Solid, capable e-bike with a well thought out specification that's more than fit for purpose
Vitus make two full-suspension e-bikes – the Vitus E-Sommet VR and the entry-level version of the same bike, the Vitus E-Sommet tested here.
And with 170mm forks and 160mm of rear suspension, both E-Sommets are out and out enduro bikes. Both models use the same 6061 alloy frame and share the same geometry, attitude, and 504Wh Shimano STEPS E8010 battery that sits neatly on the down tube.
Vitus E-Sommet review
For 2019 the entry-level E-Sommet gets Shimano’s cheaper E7000 motor and display. Gone is the clumsy all fingers and thumbs Di2 shifter that was used for scrolling through the three power modes, replaced instead by a compact E7000 control switch that isn’t much bigger than a lock-on grip collar.
Tucked safely behind the handlebar next to the stem is the E7000 display. It has a similar level of functionality to the E8000 display on the Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0 but the screen is monochrome rather than colour.
Vitus has also switched to 165mm crankarms to increase pedal clearance, which is a great move because the geometry on the E-Sommet is genuinely long, low and slack, and that 5mm of extra pedal clearance is welcome, especially on steep, techy climbs.
When we measured the rear wheel travel on the Vitus in our workshop it came up 7mm shy of the claimed 160mm. It’s such a capable bike though, you won’t notice any shortcomings out on the trail. And given that the constant power supply of the Shimano motor will smooth out the choppiest of pedalling actions, you won’t miss any of the compression adjusters on the basic RockShox Deluxe R shock either.
Up front, the latest RockShox Yari RC benefits from the larger volume Debonair negative spring, so it is super sensitive and has ample mid-stroke support. Ride it really aggressively though, and it tends to spike more than the RockShox Lyrik used on the more expensive E-Sommet VR. If that’s sounds like you, for less than two hundred pounds you can retro-fit the top-of-the-range Charger 2.1 RC2 damper to the Yari.
Vitus has absolutely nailed the build kit on the E-Sommet. Wheels on e-bikes take a beating so it’s great to see the tougher casing Double Down Maxxis 2.5in tyres on the Vitus. Not only will they reduce ride-interrupting punctures, they also help protect the rims. Vitus has also adopted an e-bike specific Novatech rear hub to help deal with the extra power the motor applies through the chain to the 11-42t, 10-speed cassette.
With the extra weight of an e-bike comes extra momentum, so the four-piston Shimano Deore brakes are ideal for keeping runaway speed in check.
With 800mm handlebars, 50mm stem and geometry numbers that wouldn’t look out of place on a regular enduro bike, the Vitus E-Sommet is an instant hit. Once you get use to the extra weight you can ride it just like a normal bike. Even if you wouldn’t normally ride up hill so fast.
The supper sticky MaxxGrip front tyre gives you the confidence to rail turns, and because the suspension is so effective with the increased weight in the frame, you can stick to off camber lines like glue. If you don’t need all of that traction though, switching to a faster rolling MaxxTerra front tyre will also boost your battery life as there will be less rolling resistance.
The Shimano E7000 motor doesn’t have the same grunt as the Yamaha unit on the Giant, but the power deliver is super smooth and if you’re patient you can grind up some crazy technical climbs. The real advantage to STEPs though is that the E8000 system has proved to be the most reliable on the market, so it safe to assume that the latest E7000 motor will be every bit as dependable.
The Vitus E-Sommet is easily the most capable e-bikes in general but it’s also the lightest, if only by a hair. Which is impressive given the heavier Double Down casing Maxxis tyres, burly 170mm RockShox Yari fork and all-round race ready enduro build kit. Not that you’ll want to go racing on this bike, as you’ll be too busy doing hot-laps of your local woods. Yes, Shimano’s latest STEPs E7000 motor only boasts 60Nm of torque, but there’s enough power and control to muscle up the steepest climbs to get to the best descents. And it’s on the downhills that the E-Sommet really lights up.