First Look review: Vitus Escarpe 275 VRS


Our latest test-bike comes courtesy of Chain Reaction Cycles owned Vitus – it’s their 650b wheeled, 140mm travel Escarpe 275 VRS. 

The ‘VRS’ is the highest specced of the three bikes in the Escarpe range, costing a very decent £1849.99…

Build kit:
The build is – for the money – bloody excellent and is equipped with Shimano XT shifting, faultless SLX brakes and an FSA V-drive 2/10 crankset. With many brands choosing lower-spec  brakes and mechs to save costs it was great to see Vitus keeping the quality high here.  The fork is a Sektor Gold RL which is air sprung and comes with compression/lock  out adjustment. It’s a fairly basic fork but feels right for the price of the bike and is doing a pretty reasonable job so far.

What have we changed?
The wheels are Easton’s lightweight EA70XL and whilst – again – it’s nice to see a quality name – test pilot Oscar will put a tougher set of wheels on help with trucking down rougher, faster trails. They’re light and fast rolling, but we want something wider for gnarlier riding. Continental’s X-King tyres do a decent job on most surfaces but we’ll probably swap these for something a bit more rugged – maybe a Continental Mountain King 2, Schwalbe Hans Damph or a Maxxis High Roller. We also put on a shorter stem and Oscar’s own handlebar, but that was just for personal preference. There’s also no dropper posts supplied but for the money that’s to be expected.

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And the frame?
The Escarpe frame is a “lightweight 6061-T6 Hydroformed multi-butted frame” – with 140mm travel via a Rock Shox Monarch RT. Suspension is covered by four-bar V Link setup which Vitus claim  “eliminates pedal bob yet remains fully active at all times”. That’s a fair claim so far and the bike handled the cocktail of rocky climbs on Afan’s Blade trail nicely during our shoot – whilst offering loads of fun and speed on  the downhills. The 67° head angle feels right for a bike like the Vitus – it’s slack-enough without being too much and meant the bike was good fun to blast down Afan’s rougher, steeper tracks.

What’s next?
This feature is just an intro to the bike based on our first few weeks of riding. Look out for a full review in Wideopenmag issue 23 (which we’ll repost online) once we’ve put a few more miles into the bike.