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Value Field Test: Vitus Mythique 29 AMP

Jul 9, 2023 at 14:01
by Dario DiGiulio  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Vitus Mythique



Words by Dario DiGiulio; photography by Tom Richards


Vitus is a brand that can hover a little under the radar for a lot of mountain bikers, but with an ever more impressive lineup and the success of their sister brand Nukeproof, they're hard to overlook these days. All the more so when they continue to release bikes with impressive designs and equally impressive price tags, such as the Mythique we have here on test.

Billed as a "confidence inspiring all-day ripper," the Mythique 29 AMP falls nicely into our trail bike category, suiting the needs of a wide variety of riders and applications.
Vitus Mythique Details

• Travel: 140mm / 140mm fork
• 29" wheels
• 65.5° head angle
• 77.5° seat angle
• 445mm chainstays
• Reach: 482mm (L)
• Sizes: S-XL
• Weight: 33.8 lb / 15.3 kg
• Price: $2,599 USD
• More info: vitusbikes.com

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The Mythique has an all-purpose 140mm/140mm frame-fork travel combo, provided by a RockShox Deluxe Select R shock and a Pike Select RC fork. You can get this build with either Shimano SLX 7100 brakes (as tested) or SRAM's 4-pot DB8s. With an XT/SLX drivetrain, WTB KOM wheels, and Schwalbe Hans Dampf - Magic Mary tires, you'll be moving quick up and down the hill.

While the Mythique doesn't have any geometry adjustments that you can make on the fly, the bike does come in short and long travel configurations (130 or 140mm), which give slightly different geo numbers. Our longer travel variant had numbers to match, with the 65.5° head angle, 482mm reach, 445mm chainstays, and 77.5° seat tube angle all coming together to make for a nicely modern frame arrangement. The 40mm bottom bracket drop and 643mm stack gave the bike a very roomy feel, helping it's easy-going nature.



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Climbing

The Vitus was our lightest bike on test, weighing in at just under 34 pounds. But as most of us are quick to say, weight rarely tells the whole story of how a bike climbs, so let's dive into some of the more relevant details.

Balance is the name of the game here, with a nice upright feel that places you squarely between the wheels, giving the bike a nicely predictable and calm nature when you're hammering up the hill. The longer rear end makes turning feel more like an arc than a quick whip-around, and the supportive and sporty feeling suspension give some pep to your step. The rather steep seat angle is a nice detail to see on a value bike, as good geometry is free and always welcomed.



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Descending

Easy to ride, hard to push was my initial thought when testing out the Mythique. I immediately felt comfortable on the bike, thanks to the well-sorted geometry and solid, unfussy component choices. Again, balance is the name of the game here, defining the ride quality for the most part. In moments where you really start to push the bike though, the suspension had a tendency to dive a bit more than you might want, as opposed to providing support through those compressions. This was only really present in more extreme situations, as the Vitus was mostly a pleasant ride partner.

The upside to that less-supportive suspension was the presence of great grip in chattery sections of trail, as well as through looser corners. Pressing into the bike gave a nice level of bite, while taking the edge off.

While grippy and planted bikes tend to skew towards feeling dull on trail, the Mythique retained a nice playful energy, not robbing any pop when you wanted to pick the bike up. The upside to the easy to get along with geometry is the ability to quickly get up to speed in technical areas, which also makes up for some of the lack in suspension performance.

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The RockShox Pike was a sticking point for a few of us on this bike, namely in how hard it was to set up in a way that felt appropriate for the otherwise-capable Mythique. All three of us were well over the manufacturer's recommended pressure, just to get a decent level of support out of the fork. At times this led to the front end feeling quite low on the bike, despite having a nicely-high static stack height. A better damper would help here, but for the casual rider not looking to smash into holes and push through corners, it might not be that big a problem.

We've harped on this point many a time, but resin-only pads and rotors are always a disappointment on a mountain bike capable of real riding. This brake spec simply doesn't perform when conditions are wet, hot, or when descents are sustained, making for a quick swap for the prospective owner. Luckily, the brakes themselves are quality, with the SLX two-piston stoppers providing their time-tested sharp feel and power.

