Vitus gives the Escarpe and Sommet a complete overhaul

Direct-sales brand refreshes trail and enduro offerings, with both wheel sizes catered for

Vitus Sommet enduro bike

Vitus has updated its two flagship mountain bikes – the Escarpe trail/all-mountain bike and Sommet enduro bike.

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The Escarpe features 140mm of rear wheel travel and a 150mm fork, while the Sommet gets 170mm travel at either end on the 650b bike and 162mm rear wheel travel on the 29er with a 170mm fork.

Vitus Escarpe CRS
The 2021 Vitus Escarpe CRS.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

The Northern Irish brand wanted to not only build upon the success of its key models, with updated geometry and suspension kinematics, but also cement its position as one of the best value brands out there, with a pair of low cost, high performance carbon mountain bikes.

Both models were introduced in 2012, and it’s been four to five years since they last received a full overhaul, seeing just a few tweaks here and there in recent times, but it’s the lessons learned over the years that have led to the new platform that we see today.

Both the Escarpe and Sommet feature a carbon front triangle with an alloy rear triangle, and both are offered with 29in and 650b wheels.

Interestingly, the 650b Escarpe and Sommet share the same front triangle, as do the 29in versions. At the rear, each of the four individual bikes have their own rear triangle, giving the bikes their differing rear wheel travels.

Vitus Escarpe rocker link
The rocker and rear ends combine to differentiate between the Escarpe and Sommet bikes.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

The bikes now come with a traditional four-bar suspension design, rather than the fully-floating shock four-bar design of old. The shock now bolts straight into the front triangle, rather than being an extension of the chainstays.

Both the sharing of the front triangles and this move to a slightly simpler (though Vitus also believes better) suspension layout helps keep the costs as low as possible and shouldn’t compromise performance.

2021 Vitus Escarpe and Sommet geometry updates

As one might expect from bikes that have had little in the way of updates in the past few years, the 2021 models see a significant change in their geometries.

In particular, Vitus has looked at the seat angles, with the larger frames getting progressively steeper seat angles to account for the effect of longer seatposts and the weight distribution of the rider.

Vitus Sommet enduro bike
The Sommet gets a 170mm fork at the front.
Vitus

As very few bikes have an ‘actual’ seat angle identical to their ‘effective’ seat angle, as seatposts get longer, the effective seat angle slackens. This tends to compromise taller riders’ positions on the bike, hence why Vitus is putting steeper seat angles on these larger bikes.

Its overall goal was for the saddle to run in a similar position to where it would be on an equivalent hardtail or road bike – where, over the years, saddle position seems to have been standardised.

For a more detailed look at seatpost angles, read Seb’s ultimate guide to mountain bike geometry.

Saddle Layback geometry
Saddle Layback geometry.

Within Vitus’s geometry charts for the bikes is a new measurement called Saddle Layback. This is the distance behind the bottom bracket that the middle of the saddle sits – like a reverse version of the more commonly seen reach figure.

This figure is combined with average saddle heights for a given bike size and should give a guide as to where the saddle sits between the wheels. Vitus hopes that there shouldn’t be a need to run saddles at the extremes of their saddle rails within the seatpost’s clamp.

Further to the changes in seat angle, Vitus has shortened seat tube lengths to allow for longer drop dropper posts, while also enabling these longer droppers to be fully inserted into the frame with their bases passing the upper shock mount.

Furthermore, the bikes have been slackened by 1 to 1.5 degrees to work better with short offset forks, according to Vitus.

RockShox Pike
The Pike fork on this second-tier Escarpe should be a good match for the frame.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Vitus has designed the bikes around a low and slack position, however it recognises that some riders will want a slightly taller, steeper option for pedallier tracks and trails. As such, there is a geometry adjusting flip-chip in the lower shock mount that will add 0.5 degrees to the head angle and around 6mm to the bottom bracket height.

Geometries for a size Large Escarpe and Sommet are below.

 Escarpe 650b Escarpe 29" Sommet 650b Sommet 29"
Reach 482mm 478mm 476mm 471mm
Seat Tube 440mm 440mm 440mm 440mm
Stack 616mm 634mm 621mm 639mm
Chainstay Length 435mm 440mm 435mm 440mm
Wheelbase 1240mm 1250mm 1249mm 1257mm
Head Angle 65 degrees 65 degrees 64 degrees 64 degrees
Seat Angle 77.5 degrees 77.5 degrees 77 degrees 77 degrees
Saddle Layback 173mm 173mm 180mm 181mm
BB Drop 22mm 35mm 12mm 25mm

2021 Vitus Escarpe and Sommet frame details

With Vitus using the same front triangles on the Escarpe and Sommet (within wheel sizes), frame details are identical across the ranges.

All the bikes come with SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger standard, as well as threaded bottom bracket (BB) shells. While Press Fit BBs can work well, Vitus found that consumers preferred threaded bottom brackets.

Down tube protector
Down tube protection is a must on a carbon bike.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Frame protection tape will be pre-installed on the bikes, as will the rubber down tube, and seat and chainstay protectors. These are made from a soft 40a durometer rubber, to better dampen noise.

Cables run internally, with bolt-attached entry and exit points, as well as foam internal sheaths to reduce cable rattle.

