The products mentioned in this article are selected or reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.

Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS review

A bike that will make you grin

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £2,700.00 RRP | USD $3,200.00 | AUD $4,800.00
Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS

Our review

A smile-making machine that proves itself capable in a broad range of riding scenarios
Pros: Updated geometry and suspension make it a fun all-rounder; spec is great for the price
Cons: Rear tyre can get overwhelmed in the mud; two-pot back brake is fine for local woods but long descents may require more power
Skip to view product specifications

Vitus has been making waves over the past few years with its well thought-out bikes, which combine great specs and geometry with competitive prices.

Advertisement

With this 2021 update to its trail bike, the Escarpe – including a carbon/alloy frame – I put the mid-range Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS model to the test to find out whether the brand has continued to go from strength to strength.

Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS frame

This latest frame pairs a T700 carbon front triangle with a 6061 alloy rear end, and pumps out 140mm of travel from a four-bar linkage design.

Cable routing is fully internal, and there’s a healthy dose of frame protection. Gone are the curved tubes of last year’s Escarpe, in favour of straight lines.

The overhauled geometry, including a 65-degree head angle, wouldn’t be out of place on an enduro bike from a couple of years ago, albeit with a more modern 77-degree seat tube angle.

Seat tube lengths are short and reach numbers progressive (410mm and 451mm, respectively, on the medium), highlighting the bike’s descending focus.

It comes with a flip-chip that can raise the bottom bracket by 6mm and steepen the head angle by 0.5 degrees to make it feel less gravity-biased, depending on the terrain you’re riding.

Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS geometry

SMLXL
Seat angle (degrees) - effevtive777777.578
Seat angle (degrees) - actual72727272
Head angle (degrees)65656565
Chainstay (cm)44444444
Seat tube (cm)38414448
Top tube (cm)56.659.561.964.3
Head tube (cm)10111213
Bottom bracket drop (cm)3.53.53.53.5
Wheelbase (mm)1,1881,2181,2491,281]
Stack (cm)61.762.563.464.3
Reach (cm)43.745.147.850.5

Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS kit

As a direct-sales brand (via Chain Reaction Cycles), Vitus can offer a brilliant spec-to-price ratio.

Here, a 150mm-travel RockShox Pike Select fork with Charger RC damper is paired with a RockShox Deluxe Select+ shock. A 12-speed Shimano drivetrain with 10-51t cassette offers both smooth shifting and reliability, and it’s a full SLX setup, not just a fancy mech paired with some lower-spec parts.

The brakes are Shimano SLX too, with a 200mm rotor and four-pot caliper up front and a 180mm rotor and two-pot caliper out back.

You get highly-rated DT Swiss E 1900 wheels, which can take a thrashing and come wrapped in Maxxis Assegai and Dissector tyres, in EXO 3C MaxxTerra guise.

The dimensions of the Nukeproof cockpit kit vary with frame size – a nice detail – so my medium bike came fitted with a 760mm bar and 150mm-travel Brand-X dropper post.

Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS ride impressions

The changes to the Escarpe have certainly altered its ride feel. While the previous model was a plush machine that excelled on the descents, it was lacking in all-round ability. This new model is far more versatile, while still keeping its trail-shredding capability.

The steeper seat-tube angle and new suspension kinematics mean the Vitus now ticks off the miles quite happily. Although it’s not the fastest-climbing trail bike, there’s little in the way of energy-sapping pedal bob and I never felt the need to firm up the shock on the climbs.

What the Escarpe might lack in climbing speed it makes up for with bucketloads of fun on the trail. Its short 45mm stem and reasonable-width bar, paired with enduro-esque geometry, show it’s a bike intended to get loose on, and I had a ton of fun ripping around the local woods.

The updated suspension gives the bike a decent amount of support, so you can pop and play on the trail, which is useful when the terrain becomes mellower and carrying speed is essential.

Fortunately, the Escarpe’s 140mm of rear wheel travel is never harsh when dealing with bigger hits either.

Cyclist jumping a Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS full-suspension mountain bike through woodland
The updated suspension gives the bike a decent amount of support, so you can pop and play on the trail – useful when the terrain is mellower.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Thanks to its geometry, you can point the Vitus down a hill and have plenty of faith in it. It never held me back or made me think twice about hitting a technical section of trail.

I did have some reservations about the two-pot rear brake, fearing it might be overwhelmed on long, steep descents, but its power surprised me.

Advertisement

Of course, the Escarpe won’t match an enduro bike for outright bump-flattening on the steepest trails, but that isn’t its role. If you’re after a bike for playing in the woods, sessioning jumps, hitting the bike park occasionally and riding here, there and everywhere, it’s an excellent choice.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $4800.00GBP £2700.00USD $3200.00
Weight 14.3kg (M) – without pedals
Brand Vitus

Features

Available sizes S, M, L, XL
Rear derailleur Shimano SLX
Tyres Maxxis Assegai EXO TR 3C MaxxTerra 29x2.5in (f) and Maxxis Dissector EXO TR 3C MaxxTerra 29x2.4in (r)
Stem Nukeproof Neutron, 45mm
Shifter Shimano SLX, 12spd
Seatpost Brand-X Ascend, 150mm
Saddle Nukeproof Neutron
Rear Shocks RockShox Deluxe Select+
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon, 760mm
Bottom bracket Shimano SM-BB52
Frame Carbon fibre front triangle, aluminium 6061 alloy rear end, 140mm (5.5in) travel
Fork RockShox Pike Select, 150mm (5.9in) travel
Cranks Shimano SLX
Chain Shimano SLX
Cassette Shimano SLX, 10-51t
Brakes Shimano SLX, 200mm/180mm rotors
Wheels DT Swiss E 1900 wheels