Thanks to the easy riding nature of the Mythique, it's a bike I'd readily recommend to many people getting into the sport. The chassis is quite nice, with well-sorted external cable routing that will make component swaps and mechanic work very easy down the line. The geometry feels dialed, and the component spec is good enough to get going, even with some negative marks.



Pros

+ Balanced geometry and handling
+ Nice frame details, feels well build
+ Mostly good parts selection


Cons

- Resin-only rotors and pads
- Poor fork performance



Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
212 articles

117 Comments
  • 132 2
 Little do most people know that Mike Tyson was an early tester of this model, and his comments regarding the bike's mystique are how it got its name.
  • 5 4
 LOL - nicely done, very very nicely done
  • 6 57
flag BenPea (Jul 13, 2023 at 10:15) (Below Threshold)
 @RadBartTaylor: nah, it's a French word, with the TH pronounced like a T. Sorry, because that seemed to be hilarious to so many.
  • 21 51
flag BenPea (Jul 13, 2023 at 10:17) (Below Threshold)
 I'm really horny for some downvotes today. Shove 'em up me.
  • 22 5
 @BenPea: jeez who peed in your freedom fries this morning
  • 7 17
flag RadBartTaylor (Jul 13, 2023 at 10:31) (Below Threshold)
 @BenPea: a) do you know who Mike Tyson is and b) do you know it's a joke (a clever on at that)? That may be why you are getting downvoted....
  • 6 6
 @rickybobby19: I think you meant *pead* Smile
  • 11 2
 @BenPea: I hear where you’re coming from. I’m gonna give you an upvote, just so you don’t fade into Bolivian.

I gotta say, I get the joke here, but someone posts some version of it every time they review the Mythique. So I didn’t get much of a giggle this time around.
  • 5 13
flag BenPea (Jul 13, 2023 at 11:15) (Below Threshold)
 @rickybobby19: I'm just anticipating the xenophobic lack of French Revolution celebrations on this website tomorrow.
  • 3 7
flag BenPea (Jul 13, 2023 at 11:16) (Below Threshold)
 @TheR: And you get one for "fade into Bolivian". Me gusta.
  • 5 7
 @RadBartTaylor: Yes, he has a lithp. Arf.
  • 2 4
 @TheR: I'm always helping a brother (or sister) out of Downvote Hades.

Edit: Just checked Ben's comments, and can't help him today. lol
  • 5 3
 @BenPea: You caught a case of Vitus Gerulaitis today.
  • 1 3
 @TheR: first time I heard it.....but I may just have channel vision
  • 2 4
 @TheR: Tradition binds the savage horde
  • 5 4
 @njcbps: I'm having a pbsychotic episode.
  • 3 3
 @suspended-flesh: That is an excellent joke and I wanted you to know it was seen and understood
  • 2 3
 @BenPea: Probably time to make like Vercingetorix and surrender this battle
  • 3 2
 Mike is a beast dude, its hilarious how his speech doesn't match that haha
  • 7 2
 @showmethemountains: that's my plane you can see embedded in the side of that joke. I never intended to return from this mission. Tell my kids I love them.
  • 3 2
 @BenPea: dude literally the best comment of the year, perfection
  • 103 3
 I like that the cables are all external, but it'd look a lot nicer if they went in through the headset, and then came out of a port so they still ran external on the downtube.
  • 60 0
 you monster
  • 11 0
 External tourism????
  • 3 2
 ROTFL, you win!
  • 55 1
 Look at that sexy cable routing... for all to see, as God and lazy home mechanics intended it to be. (and by "lazy" I mean "time crunched" or "not sober" whichever works for you)
  • 6 0
 also the cables are NOT on the top tube where we pick up the bike for whatever reason and the cables are on the correct sides of the frame so there is no rubbing. Oddly the only cable I really care about is the seat post I like exterior cables for tech sense.
  • 33 0
 One of the first value bike field tests where all the bikes are good and good value!
  • 2 0
 Yeah it's inspiring that it's possible to have a great bike for not a lot. Can improve the parts spec as you go or swap some nice parts from your old bike
  • 2 0
 It's safe to say any of these bikes would demolish "value" bikes from 3-5 years ago.
  • 5 0
 @Ryan2949:

Donno, the Ripmo AF was ~3k pre covid, came with XT and DVO if memory serves, and is still a relevant bike today.

