Review: 2021 Vitus Escarpe 29 CRX - Reasonably Priced & Ready to Rip

Jan 2, 2021 at 13:59
by Mike Kazimer  
Vitus gave their Escarpe trail bike a complete revision for 2021, and it emerged with updated geometry, a carbon front triangle, and a look that's much more modern. There are 29” and 27.5” versions, both with 140mm of travel and a 150mm fork.

Even with the switch to a partly carbon frame, the Escarpe remains very reasonably priced thanks in part to Vitus' consumer-direct sales model. The top of the line CRX model reviewed here retails for $4,200 USD, a price that gets you a Factory-level Fox 36 fork and DPS shock, Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain and brakes, DT Swiss XM1700 wheels, and a Maxxis Assegai / Dissector tire combo.
Escarpe 29 CRX Details

• Wheel size: 29"
• Carbon front triangle, aluminum swingarm
• Travel: 140mm (r) / 150mm fork
• 65-degree head angle
• 440mm chainstays
• Weight: 32.6 lb / 14.1 kg (size L)
• Sizes: S-XL
• Price: $4,200 USD
vitusbikes.com


There are two other models in the lineup, with prices starting at $2,500 USD.




bigquotesI know I've been using terms like mild-mannered, neutral, and easygoing to describe the Escarpe, but don't mistake those phrases as synonyms for boring. In fact, effortless handling is a big part of what makes the Escarpe so much fun to ride... Mike Kazimer




Vitus Escarpe 2021 review

Construction and Features

The Escarpe may have been designed with a focus on value, but there's nothing about the frame design that screams “budget.” Even the sparkly, bass boat black paint job wouldn't be out of place on a custom painted frame. The front triangle is carbon, and the rocker link, chainstays, and seatstays are aluminum.

The rear shock is now fixed to a brace that runs between the seat and downtube, instead of the floating design that was used before. The switch was done to improve the bike's kinematics, but one of the additional benefits of this design is that there's no pocket for water and mud to collect in, which came in handy given how many sloppy rides I headed out on with the Escarpe. A flip-chip at the lower shock mount allows the head angle to be steepened by .5-degrees and the bottom bracket to be raised by 6mm.


Vitus Escarpe 2021 review
The floating shock design is gone, and the new layout has it fixed to a brace between the seat- and downtubes.
Vitus Escarpe 2021 review
There's plenty of clearance for up to a 2.5" rear tire.

Other details include plenty of room for a water bottle inside the front triangle, clearance for 2.5” rear tires on the 29” frames and 2.6” tires on the 27.5” frames, a threaded bottom bracket, ISCG 05 tabs, and downtube and chainstay protection. There's also effective downtube and chainstay protection.


Vitus Escarpe 2021 review
The brake and derailleur housing is routed internally through the front triangle, but then it runs externally underneath the bottom bracket.
Vitus Escarpe 2021 review
The Escarpe has 12 x 148mm rear axle spacing, and a bolt-on thru-axle.


2021 Vitus Sommet and Escarpe

Geometry & Sizing

The Escarpe and the longer travel Sommet both use the same front triangle, which is a fairly common tactic, although it does usually involve some compromise in the geometry department. In this case, I'd say the Escarpe gets the better end of the deal, with a slightly longer reach, steeper seat tube angle, and more bottom bracket drop than the Sommet.

Key numbers include a 65-degree head angle, a 478mm reach for a size large, 440mm chainstays for all sizes, and a 77.5-degree seat tube angle.

Vitus Escarpe 2021 review

Suspension Design

The Escarpe uses a Horst Link suspension layout, with a 205 x 65mm shock delivering 140mm of travel. The leverage curve it follows is free of any strange dips or lumps, and it has 25-percent progression.

Anti-squat sits around 100% at sag and decreases as the bike goes through its travel.



Specifications
Price $4200
Travel 140mm
Rear Shock Fox Float DPS Factory, 205mm x 65mm
Fork FOX 36 Float Factory Series 29, 150mm
Headset Acros AZX-212-CO R5
Cassette Shimano XT 10-51T 12 Speed
Crankarms Shimano XT, 30-tooth chainring, 170mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT 12-speed
Chain Shimano XT
Shifter Pods Shimano XT 12-speed
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon riser, (760mm S / M, 780mm L / XL)
Stem Nukeproof Horizon, 45mm
Grips Vitus lock on
Brakes Shimano XT MT8120
Wheelset DT Swiss XM1700
Tires Maxxis Assegai 2.5" EXO / Maxxis Dissector 2.4" EXO+
Seat Nukeproof Neutron
Seatpost Brand-X Ascend dropper


Vitus Escarpe 2021 review








Test Bike Setup

Setting up the Escarpe didn't require anything out of the ordinary – the handlebar was already at my preferred 780mm width, and the 45mm stem was an appropriate length.

This is the fourth or fifth bike that I've tested in the last year with the new 36, which meant setup was quick and easy. I ran 82 psi with 1 volume spacer for my 160lb weight. From closed, my clicks on the 36 were: LSC: 7, HSC: 5, LSR: 6, HSR: 4.

