Vitus has redesigned its ZX-1 road bike to provide “up to 45% less drag than the previous ZX-1 when built as a full bike” – which is a massive claim.
Despite claiming the above drag reduction, Vitus says that “we’re not going to tell you this bike will make you X seconds faster over X distance,” preferring to acknowledge the rider’s influence on how fast the bike will be.
“We know there are plenty of other ‘real world’ factors that can’t be accounted for in a wind tunnel, like what height your socks are, what helmet you’re wearing... or are you not quite flexible enough to get really low?”
The new ZX-1 has been in the wind tunnel, Vitus says, simply to validate their design decisions. If you are one of those riders that can tuck down low at the front end then the stack/reach ratio of 1.4 in the size medium will certainly help you to cut through the air. That is roughly the same as the model that it replaces although the effective top tube is a tad longer and the head tube is taller than that of the model we had in the office for a sneak peek back in 2017.
Drilling down into the geometry chart, the size medium has an effective top tube of 551mm. Down at the bottom of the bike, the front centre is 591mm, the chainstays measure 410mm, and the bottom bracket drop is 69mm. The wheelbase is kept to a tight 991mm. The head tube measures 129.6mm and this sits at an angle of 72.4º.
Those measurements are rather typical of modern aero race bikes that look to make a tucked down riding position accessible to regular riders.
When we reviewed the original ZX1 CRi back in 2018, we found that it offered a smooth ride, fantastic handling, and represented good value for money. For 2021, the ZX-1 has been made even more slippery in the wind, according to Vitus. Deeper tube shapes have been used in a totally redesigned frameset and you’ll also find a fully integrated front end for a clean look.
Vitus says that the new frameset reduces weight while also increasing stiffness. The lightest build that Vitus is advertising is the ZX-1 EVO CRX SRAM Red eTap AXS at 7.9kg.
That’s not going to wow the weight weenies, but from the spec sheet, it is clear to see that the ZX-1 is designed to be fast on flat and rolling terrain. The build that we mentioned above comes with Reynolds AR62 tubeless-ready carbon disc wheels and a Vision Metron 5D ACR one-piece carbon bar/stem. Both of these parts have been chosen for their aero performance over anything else.
Lower down the price range, Vitus switches away from the rather expensive Vision bar to a separate handlebar and stem. For the stem, Vitus opts for the FSA SMR ACR that allows it to run the brake and shift lines through a neat cover under the stem. The handlebar that Vitus specs is the Prime Primavera Carbon Aero. The bar again features internal routing though, unlike the Vision bar on the more expensive models, there will be some small sections of cable on show at the stem faceplate area.
While fully hidden cables have almost become the standard for road race bikes in the last year or so, there are a few different ways of achieving this aesthetically pleasing and slightly aero feature. Vitus, along with several other manufacturers, leans on FSA’s ACR (Aero Cable Routing) headset system.
FSA ACR consists of a regular lower headset bearing, with all of the magic happening in the upper headset bearing. This has been made larger than it needs to be for the standard 1-1/8in steerer tube. A compression ring sits between the steerer and the upper bearing with slots in it for the various brake and shift lines.
While the tech isn’t new, it is one of the few non-proprietary systems in use, meaning that several brands have used the technology. More bikes using the standard increases the likelihood of more aftermarket products becoming available.
Finishing the bike is a carbon seat post that is specific to the ZX-1 frame, Reynolds AR 58/62 tubeless disc-brake wheels, Schwalbe One Performance TLE 25mm tyres and a Vitus Ti rail saddle.
The only deviation from Reynolds wheels comes at the ZX-1 EVO CR ETAP AXS (£3,599.99) which features SRAM's latest Rival ETAP AXS groupset. Your money seems to be going on the new groupset as the wheels are downgraded to the alloy Prime Attaquer Discs (£349.99).
ZX-1 EVO CRX ETAP AXS - £5,399.99
ZX-1 EVO CRS ETAP AXS - £4,199.99
ZX-1 EVO CRS Di2 - £3,999.99
ZX-1 EVO CR ETAP AXS - £3,599.99
ZX-1 EVO CRS - £3,099.99
ZX-1 EVO CRS - £2,799.99