But "value" being 3k is still tough for me to wrap my head around.
  • 1 0
 @William42: I think the value represented is where the diminishing returns starts to slap. Up to 3k any improvement is huge, beiond that it starts to get harder to justify.
  • 5 2
 @William42: 100% correct the AF bikes re-set expectations on value bikes

Too bad they're so damn ugly (and cheap ass looking paint).
  • 3 0
 bottom bracket/crankset on the GT ruins that bike
  • 1 0
 They're all okay except for the one that says "classic twist" that means "outdated, don't buy this" to me.
  • 29 1
 So the Pike fork has been around for a while now. First I’ve ever heard of it having poor fork performance. Odd that this is suddenly an issue. Maybe it’s this particular fork? Hard to list this as a general con given the fork’s reputation over the years.
  • 23 0
 The Select level forks are way different than the Ultimate level forks that usually get reviewed. The higher end dampers offer a lot more support.
  • 9 0
 The Pike Select on that bike probably came with the Charger RC damper which is a completely different design than all the previous Charger dampers. It uses an IFP and doesn't have the bladder. That's where my knowledge of the matter ends though.
  • 7 1
 Entry level forks from SRAM are awful when you compare it to entry offerings from Fox. You are bound to upgrade the damper on this Pike that is being reviewed.
  • 8 1
 @mountguitars: there's a 2:1 price ratio going on there, entry level fox doesn't really exist anymore.
  • 11 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: a pike select costs about the same as a 34 performance.

Fox entry level is supportive but harsh. Rockshox entry level is plush but unsupportive. Pick your poison.

Honestly, for an entry level rider going entry level speeds, they're probably better off with plush and unsupportive.
  • 8 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: Marzocchi Z2 is entry-level Fox.
  • 3 1
 @sfarnum: hence why it was 'doesn't really exist anymore', it does, but it's not called a fox anymore, so an entry level fox doesn't exist.
  • 8 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: “Would a Fox by any other name ride as sweet?”
  • 3 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: the fox rhythm is their entry level fork and it’s basically the same thing as a Z1 or Z2
  • 17 0
 External routing!!!
  • 7 0
 this bike would be really great for anyone getting into the sport, or on a budget, as it has a very reasonable price for a very solid spec that can grow with you over time. Definitely on my list of potential next bikes.
  • 7 0
 I’d like to know more about the fork. Dario thought theirs might be a lemon, would be good to know if they all feel like that.
  • 14 1
 @plustiresaintdead: Man, the Pike has been around for years and has a reputation as a solid, reliable fork. Not sure what went wrong with this one, but I’d generally be really confident with it.
  • 3 0
 @plustiresaintdead: I've not ridden this MY Pike, but with the assumption that the newer internals are better, I would think they did indeed get a lemon. I really loved my Pike on my Norco Sight. It was a great fork.
  • 2 0
 @plustiresaintdead:
I have the Mythique bigger sister, the carbon Escarpe CRS, bought them on sale for the very same price on the start of this year, pretty same spec except for 150 Lyrik up front paired with 4 pistons brake and 203 rotor.
The geometry is the same and for the price it's simply wow.
yeah I got the rear wheel untrue in few months and broke 2(!) derailleurs, but I think I ride them a bit out of their desired territory.
I ride mostly on natural trails, the terrain where I live is not easy on bikes, rocky with a lot of loose stuff.

Regarding the fork, If it was my bike I would have taking it to the local SRAM dealer for a test, if it's a lemon this what warranty is there for.
  • 1 0
 Seems like great geo for a first bike. Much more confidence inspiring than what most of us started on.

