Vitus Escarpe review

Hardcore full-gas package at a remarkable price

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £1,450.00 RRP | AUD $2,400.00 | USD $1,650.00

Our review

Radical geometry, excellent suspension and killer-value kit make the Vitus a flat-out bargain
Buy if, You want a well-specced, well-priced ride that's ready to roll
Pros: Speed-sustaining, trauma-erasing, traction-enhancing rear suspension; remarkable parts package for the price; super-long geometry
Cons: Noticeable frame flex when you’re pushing hard
Skip to view product specifications

Fantastic geometry, excellent suspension and a remarkable spec for the price make the Vitus an unbeatable complete package for attacking the trails.

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Vitus Escarpe frame

Vitus Escarpe
Vitus Escarpe
Andy Lloyd

Lots of complex hydroforming is evident on the frame, not least on the split seat-tube, which allows the shock to attach to the chainstay tips, creating a ‘floating’ mount. 

A tapered head tube, ISCG-05 chain guide mount, Boost rear-end and semi-internal cable routing tick all the boxes, and there’s clearance for a 27.5×2.8in tyre. Geometry is enduro slack and long, which is rare at this price.

Vitus Escarpe kit

The remarkably good spec includes £120-worth of Maxxis tyres in a great fast-enduro combination (Minion DHF EXO front, Minion SS DD rear). 

Yet again, the WTB rims offer plenty of tyre support and the Recon fork impresses even when going flat out. The bar and stem are well-shaped for getting full potential from the geometry, and the grips are clamped in place. 

While the Shimano Deore transmission is only 10-speed, you get a mini chain guide as standard. It comes with an internally routed dropper too.

Vitus Escarpe ride

It’s not the longest-travel option in Vitus’s trail/enduro line-up (that’s the 160mm Sommet), but the Escarpe still lets you ride flat out. 

The 800mm bar gives power-steering leverage and the 50mm stem keeps the steering light and easy to tweak despite the slack 66-degree head angle. This naturally keeps the front wheel on target and, combined with the long reach (470mm on the Large), stretches the front centre (distance from bottom bracket to front wheel axle) way out, making the bike a lot more stable and harder to trip up if the front wheel tucks under or slides out.

Vitus has revised the back end to keep it more active and stop it stiffening up as much under power. The metric RockShox Deluxe shock is smoother and better-damped than its imperial equivalent, the Monarch. 

Here, a trunnion mount maximises its already outstanding sensitivity. This simplest R version also has more oil flow in open mode than pricier models. Combined with the four-bar rear end and floating mount, the result is a fluid, rock- and drop-melting suspension feel that seems to get better the harder you ride.

There’s no need to worry about tyre survival, as the DoubleDown carcass at the rear is designed to suck up punishment, without feeling too harsh or heavy. Add the freedom to move your weight around once you drop the post out of the way, and the Escarpe is effortlessly rapid, even on seriously rocky or rooty trails that would choke a lot of bikes with similar travel to a standstill. 

Despite its active suspension feel, the Vitus still pedals okay, and I only missed being able to lock out the rear shock when stomping up long, smooth climbs.

The 66-degree head angle and 470mm reach of the large size give the Escarpe more swagger than many enduro bikes
The 66-degree head angle and 470mm reach of the large size give the Escarpe more swagger than many enduro bikes
Andy Lloyd

Its ability to carry serious speed through the roughest sections does put a lot of pressure on the Shimano M395 brakes. Their wooden feel can make it hard to modulate braking as well as you can control steering. 

The 10-speed cassette and mech are another spec compromise, but not one I noticed on the trail — the gear range is still perfectly adequate for most riders.

While it’s a pain to keep the slack front end on-line on climbs at first, you soon learn to use the reasonably steep seat angle to keep the bike obedient. Navigating the long wheelbase through tight, slow corners also becomes easier with practice. That means the only downside with the Escarpe is the relatively flexy frame. Up front, this leaves the steering not feeling as pinpoint accurate as it could. 

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The way the rear end narrows at the main pivot also lets tangible twist and softness into the back end. That same flex helps it shrug off or shimmy through straight-line trouble better than a really rigid bike, though, and also reduces rattle and fatigue over time. That means it’s still an awesome ready-to-rave package for the money.

A triple-compound Maxxis Minion DHF front tyre and reinforced Minion SS rear would set you back nearly £120 at retail prices
A triple-compound Maxxis Minion DHF front tyre and reinforced Minion SS rear would set you back nearly £120 at retail prices
Andy Lloyd

Product Specifications

Product

Name Escarpe
Brand Vitus

Available Sizes S M L XL
Rear Tyre Maxxis Minion SS DD TR 27.5x2.3in
Wheelbase (in) 47.64
Top Tube (in) 25.2
Seat Tube (in) 19.09
Chainstays (in) 17.13
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.19
Spoke Type 32x double-butted stainless
Weight (kg) 14.66
Stem Vitus, 50mm
Shifters Shimano Deore (1x10)
Seatpost Brand-X Ascend XL 150mm dropper
Seat Angle 74.5
Saddle Nukeproof Neutron
Rims WTB TCS i29
Rear Wheel Weight 2760
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe R
Bottom Bracket FSA MegaExo
Front Hub Novatec
Brakes Shimano M395, 180/160mm rotors
Cassette Shimano HG500, 11-42t
Chain KMC X10EL
Cranks FSA Gamma Pro MegaExo, 32t
Fork RockShox Recon RL, 140mm (5.5in) travel
Frame Material Hydroformed and triple-butted 6061-T6 aluminium
Front Tyre Maxxis Minion DHF 3C EXO TR 27.5x2.3
Rear Hub Novatec
Front Wheel Weight 2070
Grips/Tape Vitus single lock-on
Handlebar Nukeproof, 800mm
Head Angle 66
Headset Type FSA No.57
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore M6000 Shadow Plus
Frame size tested L