At its present Wiggle price of a tad under £400 there isn’t that much opposition to the Claris-equipped Vitus Razor: Triban’s bikes for sure, several Carrera models and a few Pinnacles from Evans Cycles.
Like those brands, the Vitus is every inch a ‘proper’ bike too, rather than the rightly derided ‘bike-shaped objects’. It shares a similar frame to the Vitus Razor Sora Disc, both of which have inherited the compact geometry of Vitus’s Carbon Zenium road bike.
The frame has the double-butted 6061 aluminium typical of bikes under a grand or so with a carbon-bladed, alloy-steerer-tubed fork. The seatstays are narrow for comfort and the chainstays are formed to accommodate wider tyres.
We hark on about wider tyres a lot – and with good reason. If you’re racing, the evidence today suggests 25mm is the optimum width for aerodynamics and the resulting speed. But in the real world we’d suggest that 28mm is probably a better size, especially when they inflate to nearer 30mm as they do here, which drastically adds to the volume of air.
This allows you to run the tyres at a lower pressure for greater comfort, while any performance losses are usually pretty marginal.
Tektro R317 brakes proved to be a bit ‘grabby’. Dave Caudery / Immediate Media
Shimano’s 8-speed Claris is at the centre of the Razor’s componentry, though there are deviations in the shape of a budget Prowheel Ounce chainset and the oh-so-familiar Tektro caliper brakes.
The usual comments apply. The brakes are fine enough but a bit ‘grabby’ and I’d upgrade to cartridge brake blocks for better control.
All the cabling is externally routed – perhaps less aesthetically pleasing and more susceptible to the elements but easier to fix and fettle if you’re mechanically inclined. This also contributed to very smooth and accurate shifting from Claris, which is well down the Shimano groupset hierarchy but works just as well as its more illustrious siblings.
There are neat mudguard fittings inside the seatstays and externally on the front fork, but there are no rack fittings.
The Razor frame has a lot of the features familiar on more expensive bikes: a semi-compact frame with a large diameter round-butted down tube and a tapered head tube that adds stiffness for front-end control.
At 10.3kg it’s never going to accelerate like an F1 car but it sustains its speed well and climbs decently, at least within the confines of its slightly narrow gear range.
The Vitus Razor Claris sustains speeds well and climbs decently. Robert Smith
On some of my local testing hills I was out of the saddle in the 34×28 bottom gear, compared with 34×34 or 34×32 gearing on other bikes where I’m able to stay seated.
The handling is reasonably sharp, with a 74-degree seat angle and 73-degree head angle (3), although the tallish head tube means the riding position isn’t too extreme, making it fine for long days out.
What the Vitus does deliver is impressive levels of comfort for modestly priced aluminium. If your only experience of the material is from a few decades ago, you’ll be staggered by how much more comfortable today’s bikes are, which is partly down to the increase in tyre diameter from a paltry 23mm to a plusher 28mm, but also the experience that manufacturers have in manipulating aluminium.
Wider tyres have the advantage of greater grip too, which helps with cornering, and they also let you retain your speed over rougher surfaces.
The Vitus Razor Claris is a fine ride for a £500/£400 bike. It damps road buzz very effectively for a rouleur-friendly ride.
Shimano Claris is an under-rated but quietly good groupset, and I had no problem with the Prowheel chainset even if I’d have preferred Claris. The usual non-cartridge brakes are a quick and inexpensive fix and will improve braking.
If you want to carry luggage you’ll have to use aftermarket options, but overall this is another very fine entry-level bike from the new incarnation of Vitus – and it’s great value, too.
Vitus Razor Claris geometry
Seat angle: 74.5 degrees
Head angle: 71 degrees
Seat tube: 48.7cm
Top tube: 54cm
Fork offset: 4.65cm
Bottom bracket height: 28.3cm