Vitus Venon VR Disc road bike

With hydraulic disc brakes added to the mix for 2017, the Vitus Venon VR Disc is a cracking sportive bike

The Vitus Venon was launched in 2011 and has gone through quite the evolution since then. It was completely revamped for 2016 as Vitus’ disc-equipped endurance bike, bringing disc brakes into the mix, and we were really impressed when we had it in for review.

Our only significant complaint was with the cable-actuated disc brakes but, credit to Vitus, those are now hydraulic stoppers, subsequently earning the Venon VR Disc a spot in the RCUK 100. As a disc-focussed sportive machine, it’s really good value.

What we really like about the Venon VR Disc is its split personality – part-brute, part-cruiser – and that’s dictated by the tube profiles and endurance geometry.

As a bike with comfort and endurance at its heart, on the top half of the frame you’ll find slender tube profiles, including the pencil-thin seatstays extending out of the seat tube. The Venon also now has a slimmed-down seatpost, which has narrowed from 31.6mm to 27.2mm. That’s reflective of a general trend on all road bikes, with the skinny post capable of offering a little more flex.

The resulting ride quality is very nice indeed. The Venon VR Disc does an excellent job at soaking up high frequency vibrations kicked up from the road and the cushioning effect is tangible when the tarmac breaks up. The Venon VR Disc is equipped with 25c tyres but there’s room for wider and a switch to 28c rubber will boost comfort again. If that’s important, it’s an upgrade we’d recommend. In fact, it will open the Venon up to a wider range of riding possibilities – including gravel.

The Venon VR Disc’s slender tubes are offset by a series of bulky shapes on the bottom half of the frame, namely the squared-off downtube, oversized bottom bracket and deep-profile chainstays. All are a far cry from the round tubes of the original Venon in 2011.

As a result, while the Venon may be adept at handling the rough stuff, if you put the foot on the gas then it’s not going to be lagging behind. The frame feels both direct and taut when you stamp in the pedals, making for a rewarding all-round experience.

RCUK 100 2017 - Vitus Venon VR Disc road bike

That’s helped by the spec sheet, which is generally really impressive for a machine at this price. Vitus are part of the group, which means a direct sales model that cuts out the middleman, and that means (relatively speaking) low cost – the Venon VR Disc is the most expensive in the Venon range, but will still give you change from £1,800.

For your money you get a predominantly Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, which pairs a sportive-friendly 50-34t compact chainset with an 11-28t cassette, giving a generous spread of gears for climbing. The cassette is actually from Shimano’s third-tier 105 groupset but in reality the difference is just a little weight.

RCUK100 - Vitus Venon VR Disc road bike
RCUK100 - Vitus Venon VR Disc road bike
RCUK100 - Vitus Venon VR Disc road bike

As we mentioned earlier, the disc brakes have been upgraded from TRP Spyre cable units to a Shimano RS505 hydraulic setup. It’s worth explaining that the RS505 brakes are at a 105-level (whereas the RS685 brakes are the Ultegra equivalent) but it helps keep the Venon’s overall price friendly. They still provide excellent modulation and all-weather stopping power – undoubtedly an improvement on cable discs – but the opinion-splitting ergonomics won’t work for everyone.

The issue is a bulge under the hood created by the hydraulic bleed port. To be honest, it’s not something we’ve found to be a problem, and we’ve enjoyed plenty of miles on the Venon, but some riders have – it depends on your hand shape and size. If you have a chance to check out a bike with these brakes then that will help.

Vitus Venon VR Disc

The rest of the spec sheet is made up of good quality kit. The FSA Vision Team 30 Disc Brake wheels are solid performers and they are wrapped in superb Michelin Pro 4 Service Course tyres.

They’re not the latest tyres in the Michelin range – the Power tyres have come in at the top, with the Power Competition taking a spot in the RCUK 100 – but they remain very fast, very grippy tyres, which have a genuinely positive impact on the all-round ride. Otherwise, the in-house finishing kit helps keep costs down, but there’s nothing to complain about there.

The latest version of the Vitus Venon VR Disc may be unrecognisable compared to the original Venon, but the principle remains: a fine, do-it-all road bike, now with the added benefits of disc brakes and beefed-up tube profiles. Sportive riders will find a lot to like.



Selected for The RCUK 100 2017

View the full 100
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