Vitus Rapide 275 review

A stiff carbon hardtail to punish the trail, rather than you

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £1,849.99 RRP | AUD $3,529.49 | USD $3,089.49

Our review

The Rapide has unspectacular looks, but offers excellent value and confident cross-country handling
Skip to view product specifications

Originally a road bike builder in 1970s France, Vitus was bought by Belfast-based online bike shop Chain Reaction Cycles in 2011. It’s the sole distributor of Vitus bikes.

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  • Highs: The Rapide is a light, tight and confident ride
  • Lows: The bolted seat collar is annoying; it needs an XL size
  • Buy if: You want a rapid XC bike that’s fast coming down too

Frame and equipment: mid-sized model

You expect a carbon hardtail with a big, press-fit BB30 bottom bracket and a 142x12mm DT Swiss rear axle to be a couple of things – stiff and light – and the Vitus is both. You might also expect 29in wheels, but while the Rapide is available as a 29er for the same price, we wanted to see if the smaller wheels work.

The Rapide is 11.02kg (24.3lb) without pedals, and while it’s well specced it’s not using anything crazy-light. Derailleurs and shifters are Shimano XT, while the alloy 2×10 crankset is an FSA Afterburner. The brakes are SLX on 180mm rotors, and the finishing kit is alloy. The 720mm flat bars, 90mm stem and layback seatpost are all Vitus’ own.

Head angle on the Rapide is 69.5 degrees
Head angle on the rapide is 69.5 degrees:
Russell Burton

The head angle on the Rapide is 69.5 degrees

The 100mm RockShox Reba RL fork is smooth and supportive, and the tapered alloy steerer and 15mm axle keeps it tracking true for its weight. The lack of proper indexing on the rebound adjuster is a niggle though.

Easton’s EA70 XLs are stiff and light, and with a 20mm internal rim width they hold the (oddly draggy, at low pressure) 2.2in Continental X-Kings securely. Head angle is a nippy 69.5-degrees, top tube (16mm) on our Large test machine is 618mm and, even equipped with a 90mm, stem the Vitus has an enthusiastic feel.

Shimano XT kit takes care of shifting duties
Shimano xt kit takes care of shifting duties:
Russell Burton

Shimano XT takes care of shifting duties

Sizing could be an issue for taller riders, as this not-particularly long Large is the biggest available. If you’re over 6ft you’ll be stuck with that 90mm stem – which is a shame as a 70mm would tighten up the steering – and if you’re much taller you’ll be cramped. Things seem better at the other end of the three-size scale: the Small has a 562mm top tube and a short 380mm seat tube.

The frame is warrantied for five years, the parts for two via Chain Reaction.

Ride and handling: fast and fun cross-country ride

The Rapide is stiff but not brutal, and it manages that carbon hardtail trick of feeling quite muted and smooth against small vibrations before surprising you with its iron bar-like lack of give under bigger impacts or hard pedalling.  

There’s a subtle give at the edges of every impact, though in the end the seatstays don’t move much more than the rocks do. Drive is consequently very direct, and on smooth surfaces it’s super-efficient. 

The Rapide's Reba fork is smooth and well controlled, and can be leaned on pretty hard
The rapide’s reba fork is smooth and well controlled, and can be leaned on pretty hard:
Russell Burton

The Rapide’s Reba fork is smooth and well controlled, and can be leaned on pretty hard

Better still, it’s not instantly out of its comfort zone once things get steeper and rougher as you come back down, either, though the non-Black Chili X-Kings and bolted seat collar do hold it back. 

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The Rapide is an assured, high-value cross-country ride that eschews the old ‘steep, short and tall’ shapes of road-bike inspired  XC frames, and it’s all the faster – and more fun – for it.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Rapide 275 (15)
Brand Vitus

Description Medium (43cm/17")
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT RD-M786 Shadow Plus
Chainstays (in) 16.85
Brake Levers Shimano XT SL-M780 Rapid Fire Plus
Weight (lb) 24.5
Year 2014
Weight (kg) 11.1
Stem Vitus, 3D Forged 6061-T6 Aluminium, +/-7 Degree Rise
Shifters Shimano XT SL-M780 Rapid Fire Plus
Seatpost Vitus Alloy, 6061-T6, 15mm Offset, 31.6mm x 400mm
Seat Angle 72.5
Saddle Vitus
Rims Easton EA70 XL 27.5"
Rear Tyre Continental X-King, 27.5"x2.2"
Rear Hub Easton EA70 XL Disc - 6 Bolt, 142mm x 12mm
Headset Type FSA Orbit C-42/48 (No.42/48/ACB), 1.1/8" - 1.5"
Available Sizes 15in 17in 19in
Head Angle 69.5
Handlebar Vitus Flat Bar, 6061 Double Butted Alloy, 720mm Wide
Grips/Tape Vitus Lock-On
Front Tyre Continental X-King, 27.5"x2.2"
Front Hub Easton EA70 XL Disc - 6 Bolt, 100mm x 15mm
Front Derailleur Shimano XT FD-M786, 34.9mm Band
Frame Material T700 High-modulus HM-UD Carbon With DT Swiss RWS X-12 Rear Axle
Fork RockShox Reba RL 27.5 Solo Air, Tapered Alloy Steerer, 100mm Travel, 15mm Maxle Lite
Cranks FSA Afterburner BB30, 175mm, 38t x 24t
Chain KMC X10, 10-Speed
Cassette Shimano, 11t-34t, 10-Speed
Brakes Shimano SLX BR-M675 Hydraulic Disc, 180mm Rotors
Bottom Bracket FSA Press Fit 30 (PF30)
Seat Tube (in) 16.93