Metrea? A Greek goddess? One of the Marvel Avengers superheroes? Nope, it’s a bit more prosaic: it’s Shimano’s urban bike-specific groupset launched back in 2016 but still not seen that often. As for Mach 3, I don’t think you’re ever going to approach three times the speed of sound on this Vitus, which is pretty much the classic commuting ‘hybrid’ that most of us would imagine.
That’s also how Vitus pictures it, calling the Mach 3 “a dedicated flat handlebar urban bike that’s geared towards commuting and darting around the urban jungle”. But Vitus continues: “It’s also perfect for getting away from it all and setting off on relaxing rides in the countryside at the weekend.” Is it right?
Braking from Shimano’s hydraulic discs is impeccable with power and control. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The copper finish is lovely – not sure about that kinked top-tube – and the Mach 3’s up-to-date features include radically dropped seatstays for rear-end comfort, mainly internal cable routing, a tapered full-carbon thru-axle fork and Metrea’s single-ring chainset and hydraulic flat mount brakes.
Metrea’s single-ring chainset. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The 42t chainring is paired with an 11-32 Shimano 105 cassette, which would have been seen as wide-ranging not that long ago. But two other bikes that I also have on test have ultra-wide cassettes with an 11-42 spread.
The Mach 3’s 42×11 combo gives a decent 106in top gear (a little below 50×12) but the bottom gear (roughly equivalent to 34×25) left me puffing and grunting my way up Bristol and Bath’s steeper slopes, of which I’m not exactly starved.
A pair of small bar-ends would have helped here, giving greater leverage when climbing out of the saddle. And I’d have also preferred flattened handlebar grips rather than the Mach 3’s round rubber grips – but that’s subjective and they’re easy and inexpensive to replace.
On the flat, the Mach 3 nips along delightfully, helped by quick, crisp gear changes. Robert Smith
On the flat, however, the Mach 3 nipped along delightfully, helped by quick, crisp gear changes from the Metrea’s right-hand thumb-shifter and Shimano’s excellent hydraulic brakes, offering power and precision with minimal effort.
The handling is everything you want for urban riding. The position is upright for excellent visibility, the short stem makes for lively, fast-acting steering and the straight 62cm bar isn’t too wide to dodge through gaps in the traffic.
At less than 10kg the Mach 3’s decently light too. The 35mm Schwalbe Kojak tyres are, of course, slick and offer more comfort than a cheap suspension fork on tarmac and much better control, and though reasonably light they do feature a puncture-protection layer.
Solid, comfortable commuter bike with good kit and great brakes. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Practicalities are taken care of by rear rack mounts and front and rear mudguard fittings with plenty of clearance for full-size fenders. These contribute to a bike that really does hit the spot for commuting, even my 17-miler – though that route is largely flat.
Once again bar-ends would have helped with comfort. The Vitus Mach 3 is easily good enough for longer countryside rides, but the bottom gear might make any hillier away days hard work. But it’s a solid, comfortable commuter bike with good kit and great brakes.
Vitus Mach 3 VRX Urban geometry (M)
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 71 degrees
Seat tube: 48cm
Top tube: 56cm
Head tube: 13.6
Fork offset: 4.8cm
Bottom bracket drop: 6.5cm
Bottom bracket height: 28.3cm