I inflated the Fox DPS shock to 170 psi, which gave me 27% sag. The Assegai / Dissector tires were aired up to 21 and 23 psi respectively, pressures that worked well for the wetter conditions that prevailed during testing.

On that topic, testing took place during the darkest and wettest time of year here in Bellingham, Washington. Trail conditions ranged from damp to deep mud, with just a handful of partly sunny rides thrown in the mix.


Me.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 38
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer


Vitus Escarpe 2021 review

Climbing

I try to temper my curiosity about a bike's weight until I have at least a few rides under my belt. That way my ride impressions aren't swayed by knowing that a bike's heavier (or lighter) than expected. When I did finally toss the Escarpe on the scale, I was surprised that it clocked in at 32.6 pounds – I would have guessed it was at least a pound or two lighter based on the ease with which it dealt with long climbs.

That Dissector rear tire probably helped a little, combined with the fact that I'd also been testing a bunch of longer and slacker bikes at the same time, but whatever the case may be, this has been the bike I’ve been grabbing lately for those long (ok, sort of long - the sun goes down at 3:30pm these days) rides that include a little bit of everything.

It's a mild-mannered ascender, with a comfortable, balanced climbing position thanks in part to the relatively steep 77.5-degree seat tube angle. The other geometry figures work together to make sure the Escarpe never felt like too much of a handful, even on awkward sections of trail that don't totally make sense the first attempt or three.

I preferred to run the DPS shock in the middle compression setting for the majority of my riding time. That position delivered enough support to prevent any unwanted bobbing when mashing the pedals up steep logging roads, without sacrificing grip for more technical climbs. Even in the fully open position, the shock remains fairly calm, and while it will bob a little if you pedal squares, the overall performance is right in line with how a modern Horst link layout should perform.


Vitus Escarpe 2021 review

Descending

Categorizing bikes has become harder than ever – what's the difference between an aggressive trail bike and an all-mountain bike? At what point does an enduro bike turn into a freeride machine? Deep questions, I know. So where does the Escarpe sit? I'd put it smack in the middle of the do-it-all category, the type of bike that could work well as a daily driver for a wide swathe of riders. It's the type of bike you grab for those after-work hot laps, as opposed to a super-nichey rig that only works well when you're approaching warp speed on a near-vertical track.

The Escarpe's geometry falls into the modern category without getting too extreme. The 480mm reach and 440mm chainstays on the size large worked well together (although size-specific chainstay lengths would have been nice to see), and the 65-degree head angle keeps it maneuverable at slightly slower speeds. That easy handling that was present on the climbs carries over to the descents as well – it's has a very neutral feel, free of any surprising handling characteristics.

I know I've been using terms like mild-mannered, neutral, and easygoing to describe the Escarpe, but don't mistake those phrases as synonyms for boring. In fact, that effortless handling is a big part of what makes the Escarpe so much fun to ride – I didn't need to change my riding style to have a good time on it, whether that was on a machine-made jump line or a rooty squiggle of singletrack.

It's been interesting to watch the trickle-down of the Fox 36 into the trail bike realm, a move that I'm a big fan of. That 36 fork combined with the DPS shock creates a formidable suspension package, with a great blend of slippery smoothness and support for handling bigger hits. I'm sure some riders will decide to go with a 160mm fork, but I really enjoyed the 150mm front / 140mm rear travel combination – it works well with the overall feel of the bike.

It's fairly common to toss a piggyback shock on any bike that can fit one these days, but the performance of the DPS inline shock left little to be desired. The small bump sensitivity was excellent, which came in handy on all the wet rides I embarked on, and I didn't run into any harsh bottom outs.


Vitus Escarpe 2021 review


2021 Vitus Sommet and Escarpe
Vitus Escarpe
Vitus Escarpe 2021 review
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp


How does it compare?

The Stumpjumper EVO has 10mm more travel front and rear than the Escarpe, but I'd place them in a similar aggressive trail / all-mountain category, so making some comparisons seems appropriate.

As far as the fit goes, the reach numbers are close, and the same goes for the chainstay length for the size large. The Stumpjumper EVO does offer a much more extensive array of geometry possibilities - the head angle can be set anywhere from 63- to 65.5 degrees, while the Escarpe only has .5-degrees of adjustment. Those geometry adjustments may not be much of a factor for some riders, while for others it's an effective way to really customize the fit and feel of the bike.

Both bikes are on the more active side of the spectrum when it comes to pedaling performance, but they both do a good job of remaining relatively unphased by hard pedaling. The Stumpjumper EVO's frame is lighter, though, and it also has that SWAT box, which gives it a couple of bonus points. The internal cable routing on the Stumpy is also a step above what's found on the Escarpe.

When it comes to price, the Escarpe handily takes the win. The $4,100 Stumpjumper EVO Comp has an SLX drivetrain and Rhythm level Fox 36, while the Escarpe gets an XT drivetrain and a Factory level 36.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to where your priorities lie. Looking for the most bang for your buck, and not too concerned about adjustable geometry or having every frame feature possible? The Escarpe fits the bill.

For those who do want a more refined, lighter weight frame, adjustable geometry, and don't mind paying a little more, the Stumpjumper EVO is the way to go. The EVO's extra travel does increase the margin for error on rough sections of trail, but both bikes can take on similar terrain; there's no reason the Escarpe would prevent you from riding the same moves that you would on the EVO.

