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REVIEW: Vitus Vitesse VRi Recommended

by Adam Tranter

Price £2,799.99
Size 58cm
Colour Black/Yellow
Thanks to the super ride, the well-rounded spec list and smart showroom looks, it's regularly my favourite bike of choice for all occasions.

REVIEW: Vitus Vitesse VRi - £2799.99

Vitus is a name that stems from a golden era in cycling. The 979 Carbone, launched in 1982, was the bike of choice for around 80% of Sean Kelly's professional victories. The recent revival of the brand has reinstated their innovation and race pedigree, as Adam Tranter finds out.

Meet the Vitus Vitesse VRi (£2799.99). It's one of the higher spec models in the Vitus road range, which starts at £699.99. Chain Reaction Cycles, the company that owns the brand, have made a great start with this bike; the UCI-approved frame weighs just 950g - a nice surprise on the spec list of a bike under £3k.

Vitus Vitesse VRi
Vitus Vitesse VRi

I like the Vitus; my personal affection may seem somewhat superfluous for a technical review, but this is important for me. The Vitesse VRi is a machine which doesn't sit under a famous and renowned mass bike brand, nor is it the brainchild of a misty-eyed Italian designer. But, thanks to the super ride, the well-rounded spec list and smart showroom looks, it's regularly my favourite bike of choice for all occasions.

Frame

The frame, a 'Lightweight T700 HM-UD Carbon Frame' tips the scales at 950g. It's the same frame used almost throughout Vitus' carbon road offerings, including the Vitus Dark Plasma 2013, equipped with Tiagra, which is just £1199.99. Each bike in the range, sold direct to the consumer, is built to very competitive price points with the frame quality drawing in the punters - but more on that later.

VitusVitesse

The frame has what I'd describe as racing geometry, compared to the influx of sportive-specific bikes on the market. Its short head tube, standard racing angles and stiff rear triangle might not make it entirely suitable for all-day-riders, but it'll give a thrill to those who want race pedigree on their weekend rides. The forks are decent too; the front end is solid enough out of the corners and comfortable enough when it needs to be.

In summary, the frame meets our weight and stiffness requirements. It felt secure and sturdy throughout everything I could throw at it, including some particularly nasty and pothole-ridden country lanes. I was doing my very best Sean Kelly impression.

Components & Wheels

My trust in the Vitesse VRi stems from not only the frame, but an impressive spec list too. As I mentioned earlier, these bikes are built to key price points. Its younger brother, the Vitesse (£1799.99) matches an array of Shimano Ultegra, Shimano 105 and FSA componentry; the Vitesse VRi has a rather different approach to component consistency.

Expect full Shimano Ultegra Di2 throughout. I've been late to the Di2 party, but I've been thoroughly impressed with the shifting quality and neat auto-trim features. The Ultegra Di2 groupset is a popular choice from other manufacturers at around and slightly above this price point - and you get the groupset in full; no sneaky cassette downgrades here.

VitesseVitesse

Another pleasant inclusion is the FSA finishing kit. It's a decent and well-rounded addition to a bike that meets a fairly aggressive and serious industry print point.

The bike's geometry and stiff rear end, accompanied with the alloy FSA post could be a bit much for some. Riders spending some longer days in the saddle may appreciate a carbon seat post. I've told myself that Sean Kelly wouldn't have asked for a carbon seat post, but the reality is that a lot of riders will. On top of the post is the Prologo Scratch Pro saddle, which has been nothing but fair to my backside.

Topping off a well-rounded and cohesive specification are the Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, paired with the ever-impressive Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres. Dodgy or unknown tyres on new bikes are normally the first things to go for me, but I wouldn't swap the Ultremos for anything else.

The Ksyriums are proven and light enough. They've been comfortable and reliable, and are in-keeping with the spec and the feel of the bike - a good choice from Vitus.

Looks & Overview

I'm a big fan of the sharp looks of the Vitus Vitesse VRi. The yellow detailing might not be for everyone, but the various colour-coded styles are present throughout the range. I think they really bring out a bit of detail to the frames.

Vitesse

The bike gets a lot of glances and mentions from both nostalgic bike fans and newcomers to our club rides; many bike fans from yesteryear won't have seen a Vitus bike for a while.

It comes built and set up, out of a huge box, from Chain Reaction Cycles. They include a spare rear mech hanger, some basic tools and spares. All in all, the process was very easy. Vitus frames come with a 5 year warranty and a 2 year warranty on components.

Vitus Vitesse VRi
RRP: £2799.99. Priced £2519.99 at time of writing.
Available: chainreactioncycles.com

Frame: High-Modulus T700 HM-UD Carbon - UCI Approved
Forks: High-Modulus T700 HM-UD Carbon - UCI Approved
Headset: FSA Orbit C-33
Handlebars: FSA Wing Pro Compact
Stem: FSA OS-99
Handlebar Tape: Cork Cushion
Chainset: Shimano Ultegra 6750, 50t x 34t
Chain: Shimano Ultegra 6701, 10-Speed
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 6700, 11t-25t, 10-Speed
Shifters: Shimano Ultegra Di2 6770
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2, 6770
Front Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2, 6770
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra 6700
Saddle: Prologo Scratch Pro
Seatpost: FSA SL-250 SBS
Tyres: Schwalbe Ultremo ZX, 700x23c
Wheelset: Mavic Ksyrium Elite





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