VITUS SOMMET CRX (2017)
£2,999.99 Top-fun steed that shames a lot of ‘superbikes’
The semi-carbon Sommet frame isn’t new, but Vitus have got it sticky and rolled it through their selection of shiny bits to produce a killer-value all-rounder with parts to die for.
In common with a lot of costeffective composite frames (see this month’s Biketest, page 96), the Sommet pairs a carbon fibre front end with an aluminium rear. Vitus have opted for a four-bar Horst Link suspension layout, but placed the rear pivots further forward on the relatively skinny chainstays than on most similar designs. The shock drives downwards through a hole in the base of the kinked and flared seat tube, and a 15mm collet main pivot increases stiffness.
Internal mainframe cable routing keeps things looking neat, and the MRP chain guide and sump bumper sit on built-in ISCG mounts. Vitus bikes we’ve had on long-term test haven’t suffered unduly from the use of a press-fit bottom bracket, though a screw-in unit would make maintenance easier. The frame is slightly dated in terms of its 142mm rear axle and non-metric RockShox Monarch Plus shock though, and while the 65.5-degree head angle is appropriately slack, the 450mm reach of our large sample was adequate rather than aggressively rangy. If you prefer longer bikes, the Sommet’s low standover height and short seat tube do at least make it easy to size up.
Because this is a 2017 bike, the SRAM X01 transmission is 11-speed, not 12-speed Eagle, and the Pike fork is a previous generation, non-Boost version. You do get a super-light Race Face Next SL carbon crankset though, plus new Mavic Deemax Pro wheels (not the Crossmax XLs listed), shod with WTB tyres in a grippy front/reinforced rear mix. The Nukeproof finishing kit is all well-proven, well-shaped gear too, including a titanium-railed saddle that saves enough grams to keep the complete bike just under 13kg.
Combine the reasonably low weight with fast-rolling WTB rear rubber and a suspension set-up that’s naturally efficient in the upper parts of its travel, and you get a bike that’s impressively agile, quick to accelerate and day-ride friendly for a machine with 155mm of travel. The compression damping switch on the Monarch Plus shock means you can firm it up easily for long slogs too. Otherwise, the ‘floating’ shock gives a broad set-up bandwidth that’s still sensitive enough for traction and comfort but reasonably supportive for pushing harder through corners. The RCT3 damper in the Pike fork is a great match up front too, and if either end dives too much when you’re on the attack, it’s easy to add bottom-out spacers.
It’s likely to be the slight lack of reach, noticeable softness in the frame and lightweight front tyre (which is prone to crumple under high-G loadings) that set the limits to just how silly you can get on the Sommet. But if you think of it as a really capable, easy to ride all-round trail bike rather than a radical enduro rig, it’s a great package that more than holds its own with endof-season bargains from other brands now that £800 has been slashed off the original £3,799 retail price. www.vitusbikes.com
The highly-adjustable Monarch Plus shock makes it easy to get a good suspension feel
More of a long-travel trail bike than a super-aggro enduro shredder, the Sommet is a great package