One final point to consider is the Escarpe's five-year warranty vs. the Stumpjumper's lifetime warranty.


Vitus Escarpe 2021 review
The lever ergonomics on the Brand-X post aren't the best.
Vitus Escarpe 2021 review
The Fox 36 continues to impress.

Technical Report


Maxxis Assegai / Dissector tires: I'm a big fan of this tire combination. It's a business up front, party out back pairing, except that the Dissector works worlds better than the semi-slick options that were popular a few years ago. The Dissector holds its own in all but the deepest glop, and it rolls much quicker than a dual Assegai set up would.

Shimano XT brakes: The Escarpe has a four-piston front brake and a two-piston rear. The feel at the levers isn't noticeably different out on the trail, but I would have liked to see a four-piston brake out back as well, if only to have more consistent, fade-free power for those long, brake burning descents.

Dropper post lever: I'd like to see the thumbs of the person that designed this lever because I don't think they look like mine. The shape is convex rather than concave, and no matter how I positioned it, it never felt that natural. Luckily there are lots of good aftermarket options out there – I'd swap this out for something designed for human thumbs.

Cable routing: One slight ding against the Escarpe's design is the under-the-bottom-bracket cable routing. Most of the time that doesn't cause any issues, but this time around a stick somehow managed to wedge its way between the frame and the brake / derailleur lines, and I had to stop to sort everything out. It's not the end of the world, and it was a chance occurrence, but it also wouldn't have been able to happen if those cables were tucked inside the frame, or routed externally higher up on the frame.


Vitus Escarpe 2021 review


Pros

+ Ideal all-rounder, doesn't need crazy trails to deliver a good time
+ Great price considering the components and performance



Cons

- Carbon fiber doesn't automatically mean lightweight.
- Under the bottom bracket cable routing


Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Escarpe offers a price to performance ratio that's tough to beat, with trail manners that make it a worthy option for a vast array of riding locations.  Mike Kazimer









164 Comments

  • 143 1
 Vitus killing with the geo and prices lately
  • 4 7
 Is it really full xt? Or slx cassette with an xt derailleur?
  • 39 1
 @hamncheez: it is full xt, you can see 2 black cogs on cassette in the photo
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: Xt casette on the bike pictured.
  • 16 0
 So it really is XT. Thats shocking, especially for the price. Bravo.
  • 4 1
 ye be 2022 before you can buy one...
  • 3 33
flag FabienTT (Jan 4, 2021 at 12:07) (Below Threshold)
 Agreed with the editor, spec for the price, very impressive, however carbon fiber I would expect at least a 29 Pound bike.
  • 10 0
 @FabienTT: in order to make bikes in this price bracket reliable they are beefing up the layers of matte in the front triangle and making the rear triangle out of aluminum.

The 2021 Trance X and Stumpjumper Evo are both considerably lightly frames, but carry a $1000 or more premium for similar build levels.
  • 1 0
 @klerric: haha yep. If its not on the shop floor you gonna be waiting!
  • 1 12
flag likeittacky (Jan 4, 2021 at 18:22) (Below Threshold)
 Killing Geo... is defiantly what i see they did! I couldn't imagine a 5'10'' rider riding a modern trail bike with a 595mm TT on a Med. frame!! Might work for a rider 5'6'' tho. The size chart is historic with those numbers other than seat tube and head angles. Todays charts should should have riders up to 5'6'' on small bikes with TT lengths around 595- 600mm and 5'10'' riders on med...frames with TT lengths around 615-620mm. With the addition of XL and XS for giants and munchkins
  • 2 0
 Funny, back in 2019 when I got my Escarpe I reached out to Vitus asking if they will have a carbon version coming, to which they responded "No, we do not have plans to make this bike in carbon."
  • 99 1
 "the 65-degree head angle keeps it maneuverable at slightly slower speeds" hahaha how far have we come
  • 7 0
 yeah man, no kidding.
  • 3 1
 Notice the context. Kazimer going "slightly slower" on his trails is probably much faster than 90% of riders will ever be.
It probably doesn't feel maneuverable for all of us schmocks going at lower speed on less steep terrain.
  • 5 4
 Thats Kazimer for you. The guy who probably also would put Maxxis Minions, four-piston brakes and a Fox 36 on a XC bike (and then unironically complain that it doesn't "shred" hard enough).
  • 71 0
 'Reasonable price'.. that is an understatement, this is the best bang for the buck out there imo
  • 21 2
 I just wish Vitus would release an aluminum version, it could be an even better bargain
  • 7 1
 It is indeed. Whether people (industry) like it or not, the Costco'ization of mountain biking has arrived. Technology is broad and ubiquitous today. The game is really about value and delivering to the customer. Some unique brands will be out there, delivering some kind of (well-deserved and thought out novelty), but other brands simply charging a lot for a carbon frame are going to pay the price. Today, more than ever, I'd focus on a really cool brand (fun employees, great spirit, technically proficient and good riders, and then with product to match).
  • 1 0
 @ryan189: totally agree ????
  • 39 0
 The bike looks dirty, even when clean! Perfect paint choice for someone like me, who usually waits for mud to dry off so I can brush it off rather than hose it down after every ride.
  • 14 7
 Your pivots and BB probably last a while.
  • 6 2
 @jpcars10s: just buy quality bearings and it is okay, For BB, just get something durable and it is fine.
  • 8 0
 @jpcars10s:

Honestly not sure which is better.

