Back in Vitus’s early 1990s heyday, it launched the original ZX-1. It was an organically shaped, curvy carbon masterpiece and Vitus claimed it to be the first commercially available carbon monocoque race bike.
The Vitus name has since changed hands and the French brand is now based in Northern Ireland under the ownership of Chain Reaction Cycles.
Since its revival, Vitus has been closely involved in racing with a long association with Irish sprint legend Sean Kelly’s An Post, and more recently with the Vitus Brother pro continental team and riders.
The ZX-1 CRS Aero is the chassis chosen by the team for racing duties and this disc-optimised model combines a very race-orientated design with some value-packed specifications.
The frame follows the current trend of aero tubes with the down tube and seat tube bearing an angular profile that’s similar to a kammtail (where the trailing edge of an aerofoil shape is blunted).
The truncated teardrop shape effectively mimics the full shape but without contravening regulations and making for a lighter tube than a deep, full aerofoil would.
With most aero-road machines looking very similar, with design cues, such as dropped seatstays becoming the norm, it’s good to see the Vitus looks a little different, with its more traditional two triangle, diamond-shaped frame.
The seatpost is a dedicated design (with more kammtail shaping) but it’s held in place with a standard-shaped seat binder, not as aero maybe, but definitely easier to live with.
The bike is very well-equipped with a full suite of Ultegra R8000, replete with disc brakes and Shimano’s top-of-the-line Ice-Tech rotors. Ultegra is always a sign of quality and here, despite the front mech cable needing adjusting after a few hours’ riding, it performed superbly with great control to the brakes and slick shifts the norm.
The Vitus is running on Prime’s 50mm deep, carbon clincher wheels. These may be ‘budget’ when it comes to carbon wheels but they’re reasonably light (just over 1,625g), they have a decent profile with a 19.5mm internal measurement, are tubeless-ready and the carbon rims run on decent-quality Prime branded Novatec hubs spinning on fully sealed cartridge bearings.
The Prime branded stem is a slick, coordinated design that matches both the neatly shaped alloy bar and chassis. It’s all finished off by the excellent short design ProLogo Dimension saddle.
Vitus ZX-1 CRS Aero Disc ride impressions
On the road, the ZX-1 is a very capable bike, it’s brutally quick to accelerate and the firm ride means firm responses too.
My XL/58cm test bike shows the ZX-1’s racing roots to the hilt with its classic racing, parallel 73-degree angles combined with a low stack of 569mm and a long reach of 406mm.
When you add that to the sharp front end and a short 1,009mm wheelbase you get a fast, responsive and, above all, rewarding ride experience, which is firm but not harsh and it combats high-frequency vibrations very well.
This would only be enhanced with the Prime wheels set up tubeless (higher models in the range come with Schwalbe’s Pro One tubeless tyres as standard).
On the climbs the bike’s responsive feel is rewarding, even with its reasonable weight (8.24kg) and its racier gearing of a 52/36 with an 11-28 cassette.
On descents the CR-1 is good, although because of the lightness of its handling, you can feel a bit of flex when pushing hard on the bars through corners or sprinting. It’s nothing of any concern.
My one niggle is with the seatpost. The aero shape is nice and an external clamp is a good choice, but the post did slip – even with carbon prep paste. When I tightened the clamp to its max setting of 8Nm, it stopped.
It’s a race-orientated bike with an aggressive position and with great kit to boot.
Vitus ZX-1 CRS Aero Disc geometry
- Seat angle: 73 degrees
- Head angle: 73 degrees
- Chainstay: 41cm
- Seat tube: 55cm
- Top tube: 58cm
- Head tube: 17cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 6.9cm
- Wheelbase: 1,009mm
- Stack: 56.9cm
- Reach: 40.6cm
|Price||AUD $4600.00GBP £2800.00USD $3300.00|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL|
|Brakes||Shimano Ultegra, Ice-Tech rotors|
|Cranks||Shimano Ultegra 52/36|
|Frame||Carbon Fork Carbon|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Ultegra|
|Handlebar||Prime Doyenne alloy|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra|
|Seatpost||Vitus ZX-1 carbon|
|Stem||Prime Doyenne alloy|
|Tyres||Continental Ultrasport 25mm|
|Wheels||Prime 50mm Carbon TL clinchers|