Vitus Escarpe review£1,260.00

Rowdy riding from the French bike makers

BikeRadar score4/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

Vitus’s basic Escarpe gets the same smooth floating suspension system and proper bomber character of the £3,300 Pro, just in a heavier overall build.

While it’s not stiff by Yari standards or as controlled as a Fox, the Manitou Minute Comp fork provides 140mm of smooth travel with a 15mm Hexlock axle for reasonably obedient steering.

135mm of rear travel feels like more, thanks to the clever floating shock arrangement working through the split seat tube and rearward path of the first part of the travel. That means the Escarpe can be charged into serious rock gardens without choking or getting thrown off line. It can handle ballsy drops without flinching too.

It’s stable enough when pedalling to keep climbing bearable, despite the 14.5kg weight, and the fast rolling Trail Boss rear tyre also helps mobility.

The Vigilante front tyre uses a High Grip compound to let you make the most of the slack head angle and precise and powerful 50mm stem and 760mm bar. While the steep seat tube means the 620mm top tube feels short in the saddle, the 450mm reach give it easy stability and confident cornering when standing and there’s an XL option if you want to go really long.

The 142x12mm rear thru-axle keeps things tight out back and it also gets a chain guide mount and internal dropper routing so you can upgrade appropriately for really rowdy riding. That’s a good job as well because rowdy is definitely what the Escarpe does best and it’s a real bargain if that’s what you like best too.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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