But a hair slacker and a lyric would put it on another level, no? Why not just start with that from the beginning
  • 2 0
 @rrolly: Pike should be the ideal trail fork, and I think the debonaire+ may be one of the best air springs in the game. I wonder if the Pike (basic) is that much different without the higher end charge 3 dampener... but wouldn't the dampener only really just add more adjustability around HSC?
  • 2 0
 @r3cc0s: Even ignoring the HSC adjustability, the Charger 3 and RC will perform differently as they are completely different designs
  • 6 0
 @plustiresaintdead:
In my experience, the lower end Rockshox forks have very little midstroke support if you ride hard. You either run lower pressures for good small bump sensitivity and get excessive brake dive and stinkbug feel. Or bump up pressures for acceptable support and get pinged all over the place through small bumps. That was my experience with a 17' MoCo Yari.
  • 4 0
 @Glory831Guy: Same here. Had to remove all tokens, replace damper oil with a lighter weight, and use 25-30psi more than recommended to get my Yari to work acceptably. But I upgraded to a different fork in the end anyway.
  • 1 0
 @plustiresaintdead: They all feel like that.

And if you're not a details person, there's a key detail. 'All' isn't specific to 'All Pikes feel like garbage' but rather 'All Pikes with the specific entry level shit damper that came on this bike feel like garbage' - the ultimate feels great.

It's how the big suspension companies entice you to upgrade.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly:
@TheR:

Honestly, good on the reviewers for making a note of this.

Different Pikes - they have multiple different models with different internals. Dampers, springs, seals, bushings, the works. Maybe what you have is a different fork than what these are?

Supposing you both have entry level pikes though, entry level forks get better or worse year to year all the time. In addition to less attention to QC/details on actually physically assembling and building the fork, the major companies make arbitrary changes so that they can say "THIS IS NEW AND IMPROVED" on a regularly scheduled cycle. Sometimes its actually true and it does improve the fork, but sometimes it's a complete dud. Remember CTD from FOX? They claimed that was better than the RC2 damper, which is ludicrous considering that to this day, the RC2 damper was one of the best ever made. It took them about 5 years to come out with a damper that was as good with the GRIP damper, and a few more years to refine it enough with the GRIP 2 that it could be called a legitimate improvement over those RC2 dampers.


And this fork is at the entry level, where changes can be even more dramatic. Low end dampers made out of plastic that are really simple and ideal for an entry level fork as far as cost go, also have to contend with a whole host of production challenges that can take awhile to iron out and have a huge impact on performance.

Things like being prone to spiking, of presenting physical challenges to refining the damper without a whole new damper needing to be made, or present trouble tuning it which makes it hard to improve as you get feedback. With the three year product cycle, it can come down to "some overworked engineers slap together a new damper for the entry level forks over a few days of work so that they can turn their attentions back to the nice stuff and forget about it for 3 years.

It's definitely worth the reviewers calling it out that SRAM tried to pass something by that was too shitty for entry level, OR that Vitus did a poor job determining the spec on this particular key component and should have added a bit to the price in favor of a fork that actually works decently. The reality is, at this point in time mountain biking has developed enough badass products over the years that can be reused and repurposed that you *should* be able to get an entry level bike that's totally baddass for sub 3k.

But that only comes from efforts to refine the category of value bike, to see what companies can accomplish on the engineering side with a limited budget, see what they can accomplish while pumping out larger quantities of forks with less assembly costs and labor. In this case, some person(s) made an error. SRAM placed more value on reducing build costs or increasing margins (or both) than they did on performance, and landed on a bad balance. Vitus took a bad gamble on the fork and should have spent more time riding it and testing it before signing off on slapping those puppies on their bike.

That said, I give pinkbike some begrudging credit here. People have *wanted* budget bike reviews and media attention for years, and for the most part there was just a begrudging halfassed job done on entry level bike reviews, frequently just whatever media got presented from the company. Pinkbike has been doing a decent job doing actual reviews for awhile, and probably deserve some credit for pushing improvements by specifically calling out some of these issues, like resin pads (which should be used only on extremely casual rider's commuter bikes, and only if they complain about brake squeal).
  • 3 0
 Tune the air spring (+ appropriate rebound) and then worry about damper support. I’ve seen a lot of forks that ride decent with a well tuned air spring and 0 compression dialed in. Spring is the place to start, especially on lower tier stuff.