Waiting for the mud on the bike to dry and start flaking, so I can brush/blow it off.

Or.

Adding yet more water to the pivots/bearing surfaces/seals to wash it off. Possibly with some force, and/or with soap.

Both make sense to me. But since this is biking, I’ve chosen one...

So far, I’ve got two seasons on the BB and most of the pivots (did grease a few pivot bearings last winter). But it is something I’m actively checking.

The headset is honestly the one I service most, but it’s also an unsealed caged BB design.
  • 6 0
 Personally, I like a bike to look clean when dirty.
  • 5 2
 @ocnlogan: This is how I maintained my bikes when I was a child, but not anymore. Best case scenario gonna destroy the paint if nothing else.

Also, water is not the biggest enemy, fine dust is. Drying the mud and blowing it off maximizes the amount of fine dust to get into your suspension, chain, bearings etc. and make a mess of things. That is way worse than getting your bike wet. Suspension seals can handle water without issue, but fine dust will get inside and do horrible things.

I like to wash mud off before it dries and then I don't need any solvents or anything besides a light (wet) brushing to get it loose. I also use a chain wax so that I don't have chain oil all over the bike that needs a solvent to get off.
  • 5 0
 @jpcars10s: average Shimano BB’s can be had at almost throw away prices nowadays for little to zero performance difference, just replace it every season.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-sf: Spot on advice! Southern Marin trail dust combined with high humidity (aka fog) is best rinsed off after every ride.
  • 25 0
 I was dead set on this bike and was ready to pull the trigger when it was announced, but alas, nothing was in stock or would be in stock any time in the near future. I opted for a Norco Optic instead.
  • 2 0
 Yup, never available. Email alert of stock last for 1min. Site will show in stock but cannot add to cart-very frustrating inventory/cart process there.
  • 2 0
 I did the email stock alert for a 2021 Sommet and had good luck. Granted that was in November, but I bought it probably 4 days after I got the email, and it was still in stock.
  • 2 0
 @schwaaa31: I also did the email alert for the Escarpe, got 1 notification and checked it within 15 minutes, but it was either gone or only for a size small.
  • 1 0
 @goldfly: Yeah, same here. Actually got two email notifications for two different times for the lowest model, the CR and both times, sold out within a couple hours. I gave up and moved on.
  • 2 0
 Great choice! I don't really want to ride anything else ever again since I got my Optic
  • 22 0
 Cue the "Another great bike we want but isn't in stock" comments. It looks like a winner: 140mm / 150mm fork; 65 HTA and 77.5 STA.
  • 6 0
 Yeah, availability is just about the only negative I can think of.
  • 9 0
 @tehllama: to be fair, thats every single model of every single bike nowadays.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: I'm in the Greater Vancouver area and I know Giant and Norco have some stock, as does Specialized. This changes quickly.

Otherwise agree, many brands are out.
  • 1 1
 Specialized st's in stock
  • 2 0
 2020-? sort by: in stock
  • 22 0
 carbon, full XT, and Fox factory suspension at both ends for just $4200!? Holy hell.

Ok, that's just awesome.
  • 2 0
 Partially carbon but still great deal!
  • 19 5
 "When I did finally toss the Escarpe on the scale, I was surprised that it clocked in at 32.6 pounds – I would have guessed it was at least a pound or two lighter based on the ease with which it dealt with long climbs."

Don't you have this experience with most bikes in this category? Maybe it's time for us to readjust expectations of how a 33lb bike should climb. I am guilty of this as well; have been on a friend's Stumpy Evo that feels light for how huge it is, and it turned out to be 38lbs.
  • 7 0
 I still stick to the sweet spot for any trail bike is 30-33 pounds. The shorter travel is already gonna add some energy to the ride feel so weight just isn't felt in the same way. Shorter travel bikes in this weight category also benefit from feeling more stable and planted through really rough sections of trails. I see guys out there trying to get their trail bike sub 30 pounds or more if they can. I have yet to see the performance gain they declared would be achievable and when the bike is pointed down it isn't looking any better either.
  • 9 0
 I think there is a lot of wishful thinking, motivated reasoning, and badly calibrated scales out there. The mtb rhetoric around total bike weights lets anyone from a experienced tester to a comment section yahoo assert without evidence or even a trustworthy process that they can feel XX gram difference and if anyone says otherwise it's only proof the rider questioning is a newb or weak or poor or whatever. Shaky arguments about how a long-travel trail bike has to, just has to be YY pounds less than a WC-level DH bike because... And (user generated) bike checks where you can just look at the parts and the claimed weight and see something doesn't add up. GIGO
  • 2 0
 Damn stumpy at 38. My Evo is 32
  • 3 1
 @oregontradesman: Al S3 with heavy wheels and tires, coil shock, maybe a quart of sealant? You're right it sounds pretty heavy. I wasn't there for the weigh-in, could have been exaggerated.
  • 3 0
 @TheBearDen: everyone has their own riding style. For me low weight is about flickability and nimble fun factor. Not chasing koms uphill
  • 3 0
 My ibis Ripmo af is 38lbs without double down or dh casing tires; just exo Maxxis DHF and DHR. Xt cassette, push 11.6, Fox 36 at 160mm, Onyx vesper hubs, and WeAreOne wheels. I wish my bike was 32.6 lbs! It feels okay but my carbon Devinci Troy feels so much more agile and loads better pedaling. Even though the roll over of 29 is great, it’s like rolling a cow down the trail. Mind you the Ripmo feels pretty good on the steep gnar. But only there.
  • 2 0
 @kokofosho: That’s seems a bit hefty! Wagon wheels should be an option rather than phasing out 27.5 imo. If you want them, great.. but every week I see more friday fails involving kid (or adult) on a 29’er getting bucked on a 5’ table. Shame.
  • 2 1
 32,6 lb is 14,8 kgs . 0,7 kg is quite big difference. For Europeans 14,1 kg is ok for all mountain bike but 14,8 kg is quite a lot.
  • 1 0
 @Snfoilhat: 'motivated reasoning' and unsprung weight versus cost and toughness
  • 14 0
 "For those who do want a more refined, lighter weight frame, adjustable geometry, and don't mind paying a little more, the Stumpjumper EVO is the way to go"

