With a wishlist component spec the Vitus e-Escarpe VRX is a boutique e-bike at less than high street prices

With a wishlist component spec the Vitus e-Escarpe VRX is a boutique e-bike at less than high street prices.

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Need to know

  • Assisted version of our 2018 Trail Bike of the Year
  • Mixed wheel sizes front and rear for optimum rollover and enhanced agility
  • Top of the range Fox Factory suspension with Kashima coating
  • Four frame sizes on offer
  • Four-bike range starts at £3,199

If you’re a regular reader of mbr, you’ll have noticed Vitus Bikes consistently at, or near the top of our grouptests on a fairly regular basis. Dominant in the cutthroat sub-£1,000 hardtail category, the brand has won our coveted Hardtail of the Year award four years running with the amazing Vitus Nucleus VR. Its full-suspension bikes have also enjoyed glittering plaudits, with the Escarpe 29 VRX taking our Trail Bike of the Year award in 2018, and both spec levels of its electrified Vitus e-Sommet enduro bike scoring perfect 10 ratings in our reviews.

So how does Vitus manage to produce so many test-winning bikes? Well, it may not be the biggest brand making the boldest claims, but it knows what’s key to performance; namely diligent development and sweating the details. Over in Northern Ireland a small but talented team of product managers, engineers and designers focus on building the best bikes they can, at the keenest price they can muster, rather than coming up with slick marketing campaigns and buzzwords for the latest technology. They are passionate riders, giving their creations real stick on a daily basis in conditions that reflect exactly what the average UK mountain biker has to endure – in other words, wind, rain, mud.

For 2020, Vitus has expanded its e-bike range significantly. In fact, where there were just two models on offer, there are now eight. The e-Sommet range has doubled in size to cover four price points, ranging from £3,199 to £4,999, while this bike – the trail-orientated e-Escarpe – has been added to appeal to a broader market. To keep things simple, the price points and model designations are mirrored across both ranges, with the top spec belonging to the VRX, followed by the VRS, the VR and then the basic e-Sommet and e-Escarpe.

Building on the success of the enduro-ready e-Sommet, the new e-Escarpe takes the same aggressive geometry, trims back the travel from 160mm to 140mm and throws in asymmetric wheel sizes to bring increased rollover without sacrificing agile handling. With a 64° head angle and short, 44mm fork offset, the e-Escarpe is tuned to give confident, stable handling at speed and on technical descents. There’s a low bottom bracket for mid-corner poise, coupled with short 165mm cranks to improve ground clearance on rough climbs. And 444mm chainstays strike a good balance between generating grip on ascents and staying dynamic on the descents.

Fitted with a trusty Shimano STEPS E8000 motor, compact E7000 switch unit and 504Wh battery, you have three power modes at your fingertips: Eco, Trail and Boost. By using the Shimano E-Tube app on your smartphone, you can wirelessly connect to the STEPS system and tune the response in each mode to suit your needs. And to ensure the external battery stays in tip-top shape, it can be removed easily for indoor charging and storage.

With a wishlist component spec that includes Fox Factory-level e-bike suspension, Shimano XT and XTR brakes and drivetrain, DT Swiss wheels and Maxxis Assegai/ Minion DHR II 3C tyres, the Vitus e-Escarpe VRX is a boutique e-bike at less than high street prices.

Vitus E-Escarpe VRX £4999.99

  • Battery 504Wh external
  • Motor Shimano STEPS 8000
  • Power 250W
  • Torque 70Nm
  • Frame aluminium, 140mm travel
  • Shock Fox Float DPS Factory
  • Fork Fox 36 Factory FIT Grip 2 e-bike, 140mm travel
  • Battery Shimano 504Wh
  • Motor Shimano STEPS 8000
  • Display Shimano STEPS 8000
  • Wheels DT Swiss, HX1501 Spline wheels, Maxxis Assegai/Minion DHRII 29×2.5in/ 27.5×2.4in tyres
  • Drivetrain Shimano E8000 chainset, 34t 165mm, Shimano XTR r-mech and Shimano XT shifter
  • Brakes Shimano XT, four-piston front, two-piston rear, 203mm
  • Components Nukeproof Horizon stem and handlebar, Brand X Ascend seatpost and WTB Volt Race saddle
  • Sizes S, M, L, XL
  • Weight 22.14kg (48.8lb)