The Vitus Nucleus gets a slicker fork, more gears and a discount to make Chain Reaction Cycles weep... yours for just £400

The Vitus Nucleus has won our Hardtail of the Year award four times. That makes it one of the most winningest hardtails I’ve ever tested as Bike Test Editor here at mbr, which is really bloomin’ significant in a market as fast moving as this. Simply put, to make a great hardtail is tricky. But to go on making it great, even when the competition is so strong, is astonishing.

Vitus Nucleus 29 VRS | Save 50% at Chain Reaction Cycles
Was £799.99, now £399.99
If only the Vitus Nucleus had more suspension and more gears, we lamented in the summer. Vitus must have been listening, because it’s just discounted the upgraded Nucleus 29 VRS by an astonishing 50%. That means you can now get the posh VRS bike with its longer travel fork and 10speed drivetrain, for less than the price of the original bike. At £400 this is an absolute must-have for new riders, and it would do well as a winter hack for people who don’t want to mud up their posh bikes over the soggy season. Read our full review of the Vitus Nucleus 29 VR here

View Deal at Chain Reaction Wiggle

This is the up-specced Vitus Nucleus 29 VRS, a bike that was sadly priced out of our big hardtail mega-test last summer. I think it would have walked away with that test if we’d allowed it in. Now though, it’s discounted and on offer. And what a deal it is – we’re living in a world where retailers are desperate to sell their wares, but there’s not much to top this one. At £400 The Vitus Nucleus VRS is the bike new riders should be looking at. More on this in a minute.

It’s not the only cracking deal floating around the internet though, we’re coming to the end of the Black Friday sales, with only Cyber Monday officially left. We’ll be working hard to pick out the mountain bike stuff that’s actually good, sifting it from the mountains of crud out there. Stay tuned and follow our Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals hub page if you’re looking for bargains.

The Vitus Nucleus 29 VRS looks like a winner to us, with a stellar frame and components

Vitus Nucleus 29 and 27.5in VRS

Why the Nucleus 29 VRS is so good comes down to the bike’s upgrades over the entry-level VR bike we tested last summer. That bike didn’t win our Hardtail of the Year award last time, in fact there were sad faces on the test crew when we realised the fork wasn’t smooth enough to tame the descents, and the eight-speed drivetrain not rangy enough for the ups.

Vitus Nucleus 29 VR

The Vitus Nucleus 29 VR in our Hardtail of the Year test back in the summer. Crying out for a bigger cassette, which now comes on the VRS version

The VRS version solves this at a stroke. You now get a 120mm Suntour XCR 32 fork rather than the shorter 100mm, and that extra 20mm of travel should give the bike just that little bit more damping it needed to smooth out rough descents. The extra travel will slacken off that head angle too, making it steer more easily going downhill.

Where the Nucleus 29 VR really needed help though, was on the climbs. The improved VRS here brings with it a Shimano Deore 10speed drivetrain, that’s important because it introduces a closer spread of gears and riders should never be left to fall between on that’s too hard, and one that spins out too easily.

The VRS brings across the best of the bike we tested though, specifically its 6061-T6 aluminium frame that proved lightest in our big hardtail shootout. With a quality frame the Nucleus 29 VRS becomes a worthy bike to maintain and upgrade over time, as parts start to wear out of need improvement.

That said, the parts list for £400 is stellar, with Maxxis Ardent tyres, WTB wheels, Clarks M2 hydraulic disc brakes, and a Nukeproof Neutron V2 Riser bar.