The Vitus Mythique has received lots of praise for its trail-riding performance and sensible price tag. This new model takes learnings from the brand’s higher-end Sommet enduro bike and Escarpe trail bike with the intention of improving the riding experience.
Vitus Mythique 27 VR frame and suspension
The straighter 6061-T6 aluminium tubes bring to mind the Vitus Escarpe. While the frame’s silhouette has changed, it retains many features that initially made it wallet-friendly. This model rolls on 27.5in wheels, and the trail-orientated bikes deliver 130mm of rear travel. The frame uses 6061-T6 aluminium tubes, now with straighter design lines that make it look like its more expensive Escarpe sibling. It’s more than just the design that’s shared between the bikes. The Mythique uses the same frame hardware as its big brother too.
All the features you would expect on the best trail bikes are present. First, there’s 12x148mm Boost rear-hub spacing that should remain a standard for a while. It should be easy to upgrade parts, such as the fork, due to the Mythique’s tapered head tube and common zero stack 44/56 headset bearings. A threaded bottom bracket is included, helping make maintenance less of a chore, and the external cable routing will please home mechanics.
The presence of SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger is a positive. The frame benefits from SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger. So, if you damage it, a replacement should be easy to source online or from a bike shop. There’s also decent frame protection, good mud clearance and double row bearings in the rear end for stiffness. A significant improvement is the straighter seat tube that allows for full insertion of a dropper post, which should greatly improve rider experience on the trails. The frame now takes advantage of a Trunnion shock mount, which pivots on bearings to help reduce friction in the suspension.
The Mythique keeps its Horst-Link suspension platform, but Vitus has updated the kinematics to improve ride feel and performance on technical trails. The leverage rate is a progressive 22 per cent. However, the new Trunnion shock has increased that figure slightly, giving more sensitivity. Vitus tells us the anti-squat is close to 100 per cent at sag in the biggest sprocket. That should help keep pedal bob to a minimum. However, it drops off as you move through the travel and gears, so the chain has less influence on the suspension deeper into its stroke. The anti-rise has been increased to help keep the bike’s geometry more stable under hard braking.
Vitus Mythique 27 VR geometry
The head tube is slacker, by 0.5 degrees, than the previous Mythique. Some of the bigger updates are related to the frame’s geometry and shape, in order to make the Mythique more capable on the trails. I tested a medium bike. These geometry figures are for Mythique bikes with a 140mm fork. However, the VR models use a 130mm-travel fork. Expect the reach to be around 5mm shorter and the head tube and effective seat tubes 0.5 degrees steeper than stated. The medium size I tested has a 460mm reach. That should offer plenty of room to move without being over-stretched. The reach is matched to a moderate 435mm chainstay intended to balance agility and stability well.
The head tube is 0.5 degrees slacker than the previous Mythique at 65.5 degrees. The effective seat tube has seen a greater change and is now 1.5 degrees steeper at 77.25 degrees. The seat tube is short at 410mm. These measurements give a 595mm effective top tube length that should keep riders in an upright and comfortable seated pedalling position. However, one figure to mention is the low 597mm stack height, which means the front end will be pretty slammed. The bottom-bracket drop is decent at 22mm below the axles. This should help the bike’s fore/aft stability and enable it to lean side-to-side easily.
|Seat angle (degrees)||72.5||72.5||72.5||72.5|
|Head angle (degrees)||65.5||65.5||65.5||65.5|
|Seat tube (mm)||380||410||440||480|
|Top tube (mm)||568||595||624||654|
|Head tube (mm)||110||120||130||140|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||22||22||22||22|
Vitus Mythique 27 VR specifications
Up-front is an X-Fusion RC32 fork with 32mm stanchions. To help keep the costs in check, there are compromises to the spec list. However, the Mythique gets everything we’ve come to expect from a mountain bike for around £1,500. Straying from the norm, Vitus has specced X-Fusion suspension with its RC32 forks. These use 32mm stanchions and have externally adjustable low-speed rebound and compression damping.
The shock is X-Fusion’s 02 Pro R model, which has externally adjustable rebound damping but no adjustable compression settings. The drivetrain mixes Shimano Deore 10-speed products, including the Deore M5120 derailleur, M4100 shifter and M5100 cranks, paired with a SunRace CSMS2 10-speed 11-46t cassette.
The Mythique gets a 125mm Brand-X Ascend dropper. For this price, it’s a shame not to see 11-speed gears. The brakes are Shimano’s MT401 models with 180mm, 6-bolt rotors. The Mythique rolls on WTB ST i30 rims laced to Vitus hubs. They are wrapped in Maxxis High Roller II dual-compound EXO tyres in a 2.3×27.5in size front and back. The bike is finished off with a 125mm Brand-X Ascend dropper, Nukeproof Neutron saddle, Nukeproof Neutron V2 riser bar in a 760mm width and 50mm Vitus alloy stem. My Mythique 27 VR in a size medium weighed 15.33kg without pedals.
