For 2018, the German brand VOTEC has updated its popular trail bike VX. The aluminium 29er is aimed at the experienced all-rounder who likes to cover long distances on the bike. We jumped into our bike gear and took the VOTEC VX ELITE to the trails.
Big wheels! We tested the VX ELITE with 29” wheels, but thanks to a flip-chip-activated geometry adjustment system the German trail-machine can also take 27.5+ wheels. The aluminium frame of the ELITE- model in our test features quite a few nice carbon components which immediately catch our attention. The idea behind this bike is clear: VOTEC wants to offer a top aluminium trail-rig with high-end components, all at an attractive price. And in our opinion the € 3,899 price tag sounds legit.
The frame of the VOTEC VX in detail
Either tall or chunky: the VX takes two wheel sizes. Via a simple flip-chip the geometry can be adapted to accommodate either 29” or 27.5+ wheels. Not only does this geometry adjustment change the BB height and the reach by +/- 3 mm, but also adapts the stack, head-angle and seat angle to the selected riding mode. When looking closely at the seat-tube we spotted a small hole: a clever inspection hole to check the maximum seat-post extension. The cable routing look good too. In addition to the nicely-working chain guide with bashguard, there is also a mounting-option for a front derailleur. And one more clever solution: a replacement screw for the mech-hanger placed in the downtube. Unfortunately, the design and paint-job are not quite up-to-date and make the bike look rather cheap.
Spec of the VOTEC VX ELITE
In addition to the 12-speed groupset, currently a very common feature in this segment, the guys at VOTEC also opted for a set of very good looking Race Face Turbine R i30 wheels. The cockpit is also from Race Face and comes in the shape of a Next 35 carbon handlebar. Classy!
The FOX FLOAT X2 damper, which is designed for aggressive trail riding, comes with a climb switch and is a bit of an overkill for the VX in our opinion. The FOX 34 Performance ELITE fork on the other hand is a great choice. Opting for the ELITE model was a clever move, as this version is basically identical to the factory series, just without the Kashima coating.
Fork FOX 34 Performance ELITE 29er 140 mm
Rear shock FOX FLOAT X2 135 mm
Brakes SRAM Guide RS
Groupset SRAM XO1 Eagle
Cranks SRAM X1 – 32T
Seatpost SRAM Reverb 150 mm
Stem Race Face Next
Bars Race Face Next 35 Carbon 760 mm
Tyres Schwalbe Fat Albert-F TSC 2.35/Nobby Nic PSC TLE 2.35
Wheels Race Face Turbine R i30 TLR 29″ Carbon
Weight 13.14 kg
Price € 3,899
The geometry of the VOTEC VX
The numbers speak for themselves. The VOTEC VX comes with a more uphill-oriented geometry: the steep seat-angle (75.1°) and the long 445 mm chainstays allow for smooth, direct and effective pedalling on your climb to the trail-head. The steep head-angle on the other hand doesn’t cope well with high speeds on demanding terrain; the front wheel feels too nervous and struggles to keep the lines the way you want it to.
|Seat tube||410 mm||440 mm||470 mm||510 mm|
|Top tube||559 mm||586 mm||616 mm||646 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm||100 mm||110 mm||125 mm|
|Head angle||67.8° (± 0.3°)||67.8° (± 0.3°)||67.8° (± 0.3°)||67.8° (± 0.3°)|
|Seat angle||75.1° (± 0.3°)||75.1° (± 0.3°)||75.1° (± 0.3°)||75.1° (± 0.3°)|
|Chainstays||445 mm||445 mm||445 mm||445 mm|
|BB height||340 (± 3) mm||340 (± 3) mm||340 (± 3) mm||340 (± 3) mm|
|Wheelbase||1131 mm||1160 mm||1186 mm||1215 mm|
|Reach||400 (± 3) mm||423 (± 3) mm||446 (± 3) mm||469 (± 3) mm|
|Stack||619 (± 2) mm||619 (± 2) mm||628 (± 2) mm||642 (± 2) mm|
The VOTEC VX ELITE on the trail
We have tested the VOTEC VX ELITE on the most varied trails in the Bavarian Chiemgau and Italy’s South Tyrol. With its 75.1°-seat-angle, the long chainstays and the FOX FLOAT X2-damper with lockout function, the German 29er seems to be climbing by itself. Despite the 140 mm of travel in the front, downhill sections require you to hold on tight, especially at higher speeds.
The same steep 67.8° head-angle that lends the bike its agile and playful handling, makes it also feel very nervous at higher speeds. Unfortunately, not even the sensitive and well-defined FOX suspension can help with this. The Schwalbe tire combo with a Fat Albert in the front and a Nobby Nic at the back works well with low rolling resistance but reaches its limits on wet and challenging terrain. You will have to choose your braking points and cornering positions carefully to avoid nasty surprises.
The VOTEC VX ELITE would love to have it all. Unfortunately, prolonged technical downhill sections are not an option on this bike, the tires and the steep head-angle don’t always give you the desired feeling of safety. A totally different game on up-hills though: the VOTEC climbs as quietly, smoothly and efficiently as a cat. After pondering all the pros and cons we came to the conclusion that this bike is more suitable for the ambitious climbers and laid-back downhillers who like riding on winding trails and want to take full advantage of the perks of a 29” wheel.
– Top-notch spec
– Compatible with both 29″ and 27.5+ wheels
– Good price/performance ratio
– The head angle is too steep
– Too nervous on downhills
More info at: www.votec.de
Words: Andy Rieger Photos: Valentin Rühl