The Vitus Sommet was always a great-value bike but lacked a little in performance, but a full geometry and suspension overhaul mean the latest model punches well above its price.
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX frame and suspension details
The new T7000 carbon front triangle on the Sommet 29 CRX is mated to a 6061-T6 aluminium rear end with a revised suspension layout. The previous iteration of the bike used a floating shock design, with the base of the shock anchored to extended chainstay tips.
This created a smooth, very comfortable suspension platform but when pushed hard the lack of support and, at times, wallow through the back end left the bike feeling a touch vague when you really got trucking.
While Vitus continues to use a four-bar linkage design, the shock is now firmly fixed into a cradle just above the bottom bracket junction.
There’s 162mm of travel on tap on this 29er and 170mm of travel on the 650b version. This top-spec model is controlled by Fox’s recently revamped Factory Float X2 rear shock, which not only has low- and high-speed rebound and compression damping adjustment, but a quick to use lever that’ll firm the shock up instantly on the climbs.
Vitus says that it’s straightened the Sommet’s leverage curve as well as upped its progression later in the travel, all in a bid to boost initial sensitivity, increase mid-stroke support and up overall control when the heavy hits start coming thick and fast.
Cabling is routed internally with some really neat entry and exit ports, there’s plenty of integrated rubberised frame protection on the underside of the down tube and across the driveside chainstay to quieten chain slap, and the Sommet uses a threaded bottom bracket.
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX geometry
The bike’s geometry has seen an overhaul too, boasting a host of changes that should equate to a better bike on the trail.
There’s now 25mm of bottom bracket drop, leaving the bottom bracket sitting at 345mm off of the floor, the head angle has been slackened to 63.8 degrees in the low setting on this large, and the effective seat angle has been steepened to help create a more efficient seated climbing position.
What’s more interesting, though, is that just like Nukeproof Mega 290 Alloy Pro, the effective seat angle continues to steepen as frame size increases.
This is to ensure that as saddle height increases relative to the bottom bracket (which effectively slackens the seat angle), the rider isn’t seated too far back behind the bottom bracket axle, which isn’t a particularly efficient or comfortable way to pedal a bike.
My size large test bike had an effective seat angle of 77.1 degrees.
The now often touted reach measurement (the horizontal distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the top of the head tube, which gives an indication of how roomy a bike will feel when stood up out of the saddle, has been lengthened over the previous Sommet too, with the size large now measuring in at a very respectable 470mm.
A stretched out front centre of 820mm (measured from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the front axle) and a middling effective chainstay length of 440mm give a wheelbase of 1,260mm.
Vitus also includes a flip-chip at the base of the shock which alters both the head and seat angle by 0.5 degrees and bottom bracket height by 6mm.
The geometry chart offers lots of incredibly useful information to help guide you in choosing the right size bike. Recommended rider height and inside leg bracketed measurements are present as well as the saddle height where the geometry measurements were taken.
There’s also detail on seatpost insertion depth, which many will find useful.
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX specifications
Considering the cash, the Sommet 29 CRX is positively dripping with some of the best bits the mountain bike world has to offer.
Highlights include the Kashima coated 170mm travel Fox Factory 38 fork and Float X2 rear shock. Both allow you to externally adjust the low- and high-speed compression and rebound damping which, although a little intimidating, offer a great way to refine the ride and get the bike feeling just how you like it.
It helps that Fox provides some decent guidelines and base settings to work from, too.
Vitus has done a sterling job with tyre choice, too.
A 2.5in Maxxis Assegai in the sticky, 3C MaxxGrip compound sits up front and comes in the relatively tough EXO+ casing and a 2.4in Maxxis Minion DHR II is on the rear in the slightly faster rolling 3C MaxxTerra compound with the brand’s Double Down casing, which should help stave off punctures – there’s only a DH casing tyre heavier or tougher than this.
Shimano supplies its four-piston XT brakes which offer a light touch but a very punchy feel. We’ve had issues in the past with a number of Shimano brakes suffering from a wandering bite point, but luckily this particular set felt consistent throughout testing.
The Japanese brand also supplies a full XT 12-speed drivetrain – a transmission that has consistently impressed us in terms of performance and value for money.
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX ride impressions
Like all the enduro bikes I test, I rode the Sommet 29 CRX on a variety of trails in a bid to highlight its strengths and weaknesses. These trails included plenty of high-speed, rocky runs at the bikepark where high-load berms, long rocky sections and flat-out fast jumps are plentiful.
I also spent a decent amount of time on more natural trails, slithering through ruts, skipping over roots and skidding my way down steep, technical tracks.
