim £499.99
Six Track Aluminium SRAM Omnium Disc £699.99
Energie CRX Cyclocross Carbon-fibre SRAM Force CX1 Disc £1,419.99
Energie CR Cyclocross Carbon-fibre SRAM Rival 1 Disc £1,279.99
Energie VR Cyclocross Aluminium SRAM Rival 1 Disc £999.99
Energie Cyclocross Aluminium SRAM Apex 1 Disc £799.99
Substance CRX Gravel Carbon fibre SRAM Apex 1 Disc £1,799.99
Substance Gravel Steel Shimano Sora Disc £949.99
Substance FB Gravel Steel Shimano Sora Disc £849.99
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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.

11 comments

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bendertherobot [1541 posts] 1 year ago
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I have an Energie X on the way. With platinum discount at Wiggle it comes out at £835 which is brilliant for a 1x hydro thru axle crosser. The Mrs Zenium has been superb. Big fan of the range and glad that it has usurped (mostly) Wiggle's own brands and continued. Good business decision.

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mtbtomo [291 posts] 1 year ago
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Isn't the Vitus Substance just a rebadged Verenti Substance, given that Wiggle and CRC are now under the same umbrella?

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zero_trooper [339 posts] 1 year ago
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mtbtomo wrote:

Isn't the Vitus Substance just a rebadged Verenti Substance, given that Wiggle and CRC are now under the same umbrella?

 

Looks like it. The Sora and Tiagra versions seem excellent value, tho' I'm sure that the 'Verenti' incarnations were a touch cheaper.

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Trickytree1984 [64 posts] 1 year ago
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The Zenium look like an interesting winter bike. Looks like it has eyelets too. No mention of weight though

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zero_trooper [339 posts] 1 year ago
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Matt Brett - put a note in your diary to rehash (sorry, I mean 'update') this feature in nine months time ready for the sales 

Some real bargains.......if only I'd saved my pennies..... blush

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mattb789 [23 posts] 1 year ago
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Some of these are super spec'd and very well thought out bikes.

I was looking at the boardman CX Team, but its lack of thru axles and a few other things, had me looking or waiting for something perhaps a little more future proof.

The Energie VR looks near perfect, but on further inspection it is spec'd with a mid cage 1x, so you're limited to 11-36 biggest cassette. So it's all the drawbacks of 1x with only half the benefits. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me... and no Sram XD driver on it. If it's in a sale with couple hundred off I could make the changes and sell the spares to recoup the money and make it damn near perfect, but the frame, is pretty much spot on. 

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ChetManley [95 posts] 1 year ago
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mattb789 wrote:

Some of these are super spec'd and very well thought out bikes.

I was looking at the boardman CX Team, but its lack of thru axles and a few other things, had me looking or waiting for something perhaps a little more future proof.

The Energie VR looks near perfect, but on further inspection it is spec'd with a mid cage 1x, so you're limited to 11-36 biggest cassette. So it's all the drawbacks of 1x with only half the benefits. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me... and no Sram XD driver on it. If it's in a sale with couple hundred off I could make the changes and sell the spares to recoup the money and make it damn near perfect, but the frame, is pretty much spot on. 

I would guess they're going for a pure cross racer so there's no overlap with the substance. Lack of the XD freehub wouldn't be a deal breaker for me but having to change the rear mech is a pain.

Avatar
bendertherobot [1541 posts] 1 year ago
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mattb789 wrote:

Some of these are super spec'd and very well thought out bikes.

I was looking at the boardman CX Team, but its lack of thru axles and a few other things, had me looking or waiting for something perhaps a little more future proof.

The Energie VR looks near perfect, but on further inspection it is spec'd with a mid cage 1x, so you're limited to 11-36 biggest cassette. So it's all the drawbacks of 1x with only half the benefits. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me... and no Sram XD driver on it. If it's in a sale with couple hundred off I could make the changes and sell the spares to recoup the money and make it damn near perfect, but the frame, is pretty much spot on. 

11-36 is enough for every race I've ever done, including Battle on the Beach. It's a fair point though, as the Energie X has an Apex long cage. Though, that suffers from a 32 cassette, which I will be swapping out.

 

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njmoffat [81 posts] 1 year ago
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I just bought my Wife a Vitus Razor VXR - it's amazing! Seriously, it's one of the best value things I have ever bought - it was £380! I have upgraded the brakes calipers to 105 dual pivot but to be honest the Tektro ones were perfectly adequate.

Awesome bike - 28mm tyres, shifts as good as my 105 (honestly!). It's no lightweight I will give you that but I will get her some Cero AR24 wheels soon with some better tyres....

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fixit bicycle clinic [138 posts] 6 months ago
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Are you guys at road.cc on any drugs? 

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John Stevenson [436 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes
tsarouxaz wrote:

Are you guys at road.cc on any drugs? 

Caffeine, alcohol and occasional ibuprofen.

Happy to hear recommendations from those more experienced than us though  3