The Vitus Chrono TT triathlon bike tested, rated and reviewed.
Vitus Chrono TT – Frame and Fork
The frame design is certainly a classic piece of low drag design, being based around slimline shapes and smooth curves rather than the latest angular, blunt-back edge concepts. In fact there’s a lot of emphasis on dovetailing as many parts as possible together smoothly.
The trailing edge of the deep, blunt-fronted aero fork blades sync into a notch behind the head-tube. The down-tube also gets a slightly curved cutout following the top quarter of the front wheel. The rear wheel comes in as close as possible into the wheel-hugger seat-tube, which bulges forward over the bottom bracket to allow some of the shortest chainstays we’ve seen on any 700c bike, aero or not.
Control cables are all internally routed with the rear gear cable popping out of the top of the chainstays just before they kick up to the short rear-facing dropouts.
The FSA brakes are conventionally mounted on the front of the fork and rear of the wheel-hugger, which makes for easy adjustment but a bit more aero drag. The seat post also curves backwards at the top like a conventional road post. This means you’ll have to slam the Vision saddle right forward to achieve the claimed 76-degree seat angle. There’s plenty of meat in the width of the top-tube to keep the frame tied together though and the T700 grade carbon fibre is a good all-round mix for a mid-price bike.
Vitus Chrono TT – The Kit
FSA’s Vision equipment also dominates the rest of the bike spec. The wheels are the tight and accurate semi-aero Vision Team 30s wrapped in Continental’s tough, but slightly wooden feeling, Grand Sport Race tyres.
A Vision Team stem and base bar are basic but effective kit. While heavy, the TriMax Team telescopic extensions allow easy length and angle adjustment. The Vision TriMax cranks
are less impressive, with their typically soft-feeling power transfer particularly noticeable with the standard-diameter axle rather than oversized BB30 format now used by many other bikes on the market.
The FSA brakes aren’t as positive through the levers as a Shimano set either, but their feedback is richer than the Tektro mix found on the Felt B12.
Those riding hillier courses will be glad Vitus uses the extra gear in the 11-speed Ultegra 6800 spread to provide an easier spinning 28-tooth bailout sprocket rather than just thickening up the mid-range ratio selection.
Despite the sub £2,000 price, Vitus fit Shimano’s latest top-of-the-range Dura Ace tip shifters for flawless changes without leaving the tuck.
Vitus Chrono TT – The Ride
As we’ve said, anyone looking for a steep forward position is going to need to slam the saddle right forward on its rails before riding. This is to compensate for the fact that the seatpost clamp to stem clamp ‘cockpit’ reach is comparatively long – and the effective seat angle much slacker – than many other tri bikes.
The good news is that the Vision saddle does have particularly long rails and its soft nose means sitting right on the front of it for hour after hour won’t ream your rear to ruin.
The Vision bars, with their well-sprung composite arms, also add a very welcome dose of suspension for typically rough UK roads. Adjustment is easy without getting a saw out and various pontoon spacer kits are available for changing pad height and suchlike. Alternatively the short head-tube means you can get properly low if you’ve got the flexibility to make that work.
The comfortable contact points help offset a ride that obviously thumps and buzzes when you’re out of the saddle. The stout frame feel and stiff Vision wheels give it a clear and precise steering feel though. The super-short rear end and short overall wheelbase make it distinctively responsive and agile when cornering or ripping round roundabouts too.
It also gives it more muscle to make deep section wheels do what we wanted when we did some trial rides on 50mm rims. The broader, simply shaped frame tubes do make it more prone to catch gusting wind already though. Combined with the less stable short wheelbase it means big rims and big winds need even more care on the Vitus than normal.
While it cruises with a useful sense of purpose, it’s less keen on kicking up to speed or carving it back off with any sense of urgency. Slotting in a stiffer Shimano chainset made a significant difference to pick-up though, so if you’re prepared to upgrade the cranks then the frame itself is perfectly sound if not scorchingly fast.
FRAME AND FORK
Size tested 54cm
Sizes available 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
Weight as tested 8.92kg
Frame Torayca T700 HM UD carbon
Fork Torayca T700 HM UD full carbon
Chainset Vision TriMax Pro TT 52/38T
Bottom bracket FSA MegaExo
Cassette Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed, 11-28T
Chain KMC X11
Derailleurs Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed
Shifters Shimano Dura Ace tip shift
Front Vision Team 30
Rear Vision Team 30
Tyres Continental Grand Sport Race 700x23c
Wheel weight Front 1.25kg, Rear 1.74kg
Stem Vision Team SizeMore
Bars Vision Team base bar, TriMax Team clip ons
Headset FSA Orbit Z
Saddle Vision Team Aero Max
Seatpost Vitus HM carbon aero
Brakes FSA Gossamer Dual Pivot
Pros: Reasonably stiff and responsive handling short wheelbase frame
Cons: Less stable in windy conditions than the other bikes on test
- Price: £1,999
- Contact: vitusbikes.com
- Frame size tested: 54cm
- Sizes available: 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
- Weight tested: 8.92kg