Vitus Sommet CRX (2017) first ride review£3,000.00

Top-fun steed that shames a lot of ‘superbikes’

The semi-carbon Sommet frame isn’t new, but Vitus has got it sticky and rolled it through its selection of shiny bits to produce a killer-value all-rounder with parts to die for.

Vitus Sommet CRX (2017) specifications

  • Frame: T700/800 carbon fibre front triangle, 6061-T6 aluminium rear end, 155mm (6.1in) travel
  • Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3, 160mm (6.5in) travel
  • Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RC3
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X1/X01 with Race Face Next SL cranks (1x11)
  • Wheelset: Mavic Deemax Pro wheels
  • Tyres: WTB Vigilante TCS Light/High Grip 27.5x2.3in (f) and WTB Trail Boss TCS Tough/Fast Rolling 27.5x2.25in (r)
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RS, 200/180mm
  • Bar: Nukeproof Warhead Carbon, 760mm
  • Stem: Nukeproof Zero, 50mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth 125mm dropper
  • Saddle: Nukeproof Vector Pro Ti
  • Weight: 12.96kg (28.57lb), large size without pedals

Vitus Sommet CRX (2017) frame

In common with a lot of cost-effective composite frames, the Sommet pairs a carbon-fibre front-end with an aluminium rear. 

Vitus has opted for a four-bar Horst Link suspension layout, but placed the rear pivots further forward on the relatively skinny chainstays than on most similar designs. The shock drives downwards through a hole in the base of the kinked and flared seat tube, and a 15mm collet main pivot increases stiffness.

The highly adjustable Monarch Plus shock makes it easy to get a good suspension feel
The highly adjustable Monarch Plus shock makes it easy to get a good suspension feel

Internal mainframe cable routing keeps things looking neat, and the MRP chain guide and sump bumper sit on built-in ISCG mounts. Vitus bikes we’ve had on long-term test haven’t suffered unduly from the use of a press-fit bottom bracket, though a screw-in unit would make maintenance easier. 

The frame is slightly dated in terms of its 142mm rear axle and non-metric RockShox Monarch Plus shock though, and while the 65.5-degree head angle is appropriately slack, the 450mm reach of my large sample was adequate rather than aggressively rangy. 

If you prefer longer bikes, the Sommet’s low standover height and short seat tube do at least make it easy to size up.

Vitus Sommet CRX (2017) kit

Because this is a 2017 bike, the SRAM X01 transmission is 11-speed, not 12-speed Eagle, and the Pike fork is a previous generation, non-Boost version. You do get a super-light Race Face Next SL carbon crankset though, plus new Mavic Deemax Pro wheels (not the Crossmax XLs listed), shod with WTB tyres in a grippy front/reinforced rear mix. 

The Nukeproof finishing kit is all well-proven, well-shaped gear too, including a titanium-railed saddle that saves enough grams to keep the complete bike just under 13kg.

Vitus Sommet CRX (2017) ride impressions

Combine the reasonably low weight with fast-rolling WTB rear rubber and a suspension set-up that’s naturally efficient in the upper parts of its travel, and you get a bike that’s impressively agile, quick to accelerate and day-ride friendly for a machine with 155mm of travel.

Impressively agile, quick to accelerate and day-ride friendly
Impressively agile, quick to accelerate and day-ride friendly

The compression damping switch on the Monarch Plus shock means you can firm it up easily for long slogs too. Otherwise, the ‘floating’ shock gives a broad set-up bandwidth that’s still sensitive enough for traction and comfort but reasonably supportive for pushing harder through corners.

The RCT3 damper in the Pike fork is a great match up front too, and if either end dives too much when you’re on the attack, it’s easy to add bottom-out spacers.

It’s likely to be the slight lack of reach, noticeable softness in the frame and lightweight front tyre (which is prone to crumple under high-G loadings) that set the limits to just how silly you can get on the Sommet. But if you think of it as a capable, easy-to-ride all-round trail bike rather than a radical enduro rig, it’s a great package.

It more than holds its own with end-of-season bargains from other brands now that £1,050 has been slashed off the original £3,799 retail price.

Vitus Sommet CRX (2017) early verdict

Top-value, well-balanced, efficient yet floated trail all-rounder that bests a lot of boutique brands.

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: 45
  • 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 than 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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