Direct to consumer brand Vitus is championing the E-Sommet VR as a hard-charging enduro-style machine but at just € 4,300, can it really deliver the performance and versatility that Vitus claim?
With most bike brands now producing eMTBs, marketing strategies fall into one of two camps; converting active non-cyclists into eMTBers or convincing active mountain bikers that eMTB is a great way to have even more fun on a bike. The Vitus E-Sommet VR is aimed like a heat-seeking missile, at the enduro loving latter.
The specification of the Vitus E-Sommet VR shows that Vitus understand what works on an eMTB: big brakes, great tires and fantastic suspension, enables riders to tackle technical terrain with confidence. Then there’s the price… with a package that wouldn’t be out of place on a € 6,000 eMTB, the Vitus E-Sommet VR comes in at a microphone dropping price of just € 4,300. It looks like a dream ride straight out of the box but surely there’s a catch?
The Vitus E-Sommet VR in detail
Frame 6061-T6 Alloy 160 mm
Forks RockShox Lyric Charger 2 RC2 Boost 170 mm
Shock RockShox Super Delux RC3
Motor Shimano STEPS E8000 with E7000 low profile shifter
Drivetrain Shimano XT M8000
Brakes SRAM Guide RE 200/200 mm
Rims WTB ST Light i29
Tyres Maxxis Minion DHF Maxx Grip DD/Maxxis High Roller II 3C DD (R)
Handlebars Nukeproof Neutron (S/M 780 mm L/XL 800 mm)
Stem Vitus 35 mm
Saddle Nukeproof Neutron
Seatpost Brand X Ascend dropper 31.6 (S 120 mm M+ 150 mm)
Weight 23.6 kg (size XL tested)
Price € 4,300
Specification of the Vitus E-Sommet
The bad-ass black 6061-T6 Aluminium frame of the Vitus E-Sommet VR has been tried and tested on the excellent analogue Sommet, so the frame has just been adapted for use with the light and compact, Shimano Steps E8000 motor. The external Shimano battery may look a bit old-skool compared to many of the hydroformed designs on the market but, in terms of bike handling, weight and cost, external remains a serious option.
The low slung frame gives great standover but the seat tube, on the L and XL especially, towers above the top tube and, with its reinforcing gusset looks a bit tacked on. The low top tube and external battery also mean that there is no room for a bottle on the E-Sommet, disappointing but probably not a deal breaker. Also, less rider-friendly is the internal cable routing which bunches up in a cavity above the motor block, creating an open pit for mud and debris and could make changing cables a fiddly and stress-inducing operation.
Dampening duties are performed by RockShox at both ends. The RC2 damper Lyrik is the best fork on the market and, combined with the Super Deluxe at the back, the Vitus E-Sommet is the only eMTB that comes with this level of suspension, at this price point. Needless to say, it all works brilliantly, with plenty of adjustment for those that want it but work great on factory settings for those riders less inclined to tinker. Brakes are also from the SRAM stable in the form of the eMTB specific Guide RE. With four-piston calipers and 200 mm rotors front and rear, the SRAM Guide REs are one of the best stoppers on the market and a tick in the box for Vitus for speccing them at this price point.
A mix of Shimano XT and SLX provide the 11-speed drivetrain and it’s all solid, dependable stuff; the 165 mm crank arms are a nice touch and enable the rider to keep spinning through rough terrain without leaving too much aluminium on the rocks. Vitus have specced the minimalist E7000 motor shifter which keeps the cockpit clean and makes more room to put the dropper lever in the most ergonomic position.
Vitus forms part of the Wiggle/Chainreaction/Nukeproof empire and, as a result, the E-Sommet VR’s contact points are all in-house branded products: again, each part is sensibly specced and faultless in function, saving money for the costly components that make a greater difference to the E-Sommet’s performance.
|Seat Tube||382 mm||433 mm||483 mm||523 mm|
|Fork Offset||42 mm||42 mm||42 mm||42 mm|
|Effective Top Tube||593 mm||613 mm||633 mm||656 mm|
|Head Tube Angle||65.5°||65.5°||65.5°||65.5°|
|Effective Seat Tube Angle||75°||75°||75°||75°|
|Chainstay||444 mm||444 mm||444 mm||444 mm|
|Head Tube||110 mm||110 mm||120 mm||130 mm|
|Reach||435 mm||455 mm||472 mm||493 mm|
|Bottom Bracket Drop||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,200 mm||1,220 mm||1,241 mm||1,267 mm|
Riding the Vitus E-Sommet VR
The relatively long 493 mm reach in size XL, matched up with 444 mm chainstays and a 65.5° head angle makes the bike feel well balanced and stable. The geometry of the Vitus E-Sommet VR places the rider firmly in a central position, giving complete control over the weight and grip of each wheel, allowing us to stick a line, hop roots or get the back wheel out with confidence making it great fun on technical descents. The 4 bar, Horst-link rear end means that the initial travel is not restricted by braking forces so small bump sensitivity and braking traction is good, helping to keep the E-Sommet composed as you bomb into corners. With a mildly progressive spring rate and plenty of mid-stroke support and the 160mm travel feels bottomless, eating up hits that you should have probably avoided.
The placement of the main pivot and the in-line chainstay pivots provide naturally high levels of anti-squat and reduces pedal bob, so the bike pedals well too, even without the Super Deluxe’s climb switch on. The E-Sommet responds well to rider input when attacking climbs out of the saddle and getting on the gas out of corners, although keeping your cadence fairly high makes the most out of the Shimano Steps E8000’s motor as it can get bogged down if you let the cadence fall. With the slackish 75° seat angle and 35 mm stem, steep climbs require careful body positioning and a good understanding how the E8000 power is delivered, when tackling technical climbs on boost at low speeds the motor can kick like a mule!
The E7000 low profile shifter is nice and simple. However, on the trail, we found that with the close proximity to the grip and sensitive buttons, we accidentally changed ride modes when moving our hands, especially on climbs, compared to the standard E8000 trigger shifter.
Maxxis’ DoubleDown extra thick tires are excellent rubber for eMTB and, with a soft compound Maxx Grip Minion DHF up front and a 3C High Roller II out back, traction is predictable and punctures unlikely, even at low pressures. There is room for wider tires but the 2.5 carcasses are bang on for aggressive riding on technical trails.
So where’s the catch? The arguably out-dated aesthetic may put off those that are looking for the latest in-frame design but for others, who want an eMTB with sorted geometry, great suspension and a rider focused specification that will take on anything, the Vitus E-Sommet VR ticks all the boxes.
If you’re looking for maximum stoke for minimum spend, the Vitus E-Sommet VR really delivers.
- Rider-focused specification, no upgrades required
- Sorted geometry makes for a capable all-rounder and confident descender
- Great value
- Awkward cable routing
- Not able to fit a bottle
For more information head to vitusbikes.com
Words: Thomas Corfield Photos: Trev Worsey