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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 £999.99 – just £100 more than 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 £1,399.99. 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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Buy if: You’re after a race bike with aero features and plenty of value.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The £949.99 Substance (above) is a similar build but it gets a drop handlebar and WTB wheels and tyres.
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.
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.
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.
The entry-level model, simply called the Energie (£999.99), 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.
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 £1,199.99.
For £1,699.99 you jump up to a T700 carbon fibre frame and the Energie Carbon CR Rival 1, with SRAM's Rival components.
The £1,899.99 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.
|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|
|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||£1,399.99|
|Zenium CRW||Road||Carbon fibre||Shimano 105||Disc||£1,399.99|
|Zenium||Road||Carbon fibre||Shimano Tiagra||Disc||£999.99|
|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|
|Energie CRX||Cyclocross||Carbon-fibre||SRAM Force CX1||Disc||£1,609.99|
|Energie CR||Cyclocross||Carbon-fibre||SRAM Rival 1||Disc||£1,439.99|
|Energie VR||Cyclocross||Aluminium||SRAM Rival 1||Disc||£1,199.99|
|Energie||Cyclocross||Aluminium||SRAM Apex 1||Disc||£959.99|
|Substance CRX||Gravel||Carbon fibre||SRAM Apex 1||Disc||£1,799.99|
|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.