"We learnt what not to do"
The new Vitus E-Sommet VR is their first e-bike effort, a 160mm alloy bike, equipped with the Shimano Steps E8000 motor and 27.5in wheels.
Just like the recent Canyon Spectral:ON, Vitus have applied the same direct sales pricing structure to their new e-bikes — the top end E-Sommet VR here costs £3,599.99 and the base model in the range is just £3,199.99.
Why did Vitus hold off on developing their e-bikes then? “We were always pretty anti e-bikes,” says Dale McMullan from Vitus. “And we’ve always been standoffish on new stuff until we know whether it’s a goer and worth doing — we didn’t do any fat bikes, you’ll notice.”
What changed for Vitus was riding some of the competition, and figuring out how much fun they are, Dale says. “We learnt what not to do from that too — no flimsy forks with 34mm stanchions, big brakes, aggressive geometry and good battery placement.”
The E-Sommet range is low, long and slack, Dale says, with the reach growing 20mm longer over last year’s Sommet enduro bike. The VR version of the bike here comes with a RockShox Lyrik fork and Guide RE brakes, and both bikes in the range get 200mm rotors and Maxxis Minion tyres with the extra Double Down sidewall protection. “That’s why we ended up with 2.5in not 2.6in tyres,” Dale sys. “That’s not that fashionable but it stops you trashing your tyres — the bike will take a 2.8 front and rear though if you want.”
What about the relatively low price of the E-Sommet? There’s no chic internal battery on the E-Sommet to require lots of extra machining and design, and just like Canyon, Vitus can take apply its direct sales savings to e-bikes. “Then we had such a good relationship with Shimano and pushed them hard for a good price on the Steps,” Dale says.