Vitus Mythique 27 VR ride impressions
On the trail, the X-Fusion fork and shock offer decent support considering their price. I tested the Vitus on a mix of blue and red trail-centre loops, off-piste descents and singletrack at the Forest of Dean in the south west of England. I also rode some laps of technical and flow lines at Bike Park Wales to give the bike a thorough thrashing, covering the range of riding it will be subjected to. The rear shock was set to 25 per cent sag at 185psi. The shock was heavily damped on rebound, and I ran it fully open.
The forks were pressured to 82psi, which was in line with the recommended pressure. Compression was run fully open. The rebound dial isn’t indexed, but has two and three-quarters complete rotations. Only the last three-quarter turns are usable, because the forks are very damped on rebound. I ran rebound two and a half turns from closed.
Vitus Mythique 27 VR climbing performance
There are quicker bikes on the climbs, but the Vitus is perfectly capable. Pedalling the Mythique uphill, it gets the job done without causing a fuss or making climbing more of a chore than expected. It’s not the fastest bike up the climbs, but it gets to the top easily enough. The steeper effective seat tube makes finding an efficient pedal stroke easy, and I never felt I was slipping off the back of the bike on steeper pitches. In fact, where the low stack height comes in handy is helping keep the front end tracking straight on slower, technical sections of climbs and around tight corners. This added weight on the front was good for steeper sections of trail.
It’s not so aggressive that you’re hunched over. The moderate effective top tube length meant seated pedalling didn’t overload my hands, and the Mythique seats you comfortably for sustained climbing. The suspension is sensitive enough to keep the rear wheel biting into the dirt over rough trails. Still, while seated, there isn’t significant pedal bob to complain about. Short, sharp bursts on the pedals make the suspension compress a little more than ideal, but it’s by no means a deal breaker or a poor-pedalling bike.
There’s no denying the smaller wheels get a little more hung up on slow technical sections uphill. As a result, you have to occasionally make body movements to unweight the front and rear wheels and keep a good rhythm on such trails. The Shimano Deore 10-speed gears were a little stiff at the shifter compared to the 11- and 12-speed systems, but they worked well changing under load and didn’t slip or grind. The smaller range of gears was manageable, and I didn’t find myself wishing for a different gear.
Vitus Mythique 27 VR descending performance
Being thrashed around the trail is more the Vitus’ bag than long days out. The Mythique’s build quality gives it a reassuringly capable feel on the trail. This is helped by the support from the X-Fusion suspension. On the trail, the X-Fusion fork and shock have decent support considering their price. This builds through the travel to keep the bike’s handling predictable. I noticed this through high-load turns, compressions and when hitting bigger square-edge hits such as decent-sized rocks and roots. There is a flip side to it, however. The cheaper X-Fusion suspension loses the small-bump sensitivity that more expensive units maintain.
This gives the Vitus a harsher feel on small, high-frequency bumps such as rough trail centres. As a result, you get more buzz and feedback from the Vitus. The other characteristic that stood out was the low stack height. The smaller front wheel and shorter 130mm-travel fork made for a position that put me over the front of the bike on the descents. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the front end high enough to feel as confident as I wished, and I would have needed a higher-ride handlebar to help here.
That said, when the trails were mellower, the agility of the smaller wheels and the short rear end gave the bike a playful character that thrived on being thrown about from feature to corner. It’ll strike a chord with those who want to thrash around rather than churn out mile after mile. Still, its updated geometry means you can pedal the bike comfortably and lap out trails if you want. The Shimano brakes had a firm, consistent bite point with moderate power. They didn’t hinder the bike’s riding performance. Maxxis tyres provided plenty of traction on man-made surfaces. They’re admirable in wet mud, but best suited to more hard-pack or drier trails. They are a good choice, but not the most pedal-friendly.
How does the Vitus Mythique 27 VR compare to the Polygon Siskiu T7 29?
The Polygon Siskiu T7 29 is an entry-level bike engineered to balance high-speed control with playful handling. Both bikes deliver similar amounts of travel, burly tyres and modern geometry, making them natural rivals. On the trail, both bikes have similar capabilities. The Polygon has better sensitivity to its suspension, but less support. It’s better at finding traction but less sure-footed in heavy compressions. The smaller wheel on the Vitus makes the bike more playful and agile through twisty trails. However, the Polygon carries speed a little better in bumpier terrain. They both have pros and cons, and are great fun on the trail.
What separates them is the spec. The Polygon gets a 12-speed drivetrain, while the Vitus has a 10-speed. The high-spec gears feel more refined. Also, the Polygon gets a four-piston front brake for a little extra power. The 10mm additional fork travel helps smooth burlier trails without a significant penalty to weight or pedalling. Plus, you get a longer dropper post with the Polygon. All these small things add up to give it an edge, especially when you consider they’re a very similar price (with a GoOutdoors members card).
Vitus Mythique 27 VR bottom line
The Mythique is a whole lot of fun in the woods. Vitus has put together a capable bike that will help riders progress their skills. This 27.5in-wheel version will be great for those riders wanting to thrash around in the woods and have a laugh. Its geometry is on a par with much more expensive mountain bikes. A taller handlebar would help give more confidence on the descents, and while the 10-speed Shimao Deore works fine, it would have been good to see a brakes upgrade.