Vitus Vitesse Evo CRI £3,199.99 |
Michelle Arthurs-brennan gets to grips with a jack of all trades
“On smooth roads, it felt fast: planted to the tarmac, direct and animated”
Developed alongside the now disbanded An Post Chain Reaction team, the goal with the Vitesse was to create an all-round race bike that would be capable of everything from the Spring Classics to the high mountains of France.
So it’s a jack of all trades, which leads me to question: is it a master of none?
Available with rim or disc brakes, the Vitesse is the lightest bike on offer from Vitus and is also very stiff, using a BB 386 Evo and asymmetric chainstays.
Of course, with great stiffness can come great discomfort. In a bid to alleviate this, Vitus has used a 27.2mm carbon seatpost and kept the seatstays skinny.
As a race bike, the geometry is designed with a need for speed. In reach, our size 52 was a tad shorter than a Specialized Tarmac and a Cannondale Supersix Evo, but only by 4-5mm, so nothing that couldn’t be solved by swapping the 100mm stem for a 110mm. The drop is a bit shallower than the Tarmac, but greater than on the Supersix by 2mm, so we’re firmly in road race territory.
It took a ride or two on the Ultegra Di2 disc-equipped test bike to adjust to the layout compared to my standard, but it felt pretty spot on once I’d made some changes to the finishing kit. Behind the 40cm handlebars — standard for a unisex bike of this size — I felt like I was at the wheel of a tractor but as soon as I swapped them for a 38cm of my choice, the Vitesse immediately came alive. On smooth roads, it felt fast: planted to the tarmac, direct and animated.
The frame carries a notably positive drive which seemed to push me up the climbs, and tucked into my best attempt at an aero crouch, it felt speedy on the flat too.
What let it down were rough roads, where what had felt like a stunningly direct and natural ride was replaced with the tinny clatter of harsh carbon — even when riding at 80psi.
I like a fast, stiff race bike as much as anyone — but faced with a stretch of unmade tarmac, I don’t want to feel like I’ve been transported to the rock gardens of Afan forest.
Spend more on the frame and sacrifice the swanky spec, and you could have both stiffness and compliance, instead of only the former, as is the case here.