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Vitus Energie EVO CRS (Force - 2021)



Fast, precise and a light frameset makes this a hugely competitive CX bike or gravel racer
Sharp handling gives confidence and poise
Big tyre clearance
Lightweight build
Un-taped bar tops can be slippery in the wet

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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This new Energie EVO CRS from Vitus is their World Cup level cyclo-cross race bike, and it's a belter. With aggressive, race orientated geometry and a low weight, it's an absolute blast to race or just take out for a spin. With large tyre clearances and mudguard mounts you're just a few tweaks from a competent gravel bike or year-round commuter, too.

We've always been fans of the Vitus Energie here at I found the Energie CRX a hoot to ride with a great build for the money, and Dave loved the entry-level Cyclo X back in 2016.

2020 Vitus Energie Evo - riding 6.jpg

The EVO range sits above the standard Energie line-up, and for 2021 it has had a complete rethink from the ground up. It's one of the best off-road racers I've ridden.

The biggest highlight for me is the handling. This thing is really quick through the bends, and not just thanks to its rapid steering, which is good for getting you out of trouble. There's fantastic feedback coming up from the tyres. It allows excellent precision, letting you keep the power on even when sliding your way out of a tight corner.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - tyre.jpg

The 33mm Vee XCX tyres (the UCI restricts the maximum width, and this is aimed at racing) can feel skittish in wet mud, and the bike slithers a fair bit under power or braking, but that feedback and responsiveness just lets you ride through it.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - top tube.jpg

With a slightly longer top tube matched to a relatively short head tube, Vitus has created a low-slung race position. The 90mm stem is shorter than you'd find on a road bike, but that helps keep that handling lively.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - stem.jpg

The head down, low barred position feels just right for tackling anything the terrain is throwing at you. Even in the drops on fast gravel descents, the Vitus feels planted, while the 8.12kg weight keeps it responsive, especially when accelerating hard or climbing.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - bottom bracket.jpg

The EVO is stiff. Beefy tube profiles that chunky bottom bracket shell means little of your power is wasted, certainly not that you can detect. But what if you don't want to race?

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - stay clearance.jpg

Well, that's probably the best thing about the EVO. You don't have to. With a maximum tyre clearance of 45mm, the Vitus can easily live as a very capable, fun gravel bike.

I spent a fair amount of time on gravel tracks – long, steady miles of three to four hours – and found the EVO CRS very comfortable indeed, especially once rolling on wider tyres. It's happy for you to just enjoy the scenery for hours, then go for it when you fancy some fun on a steep, tricky descent or a flat-out blast.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - crank.jpg

Gearing is a contentious issue when it comes to gravel riding, with many riders choosing 1x over a double chainring. But not everybody. Vitus has gone for the 1x, which makes a lot of sense for cyclo-cross thanks to increased mud clearance and greater chain security. It won't please everyone with its relative lack of low ratios, though.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - rear mech.jpg

The gearing is very much aimed at racing, with a 40T front spinning a 10-32T cassette. That 40/32T bottom gear isn't that low, and while I found it ideal for racing speeds, long, steep gravel climbs in non-race mode could use something a little lower.

This is a race bike, mind, so that's an observation rather than a criticism. Those ratios also work well on the road, as there's much less chance of spinning out on the downhills than with a typical gravel bike. Should you still want to swap, the Energie Evo has the front mech mount to take a 2x chainset.

2020 Vitus Energie Evo - riding 1.jpg

In fact, the EVO is quite capable on the road. Its sporty nature transfers over, and the riding position works well for getting a shift on. With 32mm slicks fitted it rolls along nicely, and the handling is still fun even on a firm surface.

You can also run mudguards too, should you fancy it for the commute during the week and adventure/touring at the weekends.

Frame and fork

Both the frame and fork get a 'refined' carbon fibre lay-up, according to Vitus, which it says makes this its lightest, stiffest cyclo-cross frameset yet – 880g for a painted medium.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - down tube.jpg

For racing, weight isn't just important when pedalling, as there are times where you're carrying it while running or jumping. And while cable routing used to be a big consideration for frames that need balancing on shoulders, like most carbon frames these days, the Energie EVO buries all its cables and hoses internally. So that's fine.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - seat tube junction.jpg

Vitus has hidden the seat clamp too, using an expanding wedge inside the seat tube, and even shaped the underside of the top tube (where it meets the seat tube) for comfortable carrying. Neat.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - cable route.jpg

One thing that won't sit well with everyone is the press-fit BB386 EVO bottom bracket, due to the design's tendency to creak once the elements (read: watery filth) get in there. Something that's inevitable in a CX race.