A little! In terms of build spec, the Escarpe VRX lies somewhere between the Expert and S-Works models of the Stumpy EVO. Which cost 50-100% more.
  • 7 0
 Correction: it aligns pretty well with the "Pro" model EVO, which costs ~75% more.
  • 6 0
 I have an evo on order and this is certainly making me wonder. For $500 CDN less I go from Rhythm/SLX/Garbage wheels to Factory/XT/M1700.

Not bad at all. I guess we'll see what gets here first.
  • 13 0
 Available in....(put N+ years in the future here). I know its a worn out trope because everyone is experiencing supply issues but man, reading these reviews of these awesome, well priced bikes and getting excited about them also kinda sucks because no one has any idea when they will be available other than in a S or XXL.
  • 10 0
 Looks like a good value.

Hey Maxxis, I like the dissector. But it wears out very quickly in the 3c compound. Are you planning to make a 29x2.4 EXO+ Dual compound version? Seems like it would be quite popular. Right now the dual compound is only available in EXO, not EXO+. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 I'd agree with this. The Dissector I had on the back of my bike showed very visible wear after only a hundred miles with side knobs starting to undercut and the braking edge of the center knobs pretty chewed up. Good tire overall though from a traction/rolling resistance standpoint.
  • 3 0
 once the tire wears slightly, it feels like you have an Ardent in the back. Need more MaxTerra options for the burlier casings.
  • 1 2
 EXO is fine. It has been shown in various lab tests and rider reports that there is barely any practical difference between EXO and EXO+.
  • 2 0
 @Ttimer: links plz
  • 11 0
 There you go. Apparently manufacturers CAN really make and sell great mountainbikes, that don't break the bank. There's no reason why $4k should be the entry level of a model range.

Way to go, Specialized!
  • 11 1
 It blows my mind how bigger companies selling more bikes, with economies of scale, cannot provide a similar bike with the same components to be price competitive with this? If internal cable routing and a twat box = a 1k+ difference, I’ll choose this bike every time.
  • 5 2
 @SonofBovril: Bigger companies have riders like Peter Sagan and Greg Minaar on the payroll whose salaries have to be paid somehow...
  • 5 0
 @boozed: Vitus is owned by Chain Reaction = Sam Hill
  • 1 0
 @SonofBovril: It's less about economies of scale, and more about cutting out the distributor.

Scaling a bike will only save maybe 5-10% in this day and age, while cutting out a middle man saves much more like 25-30%. That distributor is a big line item on the "cost" of the bike. This is why we are seeing bikes at this price point now. It's not that bike companies were being super greedy, it's more a factor of the Internet enabling efficiencies that we weren't able to realize until now when people are finally comfortable making big purchases such as a 4k bike online.

I think the final piece of this puzzle still to be solved seems to just be the customer service component of it, which seems to be the only infuriating part of this ownership lifecycle, judging by the PB comments on YT, canyon etc owners.
  • 1 0
 @Kyleponga: totally agree.
Theres a middle ground to be hit.
YT are trying and think in the next couple of years they'll sort it out.
Great value bikes.
They probably have to put up their prices to make better customer service. But that's the trade-off and it's definitely worth it. I've been put off buying a bike from them because of this.
If you buy a second hand bike you can understand the risks involved but you get the benefits of a much cheaper bike. But if you buy new you should get better customer service than some of these direct MTB brands give. As you said it's still a fairly new concept and think they'll nail it on the head soon .
  • 1 0
 @BreakLikeTheWind: That's a pretty long bow to draw. And from what I understand, Hill went to Nukeproof CRC for the culture, not the money.
  • 10 3
 So you're saying that if you try and go down something too steep or rowdy a little bit of poo might escarpe?
  • 4 0
 Vitus is really coming out as a solid brand this last year! Personally I got a mythique VRS back in February and it's been an incredible bike. One of my main worries though was not having a shop for warranty support. We all know how shitty eagle sx is lol. 6 months into owning the bike my shifter locked up on me. Chain reaction cycles simply asked for some pics and one week later I had a new nx shifter at my door. Credit to CRC for taking care of issues, my local shop would have taken longer lol. Of course now the big issue is supply. Over summer I bought a nucleus for a family member and man I had to be so damn quick to buy one when it came in stock, first time I saw it available at 2am and by 6am in the morning it was gone lol.
  • 5 0
 got lucky with the stock situation and picked up one of these. soooo much fun, ok its slightly weighty vs the more downcountry stuff but the spec is great and it just nails being exactly what a 'trail' bike should be
  • 6 0
 What no XT brake as a Con? Wait, is that usually what the other Mike complains about. I get mixed up with who says what in the reviews.
  • 3 0
 If I was looking at new bikes (have a company bike), I think this one would be on the short list.

