Vitus Vitesse VR: First Ride review

Vitus Vitesse VR 2011
Cycling Weekly Verdict

When a frame handles this well, we were more inclined to be forgiving about the frankly awful Control Tech bars and scary Schwalbe winter tyres. The Vitus VR is a great example of the K.I.S.S. mentality.

For
  • +

    Stiff front end

  • +

    Impressive performance

Against
  • -

    Handlebars

  • -

    Tyres

Vitus, pronounced 'veee-tuus' according to he who must be obeyed on these matters, Sean Kelly, has been around a long time, but Chain Reaction recently took over the brand and the Vitesse VR is the current top-line model.

Designed as a no-nonsense race-ready bike for the masses, the full Ultegra groupset and tubeless wheelset tick boxes, as does the high-modulus carbon frame.

All this is fine on paper, but the important stuff happens on the blacktop. Visually, the Vitesse VR is little to shout about: A standard 1 1/8in fork, standard BB, non-aero tubing. In fact, there is little that stands out. This proved a blessing in disguise as there was little expectation and the actual performance was very, very impressive.

We always say the frame is the heart of the bike, and the Vitus was one of the sweetest-handling bikes we've ridden at this price level in a long time. The true test of handling is always technical Alpine descending. Mid-range carbon bikes rarely handle as well as top-end machines (your money has to go somewhere) but the Vitus was a good place from where to attack the corners (once we swapped the rubber).

The torsional stiffness of the simple front end was better than anything this tester has used at this price point. Even the forks - while appearing small - tracked very accurately and coped well with serious braking loads.

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