Vitus Substance V-2 Flat Bar Gravel Bike Sora review - redefining the modern hybrid bike

You don't have to have drop bars to have a fast and capable bike for on and off-road riding

Vitus Substance V2 Gravel bike
(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

It's easy to scoff at flat bar gravel bikes. Aren't they just a mountain bike with skinny tires? Or maybe yesteryear's hybrid bike with some modern styling?! Step forward the Vitus Substance V-2 Flat Bar Gravel Sora. This Substance shares the same aluminium frame and carbon fork as the drop bar version but with the flat bar giving a much more stable and comfortable position, making it more accessible to different riders and riding. The flat bar Substance does a great job at turning its hand to anything from long day back-road riding to nipping to the shop. The Shimano Sora gearing and Tektro brakes perform brilliantly and put their drop bar equivalents to shame. So, maybe the haters are right, maybe the Vitus Substance Flat Bar gravel is a modern version of a hybrid bike. But that doesn't make it a bad thing.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Excellent do-it-all bike

  • +

    Stable and confident feel

  • +

    Great performance from Shimano Sora shifting and TRP mechanical disc brakes

  • +

    Smart looks

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Vee Rail Sport tires minimum pressure spoil the bike's capabilities

  • -

    Relatively short and high position sacrifices all out speed

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

In days gone by there was something called a hybrid bike. It was a really excellent bike that could turn its hand to pretty much everything you could throw at it. It had flat bars, cantilever brakes and mountain bike gearing. It had zippy wheels for a fast ride but with a comfortable position and confident handling. I had one on which I rode everything, all the time, whether it be for three hour road rides, on the commute to work or off-road at the weekend.

Nowadays these bikes benefit from increased comfort and control of wider tires and disc brakes. And we don’t call them hybrid bikes anymore, these are now gravel bikes complete with muted colors and drop bars. 

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