The nitpicking about the brakes and dropper are great indicators about how good this thing is for the price. "The worst part was that I skidded sometimes and my thumb hurt occasionally."

My only gripe is that at this weight, no aluminum alloy frame. Carbon is fine and I've had no problems with it. But for my peace of mind owning a 4000+€/$ bicycle, I'd like to be able to dump it on some rocks and only worry about my derailleur and/or hanger or a scratch or dent.
  • 5 0
 Maybe I'm missing something, but why compare it to the specialized when from a value standpoint I would have thought the new spectral would have been a better comparison?
  • 3 0
 or even the Fezzari Delano Peak. 150/135 and XT components. similar geo. That's a comparison I'd like to see.
  • 2 0
 Yeh, the new Spectral 29 CF 8.0 has similar spec (not factory suspension) for £500 more in the UK. The pain is that neither of them will be in your garage before summer.
  • 2 0
 Is buying these bikes through CRC the only way to get them in Canada?
The absolutely inane 13% tariff on bikes imported to Canada adds a LOT of cost to doing so, as well as shipping.
Anybody here have any experience with buying a Vitus? Seem like nice bikes, but...
  • 1 0
 I believe so, Vitus says CRC is the exclusive distributor
  • 2 0
 I was one of the lucky few that managed to pick up the Escarpe 29 CR as soon as CRC restocked it. Take the point that shipping + duties is quite extreme, but at ~$3,400 all-in, when comparing what you get at that price point it was still a steal in my mind
  • 1 0
 I believe so. 13% applies to all complete bikes coming in to Canada. I think it would be hard to avoid. I think distributors either pay the 13% and pass on the cost to you, or they get the components shipped loose and assemble the bikes in Canada to avoid the 13% (as I think individual components of a bike get a lesser tariff). Someone who is more knowledgeable might be able to chime in here though.
  • 1 0
 I was had an Escarpe in the shopping cart and was very disappointed to find out that the “free shipping” posted on Chain Reactions website does not apply to bikes shipped to Canada. Shipping and duties was between $550 and $800. I wish that information had been available.
  • 2 0
 @coast2coast-4: Yes, there are different tariffs on non assembled bikes. In fact, if the wheels are shipped separately, the tariff is 6.5% on wheels and 5% on frames, I believe.
  • 2 0
 @woofer2609: That's interesting. Too bad chain reaction won't ship the wheels separately. I suppose it would double the shipping cost.
  • 5 0
 So the non-piggyback shock still works well. I wonder if its because of that super low, 2.2 leverage ratio.
  • 3 0
 So it really uses a 205x65 shock to make 140 travel? Isn’t the Sommet using the same shock for 170 (27.5’)/162 (29’) travel? Why do it like this?
  • 1 0
 @hitarpotar: apparently because it (the low leverage ratio) allows for:

"The small bump sensitivity was excellent, which came in handy on all the wet rides I embarked on, and I didn't run into any harsh bottom outs"

The high leverage Sommet probably comes with a much more sophisticated shock with much more tuned compression damping, and its easier to design a long travel bike if it doesn't also have a long stroke shock
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: in essence, if you get a far more sophisticated shock for the Escarpe then, it could be on par or even better than the Sommet then. Which is strange. But i guess it’s different bikes for different types of riding... Smile
  • 1 0
 @hitarpotar: Or, its just the compromise of designing a bike that competes on price first and foremost. In my limited CAD experience designing bikes, its easier to find space for a small shock than a large one, no matter the travel. Its also harder to source rear shocks once they get longer than 65mm stroke.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: what i meant is that usually 140-150mm travel bikes use 50/55mm stroke shock, and the 65mm ones are kept for the enduro bikes with 160-180mm. It’s just unusual to have one on a shorter-travel bike. Smile
  • 6 2
 I did mention the under the BB cable/hose routing.... Why for 2021? no need
  • 5 0
 It’s far better than over the BB that slowly eat you frame as the suspension cycles.
  • 1 0
 Yeah these were sold out long before this review. The vitus review from about two months ago, featuring their longer travel bikes sold out instantly (and perhaps even before that review!) How annoying, haha! I don't wanna name names, man...but seriously, I look at some of these brands today charging 10 grand for a plastic frame, and if I spend $11,500 I get full XX! and kashima. Give me a break. I'm glad people are bringing value to the people and taking away pricing models from aggressive car lots.
  • 1 0
 Marin has some 4k bangers coming
  • 1 0
 Not sure if any one else thought this but I would have compared this bike to the Delano Peak from Fezzari rather than the stumpy evo.

