Looking like a pumped-up muscle car, the burly tubes and loud paint job herald the arrival of the Vitus ESCARPE 29 VRX. But can the long-legged stallion from the mighty Chain Reaction stable match the might of its established rivals?

Vitus ESCARPE 29 VRX | 150/135 mm (f/r) | 13.90 kg | € 3,399

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Seven trail bikes around 3.000 € in review

The Vitus ESCARPE is certainly not shy: the 150/135 mm travel 29er machine is burly and aggressive, but at 13.35 kg it’s not heavy. Running a RockShox Pike RCT3 fork and Monarch Debonair RC3 shock, the striking frame is made of 6061 T6 alloy, with a huge 15 mm collet main axle. As expected with a full XT M8000 drivetrain, the shifting feel was perfect, and the latest Shimano XT M8000 brakes are some of the best in the business. The 631.4 mm stack height does give the bike a tall feeling, so we were soon looking to slam the stem to the lowest setting. The suspension has been designed to be falling rate to sag before becoming mildly progressive, and indeed the bike does seem highly active around the sag point without feeling nervous or wallowy. On climbs, the anti-squat was effective and we never felt the need to flip the platform on the Rockshox Monarch RT3.

The rear suspension of the Vitus ESCARPE 29 VRX is an engineering triumph; driven from both ends, the Horst Link with horizontal floating shock mount feels very free over big hits, mopping up square edges well and ripping through rock gardens with little care for self-preservation. The 55 mm of rearward axle path helps to keep the bike pressing forwards, and the 780 mm Nukeproof Warhead bars and 50 mm Zero stem add to the package, making the Vitus a distinctly fun bike to ride. The geometry is pure play machine – this is a bike that will get you in trouble before getting you out again. While we might have desired a little more reach (448.9 mm) for stability when charging flat out, the bike is insane fun at more human speeds.

The very central weight distribution brought by the long chainstays mean that aggressive cornering and flicking the bike into the air is effortless. The 1770g Mavic Elite wheelset runs a useful 25 mm internal width, but with just 24 straight-pull spokes we did feel a little flex in hard turns.

Helmet Endura MT500 | Shorts Endura MT500 | Jersey Loose Riders Crew LS

The Vitus ESCARPE 29 VRX

Fork RockShox Pike RCT3 150 mm
Rear shock RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir 135 mm
Brakes Shimano XT
Drivetrain Shimano XT
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth
Stem Nukeproof Warhead
Handlebar Nukeproof Zero
Tires WTB Vigilante / WTB Trail Boss
Wheelset Mavic XA Elite
Price € 3,399

Neat Kinematics
The Vitus is regressive to the sag point, then progressive, resulting in a bike that is very sensitive but with excellent pop for aerial shenanigans.
Great Cockpit
The cockpit of a bike is very important, and Vitus get it right with their wide and aggressive Nukeproof offering.
Big And Burly
The frame of the Vitus is burly; it’s a bike that loves direct lines and charging into rock gardens. The tall build gives a ‘sit on’ rather than ‘sit in’ feeling.

The geometry of the Vitus ESCARPE 29 VRX

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 382 mm 433 mm 483 mm 523 mm
Top tube 575 mm 600 mm 620 mm 640 mm
Head angle 67° 67° 67° 67°
Seat angle 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Chainstays 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm
BB Drop 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm
Wheelbase 1162 mm 1189 mm 1220 mm 1231 mm
Reach 409 mm 423 mm 449 mm 466 mm
Stack 613 mm 622 mm 631 mm 641 mm
Wheelsize 29″ 29″ 29″ 29″
This is a 29er that loves racking up the air miles, scandi flicking its way down the trail – generally misbehaving, but in a good way.


The Vitus ESCARPE 29 VRX was the bike often chosen by testers who love to rack up air miles. It’s a highly versatile bike that is just as happy smashing out a six-hour Sunday epic as it is hitting jumps in the woods.


– Agile and playful handling
– Rear suspension charges through rocks


– Flex in wheels

For more info head to vitusbikes.com

The test fleet

For an overview head to the main article: Seven trail bikes around 3.000 € in review

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 EX | Marin Rift Zone 3 | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 7.800 | ROSE Granite Chief 2 | Vitus ESCARPE 29 VRX | Whyte T-130 S | YT JEFFSY AL ONE 27

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of ENDURO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality mountain bike journalism. Click here to learn more.

Words & Photos: