We’ve had the Vitus Nucleus 26 for some time now and it’s definitely been a popular addition to the fleet of bikes that are on test here at Cycle Sprog HQ. I think the popularity of the Vitus has arisen due to several reasons:
- We’ve reached the age at which kids are very discerning when it comes to what is deemed acceptable. Bikes adorned with ‘kids’ graphics and in the wrong colourways just won’t cut it anymore. Thankfully, the Vitus is no monster in the looks department, resplendent in its rich metallic paintwork
- Its bang up to date design means that it looks just like a quality adult bike, just scaled back slightly
- The specification is spot on, with a decent air fork, long wheelbase and slack geometry
It’s also won the top prize in the popularity stakes at events too. We had a Go-Ride event at our local school, and one of T’s mates who normally rides a BMX gravitated towards it. With the single speed and little wheels, it was obvious that he was going to be woefully disadvantaged when the races on a hilly grass track started. T offered him a go on the Vitus, and it’s fair to say he was smitten. It was a definite test of negotiating skills to prise it back from him at the end of the event!
It faired pretty well in the events too, scooping up three firsts in the Sprint, Endurance and Slow Bike. I suppose the rider must have had something to do with it too! T has definitely got to grips with this one which is great because it shows that a bike doesn’t have to be the lightest or most expensive to work. Okay, it’s not cheap in any sense coming in at £499, but it’s certainly delivering the same grins as bikes costing two or three times the price.
As for the enjoyment factor, see the clip below for confirmation!
Thoughts from the rider himself – Tester T
So we asked the tester to summarise his thoughts about the bike and some of the components and this is what he said:
“It’s a superb looking bike with a comfortable laid back approach to everything and it’s fun to ride. The saddle’s comfy too.
The colour is a lovely shade of metallic blue (2019 model) attracted the eye of all onlookers. Very popular looking bike!
The tyres are nice and wide and great for all conditions – they give good grip in mud and in wet weather.
Bars – nice and wide but which looked very wide when it arrived but actually weren’t too wide and gave really good control on the trail.
Gear shifter – the trigger shift is easy to use. Plus for downshifts, you can pull the lever towards you, which I find easier, or you can push it away using your thumb.
Brakes – once bedded in they were very good. Useful range from turning a tight corner on the trail to pulling endo’s in front of your mates 🙂
Forks – seemed to do a good job of ironing out the bumps.
Gear range – was fine for everything we rode.
Just riding it in general – comfortable, natural to ride. Nothing overly complicated didn’t have to think about it which is a really good sign because you don’t want to be thinking about it on the trail, you want to be thinking about the trail itself.”
Vitus Nucleus 26 on location
During the period that we’ve had the Nucleus 26, we’ve been lucky enough to put together several mini trips to get some riding in, and of course, get the Nucleus 26 out on the trails.
We also managed a Wales tour, taking in such classic locations as Coed Y Brenin, Nant yr Arian Forest, Afan Forest Park, and of course Bike Park Wales. What a fabulous country with stunning scenery and an incredible selection of riding to enjoy. Well, I would say that – I’m Welsh after all!
I am telling the truth though, there really is so much to go at for both seasoned riders and also for newcomers and the younger riders in the family. Coupled to that, you can also watch Red Kites being fed at Nant yr Arian which was an amazing experience and a true sight to behold.
So how the Vitus Nucleus 26 fare in the land of the dragons?
Very well actually. Thankfully, the fire breathing residents didn’t leave us with any scorch marks, but I think the trails may have left a skid mark or two!
As for the Vitus, it carried out its duties with aplomb – no fuss, no bother. The gearing was wide-ranging enough for the terrain we encountered and the WTB Trail Boss tyres provided decent levels of grip whether in the wet or in the dry. Tester T is pretty lightweight, so can struggle for traction when digging in uphill. In terms of weight of the bike, the Vitus isn’t as light as some of its competitors. I’m certainly not saying it’s ridiculously heavy, it’s just not class-leading. But then again, it doesn’t cost £1000.
In fact for Tester T, the geometry and little bit of ballast actually helped him in that he was able to get into a good climbing position and plod on.
On the downhills, the geometry again came into play, with the Nucleus 26 planted and surefooted.
How robust is it?
Paintwork – check it for scratches and chips as it’s had a few trips out (Wales main one), been on the back of the van on the rack and had a quick blast by Harry Troughton.
Never been totally 100% with the Spinner 300? fork as it’s not as smooth as it could be, seems dry? and leaves black smears on the fork leg.
QA issue with supplier?
So there you have it. The 2020 Vitus Nucleus 26 retails for £499 and is currently showing as being in stock on both Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles. However, if the 2019 model is anything to go by they sell out pretty quick.