Would have matched the Vitus on everything but 5mm less travel in the rear and fox performance w/ dpx2 vs the factory with dps. the Delano also runs Stans wheels and hubs vs the DT Swiss but The Delano has ergon touch points at the grips and saddle.

$250 more for the Fezzari makes it a damn close race...but Fezzari has em in stock or less than 45 days Smile
  • 1 0
 Any thoughts on the base model with 150mm Z2 Bomber, is that too long for a 34mm diameter?

Would be nice to hear from Kazimer a comparison of that base model with the Mythique VRX, as they are about the same weight and equipment, but differ slightly in geometry and intent.
  • 1 0
 I got one of these and I've had it around a month. Heaps nicer to ride than my 2016 Specialized enduro elite I just sold, which also had cables going under the bb, never had an issue with that. Can't beat it for the money, great build kit and rides well. I'd agree about the dropper lever being a bit shite, that would be the only thing I'd change. Oh and the painter didn't chuck much gold fleck in the paint job on mine which is a bit shame.
  • 3 0
 I’ve got a 21’ Sommet (my fourth since 201Cool and it’s just awesome. Just sayin
  • 2 0
 How would you compare it to the conclusions here?
  • 4 0
 205mm x 65mm. That’s a lot of shock on a 140mm travel bike.
  • 4 0
 Looks like an awesome bike. Just the weight is a strike.
  • 4 0
 Cons:
They don't actually exist
  • 1 0
 Dissector sounds like a great tire to try. I have the Aggressor now (is this what @mikekazimer means by the semislick option?) and would like to try it out some time. But my Agg is holding up well so far.
  • 1 1
 Why this comparsion @mikekazimer?
I mean why S St Evo? Wouldn't be better the Commencal Meta TR29 21' which was tested a few moths before? Meta has the same travel, but a bit more agressive geo.
Or is it because of the "same" material and horst-link suspension design?
  • 1 1
 really $4200USD is reasonably priced? ouch... so sad when bicycles are more expensive than motorbikes... guess I will keep riding my 2010 Transition Covert - considered an antique by todays standard... I still have as much fun as anyone on a new bike
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer can we expect a Sommet review in the future too?
  • 3 0
 The next level down, SLX, looks like an even better deal IMHO.
  • 1 0
 Geesh, is every bike a ferrari now days ? beautiful bikes but what about reviewing some bikes for us old guys that can't handle these stallions . ????
  • 2 0
 Can this CRX accept a B-series Vtec swap??? If not how about performing CX or EP8?
  • 2 0
 "The lever ergonomics on the Brand-X post aren't the best."

ZTTO lever is much better, 15EUR shipped.
  • 1 0
 Both CRC and Wiggle show them out of stock. Bike releases for ‘21 are really bike releases for ‘22.
  • 3 0
 Esbasse? No, Escarpe.
  • 4 3
 If a bike is too "mild-mannered, neutral, and easygoing" when you're riding it, the bike isn't the problem.
  • 2 0
 i have a feeling Vitus will be a household bike brand in the near future
  • 2 0
 Can we start this now?... Looks like a Pivot - Switchblade 142mm
  • 1 0
 The Brand-X thumb shifters are shite. I own 3 and love the dropper but replaced all 3 levers. Great point Kaz
  • 1 0
 This bike is proof that anything over 7k is just fake funny money for the brand selling you a 7 k bike!
  • 1 0
 Anyone got pics from the Escarpe or Sommet in size XL? Would be very nice if someone could post it here.
  • 2 0
 looks like a slash
  • 1 0
 Out of stock until forever
  • 1 3
 Completely different subject guys! For all you guys that wear glasses, what’s the best thing to do to stop your glasses steaming up while riding especially with goggles on! Any ideas apart from contact lenses!
  • 2 0
 !00% with vented dual pane lens works for me.
  • 1 0
 @Joecx: and your glasses don’t steam up under your goggles Wearing them! Cheers
  • 1 0
 Get some proper double lens ski goggles
  • 1 0
 uvex Downhill Bike or Athletic Bike goggles
  • 3 6
 i like the reach sizing 437, 451, those are great numbers for a s/m and a M sized frame.
too bad the chainstays are too short to be a great flat cornering or climbing bike,
and too bad the seat stay has a stupid kink in it that prevents the use of a long travel dropper for seamless climb-decent with low saddle height.

Too bad these reviews dont dock bikes publicly for having stupid low insertion seat tubes, if people asked for better we would get better.
  • 12 0
 There's actually a good amount of room for longer travel dropper posts - you should easily be able to fit a 170mm post on a M, and a 200mm post on L and XL sizes. This diagram helps illustrate how it works: www.pinkbike.com/photo/19608824.
  • 2 2
 @mikekazimer: hi Mike, you have under stealth testing the new big-bike from Vitus sister brand?, I know that it would be launched towards of this month and I already somewhat pre-order it but, I was curious if I will read some opinions before finalising the purchase/give the final ok or it will be a "blind" order.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: 500mm dropper or nuthin.
  • 3 3
 @mikekazimer: Thats cool it gets in there more than it seems at a glance.
Funny they provided a image of how far in it goes, but not the numbers necessary to calculate dropper fitment. IMO It should be included in all geometry charts and reviews if possible.

