The team behind Chain Reaction Cycles’ Vitus own-brand include several national champion standard downhill rippers whose influence is obvious in the Sommet 1’s straightforward but seriously fun ride. Add direct buy discount pricing to give excellent spec and, if you don’t mind getting your bike in a box rather than from a shop, it’s a great all-round play bike.
Ride & handling: Naturally confident geometry, decent responsiveness
It’s a mark of how well sorted the Sommet is as a complete package that a dropper post is the only thing on the immediate upgrade list. The ride is equally welcoming and well-rounded, too. The cockpit is just the right shape to key into the slack head-angled, medium seat-angled geometry.
The low bottom bracket gives it an immediately grounded and surefooted feel that the sticky front tyre and sturdy fork firmly underline. The immediate feeling of confidence doesn’t diminish when you start hitting the trails either. The tyre, fork and cockpit combination makes it a bike that you naturally lead from the front with and that works well with the 160mm front, 150mm rear travel split.
The fork is consistently controlled to the point where your vision blurs on big, fast step sets and only really gets out of its depth if you repeatedly slam it really hard through its travel.
The Monarch shock does a decent job on the rear too, although it’s definitely tuned more towards mid-to-large sized hit control rather than smooth small bump plushness.
A high stroke-to-travel-leverage ratio means it’s adequate rather than outstanding off big drops or across staccato boulder sections. It doesn’t wallow or over travel though, and the Rapid Recovery damping is an obvious help when you’re repeatedly slapping it through its travel.
The three-way compression damping stabilises the back end well for pedalling or stand-up sprinting with just a flick of the lever, and the 1×10 ratios got us most places we wanted to be without walking.
Light wheels and reasonable overall weight also make it easy to pick up speed fast when the trail allows, and you certainly don’t need to be heading downhill to enjoy the Sommet experience.
While it’s not amazing, frame stiffness is good enough for reliable line holding of the mid-length wheelbase through seriously rocky, rooty or rutted sections. The 142x12mm rear axle keeps the rear wheel following obediently despite the lack of bridges between the stays.
There’s enough beef in the bike to let it straighten out twisted or nose heavy landings without stuffing you into the ground, although we certainly felt it stumble a few times when really ragged.
The low bottom bracket makes sliding through – rather than high-siding off – the default failsafe result if you do dig it into a corner too hard, and it’s generally a balanced slide that’s easy to shift emphasis and feather traction front and rear on.
The Sommet doesn’t have the most sophisticated frame or suspension. Great handling balance makes it a really easy and enjoyable bike to blast along technical trails or push hard down proper downhill trails.
Even without the essential dropper post upgrade it’s really good, ready-to-ride value as long as you’re happy to buy online and not be able to rely on your local shop for backup.
Vitus sommet 1: Steve Behr/Future Publishing
Vitus Sommet 1
Frame & equipment: Balanced suspension and good spec
The straightforward Sommet frame has a usefully slack tapered head tube, ISCG mounts and swing-link driven top tube shock mounting for the four-bar linkage rear. The 142x12mm dropouts are replaceable and you get an easy-to-use Shimano skewer. No seatstay bridge means loads of mud clearance, and there’s a high direct mount and cable stops for a front mech.
The kinked seat tube and long seatpost make it awkward to drop the saddle, and there’s no internal Stealth post routing, but there are external cable/hose guides under the top tube.
Easton Haven wheels wrapped in a classic sticky and standard compound High Roller tyre pairing underline the Sommet’s relatively light but tough ride. The RockShox Lyrik fork and RockShox Monarch RT3 shock are a similarly trustworthy pairing.
The reinforced Descendant crank is ready for the heaviest landings, while SRAM’s X9 Type 2 rear mech and X0/MRP single-ring guide setup minimises chain slap. The 750mm Vitus bar and fat, stubby Easton Haven stem create a great cockpit. The matching Easton Haven seatpost seems a waste of budget, though, as you’re either going to chop it down or get a dropper post ASAP.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.