Vitus has always represented killer value for money. The Sommet CR is no exception.
The new Sommet CR takes this to a whole new level with a carbon front triangle and a build kit that’s comparable to rivals costing £500 more.
The sculpted carbon front end not only looks slick, it saves over 300g in weight compared to the aluminium equivalent.
A wide-stance BB92 and oversized down tube increase stiffness, but the Vitus doesn’t have the latest Boost 148mm dropouts at the rear — not the end of the world, but an easy future win in terms of tyre clearance and wheel strength.
Just like the alloy version of the Sommet, rear travel is 155mm via the signature V-Link suspension design. It’s a genuine four-bar layout, with a chainstay pivot that helps keep the rear wheel planted even when you’re on the anchors.
Just like the Merida One-Sixty 5000, it uses a ‘floating’ lower shock link, although on the Sommet it moves forward under compression to give a more linear response.
The reservoir-toting RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 shock isn’t the most progressive, so the suspension offers slightly less to push against to generate pop or acceleration while coasting.
The increased negative air volume of the Debonair sleeve helps reduce breakaway resistance for better bump compliance and grip, so the 155mm back end feels very capable, even if it doesn’t quite have the super-smooth, magic carpet feel of some enduro bikes.
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The Lyrik is RockShox’s new flagship enduro fork, but the 160mm Pike fork fitted here is still top quality and balances well with the rear suspension.
We’d prefer to see the RCT3 version fitted, though, as it brings better high-speed control and support on steep tracks.
The 23mm internal-width WTB rims are skinny by modern standards and the matching tyres are also the narrowest on test but the wheels feel light and fast as a result.
Vitus has also optimised the tyres with a grippy compound, thinner-casing Vigilante up front, for maximum cornering grip, and a thicker, more durable Trail Boss on the back for increased puncture protection and reduced rolling resistance.
SRAM’s Guide disc brakes have proved durable for a couple of seasons now, and just like the two other sets on test, the ‘R’ versions here delivered consistent power and zero squealing.
The lightweight Vitus has excellent pace across the flat, whether the trails are rough or flowy, and holds a solid, neutral line through corners.
The rear suspension maintains speed well over square-edged hits, but feels more geared to all-round riding and pedalling than pure DH bump swallowing, which impacts on how planted and stable the Sommet is at higher speeds.
The carbon front end is very stiff, with precise steering, but the rear end twists under heavy cornering forces. It’s not excessive though, and could even help with grip and tracking on sketchy off-cambers.
We sized up to a 19in frame, which feels shorter than the numbers suggest, and you’re hindered by the tall seat tube.
The bottom bracket does sit high when riding, which exacerbates the problem and emphasises the feeling of being perched on the bike.
With a raised centre of gravity, it’s not quite as intuitive, or natural to let rip on, as other enduro bikes. The Vitus comes across more as an efficient trail bike than a stripped-back enduro monster.
Pedalling is very direct, but at times it subtly surges on the down stroke (as chain tension interacts with the suspension to prevent it squatting), then dips, resulting in a bit of a pulsing action when climbing seated, or sprinting hard.
Vitus’s lightweight Sommet CR is a great do-it-all option, rather than a full-on enduro race weapon. It offers a carbon frame for an excellent price and has a pace and a turn of speed that’s the envy of the other bikes here. It’s eager everywhere, whether that’s up, down or along, but the frame’s shape is too short and high for some tastes, and a few of the parts aren’t cutting-edge either. It’s a good trail bike, with dialled suspension, but it doesn’t quite have that elusive ‘X factor’. Perhaps a set of offset bushings would cure that lofty BB height and help release the inner beast.