A dreamy alloy build — 2019 Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX first look

A truly top-shelf build for just £3,000

Vitus has just announced updates to its mountain bike range for 2019 and one of the standout models is this top of the range Escarpe 29 VRX trail bike.

Fitted with just about everything the typical mountain biker could wish for — including Fox Factory suspension, DT Swiss wheels and other high-end components — this is one we’re looking forward to spending more time on.

Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX specs and pricing

The Vitus Escarpe is ready to ride the trails
The Vitus Escarpe is ready to ride the trails

  • Frame: 6061-T6 Alloy Escarpe 29 frame, ISCG 05 chain guide mount, BSA threaded 73mm bottom bracket shell, Boost spacing
  • Fork: 150mm Fox 36 FIT GRIP2 Factory
  • Shock: Fox DPX2 Factory, 185mm x 50mm, 3-Pos lever w/adjustment
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8000 1x11
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX M7000 11-46t
  • Crankset: Shimano XT 170mm 30t
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss M1700 Spline 30
  • Front tyre: Maxxis Minion DHF 3C MaxxTerra / EXO / TR 29x2.5
  • Rear tyre: Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra / EXO / TR 29x2.4
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RE 200/180mm rotors
  • Seatpost: Brand X Ascend dropper post, 100mm (S), 120mm (M), 150mm (L and XL)
  • Stem: Nukeproof Horizon
  • Bars: Nukeproof Horizon 31.8mm, 25mm rise, 780mm (S and M), 800mm (L and XL)
  • Saddle: Nukeproof Horizon SL
  • Sizes: Available in S, M, L and XL
  • £2,999.99 (estimated availability from 20/11/2018)

Competent geometry

The geometry of the Escarpe aims to tread a middle ground between fun, all-day riding capability and confidence when pushing the limits on the steepest trails.

The geometry is not the most extreme we’ve seen, but it’s decidedly modern with a 66-degree head angle and 450mm reach for a size medium bike.

This should provide all the stability and confidence you need while retaining the manoeuvrability and playfulness you would expect of a shorter travel trail bike.

Wheel-specific frames

It’s worth noting that the Vitus Escarpe is also available with 27.5-inch wheels, so depending on your preference, you may opt for the smaller wheel size.

Interestingly, Vitus hasn’t just put different wheels on the same frame — each frame is specifically designed for each wheel-size.

While this does mean you won’t be able to mix and match, Vitus claims it improves wheel-size specific suspension kinematics and handling.

Top shelf components

The Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX is equipped with just about everything the heart could desire.

DT Swiss wheel, Fox suspension, Maxxis tyres — what more do you need?
DT Swiss wheel, Fox suspension, Maxxis tyres — what more do you need?

Suspension duties are taken care of by Fox Factory suspension, with a 150mm travel Fox 36 up front and a metric, trunnion-mounted Fox DPX2 controlling 140mm of travel at the back.

A Shimano XT drivetrain should make for reliable shifting in a range of conditions, while the SRAM Guide RE brakes with 200/180mm rotors will be able to slow you down as you career downhill.

Shimano XT might not have the bling of XTR, but it's a damn good performer
Shimano XT might not have the bling of XTR, but it's a damn good performer

We’re especially pleased to see the DT Swiss M1700 wheelset and brilliant, grippy rubber in the form of Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR II tyres.

While the bike doesn’t come set up tubeless out of the box, the wheels and tyres are both tubeless-ready and the bike will come with tubeless valves — you’ll just have to add sealant.

Finished off nicely

Vitus hasn’t skimped on the finishing kit either — Nukeproof provides the bars, stem and saddle.

The Horizon bars are a respectable 780mm for a Size M, and expand to 800mm for Size L and XL.

Capable stoppers will help slow you down when things get hairy
Capable stoppers will help slow you down when things get hairy

The frame includes all the features and modern standards you would expect — Boost spacing helps stiffen up wheels, while the ISCG-05 chainguide mounts will allow you to hold your chain even more securely if you’re riding is particularly rowdy.

And our hearts nearly burst with joy when we realised that Vitus has stuck with external cable routing.

An alloy frame, but equipped with the best

We think the Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX is a rather good looking bike
We think the Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX is a rather good looking bike

While some people might expect to see a carbon frame at this price point, we think that the approach Vitus has taken, speccing top-shelf components on a perfectly serviceable 6061-T6 alloy frame, is an equally valid approach.

We got on very well with the previous generation of the 27.5-inch wheeled model, so are excited to see what this big-wheeled version can do. Stay tuned for a full review in the very near future!  

While there is no specific international pricing available, Vitus bikes are available exclusively from Chain Reaction Cycles or Wiggle, and both offer international postage.

Be sure to check out our roundup of the Vitus 2019 mountain bike range for the full story on all of the new bikes!

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