Vitus insert close up
Seatposts insert past the main pivot to allow for longer dropper posts.
Vitus

2021 Vitus Escarpe and Sommet suspension details

Vitus has updated both bikes’ suspension kinematics to get even more performance out of the rear ends.

The previous Escarpe didn’t have enough ramp up in its late stroke for Vitus’s liking, with the bikes coming stocked with shocks packed full of volume spacers to increase ramp-up at the end of their strokes.

There was also a slightly regressive portion of the suspension’s stroke just after sag. The revisions have smoothed this out and added extra progressivity later on.

Vitus Sommet rear shock
Piggyback shocks feature on the Sommet.
Vitus

This is echoed by the Sommet, which sees an increase in the kinematic’s progression from 13 per cent in the old bike to 25 per cent in the new model. This is said to give better small bump sensitivity, increased mid-stroke support and end-stroke progression.

While volume spacers were required on the older bike, this one is less reliant on them, while there’s also enough progression in the stroke to allow for effective use of a coil shock (as well as the frame now having space to hold one).

Horst link suspension
A Horst-link suspension linkage provides 140mm of travel.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Vitus has dropped its anti-squat figures on the bikes in order to further improve suppleness in the early-mid stroke, as well as around the sag points.

Previously it found that the suspension could pull itself too high in its travel through pedalling and then wallow into the mid-travel too much. It is now at or just below 100 per cent at the sag point.

At the same time, the anti-rise numbers have been adjusted to prevent the rear-end extending under braking. This means the bikes should feel more balanced in their weight distribution under braking on steep terrain.

Vitus Escarpe front end
Vitus’s new bikes come with a carbon front triangle and alloy rear.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

2021 Vitus Escarpe and Sommet spec details

The two bike ranges will get three models each, with identical specs between the two wheel sizes.

While Vitus has aimed to get the prices as competitive as possible, the longer travel Sommet does come in a little more expensive than the Escarpe. This is largely due to the suspension components, which Vitus has uprated to help make the most of the bike’s potential.

SLX rear brake
The Escarpe models get a two-pot brake on the rear, while the front gets a more powerful four-pot brake.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

2021 Vitus Escarpe CR 27 & 29

  • Price: £1,999.99 / €2,399.99 / $2,499.99 / AU$3,799.99
  • Fork: Marzocchi Z2 Rail
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select R
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 12-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano MT420 / MT410
  • Wheels: WTB ST Light i30/Vitus KT hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai / Maxxis Dissector; 3C MaxxTerra compound, EXO/TR
  • Finishing kit: Nukeproof Neutron 45mm stem, Nukeproof Horizon bar, Brand-X Ascend dropper, Nukeproof Neutron saddle

2021 Vitus Escarpe CRS 27 & 29

  • Price: £2,699.99 / €3,099.99 / $3,199.99 / AU$4,799.99
  • Fork: RockShox Pike Select
  • Shock: RockShox Select+
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX
  • Wheels: DT Swiss M1900
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai / Maxxis Dissector; 3C MaxxTerra compound, EXO/TR
  • Finishing kit: Nukeproof Neutron 45mm stem, Nukeproof Horizon bar, Brand-X Ascend dropper, WTB Volt saddle

2021 Vitus Escarpe CRX 27 & 29

  • Price: £3,499.99 / €3,999.99 / $4,199.99 / AU$6,199.99
  • Fork: Fox 36 Factory
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT
  • Brakes: Shimano XT
  • Wheels: DT Swiss M1700
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai / Maxxis Dissector; 3C MaxxTerra compound, EXO/TR
  • Finishing kit: Nukeproof Horizon 50mm stem, Nukeproof Horizon bar, Brand-X Ascend dropper, WTB Volt saddle

2021 Vitus Sommet CR 27 & 29

  • Price: £2,399.99 / €2,799.99 / $2,999.99 / AU$4,299.99
  • Fork: RockShox Yari RC
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select R
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore
  • Brakes: Shimano MT510 / MT520
  • Wheels: WTB KOM Trail i30/Vitus KT hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip compound, EVO+ / Maxxis Minion DHRII 3C MaxxTerra compound, DD/TR
  • Finishing kit: Nukeproof Neutron 45mm stem, Nukeproof Horizon bar, Brand-X Ascend dropper, Nukeproof Neutron saddle

2021 Vitus Sommet CRS 27 & 29

  • Price: £2,899.99 / €3,299.99 / $3,499.99 / AU$4,999.99
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Select
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ RT
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX
  • Wheels: DT Swiss E1900
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip compound, EVO+ / Maxxis Minion DHRII 3C MaxxTerra compound, DD/TR
  • Finishing kit: Nukeproof Neutron 45mm stem, Nukeproof Horizon bar, Brand-X Ascend dropper, WTB Volt saddle
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2021 Vitus Sommet CRX 27 & 29

  • Price: £3,599.99 / €4,199.99 / $4,499.99 / AU$6,299.99
  • Fork: Fox 38 Factory
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT
  • Brakes: Shimano XT
  • Wheels: DT Swiss E1700
  • Tyres: Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip compound, EVO+ / Maxxis Minion DHRII 3C MaxxTerra compound, DD/TR
  • Finishing kit: Nukeproof Neutron 45mm stem, Nukeproof Horizon bar, Brand-X Ascend dropper, WTB Volt saddle