Vitus has gone all-road with its latest offering, the Venon EVO, creating a range of bikes built around a single frameset designed to work just as well on the road as it does on the gravel, without having to make compromises on either. It’s a tall ask but on paper at least the Venon EVO looks to have all of the boxes ticked for a fast, lightweight performance-orientated machine.
One bike, two personalities
The Venon EVO range is based around a full carbon fibre frame and fork that has been designed from scratch in-house at Vitus, and then made in the Far East using its own moulds.
Vitus’ aim was to create a bike that blurs the line between a road bike and a gravel bike, so the Venon EVO takes cues from other bikes in its range. For instance, the front-end styling is inspired by the ZX-1 EVO, Vitus’ aero race bike, while the rear end focuses on comfort with dropped seatstays and tweaks to the carbon fibre layup as used on the Vitesse EVO road bike.
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On top of that, you have increased tyre clearances over what’s available on those road bikes, and geometry that is more relaxed to allow it to work on differing terrain. It leaves the Venon EVO sitting somewhere in between the ZX-1, Vitesse and Vitus’ Substance gravel machine.
The Venon EVO is similar to an endurance road bike in terms of tube lengths and angles, especially at the front end, while the wheelbase is slightly extended to aid stability on loose surfaces and the bottom bracket drop is more gravel than road.
For instance, the medium-sized bikes that we have here each have a top tube length of 551mm and a head tube height of 143mm. The head angle is 71.5°, while the seat angle is 73.8°.
> Buyer's guide: check out the best gravel bikes 2023
This gives stack and reach figures of 560mm and 387mm respectively. The headset top cap is included in those measurements as it fits flush with the top tube.
The chainstays are 420mm in length which nudges out the overall wheelbase to a smidge under 1,020mm. Six sizes are available.
All of this adds up to a bike that is designed for fast, hard rides on gravel or tarmac. It’s not intended to be a road race bike or an adventure gravel machine, but it covers everything in between.
I’ve been riding these bikes over the last few weeks and I can vouch for their performance, both in terms of the handling and the speed on offer. They are light, responsive and very stiff regardless of what terrain you are asking them to tackle.
Aesthetics & versatility
EVO is the name given to Vitus’ high-end bikes, and this is evident here in the finishes of these Venon models.
The paint is luxurious and deep and comes in a wide range of colours, and thanks to the full internal cable/hose routing that passes through the inside of the FSA stem, the finished bikes look smooth and very clean indeed.
> Check out our buyer's guide to the best gravel tyres
Both of the models we have here are running SRAM AXS groupsets, so there are no cables or wires, and ports are hidden behind blanking covers. The seat tube uses a hidden clamping system for the seatpost, adding to the minimalist look.
In terms of versatility, the biggest difference between a road and a gravel bike is tyre clearance and that has been addressed by Vitus. While many all-road machines are offering maximum tyre clearances of less than 40mm, the Venon pushes that out to an impressive 45mm while leaving 6mm of room between the tyre and the chainstays.
In part Vitus has managed to achieve this by dropping the chainstays, and the small, curved recess in the seat tube buys you a bit of extra tyre circumference too.
The Venon also uses a press-fit bottom bracket which gives a wider shell overall compared to a threaded option without affecting the Q-factor. This allows more room to be gained between the chainstays.
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Vitus says it has perfected the carbon lay-up and tube wall thicknesses required around the bottom bracket shell to stop any flex-induced creaking, and with no issues on any of its other models, and Vitus was happy to use the 386EVO standard here.
The Venon will also take full mudguards thanks to mounting points on the frame and fork, plus there is a neat removable bridge that spans the seatstays.
In terms of road tyres, you’ll be able to run whatever size you want with the mudguards without clearance issues. This lends itself nicely to creating a year-round commuter, credit card tourer or Audax machine.
Apart from those, mounting points are minimal on the Venon. After all, this is no gravel adventure machine that is intended to be loaded up with bags and camping kit. It’s designed for speed.
You get bottle cage mounts on the seat tube and down tube, though, with the latter offering three bolt positions for a bit of adjustability.
Build options & finishing kit
Ownership of a Venon EVO means that you could simply run two sets of wheels and tyres giving you both a road bike and a gravel bike with a quick changeover.
Most of us have a preference one way or the other, so Vitus offers a range of builds. The road-biased builds are known as EVO-RS, while the gravel options are EVO-GR. Vitus also offers a frameset only option for £1,799.99.
The EVO-RS range starts with the Shimano 105 Di2 build priced at £3,599.99. It’s built up with Prime components including its Doyenne Lightweight aluminium wheels, and all bikes in the range get a set of Michelin tyres.
The red bike you see here is the top-end model which uses SRAM’s Force AXS grouspet and comes with Prime's Attaquer wheels; although the sharp-eyed amongst you will notice that ours is actually wearing a set of Prime’s 44mm deep Primavera wheels.
The handlebar is a Primavera Carbon Aero, and the seatpost is carbon fibre too. This all adds up to a build price of £4,399.99 with a weight of just 8.06kg on our scales.
Other builds available are Rival AXS (£3,699.99) and Ultegra Di2 for £4,099.99.
Coming later in 2023 is a range of Aero builds that will come with deep-section wheels, which add £300 to those base prices mentioned above.
As for the EVO-GR builds, you get three options with the blue model we have here sitting in the middle with a 1x Rival AXS groupset, the carbon Primavera 44 wheelset and Prime’s gravel version of the aero handlebar, the Orro, which comes with flared drops.
It’s finished off with the carbon fibre seatpost and a Prime saddle, and the Michelin tyres are the Power Gravel model at 40mm wide.
Other options are a Rival mechanical groupset build for £2,999.99 and a SRAM Force AXS model for £4,299.99 which comes with a claimed weight of just 8.3kg.
So, there you have it... Vitus’ take on the all-road bike.
Overall, the Venon EVO range looks to be hugely capable and good value for money especially with the number of build options available. Plus, that frameset option gives you full carte blanche to build your own interpretation of a do-it-all bike.
We aren’t going to leave it there, though. Both of the bikes you see here are being put through their paces out on the road and trails, so keep your eyes peeled for the in-depth reviews which will be up on road.cc and off-road.cc very soon.
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