Bargain priced, high performance enduro e-bike
Using Shimano’s smooth STEPS motor and 2.5in tyres, the Vitus E-Sommet VR delivers the same great value as the original, non-motorised version.
Vitus E-Sommet VR need to know
- E-version of the Vitus Sommet enduro machine equipped with a Shimano STEPS motor to help pack in more ride time and descending
- 170mm RockShox Lyrik RC2 fork and 160mm rear with latest metric Super Deluxe shock
- Well-chosen, durable parts package on this pricier of two electric Sommet models
- Modern geometry with four sizes stretching up to an XL with a generous 493mm reach measurement
Vitus E-Sommet VR reivew
In fact, the specification on the E-Sommet makes many similarly priced enduro-ready e-bikes blush. A near perfect blend of heavy-duty Maxxis Minion 3C DD 2.5in Wide Trail tyres, mounted on tough, fast rolling DT Swiss M1900 Spline wheels is a sweet setup. Speed is controlled by the 10 rated SRAM Guide RE brakes and the controls are sorted too, with a stubby 35mm stem, wide handlebar, and a 150mm dropper post actively encouraging you to ride faster.
Both versions of the Sommet get frame revisions for 2018. Longer and a little slacker, the new E-Sommet also gets a revised V-Link suspension design to make the pedalling action smoother and the 160mm rear end even more sensitive. Travel is controlled by the latest generation RockShox kit, using a metric Super Deluxe RC3 shock and 170mm Lyrik fork. Yes, the Lyrik RC is the cheaper model, but it almost performs as well as the RCT3 version now that RockShox has changed the damper design. More importantly, both damper units sync perfectly with the chassis for good traction and support.
The frame is Boost too and has relatively short 444mm chainstays. With the stock 2.5in WT tryes it offers excellent mud clearance but there’s ample room for 2.8in Plus tyres too. Same goes for the RockShox Lyrik fork.
Adding STEPS power obviously adds weight, but it’s all in the right place so it helps the suspension track and grip better, and the E-Sommet still feels pretty light and manoeuvrable on the trail. Under the motor’s extra power, Shimano’s ‘normal’ mechanical gearing isn’t as smooth and snappy as SRAM’s e-bike-specific kit, but the SLX/XT mix gets the job done with a bonus; Shimano’s 34T chainring resists chain suck in UK slop way better than popular rival Bosch’s tiny front sprockets.
The e-Sommet package isn’t perfect though; with the shock piercing the seat tube you can’t insert the dropper post deep enough into the frame to get the saddle height perfect with shorter legs, a problem we also had on the test winning Vitus Escarpe 29 in our Trail Bike of the Year test.
Out on the trail, the overall shape and attitude of the E-Sommet instantly silences any gripes as it’s a shed load of fun both up and down. Vitus has nailed the fundamentals of stable geometry, grippy and smooth suspension and delivered a very balanced ride. The bike’s hard to deflect or upset at speed too; perfect for maximising all the extra downhill playtime the motorised climbing allows. Nit picking, a marginally lower BB would put the rider deeper ‘in’ the bike for the steepest down hill trails and for carving turns, but we’re only talking 5mm or so and this isn’t a deal breaker by any means as the extra height proved to be a real bonus on technical climbs.
So the new E-Sommet is essentially a modern enduro rig with a motor and totally sorted parts bolted on. It’s a proper giggle to ride, and, considering the stonking value and the fact no e-bike is totally perfect, it has to be a serious contender in any ebike test.