Vitus updates its Zenium and Substance bikes and goes carbon

New reasonably-priced carbon fibre options

Vitus Bikes aims to deliver “the best bikes at the best possible prices,” and with two new carbon models, the Zenium Carbon and Substance CRX, it looks to be living up to that mantra.

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Vitus Zenium Carbon 2019

The 2019 Zenium features a carbon frame and fork
The 2019 Zenium features a carbon frame and fork
Laurence Crossman-Emms

The Zenium has been in the Vitus range of road bikes for the best part of a decade, and for good reason: this popular bike is known for its great value and all-round performance. It’s an everyday road bike that lends itself comfortably to a commute or a club outing, a weekend ride or the occasional race.

Vitus has changed everything and nothing with this latest Zenium. That is to say, it remains a workhorse, still every bit an affordable all-rounder, but it is reinvented in carbon fibre: fork and frame.

Vitus's new Zenium CR
Vitus’s new Zenium CR
Laurence Crossman-Emms

Up front, a carbon fork and steerer keeps handling sharp, stating the Zenium’s continued intentions as race capable. At the other end of the bike, the seatstays are dropped (lowered in terms of their upper junction with the seat tube), which Vitus claims adds further comfort to the ride. This summarises the bike — nippy and capable, yet also forgiving and dependable.

There are three Zenium Carbon build options with an Ultegra option available later in the year.

The Zenium looks like a steal at under £1,000, equipped with mechanical TRP disc brakes and Shimano Tiagra drivetrain.

Our Bike of the Year Zenium CRW test bike comes with Shimano 105 drivetrain
Our Bike of the Year Zenium CRW test bike comes with Shimano 105 drivetrain
Aoife Glass

The Zenium CR and CRW are slightly pricier, both costing £1,399, with near-identical build kits (except for some female-specific finishing kit on the CRW), including hydraulic Shimano 105 disc brakes and 105 drivetrain.

We have a Zenium CRW on test as part of our Bike of the Year, so you’ll be hearing more on that model soon.

Lever reach and bar and stem sizing specific to the women-specific Vitus Zenium CRW
Lever reach and bar and stem sizing specific to the women-specific Vitus Zenium CRW
Aoife Glass

The Vitus Zenium is available to buy exclusively from Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle

Vitus Substance 2019

Vitus Substance Carbon
Vitus Substance Carbon
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The Substance is Vitus’s go-anywhere road bike. It isn’t billed specifically as a gravel bike, but as more of an all-rounder that can be ridden on all road surfaces and is ready for adventure. For 2019 there are three models in the Substance range: the Substance CRX, Substance and Substance FB.

The all-new carbon Substance CRX’s 650b wheels with high-volume 47c tyres and its luggage mounts should hint at the bike’s potential to take on the roughest of routes through the outback.

Vitus Substance CRX
Vitus Substance CRX
Laurence Crossman-Emms

Vitus chose to introduce this carbon version in order to reduce weight (the complete Substance CRX in size 54/M is two kilograms lighter than the steel Substance in the same size) and to give it a more responsive ride, upping performance while ensuring the bike can still handle heavy loads and challenging terrain.

The bike is kitted out with great components for the money, ample bottle, pannier and mudguard mounts, and it comes tubeless ready.

Vitus Substance Steel Drop Bar
Vitus Substance Steel Drop Bar
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The 2019 Substance and Substance FB (Flat Bar) are equally well-rounded bikes with all the load-carrying capacity (and mounts) of the CRX, but with 700c wheels and 4130 chromoly frames.

Both models are competitively priced, with a solid base of Shimano SORA and Vitus own-brand parts, mechanical disc brakes and specific geometries.

The Substance CRX, Substance and Substance FB are available exclusively from Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle

Substance Steel Flat Bar
Substance Steel Flat Bar
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Vitus Zenium 2019 specifications

  • Frame: Carbon T700-HM UD
  • Forks: UD Full carbon 1-1/8in
  • Brakes: TRP Spyre Mechanical Flat Mount 160mm rotors
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Tiagra R4700
  • Shifter: Shimano Sora R3000
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Taigra FD-R4700
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Taigra RD-R4700-GS
  • Cassette: HG-500-10 12-28t
  • Chainset: Shimano Tiagra FC-R4700 52-36t
  • Chain: KMC X10-1
  • Wheels: Shimano WH-RS170 CL
  • Axles: Thru-axle 12mm
  • Tyres: Vittoria Zaffiro 28c
  • Saddle: Vitus Road
  • Seatpost: Vitus
  • Stem: Vitus
  • Bars: Vitus
  • Headset: FSA
  • Sizes: 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60cm
  •  £1,000 / €1,100 / $1,200 / AU$1,650

Zenium CR and CRW specifications

  • Frame: Carbon T700-HM UD
  • Forks: UD Full carbon 1-1/8in
  • Brakes: Shimano 105 RS-R7020 Hydraulic Flat Mount 160mm rotors
  • Drivetrain: Shimano 105 R7000
  • Shifter: Shimano 105 ST-R7020
  • Front derailleur: Shimano 105 FD-R7000
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano 105 RD-R7000-GS
  • Cassette: CS-R7000 11-30t
  • Chainset: Shimano 105 FC-R7000 52-36t
  • Chain: KMC X11-1
  • Wheels: Vitus 32mm Aluminium Aero Centre-Lock
  • Axles: Thru-axle 12mm
  • Tyres: Vittoria Zaffiro 28c
  • Saddle: Vitus Road
  • Seatpost: Vitus
  • Stem: Vitus
  • Bars: Vitus
  • Headset: FSA
  • Sizes: CR — 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60cm / CRW — 50, 52, 54, 56cm
  • CRW (Women’s) features specific saddle, lever reach, bar, stem and crank length
  • £1,400 / €1,550 / $1,650 / AU$2,300

Substance CRX specifications

  • Frame: Carbon T700-HM UD
  • Forks: UD Full carbon tapered steerer
  • Brakes: SRAM Apex HRD Flat Mount 160mm rotors
  • Drivetrain: SRAM Apex 1X HRD
  • Shifter: SRAM Apex 1X HRD
  • Front derailleur: n/a (braze on adaptor supplied)
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Apex 1X long cage
  • Cassette: SRAM XG-1150 10-42t
  • Chainset: SRAM APEX 1 Xsync 40t
  • Chain: SRAM PC 1110
  • Rims: WTB Frequency Race i23 TCS 650b tubeless ready
  • Front hub: Alex Bear Claw
  • Rear hub: Alex Bear Claw
  • Axles: Vitus Switch bolt-thru 12mm
  • Tyres: WTB Horizon 650 x 47c Road Plus TCS
  • Saddle: Prime Ti Road
  • Seatpost: Vitus
  • Stem: Vitus
  • Bars: Vitus Adventure Flared
  • Headset: FSA
  • Mounts: Fender, front and rear pannier, 3 x bottle cage
  • Sizes: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58cm (XS, S, M, L, XL)
  • £1,800 / €2,000 / $2,100 / AU$3,000

Substance specifications

  • Frame: 4130 double butted chromoly
  • Forks: UD Full carbon 1-1/8in
  • Brakes: TRP Spyre Mechanical Flat Mount 160mm rotors
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Sora R3000
  • Shifter: Shimano Sora R3000
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Sora FD-R3000
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Sora RD-R3000
  • Cassette: Shimano HG-400 11-32t
  • Chainset: FSA CK-616ST 48-32t
  • Chain: KMC Z9
  • Rims: WTB STP i23 TCS 700c tubeless ready
  • Front hub: Joytech
  • Rear hub: Joytech
  • Axles: Bolt-thru 12mm
  • Tyres: WTB Riddler 700c x 37c Comp Tan Wall TCS
  • Saddle: Prime Ti Road
  • Seatpost: Vitus
  • Stem: Vitus
  • Bars: Vitus Adventure Flared
  • Headset: FSA
  • Mounts: Fender, rear pannier, 3 x bottle cage
  • Sizes: 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60cm (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL)
  • £950 / €1,100 / $1,100 / AU$1,550

Substance FB (Flat Bar) specifications

  • Frame: 4130 double butted chromoly FB specific
  • Forks: UD Full carbon 1-1/8in
  • Brakes: TRP Spyre Mechanical Flat Mount 160mm rotors
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Sora R3000
  • Shifter: Shimano Sora R3000
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Sora FD-R3000
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Sora RD-R3000
  • Cassette: Shimano HG-400 11-32t
  • Chainset: FSA CK-616ST 50-34t
  • Chain: KMC Z9
  • Rims: Alex CXD 22
  • Front hub: Joytech
  • Rear hub: Joytech
  • Axles: Bolt-thru 12mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Little Big Ben 700 x 38c RaceGuard Reflective Sidewall
  • Saddle: Prime Ti Road
  • Seatpost: Vitus
  • Stem: Vitus
  • Bars: Vitus Flat Bar 5 Degree Backsweep
  • Headset: Neco
  • Mounts: Fender, rear pannier, 3 x bottle cage
  • Sizes: 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60cm (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL)
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  • £900 / €1,000 / $1,050 / AU$1,500