PINKBIKE FIELD TRIP
VITUS SENTIER 29 VR
Hits that middle ground.
Words by Sarah Moore, Photography by Tom Richards
The next bike up in our Field Trip value bike review series
is the Vitus Sentier 29 VR, a hardtail 29er with a 130mm fork that goes for $1,449 USD. Vitus says it’s ready for aggressive hardtail trail riding and that all the parts have been selected with that in mind. You likely haven't seen it at your local shop and that's because it's only available to buy online at Wiggle or Chain Reaction Cycles.
The aluminum frame has a threaded bottom bracket and Boost hub spacing. The dropper post is internally routed while the brakes and shifter cables are externally routed. Prices range from $1,099 USD to $2,199 USD at $1,449 USD for the Vitus Sentier 29 VR, you'll get a Marzocchi Bomber Z2
Vitus Sentier 29 VR
Fork travel: 130mm
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: aluminum
Head angle: 66.5-degrees
Chainstay length: 439mm
Reach: 428mm (medium)
Sizes: M, L, XL
Weight: 30.2 lb / 13.7 kg
Price: $1,449 USD
More info: www.vitusbikes.com
fork, Shimano’s Deore 1x11 Drivetrain, Shimano Deore brakes and Brand-X Ascend dropper post. As for tires, it comes with Schwalbe's Magic Mary on the front and a Nobby Nic on the rear.
The Vitus is an outlier with geometry in a couple of instances. With its 66.5° headtube angle, the Vitus fits right in the middle of the hardtails we rode on the Sunshine Coast, but its 73° effective seat-tube angle is the slackest on test and its 439mm chainstays are the longest of the bunch. It also has the shortest reach at 428mm for a size medium. Climbing
To test these bikes at this time of the year, we headed to the Sunshine Coast, where there was a higher probability of sunshine and no snow than Squamish at the end of February. The first half of our test lap was a rooty, slick singletrack climb that then transitioned into a wider, smoother gravel section. The Vitus may be a hardtail, but with its short reach, upright position and knobby tires, it didn't feel like it had the most get-up-and-go of the hardtails on the climb.
That being said, while it's not a race bike, it's not it like it was holding you back a whole lot either, and for most people it's more than capable enough for any climb they're going to tackle. The handling is quick and responsive and it definitely had a more pedal-friendly position than a bike like the Rocky Mountain Growler with its slacker head tube angle. The long rear end might help it stay planted on faster descents, but on tight sections of trail, it made the bike a touch less easy to maneuver around corners quickly. Overall, it's just a solid little bike that will get you to the top of the climb with a minimal amount of huffing and puffing. Descending
On the descents, it's a similar story to the climb, where it hits that middle ground - not as rowdy as the Rocky Mountain Growler with its aggressive geometry and parts kit to match, but definitely more composed than the BMC Two Stroke with its low front end and scary-fast tires. Of course, a huge part of that confidence also comes from the fact that this is our least expensive bike to come with a dropper post. Despite the ergonomics of the thumb lever not being as good as they could be, having a dropper post means you'll be much more comfortable on descents. Another spec choice that makes the Sentier a fun little descender is the choice of tires. There's nothing like good rubber that allows you to push into the bike more and feel like you can trust it.
Now, I'm not saying you're going to want to take a whole lot of chances on the Sentier or jump blindly into sections of trail where you aren't exactly sure what you'll encounter. As soon as the trail gets rough and speeds get quicker, the Sentier loses a bit of that composure, although compared to the Norco, which is similar on paper, it does feels more composed on the descents with its longer chainstays and smooth fork. Overall, it's still best suited to smoother trails.
Fork is a highlight of the build
Less composed at speed-
Brakes lack power
The 2021 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Toyota.
Video: Jason Lucas, Max Barron
Editing: Devan Francis