Well specified and comfortable hybrid bike, but the very wide bars make city manoeuvring tricky
Good, consistent stopping power from the hydraulic disc brakes
Can fit mudguards and racks
Very wide bars
Quite basic hand grips
By Paul Norman
Vitus is the bike brand of Chain Reaction Cycles and is sold direct from Chain Reaction’s website. It sells a wide range of bikes in different categories, including four ranges of dropped bar road bikes, the lowest spec of which is the aluminium Razor.
The Mach 3 is the highest spec hybrid bike in Vitus’s four-bike flat bar range and is made of the same materials as the Razor, with an alloy frame and carbon forks with an alloy steerer. The carbon forks are a nice touch which should help reduce road buzz over a steel or alloy model.
Its geometry is similar to the Razor too, with quite a short head tube, leading to a ride position which isn’t too upright and has a significant drop from saddle to bars. The sloping top tube makes getting on and off the bike and standing at lights easy too.
Unlike the Razor, the Mach 3 comes with disc brakes. Its M280 Auriga hydraulic brakes are effective and drama free both when descending and in the stop-go of urban traffic.
The Mach 3 rolls on Vitus’s own brand wheels. They’re stiff enough and not too heavy and come with Kenda Kwest 28mm tyres.
There’s enough air volume that these can be run at lower pressures for a bit of extra comfort on uneven city streets or broken back road surfaces and Kenda claims good puncture protection.
They roll well too and the tread pattern will cope with most road conditions and the Kendas provide plenty of grip. The wheels are quick release front and rear.
There’s also enough clearance around the frame to run mudguards (which aren’t included). You can fit a rear rack too as there are mounting bolts on the seatstays. The bike comes with two sets of water bottle cage mount bolts if you need to carry drinks with you on your ride.
The Mach 3’s gearing is Shimano Claris. With 8 speeds and an 11-28 cassette at the rear coupled with a 50/34 double chainset, there’s a reasonable range of gears, although I did find that with the bike’s heft I was on the bottom of the range once I hit any significant upward gradients. The chainset has a guard around the large ring – useful to protect your trouser legs if you’re riding to work in your civilian clothes.
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Vitus’s saddle is a comfortable perch, with enough padding to keep you comfortable on longer rides. The sloping frame geometry means that there’s plenty of extension of the alloy seatpost which also adds to comfort.
The bars on the Mach 3 are huge. They come in at just under 70cm wide, so you ride in a very arms-out position. It takes a bit of getting used to after a road bike and potentially limits your ability to squeeze through narrow gaps.
Along with the relatively short head tube it also means that you end up leant forward on your arms when riding and putting quite a bit of weight on your hands.
This is means that you don’t get too much wind resistance, as the position isn’t too different from an endurance bike with dropped handlebars.
It also means that you can adopt a fairly aero, elbows out position on fast downhills. It might not impress Chris Froome, but it does mean that you can get up a reasonable turn of speed.
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I did find the weight on my arms quite tiring and hard on my wrists after an hour or so of riding though. The hand grips are effective but not very well padded; it would be worth swapping them for something with a bit more shock absorption built in.
Fortunately, this is an upgrade which isn’t too costly and otherwise the Mach 3 provides an attractive option both for commuting and leisure rides, as well as light touring, if you don’t fancy dropped bars.
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