But I do imagine they are trying to review it as it showed up. Not sure if volume adjustment is allowed in these tests.
  • 2 0
 Have seen this happen with any mid and even higher end fork - they sit a long time w/o use and get sludgy. Pull apart (RS is easy) and regrease, maybe add 1-2 tokes as noted above and usually good. Wouldn't let a probable bunk fork with a great history get ya down. These are components and not the bike
  • 5 1
 Vee-tus - pretty sure Henry is just trolling us by mispronouncing all the names, but it is 100% pronounced "Vee-tus"
  • 3 0
 Hee-En-Rii knows how to make mouth sounds out of word pictures.
  • 2 0
 For the USA store the next level down is in stock in every size. Nice components for $2,299, I have been browsing the 140 travel market for an N+1 and the Status 140 and this bike are high on the list.
  • 1 0
 I've been riding my Status 160 for the past year and it's been amazing. The Grip damper in the fork is pretty lackluster for support, but the rear suspension is absolutely amazing. Floaty and smooth and progressive. Overall a great bike, as long as you upgrade out of the NX derailleur as soon as possible.
  • 1 0
 I'm rocking the Status 160. I find the fork excellent although not the most sensitive. Feels better the harder you charge. The rear is excellent as well although I think I'd like a bit more progression via volume spacer. An acceptable climber and epic descender. I expect pinkbike to conclude it is the most aggressive/capable bike they have on test.
  • 1 0
 mmm I have the same feeling of the testers here, I ride a 2017 solo air 150mm Pike bought new in 2017, always maintained it as requested by SRAM, I have always had to pump it higher than my weight requires in order to avoid excessive dive during simple descending, not to talk about braking, if I use the suggested pressure the bar dives like a duck into the pond, my solution is less 15% SAG more or less and no tokens, did I get a lemon too?
  • 4 2
 I highly recommend buying this bike, that’s not available anywhere and hasn’t been in stock anywhere since pinkbike review of it last year
  • 2 0
 Sort of true, but the VRX model is available and also spec'd quite well
  • 1 0
 @SimbaandHiggins: I looked for a large for a while. Bought a norco fluid instead because way better availability and brand access.
  • 1 0
 @Pinemtn: that looks like a very nice bike, I bet you'll be happy!
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer - I don't remember any fork complaints on the 2020 Optic test.

I'm 160lbs and 0 tokens and ~70psi on my Pike Select, but not hitting big jumps.
  • 4 0
 I believe that fork had a different damper (it was a Select +), and you're right, we didn't have any complaints about it.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Thanks for the clarification.

I also have the Select + for REF.
  • 1 1
 Common theme here that the entry level Rockshox ZEB and Pike are not as easy to get setup as previously. I have both the new ZEB and Lyrik Ultimate, and while they were a little trickier to setup compared to forks I have had from them previously, once they were dialed they feel great.
  • 1 0
 All my Lyriks and my Zeb have been way easier to set up than anything else. (170lbs) The settings the Rockshox Trailhead app gives are a pretty good starting point. High speed all the way open always on the fork. More low speed if it feels too balanced towards the front. Turn rebound towards the rabbit if you feel bogged down in tech or pumpy stuff. If you’re bottoming out add a token.
  • 1 0
 @succulentsausage: I'd agree with that with the pre-23 forks, but the newest stuff I have found a little trickier to setup.
  • 1 1
 Don't see the resin only pad discs as an issue. entry level riders are not going to be using metallic ones anyway. If they upgrade the brakes they are probably going to put on flashier rotors.
  • 7 0
 But what they also never talk about is just how shit those rotors perform with the resin pads.

