With Vitus bikes now unveiled as a new bike brand available at Wiggle, our staff tester Tim Wiggins takes a look at the Energie Pro CX Bike, after 1000 test kilometres so far…
1000 kilometres is my first test-period checkpoint for bikes. I reckon after roughly 40-50 hours in the saddle, you can cast your first thoughts on a bike's features and performance.
Here are my first thoughts on the Vitus Energie Pro Cyclocross bike…
Three highlights of the Energie Pro, so far…
Full carbon frameset and forks
The biggest highlight at this price point, is the fact that the Vitus Energie Pro features a full carbon frameset, with bolt-thru front and rear axles.
The frameset feels strong, yet comfortable. The front and rear end are stiffened-up by the thru-axles, yet the ride remains forgiving thanks to the relatively thin and shock-absorbent seat-stays.
The frame feels light and agile, yet planted and stable at the same time. It's a 'crosser's' dream combination.
SRAM Rival HydroR CX 1X group set
The next thing that stands out on the Vitus Energie Pro, is the stunningly good SRAM Rival CX1 Hydraulic group set. Getting this group set on a full carbon bike, at this price, is outstanding.
I've used the Rival CX1 group set with mechanical disc brakes in the past; but the upgrade in braking performance when you move to the HydroR version, is certainly noticeable.
Better brake feel, better braking modulation, and less adjusting for cable stretch and brake pad wear. All winning attributes for a cyclocross bike!
Tubeless wheels and tyres
My third featured highlight, is that the wheelset and tyres on the Vitus Energie Pro are ready to run tubeless.
To find out more about tubeless, read our Wiggle Guide: 'How to go tubeless on bike tyres'.
The Novatec hubs and WTB tubeless rims on the Energie Pro provide a strong and stable wheelset. Then, with a tubeless rim tape and valve applied, they run with tubeless perfection using the WTB TCS CrossWolf tyres that come on the bike.
Tubeless means more grip from lower tyre pressures, and the eliminated chance of pinch-flats; ideal for muddy (or snowy) cyclocross riding.
It's never all smiles and seamless flow, though. As with any bike, the Energie Pro has shown a few minor faults…
Cyclocross bikes get bombarded by mud, grit and water; as a result, it makes sense to try and hide as much of the gear cabling as possible, to keep it from getting clogged-up and sticky.
To achieve cable protection, you can either go for a full-length outer sheave - to limit the exposed ends. Alternatively, you can internally route the cable through the frame, as is done on the Energie Pro.
The slight problem lies in the fact that although the cable is internally routed, there is an exposed cable guide on the bottom bracket area of the frame - an area that typically gets badly hit by front-wheel spray.
My recommended quick and simple fix for this, is to stick a duct tape patch over it, to prevent muck ingress. A long term solution might be to internally route a complete outer sheave, to give a fully sealed system.
33mm is plenty big enough for cyclocross racing, and was considered BIG in the 'cross world until recently.
To be honest, it's only really an issue if (like I sometimes am), you're after a really cushy big-tyre ride.
Finally, what have I done to modify and personalise the set-up of the Vitus Energie Pro CX?
Saddle and stem switch
Saddle and stem length are two very personal things. I've changed both on the Energie, for a bit of added comfort.
I've fitted a shorter stem (90mm), and a Selle Italia C2 Gel Flow Saddle.
I've been using this bike for weekday commuting, as well as weekend blasts; so to protect myself from road spray I've fitted a set of SKS Raceblade Pro XL mudguards.
These are great mudguards, and big enough to accommodate 32c tyres, such as the WTB ones that come on the Vitus Energie Pro.
One of the great forward-thinking aspects of the Vitus Energie Pro's design, is that they've spec'ed it with a long cage rear derailleur - allowing you to upgrade to a bigger cassette.
I've fitted a SRAM PG-1130 Cassette, which provides a greater range of 11-42T, rather than 11-32T that the bike comes with. This allows a bit of easier spinning on the hills, and is a life-saver for tired legs.
Summing up, it's been a good first 50 hours on the Energie Pro.
Cyclocross bikes are incredibly versatile, and whether it has been fast commuting or weekend mud-plugging, the bike has demonstrated great aptitude at both.
The drivetrain, brakes, wheelset and frame are undoubtedly the highlights of this great value package. The minor fault with the cable routing is something that can be easily rectified, to give you even smoother shifting.
Overall, things are going well. The Vitus Energie Pro is proving to be a light, nimble and reliable partner for winter riding.
I'm looking forward to many more miles of testing to come…
View the Vitus Energie Pro (Rival - 2017) Cyclocross Bike at Wiggle