Vitus Energie VR

Please be fair and thoughtful in your opinions. No rants please.
rfryer
Posts: 680
Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 3:58pm

Vitus Energie VR

Postby rfryer » 23 Apr 2019, 1:20pm

This thread is for the initial impressions of my Vitus Energie VR cyclo-cross bike, bought from Wiggle.

My motivation for getting it was that I wanted a winter bike. I'd been using my best road bike over the last few months on club rides, including evenings, and was getting tired of badly fitting mudguards, inadequate lighting, punctures, etc. I decided I should keep my best bike for good conditions, and get a bike that I could set up for wet or night riding. I also set myself a target of £1000, so that I could buy it on the bike to work scheme, and let it do duty as a commuter.

It's also worth pointing out that I enjoy bike tech, and like to evaluate the latest fads. The Vitus came with various novelties to me, like hydraulic disk brakes, one-by gearing, through-axles and tubeless ready wheels. It met my other requirements in terms of price, and by having braze-ons for mudguards. The aluminium frame and carbon forks weren't hugely exciting, but at the price point they were ok.

It arrived from Wiggle in, fully assembled in a HUGE box! It was well packed, and the saddle height was already set to just about the right spot. I just needed to fit the handlebars and the pedals. I ordered size S; at 5'7" I was on the cusp between S & M, but felt that the smaller size would give more opportunities to tweak.

The gearing is all SRAM Rival one-by, with a 40 tooth X-sync chainring and 11-36 cassette on a standard freehub. I found this a bit disappointing; I would have preferred a wider gear range, and the groupset will run to 10-42. I live in a hilly area, and find that I can climb a short 25% climb on 40/36, but longer or steeper and I want something lower.

My first upgrade will therefore be a 11-42 Sunrace cassette for a little over £50; getting a 10 sprocket would mean fitting an XD driver to the hub, putting the total cost to over £130, which I couldn't justify.

The rims and tyres are "tubeless ready"; both from WTB, and fitted with inner tubes. The tyres are 35mm cross tyres, with small knobbles. I was keen to see what all the fuss was about with tubeless, so I got some cafelatex valves and some Orange Seal sealant and set to. The process was to unseat one of the beads (quite tough), take out the inner tube, add the valve, soap the rim tape and the tyre bead, inflate with a track pump to seat the bead, deflate, add 2oz sealant via the valve (with core removed), inflate, slosh the sealant around the bead. Basically, it went pretty well, with both tyres seating without difficulty using a normal track pump. The main issue I hit was that the rim tape was badly fitted on one rim, so I removed it and replaced it with a wrap of Gorilla Tape. Once fitted, one tyre went soft after an hour and needed reinflating, but since then both tyres have held pressure.

So, what's it like to ride? I've actually been mightily impressed. It's very quiet, and the wide tyres are comfortable and confidence inspiring. It's awesome at descending on typical rubbish tarmac, with great brakes and way more grip than I'm used to.

What surprised me most, though, was how fast it is on flats and climbs, especially given that it is on cross tyres! I was expecting that this bike would be compromising fun and speed for a bit more dependability, and not trashing my good bike. But, in fact, I'm enjoying it, I'm keeping up with others in the club, and I'm still picking off achievements in Strava. Basically, I'm wondering if this is becoming my go-to bike for everything except those rides where I desperately need a fraction more speed to stay with a group.


I'll try to post some updates as I continue to prepare for next winter, with new cassette, mudguards and lights. And also when I have anything interesting to say about tubeless, either because it's fixed a puncture, or has made a puncture repair into a messy nightmare!

BrightonRock
Posts: 135
Joined: 4 Apr 2019, 7:37am

Re: Vitus Energie VR

Postby BrightonRock » 24 Apr 2019, 9:10am

Vitus have really got their act together on these kinds of bikes. I wonder does Sean Kelly still endorse them?

rfryer
Posts: 680
Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 3:58pm

Re: Vitus Energie VR

Postby rfryer » 24 Apr 2019, 11:37am

I've not seen any endorsements - I came across Vitus while googling for a bike with the right spec, at the right price. Vitus is probably the least prestigious bike brand that I have bought, others are Genesis, Moulton, Specialized, Brompton, Rose & Planet X. I had no great expectations, but have been really impressed!

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RickH
Posts: 4572
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Vitus Energie VR

Postby RickH » 24 Apr 2019, 1:42pm

Looks like a nice bike. Even if it has very little, apart from the name, in common with the old 979 I used to have. I've been very pleased with the Rival 1 setup on my Kona.

One, albeit slightly more expensive, option if you did want to consider the XD cassette route is to look for a second set of wheels on sale (for instance Planet X have some DT Swiss wheels for £150 at the moment) which let's you have one set with, say, slicks & the other for more knobbly tyres (I've usually got Voyager Hypers on one set & WTB Nanos run tubeless on the other).

rfryer
Posts: 680
Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 3:58pm

Re: Vitus Energie VR

Postby rfryer » 24 Apr 2019, 4:49pm

Thanks for the suggestion about getting a second set of wheels, that's stupidly good value when compared with £50 for an XD driver.

And just when I'd decided I could live without a fast-wearing 10T sprocket on this bike!

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RickH
Posts: 4572
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Vitus Energie VR

Postby RickH » 24 Apr 2019, 9:28pm

rfryer wrote:And just when I'd decided I could live without a fast-wearing 10T sprocket on this bike!

To be honest I hardly ever use the 10T (& I only have a 36T chainring, but I am a spinner with an average cadence well into the 90s), but am glad of it on the few occasions I do. The more useful one is the 10 gives you a 12 next gear down where an 11 top tends to have a 13 as the next sprocket.

In the hilly country round here I wouldn't want to be without the 42 at the other end whatever the top gear is.