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Verdict: 
A fast, light and responsive race bike at a very compelling price
Weight: 
7,570g
Contact: 

Lightweight and very fast, the Vitus Vitesse Evo CRI Ultegra Di2 offers race bike handling and speed with a very good parts package at a price that embarrasses most other brands. If you want a highly capable race bike, this is a top choice.

  • Pros: Fast, light, stiff, great components, excellent value
  • Cons: Handlebar shape (discuss...)

The Vitesse Evo is available with either disc or rim brakes, and it's a fully UCI accredited frame design – it's been used in top-level races by the An Post-Chain Reaction team.

Ride and handling

Last year, I tested the disc brake version of this bike, the Vitesse Evo Disc Ultegra, and I was very impressed: 'Fast and responsive race bike that excels on descents and is no slouch on climbs.'

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_uci_badge.jpg

In this rim brake guise it's turned up a notch. The lower weight – 7.5kg versus 8.6kg – is a whopping difference and one you notice immediately. It feels much more responsive and flighty, with hills despatched much more readily. More fun too, I'd say.

vitus_vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_riding_2.jpg

Power transfer from the oversized frame is very good. Stamp on the pedals and the Vitesse is highly responsive. No lag or hesitation, it stomps forward with the sharp reactions you'd want and expect from a race-bred bike. The front end feels very sharp and direct, the handlebar doing a good job of communicating the road surface underneath the front tyre without being overly harsh.

Not surprisingly, the Vitesse Evo's geometry is at the racier end of the scale: this is a bike designed for racing and with pro feedback, so it's all aggressive and low for maximum attack. This 56cm bike, one of seven sizes available, has a 563mm stack and 393mm reach (stack and reach are the vertical and horizontal measurements from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube), 560mm top tube and 155mm head tube. The 990mm wheelbase is a shade shorter than the disc brake version.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2.jpg

Those are the sort of numbers that mean you'll adopt a forward-leaning, head down position. That's good if you want to get a wiggle on and make rapid progress, whether at the pointy end of a road race or simply trying to bag a few KOMs. The short wheelbase provides a high level of agility and nimbleness on a tight race circuit, which contributes to its lively ride.

vitus_vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_riding_3.jpg

Provided you have the flexibility to handle the position, it's a comfortable bike, and not just for an hour's blast – I found it a good choice on longer jaunts, too. There's a pleasing level of composure on rough roads; it certainly won't rattle your spine to pieces. It's more comfortable than the disc version of the Vitesse, which I found a bit too firm, differences that could be attributed to the frame, wheels or tyres, or a combination of all three.

Frame details

It's a carbon fibre frame and fork, with T700 fibre used in its construction, with an oversized down tube, tapered head tube and BB386 Evo press-fit bottom bracket, all designed to deliver race bike levels of stiffness while keeping the weight low.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_bottom_bracket.jpg

That focus on stiffness is balanced by the slim top tube and seat stays which are designed to absorb vibrations and impacts.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_seat_tube_junction.jpg

Tyre clearance is pegged at 25mm, increasing to 28mm on the disc version. The frame uses regular dual pivot brake callipers, not the newer direct mount brakes that many bike companies are moving to.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_rear_brake.jpg

There's full internal routing for the brake cables and gear wires, and it's nicely done with no rattling, and there are blanking plates on the redundant ports for a mechanical groupset.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_cable_routing_q.jpg

The seat tube accepts a 27.2mm carbon fibre seatpost with an external clamp. Many modern race bikes now have internal seat clamps, which offer cleaner aesthetics and arguably improved aerodynamics and frame compliance, but an external clamp is so much easier to use.

Build kit

If you're on a tighter budget, the Vitesse can be had with a Shimano 105 groupset for £1,499, or mechanical Ultegra for £2,099.99, but if you can stretch that budget then £2,899.99 gets you this full Shimano Ultegra Di2 build, with Prime RR-38 carbon fibre clincher wheels and top quality Ritchey finishing kit. (Bigger budget? You can get a Shimano Dura-Ace and Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon build for £3,699, which is still impressive value for money.)

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_drivetrain.jpg

Needless to say, the equipment is faultless. The Ultegra Di2 groupset shifts with ease and precision, and for racing (I did race this bike as part of the test) I'm a real fan of electronic shifting.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_front_mech.jpg

The 52/36 chainset and 11-30 cassette is an ideal setup for racing or just fast riding, high enough to keep up with the fastest moves and attacks, yet low enough to grapple a hilly ride with some steep gradients. The low weight of the bike certainly helps when scaling the big climbs.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_rear_mech.jpg

A Ritchey handlebar and stem show Vitus wasn't prepared to skimp on key components, with the company's own carbon seatpost providing a bit of extra vibration damping. Handlebars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and while I liked the traditional drop shape of the Comp Streem II, I'm not such a fan of the wing-shaped top section, designed to provide an aerodynamic edge. That's just me, though, you might like it just fine.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_bars.jpg

No complaints with a Fizik Antares saddle, unless you don't get on with the shape of course. I do and found it very comfortable.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_saddle.jpg

Wheels and tyres

The Prime RR-38 carbon fibre wheels, an in-house brand of the Wiggle/CRC giant, provide improved aerodynamics over a box section aluminium wheelset but keep the weight down, ensuring they're a good all-round choice for flat road riding and hillier terrain.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_tyre_and_rim.jpg

Weighing just 1,360g, they feel responsive and immediate when making sudden changes of direction. Braking in the dry is good, nice and predictable with no snatching. You can read an in-depth review of the wheels here. I can't comment on the wet weather performance as it didn't rain while I was testing this bike.

vitesse_evo_cri_ultegra_di2_-_front_brake.jpg

Fitted to the wheels are Schwalbe Pro One tyres measuring 25mm wide. It's another example of Vitus not being prepared to skimp: these are very good tyres with a proven reputation, good rolling resistance and decent durability.

