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It's our Bike of the Year but should you buy the Vitus Venon EVO-RS Force AXS All-Road bike at 30% discount?

The road.cc Recommends Bike of the Year is listed at a knockdown price, but Wiggle/ Chain Reaction Cycles is in well-publicised financial difficulties

The Vitus Venon EVO-RS Force AXS All-Road bike – the road.cc Recommends Bike of the Year 2023/24 – is listed at £3,299.99 on Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles (CRC) right now, 30% off full RRP; with the well-publicised commercial turmoil at WiggleCRC, should you buy it?

> Check out our review of the Vitus Venon EVO-RS Force AXS All-Road

2023 Vitus Venon Evo SRAM Force - riding 2.jpg

Although originally French, the Vitus brand was revived by CRC in 2011 and it has belonged to WiggleCRC since 2016. The quality of the Vitus range has been high over recent years, and the value on offer has been exceptional, with the Vitus Venon EVO-RS Force AXS All-Road being our current Bike of the Year and the Vitus Venon EVO-GR Rival AXS having finished third in our Gravel and Adventure Bikes category.

> We unveil the road.cc Recommends Bike of the Year 2023/24

Both are available on Wiggle and CRC at knockdown prices. Should you take the opportunity to buy one?

2023 Vitus Venon Evo SRAM Force.jpg

Wiggle is still operating, although industry sources say that it’s now running on a skeleton staff and winding down. There are strong rumours swirling around, notably that Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has bought WiggleCRC’s brand and intellectual property for less than £10 million, although that has yet to be officially confirmed. According to insiders, the remaining staff don’t know about plans for the business as a whole or the future, if any, for Vitus.

The Vitus Venon EVO-RS Force AXS All-Road that was £4,699.99 is now listed on both Wiggle and CRC for £3,299.99.

This is the first time that a road.cc Recommends Bike of the Year – and, indeed, the whole brand and team behind it – has been in a position like this barely weeks after winning our top award. And, we should stress, there's no suggestion that any fault lies with the Vitus team or the quality of the bikes.

2023 Vitus Venon Evo SRAM Force - riding 3.jpg

When it comes to our road.cc Recommends awards, we focus solely on the products and their prices. We don’t consider the finances of the companies behind them. It would be harsh – and pretty much impossible – to penalise a bike because of commercial concerns, so we don’t do that. Of course, we knew when we awarded our gong that the future of WiggleCRC – and therefore Vitus – was uncertain, but we weren’t going to switch our opinions of the bikes based on that.

Naturally, everyone is hugely saddened by the lost jobs and the huge stress for the Vitus team, but where does this leave the road.cc Recommends Bike of the Year 2023/24?

Should we re-allocate the award? Nah, we can’t change history. Plus, as mentioned, you can still buy the Vitus Venon EVO-RS Force AXS All-Road… for the time being, at least. Although Wiggle and CRC are showing ‘low stock’, this model is listed on both sites in sizes from small to XL.

Vitus Venon EVO-GR Rival AXS

The Vitus Venon EVO-GR Rival AXS (above), which came third in the Gravel and Adventure Bikes category of the road.cc Recommends Bike of the Year 2023/24, is a bargain price too – £1,599.99, compared with the original price of £2,999.99 – but it’s available only in sizes XL and XXL

At the time of writing, the Vitus Venon EVO-RS Ultegra Di2 Aero All-Road Bike is available in sizes from medium upwards for £2,999.99, 32% off, while most other bikes in the range are available only in limited size options.

Is it sensible to buy from WiggleCRC right now? That’s your shout, but, as mentioned, the company is still operating, albeit on a hugely reduced scale. As long as you’re based in the UK, Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey, you can make an order.

If you pay by credit card, your purchase is protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

You could buy via PayPal.

“[Our] Buyer Protection programme entitles you to reimbursement for the full purchase price of the item plus the original shipping costs you paid, if any, when you don't receive your item from a seller,” says PayPal.

2023 Vitus Venon Evo SRAM Force - rear disc brake.jpg

What about the wisdom of buying a bike from a brand that, for the time being at least, exists in name only, given that the team behind it has gone?

Most of the components that Vitus uses on its bikes are from well-known brands like Shimano, SRAM, FSA, and Michelin. There’s nothing unusual there. Replacing those parts when they wear out isn’t going to be a problem.

2023 Vitus Venon Evo SRAM Force - seat tube junction.jpg

Other components come from WiggleCRC-owned Prime. Even if spares aren’t available in future, you won’t have much trouble swapping most of these for products from other brands. Although the Vitus ZX-1 road bike has an aero-profile seatpost, the Venon EVO-RS and Venon EVO-GR use standard 27.2mm diameter posts, and there are countless options available. You might want to buy stuff like a spare headset top cap, just in case.

2023 Vitus Venon Evo SRAM Force - head tube.jpg

What about warranty? This is where things get complicated and unclear. When you buy a product, your contract is with the retailer rather than the manufacturer. If Vitus no longer exists in the future, buyers would still have their contract with WiggleCRC – as long as WiggleCRC remains.

Wiggle's terms and conditions were updated following the making of an Administration Order on 24th October 2023. You can check them out in full here.

WiggleCRC was acquired by Signa Sports United in December 2021. If Frasers Group buys (or has bought) WiggleCRC’s brand and intellectual property – as widely reported – this isn't the same as buying the company. There's no guarantee that any sale agreement will include servicing the warranties. 

On the other hand, if new ownership of WiggleCRC is in place, any transaction you make now would be with the new owners, so statutory rights in terms of guarantee would apply.

We’ve contacted the administrators for clarity on this matter, but we have yet to receive a reply. 

