The vivid green Energie Pro from Chain Reaction house brand Vitus is very definitely a most focused dirt racer rather than a new-fangled adventure road bike. And if you are looking for an all-round road bike for carrying luggage and touring, its lack of built-in rack and mudguard mounts goes straight into the negatives column.
Gearing that favours the strong
The gearing, however, is well suited to the road, at least if you’re a stronger rider. The 40-tooth chainring and 11-28 cassette pairing provides pleasingly small gaps between gears, which is good for maintaining an even cadence when compared with the wider-ratio cassettes found on many 1x-equipped all-road bikes.
The range is a little more unforgiving off road, though at least its flattened top-tube allows you to shoulder the Energie Pro comfortably if you do have to carry it up steeper slopes.
SRAM hydraulic discs, along with a rear 142x12mm thru-axle, are specced
Despite these racier features, the bike’s overall comfort is outstanding. Both the slab-sided fork, with its 15mm thru-axle, and the frame with its flat wishbone seatstays, absorb shock effectively. They shrug off large potholes and debris as well as cancelling out gravel buzz and chatter.
The Energie Pro also has an unusual ‘randonneur’-style backswept bar that feels strange at first, but riding on the tops the result is a low-stress, elbows-in riding position when you’re cruising.
The head and seat angles don’t look at all out of the ordinary, but dramatic steering lurches when riding out of the saddle or at low speeds made us initially think the headset was overtightened. But it’s actually due to an obviously self-correcting aspect of fork geometry.
WTB’s Cross Wolf tubeless tyres – 35mm listed, 33mm actual – run on the same company’s broad-but-light TCS i19 rims. Once you’ve adjusted to the steering, the tyres’ aggressive, intermediate tread and shoulder studs combine with the 15mm front and 142x12mm rear thru-axle to give plenty of accurate feedback and tracking stability in a wide range of off-road conditions.
The Energie’s bang-up-to-date carbon frame and full-carbon fork represent impressive value
Their stepped alternating centre-line tread means they also roll pretty well, but the Vitus’s forgiving ride means you can run something thinner and at a higher pressure on the road without getting rattles or stepping out on corners.
We swapped the WTBs for 28mm Schwalbes, which made the relatively lightweight wheels even keener to pick up speed out of turns or other tight sections, and while it’s not the stiffest bike through the pedals, it easily kept pace with other similarly light machines.
Considering you’re getting a bang-up-to-date full-carbon frame and fork, the Energie Pro represents impressive value. Throw in thru-axles, Di2 compatibility and a SRAM Rival 1x11 groupset – with hydraulic brakes – and the package looks better still.
The front gets a 100x15mm thru-axle for accurate tracking
Okay, so the Rival 1 brakes are paired with older and cheaper Avid rotors that can gobble and warble a bit when braking hard, but these are the only evident signs of cost cutting. The saddle is fine over rough tracks and for long days, even with the large-diameter seatpost, and Novatec’s hubs are generally durable and weatherproof.
The downside? You’ll get the bike delivered in a box after ordering online rather than getting fitting advice, the chance to try before you buy and the after-sales service of a conventional bike shop.