Have purchased a few entry spec level bikes for the kids and wife with those rotors... and simply upgrading the rotors to the next step (still fairly cheap) and keeping the resin pads, still makes a large difference in the performance of the brakes.
  • 4 0
 @islandforlife: Yep, the rotors themselves are more of a problem than the resin pads. They are stamped, with soft edges and made out of lesser quality metal.

Resin pads are actually a good option if you don't have long, steep dh trails. They work well even before they warm up and don't wear the rotors as fast.
  • 1 0
 Why can't you just put metallic pads in?
  • 1 3
 @hubertje-ryu: discs wear down a lot quicker basically.

@justwan-naride nothing wrong with resin for long steep DH.
  • 1 3
 Ignoring the waste aspect here's an idea, buy this bike, ride it for a year, sell it for ~$1600 and buy another one....new bike every year, will cost you ~$1000/year + consumables which is likely a lot cheaper than taking a hit on a much more expensive bike, keeping it longer and dealing with all the niggly stuff that goes wrong over time....and you have a fresh bike for the season.
  • 4 2
 god that sounds expensive when you put it that way. you're not wrong, I just hate budgeting for mtb. always ends up with scary numbers
  • 8 0
 This is how shop employees have stayed on new whips for decades.
  • 3 0
 @wyorider: exactly + they get big shop discounts so are likely selling for what they bought for each year.
  • 12 0
 By that logic, over 5 years you'd spend $7500 just to ride an average bike (I'm calling a $2500 bike "average" in this context), doesn't seem that great of a deal to me. Especially when you consider the risk of switching bikes, e.g., you might start with a bike with perfect geo for you, but the next year's model just don't feel right.

I'd say it's better to buy that value bike and keep it for ~5 years while selectively upgrading components as deals come up. I bought a Polygon Siskiu T8 a couple years ago, and recently got a nice deal on upgrading the weakest components (brakes). I would consider better fork and/or shock later. This logic is based on the assumption that you are starting out with good geo and a frame that'll last well.
  • 1 0
 @MuddyBrit: using my math you'd be $5k into it over 5 years which is probably what you'd lose with a high end bike over that same timeframe but you'd have a 5 year old bike vs a new one.

There is a risk of adjusting to geo but the other side of the coin is you keep up with the newest trends vs being on a bike that is "OLD" tech.

I'm a creature of habit, I keep my bike too long but I get super comfortable with them....but I see them start to fall apart, get beat up and the value goes down and down vs dumping it when it's still worth something.
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: You're only including the $1k trade-up each year, but not the initial ~$2500 you paid upfront to buy the first bike. Anyway, pedantics aside, I have zero proof that my approach is going to work out for me yet, so I guess I'll have to get back to you in 3-4 years on that!
  • 2 0
 I know plenty of people who do this on higher end bikes. They hate maintenance and treat it like a lease.
  • 1 0
 33.8 lbs is respectable weight for aluminum frame. How much does the carbon version weigh?
  • 1 0
 There is no carbon version of the Mythique. The closest carbon Vitus would be the Escarpe, which I believe is a similar weight to the Mythique.
  • 2 0
 @NWBasser: Well they need to make a lighter carbon version. Lol. Wink
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: Funnily enough the current Escarpe has already received a mid-life lightening, when they replaced the alloy rear triangle with carbon fibre.
  • 1 0
 @boozed: Nice. This rider likes lighter frames. I'm not hucking to flat anymore.
  • 2 0
 @boozed: Oh yeah, they make the higher-level Escarpe full carbon and lighter. The base Escarpe is lower-grade carbon with an alloy rear.
  • 2 0
 From that outro, looks like Henry's been into the mushrooms again...
  • 1 0
 That’s a good looking bike. I would change the fork and wheels and ride it like I stole it
  • 2 1
 Waiting eagerly for the status review...
  • 4 3
 What's up with constant music? Terrible editing strategy.
  • 1 0
 Prediction: vitus mythique wins 2 valued field test awards in 3 years.
  • 1 0
 Brake and suspension upgrades... and is bike for days!
  • 1 1
 140/140 isn't a great choice. 140/160 is better.
  • 1 0
 i like that
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