During my first few days aboard the Vitus I made some tweaks to the setup that included switching to a slightly shorter 40mm stem and, after a couple of bikepark laps, removing the single spacer that came as standard in the shock and one from the fork (leaving just one inside) so I could comfortably access all the available travel.
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX climbing performance
There’s no getting away from that slow-rolling MaxxGrip front tyre when slogging along the tarmac, but that’s arguably the only thing slowing the Vitus down when pointed uphill.
Although there’s an easy to reach, low-speed compression lever ready and waiting to firm up the shock, at no point was it ever needed when pedalling sat down, even on really steep inclines.
Sat down and spinning, there’s next to none of that energy-sapping suspension bob that can feel like it’s draining your energy with every single revolution of the cranks. Instead, things feel almost bob-free and relatively sprightly.
That stable, well-supported back end coupled with the steep seat angle help to create a nice and efficient feeling position on the bike.
There’s enough stretch too, thanks to the 621mm effective top tube, so at no point did I feel cramped or awkward, even when tackling long, steep sections of uphill trail.
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX descending performance
On tamer trails, there’s a stiffness that gives the bike an urgency and reactiveness when changing direction that’s more akin to a bike with less travel on tap.
Everything from the Fox 38 fork to the tough Maxxis rubber feels direct and accurate, but that doesn’t translate to a harsh or uncomfortable feeling when the bumps start coming. Rather, the Sommet mutes the chatter well, thanks to the supple and well-controlled fork and shock.
It’s worth mentioning that at 68kg with riding kit on, I ended up running the rebound damping on the Fox 38 fully open and, even then, would have liked the return speed of the fork to be a touch faster.
I also ran the high-speed compression fully open and used just a couple of clicks of low-speed compression (from the fully open position), which suggests the 38 may be a little over-damped for lighter riders. Heavier testers had no such issues, though.
Dialling in the rear shock was straightforward once I’d removed the single air volume spacer.
When the trail gets a little spicier, the Vitus remains eager to truck on. Its angles and proportions help to sit you nicely between the wheels, adding an air of confidence to proceedings when sliding down really steep chutes or hammering down high-speed sections of trail.
It helps that the Maxxis rubber feels totally predictable and consistent across pretty much every type of terrain too, as well as the ultra-sharp, super-powerful XT brakes that let you leave braking to the very last second.
Despite the taut, reactive feel through the frame, the Sommet doesn’t buffet you around as you might expect. Things remain calm and composed when you hit the rough stuff.
However, even with that supple initial touch from the Fox Factory fork and shock, it can’t quite match the likes of the Trek Slash 8, Whyte G-180 RS 29 V1 or Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro when it comes to ground-hugging traction and rider comfort.
There’s a little more in the way of feedback through your hands and feet as the Sommet works its way through the terrain. It by no means beats you up, but feels more like you’ll find the bike’s limit quicker than those other bikes, with a slightly narrower margin for error.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean the Sommet is any slower than its closest rivals, it does mean it’s not quite as comfortable when repeatedly banging out run after run on really rugged descents.
On the plus side, its poppy, dynamic ride helps to highlight just what a great all-rounder it can be. Whether that’s clocking up big miles, banging out laps of the bikepark or chucking it between the tape at an enduro-style event, the Sommet 29 CRX will have you covered.
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX bottom line
The new Vitus Sommet 29 CRX offers incredible value for money thanks to its amazing parts list, great geometry and revised suspension design.
It’s more nimble than the numbers might suggest when it comes to tackling flatter trails and has no shortage of confidence when pointed down something rough and steep.
While it might not feel quite as plush or downhill-orientated as some of its closest competitors, it’ll still tackle the trickiest of trails with pace and composure.
A massive thank-you to BikePark Wales for granting us access to its trails despite the bike park being closed to the public.
And not forgetting Muc-Off, for its help keeping the bikes washed and lubed throughout testing.
The contenders | Enduro Bike of the Year
With 150mm to 180mm of travel, enduro bikes are designed to be hurled down the roughest downhill tracks but still be pedalled back to the top. The best enduro bikes are still fun when riding less full-on terrain, too.
The following bikes were shortlisted for our Enduro Bike of the Year award, with a price range of £3,450 to £4,198.
- Cotic RocketMAX Gen3 Silver SLX
- Kona Process 153 DL 29
- Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro
- Scott Ransom 920
- Trek Slash 8 (winner)
- Vitus Sommet 29 CRX
- Whyte G-180 RS 29er V1
- YT Capra Shred 27.5