Vitus Vitesse Evo Team eTap AXS
Like the Canyon CF SL 8.0 Di2 Aero, also a Bike of the Year test bike, this Vitus is only available online, wielding that double-edged sword of great value versus ‘no chance to try before you buy’.
However, the Vitesse puts forward a convincing argument to take that risk. Take the groupset: I was impressed with Canyon’s Di2, but how on earth has Vitus included carbon tubeless wheels and wireless SRAM Force eTap AXS for £3,699 / €4,299 / $4,699 / AU$6,399?
Bike of the Year 2020
The Vitus Vitesse Evo Team eTap AXS is part of our annual Bike of the Year test.
Head to our Bike of the Year hub for the full list of winners, categories and shortlisted bikes, as well as the latest reviews – or read our behind-the-scenes feature on how we tested Bike of the Year 2020.
The Vitus has slender seatstays and a slim 27.2mm post rather than dropped stays. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Frame design echoes that of Canyon’s Ultimate, relying on slender seatstays and a slim 27.2mm post instead of the fashion for dropped stays.
Sculpted chainstays incorporate a minimal flat mount for the rear-disc brake, which is at odds with the post-mount fork that runs a flat-mount converter upfront.
My XL (58cm) test bike features a stack of 582mm and a long reach of 403mm. Throw in steep 73.5-degree head and 73-degree seat angles and, while not quite as fierce as the Canyon, it has race intentions.
The steep front has racy intentions. David Caudery / Immediate Media
As well as SRAM’s wireless Force AXS group, you are given 12-speed via a 48/35 chainset and a 10-33 cassette. This is the equivalent of running a 52/36 and a wide 11-32 cassette on a standard 11-speed setup, although it offers a taller gear at the top end and marginally lower at the bottom.
It’s a smart compromise between big power gears and a climber-friendly setup. I’ve also experimented with the AXS app and settled on the compensation mode, which auto-adjusts the rear mech to place you in the next best gear when shifting the front rings.
I settled on compensation mode in the AXS app. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The bike runs on CRC/Wiggle own-brand 38mm-deep carbon Prime wheels that are fully tubeless compatible – and come set-up as such – and weigh a minimal 708g upfront and 855g outback.
They’re shod with Hutchinson’s Fusion 5 ‘storm performance’ tyres that feature a tread pattern designed to disperse water.
Zipp’s Service Course stem and alloy Service Course seatpost work well, as does the ovalized Prime-branded alloy bar, which includes a well-designed ergonomic drop.
Prologo’s Kappa Evo PAS saddle, with its pressure-relieving channel, is a nice place to spend a fair few hours. Not quite up there with Specialized’s Body Power, although that’s arguably the market leader.
On the road, the frame is rigid where you need it – through the bottom bracket – while Vitus has balanced handling superbly. It’s fast enough for last-minute direction tweaks yet stable enough at speed to exploit downhills. The Force brakes offer oodles of power and feel.
The Force brakes worked well. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The overall ride is similar to the Canyon: firm but prevented from becoming harsh by the supple feel of the wheel and tyre package.
The back-end’s firmness is countered by a good saddle, although it’d be enhanced by a carbon post down the line.
Vitus Vitesse Evo Team eTap AXS geometry
- Sizes (* tested): XS, S, M, L, XL*, XXL
Seat angle: 73 degrees
Head angle: 73.5 degrees
Seat tube: 55cm
Top tube: 58cm
Head tube: 17.5cm
Fork offset: 4.5cm
Bottom bracket drop: 6.9cm
With thanks to…
BikeRadar would like to thank 100%, Q36.5, Lazer, Garmin and Facom for their support during our Bike of the Year test.