 

 

 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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22 comments

Avatar
chaos | 3 months ago
0 likes

It would be a no from me. At 64 I have experienced 4x frame failures and they have all been carbon. I will not name and shame the well know brand of the last 3x frames because they did replace 3x frames that all sequentially failed in just under 9 years. All 4x issues to do with the interface between carbon and the metal inserts; 3x bottom bracket area and 1x rear seat stay. Currently loving titanium and have 1x aluminium and my steel bike of 27 years, soldiers on!

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kevgravelkev replied to chaos | 3 months ago
1 like

My titanium frame has been back to the manufacturer three times for cracks to be repaired. My carbon bike has never had an issue. Go figure.

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kevgravelkev | 3 months ago
0 likes

Yep. Go for it. You won't see prices like this again and these are very good qulaity bikes. You have statutory rights regarding warranty and if you use a credit card you are protected more. 

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OnYerBike replied to kevgravelkev | 3 months ago
2 likes

Your statutory rights with the retailer are worth nothing if the retailer no longer exists. Credit card might offer a bit more protection.

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ROOTminus1 | 3 months ago
0 likes

Definitely not.

Not because of the product but because by now, the people who deserve a cut of that money are never going to see another penny from Wiggle CRC, and parasitic asset-strippers need to be starved out of existence.

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OnYerBike replied to ROOTminus1 | 3 months ago
0 likes

Whilst I agree with the sentiment, is this actually true? Or would any monies spent at Wiggle right now (still purchasing from Wiggle Ltd under administration) go to Wiggle's creditors?

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cyclisto | 3 months ago
0 likes

To be honest no, since from the cyclists I know well, only one has a carbon frame and he had to replace it under warranty in a couple of years, so for carbon I would need some extra safety. I bought recently a two decade old bike and frankly I trust it more.

Had it not been carbon, yes if it was kind of a bargain, but at £3k for an non heavily marketed manufacturer it is not that much of.

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to cyclisto | 3 months ago
3 likes

cyclisto wrote:

To be honest no, since from the cyclists I know well, only one has a carbon frame and he had to replace it under warranty in a couple of years, so for carbon I would need some extra safety. I bought recently a two decade old bike and frankly I trust it more.

Had it not been carbon, yes if it was kind of a bargain, but at £3k for an non heavily marketed manufacturer it is not that much of.

My carbon felt Z5 is 10 years old and has done 44,000km. I did have to repair the seat stays after impact damage, but still going strong and rides well. Rode PBP on it carrying supplies bag.

There is nothing wrong with carbon fibre.

£3000 is well below the going rate for a carbon aero frame with Di2

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kevgravelkev replied to cyclisto | 3 months ago
2 likes

there are a million similar stories for aluminium, steel and titanium... 

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don simon fbpe replied to cyclisto | 3 months ago
0 likes

Should I not trust my almost 20 year old carbon MTB? Is it likely to go the same way as its predecessor's aluminium frame and crack?

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MattieKempy | 3 months ago
0 likes

I have one. I got it last summer before the bottom fell out of Wiggle. The uncertainty around warranty makes me a little nervous but most companies try to dodge warranty claims if they can anyway. At the same time, it's insured so if something goes badly wrong then I still get a replacement, even if not another Venon Evo.

It's a fantastic bike and I have no regrets over owning it. I felt guilty for taking advantage of Wiggle's downfall recently by buying a bunch of spares for it - a seat clamp, headset bearing kit, headset cover and hangers as they're all proprietary, so fingers crossed I'm covered for a while. 

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mikewood replied to MattieKempy | 3 months ago
0 likes

I've got the Di2 version on the way. Tried to order a hanger but can't find the part#. Which one did you get please?

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fluided replied to mikewood | 3 months ago
0 likes
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MattieKempy replied to mikewood | 3 months ago
0 likes

Vitus Hanger 22 (EVO Road/CX 21> & Sub C 19>)

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mikewood replied to MattieKempy | 3 months ago
0 likes

MattieKempy wrote:

Vitus Hanger 22 (EVO Road/CX 21> & Sub C 19>)

Thanks for that. Can't find it on their site but have ordered another that looked the same. Not a biggie as it was £1.99...

Avatar
Joe Totale | 3 months ago
1 like

A little heads up but Wiggle/CRC are selling a lot of Vitus Venon framesets under their eBay account of Trisportresort. Most already have brake calipers attached and internally routed.

A potential bargain could be had but just like the full builds from the main website don't expect any future support.

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Tom_77 replied to Joe Totale | 3 months ago
0 likes

eBay shop for TriSportResort - https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/trisportresort

 

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Cycleholic58 | 3 months ago
1 like

Even if I did want to buy it, I still can't afford it, nor can I justify spending over 3 grand on any kind of push bike. My limit on a new purchase would be 2 grand, and even that is borderline justifiable given my circumstances.

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Secret_squirrel | 3 months ago
0 likes

There is zero chance of a warrantee being offered.  Buy it, check it under a microscope, then ride it like you stole it.

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kevgravelkev replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 months ago
0 likes

The bikes can't be sold by law without a warranty.

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mark1a | 3 months ago
2 likes

I think it depends on the bike and the price - a month or two ago, during the Wiggle clear out sale, I bought a Vitus Rapide 29 (XC 29er HT MTB), reduced from £949 to £499. It was already great value for the spec at full price, so at nearly half price, an absolute bargain. Add to this a dropper seatpost (Brand-X) reduced from £139 to £59, I'm very pleased with it. I did order a spare hanger while I could too, everything else on it is fairly standard Shimano, Rockshox, WTB, etc. So I think if it's the right bike at the right price, and there's little or no proprietary parts, no problem. 

Avatar
Ladywriter replied to mark1a | 3 months ago
2 likes

i ordered a spare hanger for my Vitus MTB and then they reduced the price again so i got another i bet i wont need them 

 

rg

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