The revamped Vitus Mythique delivers everything you need from a modern mountain bike, without the eye-watering price tag.
When we tested the original Mythique 29 back in 2019, we were blown away by the suspension performance, build kit and frame quality. But we criticised the 29in version for having an overly tall BB height, because it would have cost Vitus nothing to get it right in the first instance and we’re picky that way. So although it quickly became one of the best budget full-suspension bikes on the market, it wasn’t perfect.
Fast forward to 2023, and we’d have been happy if Vitus had simply addressed our single complaint about the original bike. Instead it’s gone several steps further and produced a brand new alloy Mythique frame that wouldn’t look out of place on a bike costing double the money.
With so many updates it’s hard to know where to begin, so let’s start where we left off. The BB height on the 29er is now 328mm, that’s almost 20mm lower than the original, and puts the rider in, rather than on, the bike.
Vitus has also slackened the head angle a touch, so it’s down from 66º to 65.3º. The seat angle has been steepened up 1.5º too, placing the rider more forward for climbing. To stop the cockpit feeling cramped with the more upright seated riding position, the reach has also grown by 10mm.
There are still two versions – 29in and 27.5in – where both platforms have 140mm travel. But Vitus hasn’t just tweaked the geometry and sizing, it’s improved the overall frame quality too.
From the one-piece welded rocker link and trunnion mount shock, to the bridgeless seatstays and double complement of bearings on the pivots, the new Mythique is built to last. Even the alloy pivot hardware looks like something you’d find on a Santa Cruz or similar boutique bike.
All of the tubing profiles are customised too, where the complex hydroformed seat tube assembly, that houses the rocker link pivot, gives the bike a really fluid form.
One major difference between the Vitus and the Polygon Siskiu or Jamis Faultline, which we tested head-to-head, is the width of the main pivot. It’s much wider than on the other two bikes, so not only will this improve stiffness, it should make the bearings last longer too.
Cable routing is also external, where the addition of small cable clamps on the main pivot and chainstay yoke stop the brake hose and rear derailleur cable migrating as the suspension compresses. Factor in the custom chainstay protector and rubber protection that extends up the inside of the drive-side seatstay, and the Mythique delivers a whisper silent ride with zero cable rattle or rubbing.
Vitus uses its signature four-bar suspension design to deliver a claimed 140mm travel. We measured vertical rear wheel travel at 135mm, so 5mm shy, but given how effective the rear suspension on the Mythique is at tracking terrain, you’ll never feel short changed.
And while the basic RockShox Deluxe Select R shock does not have a lock out, the Mythique pedals well enough not to need one. Sag gradients on the shock make getting a good suspension set up child’s play, and the bike has a good range of set-up possibilities, so you can run it firmer for a more XC feel without it feeling harsh.
If you want to bias the bike more towards descending and increase sag beyond 30%, we’d recommend adding a volume spacer to the air can to prevent the shock from bottoming too easily. Either way, this bike has you covered.
Marzocchi is owned by Fox, so the 140mm travel Bomber Z2 shares the same Evol air spring as the Fox 34 fork on the Polygon. It also gets an equivalent 34mm chassis, albeit one with a slightly different look to the lower legs and crown. On the damper side the Z2 uses the Rail damper which offers the same range of adjustment as the Fox 34.
Confused? Don’t be. To use a car analogy, if Fox is VW, then Marzocchi is Seat, and both offer great performance.
We’ve complained about the heavier action of the Brand-X Ascend dropper remote in the past, so we were surprised at how light and fast the lever action felt on the Vitus. We chalked that up to the smoother run of cable that the external routing provides, so hopefully it will stay that away.
We were also happy to see the Shimano MT501 brakes fitted, as these are easily the most reliable brakes you can have on an entry-level bike. The lever action is incredibly smooth and the modulation is first rate too.
To boost stopping power Vitus has opted for 180mm rotors front and rear, but if you’re a heavier rider an easy and cost effective way to increase stopping power further is to upgrade to 203mm rotors.
If you’re pouring over spec sheets looking for the best possible value, the drivetrain on the Vitus probably won’t come out on top. And that’s because the frame quality is going to be higher than the competition.
What’s interesting though, is that the Shimano SLX derailleur and 12-speed Deore shifter offered the fastest, smoothest shifting and the quietest drivetrain in test, even when paired with the SunRace 11-51t cassette. And the reason is simple. Vitus sensibly fitted a Shimano chain rather than opting for a cheaper KMC.
In short. Vitus has absolutely nailed the performance. The Mythique is a bike that’s easy to ride so it instantly gives you the confidence to ride fast, have fun and take chances. It never feels like you’re rolling the dice though, as the suspension is superbly balanced, offers stacks of grip and takes the edge of the rough stuff better than its competition in this test.
Every aspect of the build kit has your back, while taking a back seat to the overall ride quality. Rail turns, send drops or pick your way up technical climbs, there’s nothing the Mythique can’t turn its hand to. And there’s no mystery as to how Vitus achieved such a standout ride quality at such a competitive price. It simply sweated the details that much harder than any of the other brands.
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Speed, smiles, and style; the new Vitus Mythique VRX has all in equal measure. It’s a trail bike that covers a huge remit without the hefty price tag to match. And while every price-point bike is a compromise, Vitus has emphasised the things that matter most to ride quality, without leaving any glaring holes in the specification. The fact that the frame looks every bit as polished as high-end bikes, just adds to the overall appeal. So whether you’re starting out in mountain biking or are a seasoned rider looking for a trail bike that offers unbeatable value, we simply can not recommend the Mythique highly enough.