Rivals

Vitus is being really aggressive on price here – it's a lot of bike for the money, and few brands are able to match it. Comparing it to the usual benchmark for value, Canyon, the German company's Ultimate CF SL 8.0 Di2 offers a carbon fibre frameset with an Ultegra Di2 groupset for £2,649, currently discounted to £2,449, but it has heavier and non-aero aluminium DT Swiss PR 1600 Spline wheels.

> Buyer's Guide: 17 of the best £2,000-£3,000 bikes

Likewise, a Rose X-Lite Four with Ultegra Di2 costs £2,557, but that's with aluminium DT Swiss P1750 Spline wheels; upgrade to Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbons and the price steps up to £3,715.

Again, a Specialized Tarmac SL5 Comp costs £2,600, with mechanical Ultegra and aluminium wheels.

So while the Vitus is a few hundred quid more than these rivals, you get better wheels and branded finishing kit.

Conclusion

Overall, the Vitesse offers an exceptionally good ride with fast handling that will suit speed merchants and budding racers, but enough comfort if you have your eye on longer rides and sportives and don't want an excessively upright position. Add in the excellent value for money and a decent parts list, and you have a very appealing bike.

Verdict

A fast, light and responsive race bike at a very compelling price

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Vitus Vitesse Evo CRI Ultegra Di2

Size tested: 56cm

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

From Vitus:

Key features:

High Modulus T700 carbon frameset

Full UCI certification

Raced and developed by the An Post Chain Reaction Cycles pro team

BB 386 Evo, the widest and most efficient bottom bracket standard

Asymetric and oversized BB increasing power transfer

Top tube and seat stays designed for vertical compliance

Rim and disc brake options

Internal cable routing

SPECIFICATION

Frame Carbon

Forks Carbon

Shock N/A

Chainset Shimano Ultegra R8000

Bottom Bracket Shimano

Shifters Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8070

Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050

Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050

Cassette Shimano Ultegra R8000

Chain KMC X11

Rims Prime RR-38 carbon

Front Hub Prime

Rear Hub Prime

Spokes Double butted

Tyres Schwable Pro One

Front Brake Shimano Ultegra R8070

Rear Brake Shimano Ultegra R8070

Handlebars Ritchey Comp Streem II

Stem Ritchey Comp 4 Axis

Headset Ritchey

Saddle FIZIK

Seatpost Prime carbon

Seatclamp Alloy

Weight 8.4 Kg / 18.51 Lb

Tell us what the bike is for

Vitus says, "The lightest bike in the Vitus range – a true all-round race bike. Designed with minimal weight to charge the climbs, efficient stiffness to accelerate out or corners, yet all day comfort to glide through rough road surfaces with minimal fatigue.

"Our Vitus frame design team worked closely with the An Post Chain Reaction Cycles UCI Pro Continental race team throughout the design and test phase to ensure the perfect balance of ride characteristics to ensure the Vitesse was competitive in races like the spring classics, to the high mountains of France.

"Coming in rim brake and disc brake platforms, both fully UCI certified, the Vitesse allows you to define how you want to ride."

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Very good build quality, no issues.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Full T700 carbon fibre frame and fork.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Very racy.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

If you like race bike geometry you'll get on fine, if not you might struggle with its aggressiveness.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Impressively comfortable for a race bike that is focused on stiffness.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

No flex when you give it the full beans.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

No lag or flex at all

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so

None.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively Direct.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Very direct and responsive.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The wheels contribute to the low overall weight and agile handling.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The wheels are plenty stiff enough.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

There's nothing I'd change if I was racing this bike.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for value:
 
9/10
Rate the tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
6/10
Rate the tyres for value:
 
7/10

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
8/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

Thoroughly impressive race bike performance backed up by very good parts for the price.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

4 comments

Avatar
Butty [352 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Avatar
Beecho [431 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Butty wrote:

Anyone pick the bike up for £184.99?

http://deals.road.cc/content/huge-36-vitus-vitesse-evo-cri-ultegra-di2-2...

Rats. Had my debit card at the ready...

Avatar
Liam Cahill [197 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Beecho wrote:

Butty wrote:

Anyone pick the bike up for £184.99?

http://deals.road.cc/content/huge-36-vitus-vitesse-evo-cri-ultegra-di2-2...

Rats. Had my debit card at the ready...

If only that wasn't a typo. I'll take 3 please! Amended

Avatar
bendertherobot [1543 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Hmm, it's nice. But the wheels may be lighter than the Canyon (200g or so) but the bike is about 1.2kg heavier (if specs claimed are correct).