The Latest Vitus E-Sommet VRX stays true to its enduro roots, but a new frame layout and all the latest e-bike tech bring it bang up to date
Let’s look the e-bike tech on the Vitus E-Sommet VRX first. The top-of-the-range VRX gets a Shimano EP8 motor and an internal 630Wh battery. There’s no key needed for battery removal, other than an Allen key, but because the protective cover isn’t attached to the battery, it’s more fiddly to remove than on a Canyon Spectral:ON or YT Decoy, especially when covered in mud.
Vitus E-Sommet VRX review
The real development has been in the frame itself though. In come mullet wheels, out goes the floating shock design, replaced instead by a more traditional four-bar rocker link. It still runs a 170mm suspension fork, but frame travel has been bumped up to 167mm (we measured it at 163mm).
It’s also the only bike in test to get the new oversized 1.8in tapered steerer, increasing both the stiffness and strength of the RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork. It’s hard to say if all e-bikes will eventually switch to this standard, but it’s reassuring to have it on a 24.7kg (54.45lb) bike with so much travel.
Other developments include a flared seat tube design that dramatically increases dropper post insertion depth, allowing Vitus to spec longer posts and shorter seat tubes. This makes it easy for riders to upsize to a longer bike – not that you’ll need to, as the generous reach measurement makes the size large E-Sommet the longest bike in this test. If anything, you may want to downsize.
With so much travel it would be easy to assume that the E-Sommet is only designed to plough through the roughest terrain. And while that’s definitely its calling, Vitus has retained agility by increasing the progression of the new suspension layout. You can also firm things up with the low-speed compression adjuster on the Super Deluxe Select+ shock. Yes, there’s still lots of travel to push through to hop the bike off the ground, and there’s no getting around the fact that this is a 24.7kg bike, so speed and momentum really are your best friends.
So is the 170mm-travel RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork. And while the oversized chassis is welcome, it’s actually the more sophisticated Charger 2.1 damper that’s the real boon here. With independent high and low-speed compression damping, you can dial in the support to prop the front end up on rowdy descents without your hands taking a beating.
In keeping with the gravity focus, the E-Sommet gets reinforced Double Down casing Maxxis tyres, with a tacky Maxx Grip compound up front. Fast rolling it ain’t, so if you want to increase the range of the battery, swapping to a Maxx Terra front tyre is a great option. We’ve had nothing but good experiences with the Brand-X Ascend dropper post, so we were surprised by the heavy lever action of the 170mm post on the Vitus. You need only look at the cable routing to find the cause, though. With all the cables crammed into the Acros headset, the radius on the housing is just too tight to give a smooth action. The routing also limits how low you can drop the stem.
The low BB height on the Vitus makes the front end feel even higher and it wasn’t until we flipped the stem on the E-Sommet, that we started to feel more like a pilot than a passenger. With more weight on the front, we could load the bike more confidently into turns and still get far enough off the back on descents. The supple rear suspension reacts to, and irons out, every ripple in the trail, but it also seems to amplify the inherent rattle of the Shimano EP8 motor when not pedalling. So if you spin up fire roads and use the Vitus as your personal shuttle to get to the best descents, the noise starts to needle. The Vitus also seemed to be under-powered compared to the Canyon, even though both bikes have the latest EP8 motors.
With the most progressive sizing and geometry in test, the E-Sommet VRX closely mirrors the shape and t of the best analogue enduro bikes. And with the addition of a 630Wh battery you won’t need to worry if the chairlift or shuttle isn’t running. With the extra weight comes extra stability, so you may want to consider downsizing to gain a more dynamic ride. Consider also the terrain that’s typical for you – while the travel here is similar to the YT Decoy, the Vitus doesn’t feel as versatile, even if it’s more capable in big-mountain terrain.