EVO

Vitus Vitesse Evo CR Rival AXS review – Road Bikes – Bikes

Vitus has a storied history of top-level racing, but since its revival under the ownership of CRC/Wiggle, it has grown into a brand with value and performance at its core.

This Vitesse Evo’s spec sheet features SRAM’s Rival AXS wireless groupset, top-end 1,470g alloy wheels, great tyres, a carbon seatpost, a 910g frame and a light 370g fork.

How we tested

From super-smooth-riding endurance bikes to lightweight climbing bikes, there’s a huge variety of road bikes out there. But what if you want a bit more of an all-rounder? A road bike that has quick handling, is light enough, has some aero bike-like considerations, can be ridden all day without kicking you into submission and, above all, puts a smile on your face? 

We hear you, so we’ve checked out four serious contenders from a range of brands, both new and old, for around £4,000.

Also on test

Vitus Vitesse Evo CR Rival AXS frameset

The frameset is now 10 per cent lighter, more aerodynamic and much stiffer in critical areas – 11 per cent at the head tube, 50.2 per cent at the bottom bracket, 8.9 per cent at the rear triangle and 69.5 per cent in the fork.

Vitus says this is because the frame is now a monocoque construction (made from a single piece rather than multiple pieces of carbon being bonded together).

It cuts quite the figure in the flesh, with its muted navy blue and understated gold livery. The modern silhouette, with its kammtail tube profiles and dropped skinny stays, looks the business.

The Vitus Vitesse Evo Rival AXS is equipped with a SRAM Red cassette

The Vitesse Evo comes with SRAM’s light and exotic one-piece Red cassette.
Dave Caudery / Our Media

However, the brake routing isn’t fully integrated. Instead, there are single entry points for the brake hose on the fork crown and on the left-hand side of the frame, which double up for the cable routing if you opt for a non-wireless bike.

The 30mm maximum tyre size signals it as a pure road machine.

Vitus Vitesse Evo CR Rival AXS geometry

The geometry is very much the racer’s choice. My XL test bike (a 58cm equivalent) has a low stack of 582mm and a long reach of 402mm.

This is paired with steep 73.2-degree angles and a compact 1,008mm wheelbase. On the road, this translates to a whip-quick bike with super-fast handling, which is aided by a snappy trail of 56mm.

Those huge increases in frame stiffness and relatively thin tyres did have me concerned for both my undercarriage and my fillings, but the Vitesse Evo simply isn’t harsh.

If you’re coming from a smooth endurance bike such as a Cannondale Synapse or Giant Defy, you will feel the difference, but for a dedicated racing machine, the Vitus impresses with its big-mile comfort.

Vitus Vitesse Evo CR Rival AXS spec details

The Vitus Vitesse Evo Rival AXS is equipped with SRAM Rival eTap AXS gears

The Vitesse is specced with SRAM AXS.
Dave Caudery / Our Media

Specced with SRAM Rival AXS, the Vitesse impresses with its drivetrain and braking performance.

Shifting is smooth and slick with a straightforward logic to changing gear – right lever harder, left lever easier, both together shifts the front mech. Simple.

It’s accompanied by SRAM’s excellent AXS app, which adds tunability to the gearing, multishift control, levels of automation and ride-recording functions, including uploading to Strava.

Rival AXS really does represent the future of bicycle drivetrains at a price we haven’t seen before.

And there’s another upgrade to the drivetrain that isn’t obvious at first but shouldn’t be overlooked. Instead of Rival’s standard steel cassette, Vitus has chosen SRAM’s Red 1290 model.

This uses SRAM’s one-piece X-Dome construction, resulting in a weight of under 180g compared to Rival’s 340g – and it costs close to £350 compared to Rival’s £112.

The Vitesse’s quality build continues with the Prime Attaquer wheels. Premium wheels don’t have to be carbon and the alloy Primes prove this.

Male cyclist in blue riding the Vitus Vitesse Evo Rival AXS road bike

The Vitesse Evo has tubeless-ready alloy Prime Attaquer wheels.
Russell Burton / Our Media

They weigh less than 1,500g per pair, are tubeless-ready and have a modern, wide rim with a 19mm internal width. They responded well to sprinting efforts with no side-to-side give and seemed a great wheelset, no matter what I threw at them.

They are shod with high-quality tyres too, in the form of Schwalbe’s ever-dependable tubeless TLE Tubeless Ones.

Vitus Vitesse Evo CR Rival AXS bottom line

Male cyclist in blue riding the Vitus Vitesse Evo Rival AXS road bike

Rival AXS represents the future of bicycle drivetrains at a price we haven’t seen before.
Russell Burton / Our Media

I have very few criticisms of the Evo. Is it perfect? Well, its racing bent means it’s not ideal for winter riding, as there’s no provision for fixed mudguards.

I also found the bar tape stretched a little thin over the nicely shaped Prime bar, which meant that after a six-hour test ride, the heels of both my palms felt a little tender.

I didn’t get on with Vitus’s saddle, either, which slightly dulled my experience, but saddles are, of course, a very personal thing.

Also consider

A little more

  • Vitus Vitesse EVO CRS Di2
  • £3,700

This Ultegra Di2-equipped model, which uses the 11-speed R8050 Di2 rather than the new 12-speed R8100, comes with quality Reynolds carbon disc wheels and a flighty 7.5kg claimed weight.

A lot less

  • Vitus Vitesse EVO CR 105
  • £2,000 

Don’t need electronics? You can save a heap of cash on the lightweight Evo frameset – built up with Shimano’s excellent 105 mechanical group and Prime Baroudeur wheels for a penny shy of £2,000.


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