I'm 5'10" and couldnt run a post thats long enough to get it out of the way on most bikes. My saddle rails are 730mm from BB when droppers extended and 518 at full drop.the post goes in 313mm / 12.5" I dont think that is asking too much of any modern bike designed for challenging terrain in a size small medium or large.

I've got a 212mm Nivo dropper that is super light and reliable i'd like to be able to run on any bike, it actually gets the seat low enough to be totally out of my way yet high enough to pedal well; but because of the lack of priority on building bikes with deep insertion, the industry seems to have largely crippled their bikes downhill capability by prioritizing other aspects of the frame design unwisely. No doubt having a seat post capable of moving deep out of the way will maximize range of motion, agility, bunnyhops and ultimately make a more capable and forgiving bike.
  • 2 8
flag just6979 (Jan 5, 2021 at 8:18) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: "you should easily be able to fit a 170mm"

Who is "you"? you know their height and/or inseam and preferred seat height?

How about [them or you] just giving us the max insertion depth, instead of saying "Xmm drop will fit"? The stack heights and overall lengths of same length drop on different droppers can vary by a handful of centimeters, and humans can vary by more than that and still be inside a single size's range.

It's very easy to find the stack height and total length of pretty much any dropper, and combined with a seat tube length and max insertion, it's quite easy to figure out what size of which dropper will fit both you and the bike.

433mm seat tube length is not going to work with most 170mm droppers for most 5'6"/5'7" people (bottom of Vitus's medium range), base on me at 5'10" with a 429mm seatpost and a 170mm PNW dropper (mediumish stack height) almost slammed (it fits in the frame slammed, but I like about 10mm out).
  • 3 1
 @just6979: I'm 5'7" and I have a 180mm dropper on my Reactor, with a ST length of 420mm. It is just a matter of how the tubbing is constructed/molded.
  • 1 0
 @eugenux: what dropper?
  • 1 0
 @just6979: one-up v2.
  • 1 0
 I don't see any kink in seatstay...for flat cornering I'm more concerned with rim iw and tire choice...my crippled Bronson has a horrible kink in seatstay but with 300mm of combined dropper and rear wheel travel still has okay range compared to a dropperless hardtail...I'm 6' and my rails are 680mm from bb at full height. This is nice for flat cornering, if tire pressure complements carcass stiffness. Bunnyhop
  • 1 0
 @eugenux: That's pretty much the shortest stack of any dropper out there. Almost any other brand dropper would put your seat a couple cm higher at max height. And this is exactly the point I'm making...
  • 2 1
 steeper head angles are coming back!
  • 2 1
 ??????????????
  • 1 0
 Read the whole article thinking you kept misspelling "Escape".
  • 1 1
 Do they not do a proper all metal one? Instead of a half assed 'cloth and glue/metal back end' one.
  • 1 0
 Please do a review on the Vitus Sommet 29
  • 1 0
 Is this a Devinci Troy???
  • 1 0
 More for fun you know believe
  • 3 2
 Looks like an Izzo
  • 3 0
 Ha. As an owner of an Izzo I had the same thought.
  • 3 0
 But the Izzo Pro is cheaper and 4-5 lbs lighter. But, both are equally unavailable.
  • 2 0
 @andrew-va: Izzo Pro Race XL and XXL is available. I recently got an XXL.
  • 4 0
 Izzo Pro Race

M / L / XL/ XXL ready to order and ship this month it says on the EU website. For anyone interested maybe..
  • 1 0
 aaaaannnd..... sold out!
  • 1 0
 ooo shiny
  • 1 2
 Fox Factory suspension, Brand X dropper?

Maybe Performance Elite suspension and spend the cash on a better dropper?
  • 5 0
 Nothing wrong with the post. Lever isn’t the best shape but it works just fine. Plus with brand x being under the crc umbrella it helps to keep overall build costs low.
  • 2 0
 I had the exact same thought. Doesn't even really need to be a better dropper tbh, but that lever is awful. I had one on one of my bikes that came with the brand x post and it required so much force to push in that I built up a callus on my thumb. Eventually swapped it for a loam lever and if I ever get another one of those stock levers, that's the first thing I'm changing. So I'd add 75 to the retail price of this bike just for a dropper lever, but still a good deal. performance elite and better dropper lever and it would be an even better spec. Just seems silly to throw kashima on there and a cheap chunk of plastic that doesn't work well to control the dropper post, arguably one of the most important innovations made for mountain bikes.
  • 3 4
 Cable under bb, in out right there.
  • 2 0
 I agree. That may be the only significant issue with this bike, so I hope they consider rerouting those cables next year.
  • 2 0
 @opetruzel: I should start taking photos of all the bikes I see with ovalised entry/ports with over the BB routing. I would have under BB in a heartbeat.
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