To be fair I didn't have any issues with the Vitus throughout testing, even after a washout week with three days of continuous rain. As I mentioned earlier the mud clearance on frame and fork are very good, aided by the dropped drive-side chainstay which gives room for the chainring.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo.jpg

The paint job is a thing of beauty, flipping from purple to blue and a few colours in between as the sunlight shifts. The subtle graphics set it off well.

There are five frame sizes with effective top tube lengths from 517.8mm to 601.8mm, and this medium model offers a wheelbase of 1,030mm, a top tube of 560.1mm, a head tube at 142mm and a fork length of 400mm. The head angle is 71.5° and the seat is 73.8°.

All this adds up to a stack of 565mm, and a reach of 396mm.

Finishing kit

There are four specs of Energie EVO, with this CRS being one down from the top. It's based around a SRAM Force groupset, which means you get carbon cranks, an 11-speed cassette and hydraulic discs paired to DoubleTap shifters/levers.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - SRAM lever.jpg

It's a good system with loads of power and modulation from the 160mm rotors, while shifts are crisp and quick. The hoods are quite tall compared to Shimano's offerings, but feel very secure off-road, especially when braking hard or descending technical sections.

The Doyenne handlebar and 90mm stem come from Prime, while the seatpost is Vitus branded. While there is no carbon fibre in sight, it's all good quality stuff.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - bars 2.jpg

The only thing I'd change this were mine is the bar tape – I'd prefer it full width – as the flats can get slippery in the rain and the bar is quite firm. The extra grip and comfort on long rides would be welcome.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - saddle.jpg

Atop the seatpost is a Vitus Race Performance saddle. I won't lie, it's not my favourite seat to spend time on, but I didn't find it uncomfortable either. It's just not my shape.

> 29 of the best bike saddles for men and women — find a more comfortable ride

It has a good balance of padding for firmness and comfort, though, and you get a decent rail length for adjustment fore and aft.

Wheels and tyres

This EVO model rolls on Prime Baroudeur wheels, which is a good thing – our Liam gave them the full five stars back in April.

Their aluminium alloy rim is 30mm deep and has a 19mm internal width, which sits well with the 33mm tyres – although gravel offerings around 38mm to 40mm work fine too.

2021 Vitus Energie Evo - fork.jpg

With 24 J-bend Pillar double-butted spokes laced in a 2x pattern to Prime's own hubs, it's a solid build which takes plenty of abuse. Crashing over tree roots, rocks and potholes throughout testing caused no harm, and at just under 1,600g performance is pretty good too.

The Vee XCX tyres are tubeless-ready with a fair bit of edge support and pretty good performers, especially in dry conditions, but you'll probably need something gnarlier for the wet seasons as the minimalist centre tread isn't great in sloppy mud.

Value and competition

Vitus has always been good at delivering quality builds for strong prices, and at £2,499.99 the Energie EVO CRS does nothing to buck that trend. A few years back we tested the Canyon Inflite CF SLX 8.0 Pro Race, which had a very similar spec and price to the Vitus.

> 12 of the best cyclocross bikes — drop-bar dirt bikes for racing and playing in the mud

That build is no longer in Canyon's catalogue, though – the closest thing now is the Inflite CF SL 7 with an Ultegra RX800 GS groupset and DT Swiss wheels for £2,599.

Meanwhile, something like the Specialized Crux Elite will set you back £2,600, but with a groupset mix of SRAM Apex, Praxis and Sunrace it can't match the specs of the EVO CRS.


I think Vitus have nailed it when it comes to the Energie EVO CRS. If you want a sweet handling, light and flickable CX bike that won't let you down for efficiency and stiffness, then this is for you. And if you want a capable gravel machine with a racy edge... it won't disappoint you then either.


Fast, precise and a light frameset makes this a hugely competitive CX bike or gravel racer test report

Make and model: Vitus Energie EVO CRS

Size tested: 56cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

FRAME: Energie EVO Carbon

SL UD Carbon, UCI Approved, Internal Cable Routing, Removeable Seat-Stay Bridge, Removeable Front Deraileur Mount, Integrated Seat Clamp, Integrated Mudguard Mounts, 12mm x 142mm axle

FORKS: Energie EVO Carbon

SL UD Carbon, Tpered Steerer, 100 x 12mm, Integrated Mudguard Mounts.


X-SYNC 40T, XS:165mm S:170mm M:172.5mm L:172.5mm XL:175mm

TYRES: Vee XCX, 700c x 33mm, Tubeless Ready

BOTTOM BRACKET: TRiPEAK 386-24, BB 386EVO for 24mm axle



BRAKE ROTORS: SRAM Centreline, Front:160mm, Rear:160mm

HANDLEBARS: Prime Doyenne 6061 Aluminium, 78mm Reach, 125mm Drop, 4 Degree Flare, XS:380mm S:400mm M:420mm L:420mm XL:440mm


STEM: Prime Doyenne Lightweight, 6061 Aluminium

Bar bore 31.8mm, +/- 5 degrees, XS:70mm S:80mm M:90mm L:90mm XL:100mm

CASSETTE: SRAM PG-1170, 10-32T


Sealed Bearings, OD48, 1 1/8' – 1 ', 41.8 / 28.6 – 52 / 4

CHAIN:KMC X11, 11 Speed

GRIPS: VITUS SuperGrip, Anti Slip

WHEELS: Prime Baroudeur 700c, 24 Hole Front and rear

SADDLE: VITUS Race Performance, CRN-Ti Rail, Pressure Relief Channel

SEATPOST: VITUS 6061 Aluminium, 27.2mm x 350mm, 15mm Offset

SEATCLAMP:Energie Evo Integrated Internal Wedge System

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Vitus says it's an: "All new World Cup-ready cyclocross race bike," but also that it's "An evolution. The new Vitus Energie EVO carbon features a ground up rethink on what's required from a World Cup level race bike. Refined Race-Fit geometry including a longer top tube and shorter stem giving the perfect balance of fit and control, whatever the conditions. Anatomically contoured tube profiles for carrying, and a refined carbon layup result in Vitus' lightest and stiffest CX frameset ever. Build in the class-leading mud clearance and modern look, and this bike just wants to go fast."

The Energie EVO is race focused, which makes it an absolute blast on fast and technical CX courses, while delivering enough versatility to be a thrilling gravel bike or winter commuter.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

This is the second tier model in a line up of four. The entry level 'C' version comes with an Apex groupset for £1,799.99. Next is the £1,999.99 Sram Rival CR model, followed by the CRS we have here.

Topping things off are the CRS eTap AXS option which also comes with carbon wheels for £3,499.99.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The overall quality of the frame and fork is very impressive indeed. The graphics are quite understated and the paintjob constantly changes colour in the sunlight.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Full carbon fibre.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

As it's a top level cyclo-cross race bike, the geometry is much more aggresive than a gravel/adventure machine for fast handling and a positive feeling in the corners.

A full geometry table can be found on the Vitus website.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The stack height is quite low due to the short head tube, allowing you to get low on the bars. The reach is quite long, which helps that aggressive race position.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Very impressive considering how stiff it all is.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness is excellent throughout.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Efficiency is exactly what the Energie Evo is all about. It's quick out of the corners thanks to excellent stiffness, and the gearing is specced for racing.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?


How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Lively.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling is quick which makes the Vitus very good on technical routes, plus there's loads of feedback which really allows you to fine tune the steering to make sure the bike goes where you want it to.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

I would change the saddle, personally. I prefer something with a little more shape on the top.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The Prime handlebar is very stiff, which is great for accelerating hard out of the bends.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The Vee tyres roll quickly on and off-road, while the gearing gives a fair amount of top end speed for a 1x system.

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The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
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Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The 10-32T cassette gives a good spread for top and bottom end speeds, although some might find it a little tall in very hilly terrain.

Wheels and tyres

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Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

The Prime wheels are robust and can take plenty of knocks, plus the fact they come set up tubeless is a real bonus.

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Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

UCI regs limit tyre widths for cyclo-cross racing, which is why the Vitus comes with 33mm tyres as standard. Their narrowness can make them a little twitchy, especially in deep gravel or mud. Large tyre clearances mean you can fit much wider replacements if you're not a pro racer.


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Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Decent enough finishing kit for this price level. The flat tops of the handlebar are comfortable, although the stiff bar makes well-padded gloves a must.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on

Given the quality of the frameset, the weight, and the overall spec, the Vitus is competitively priced against the Canyon and Specialized mentioned in the review.

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Use this box to explain your overall score

Fast handling and aggresive geometry make this Vitus a very fun bike off-road, whether that's in competition or purely for fun. The frame and fork are very good indeed, and the finishing kit is solid. There's little not to like – it's fantastic, and a nine.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment


Z0idb3rg | 3 years ago

Hi, thanks for great review as always! How does this bike compare to Rose Backroad for fast gravel use? Which one would you prefer?

Pot00000000 | 3 years ago

Strange times when you look at a 2.5k bike and think 🤔 that's pretty cheap.

I suppose that's what £500 saddles and 3k wheel sets will do to your perspective.


seriously tempted by one of these to N+1 my collection of aero carboness. 


brooksby replied to Pot00000000 | 3 years ago

Strange times when you look at a 2.5k bike and think 🤔 that's pretty cheap.

I don't.

philhubbard replied to brooksby | 3 years ago



Strange times when you look at a 2.5k bike and think 🤔 that's pretty cheap.

I know it's a stretch but if you could find the budget the next one up at £3k looks like even better value. Replaces the alloy wheels for carbon and you step up to the AXS groupset

EDIT: Scrap that, they have put it up £500 for 2021 to £3.5k


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