The Vitus Sentier 27 VR has just landed in the office and we’ve been pretty excited about this one. Its understated look may not catch the eye but that’s best left to its price as the Sentier 27 VR looks to be the benchmark sub-2k hardtail for value. Let’s have a look at what we get for the cash.
We’ve tested a good few wallet-friendly, entry-level hardtails this year and when it comes to value, we’ve always had to refer to the Sentier VR. That’s because it offers an awful lot of bike for a rather meager £1,200. A lot of that kit we’ve seen on bikes that have a few hundred pounds added to their price tags, so we’re super keen to see how this bike holds up against those spendier rigs.
The Vitus Sentier 27 VR is built around an aluminium 6061-T6 double butted frame with a threaded bottom bracket and boost hub spacing. As suggested in the bike’s name, it rolls on 650b wheels but for those with a lean towards bigger wheels, it’s available with this exact same spec, at the very same price with 29” wheels although it gets 10mm less suspension travel and sees some slight geometry tweaks but more on that later.
As is common with hardtails of this price, the Sentier VR gets its cables externally routed, apart from the dropper post's cable.
Offering 140mm of suspension is the Marzocchi Bomber Z2. This is the fork in Marzocchi’s range that fills the role of what a Fox 34 would and while the Z2 uses a lot of what you’ll find on a Fox 34 as Marzocchi is owned by Fox, its stanchions are thicker, which should mean a boost in stiffness. The Bomber Z2 also uses its own Rail damper but shares the Float air spring.
We’ve ridden the Bomber Z2 on similar hardtails and have found it to be properly impressive, so we’re definitely pleased to see this fork here.
The Sentier 27 VR’s shifting is provided by a Shimano Deore M5100 1x11 drivetrain but it’s kitted with a Sunrace 11-51t cassette. So you get a very similar range to what you would with a 12-speed drivetrain but with slightly bigger jumps between the gears.
Before I forget, Shimano also has the braking covered with a pair of MT410 brakes.
As I mentioned before, the Sentier 27 VR runs on 650b wheels and they come in the form of WTB’s ST i30 rims laced to Vitus hubs. Those wheels are then impressively wrapped with a 2.6” Schwalbe Magic Mary with a Snakeskin casing and Addix Soft compound at the front. At the rear, there’s a 2.6” Hans Dampf with the same casing but a firmer Addix Speedgrip compound.
Then there’s a Brand-X Ascend dropper post and on this large bike, it gets 150mm of drop. That’s the same for the extra-large but small and medium bikes get 125mm.
Finally, the Sentier VR is finished off with kit from Nukeproof, including the Neutron V2 rider handlebar that’s 780mm wide (smaller bikes get 760mm bars) and a Neutron saddle.
Onto the geometry, our large Sentier 27 VR comes with a 449mm reach, 73° seat tube angle, and a 66° head tube angle. Then, there’s a 425mm chainstay and together, that looks like a pretty well-rounded geometry for general trail riding. Although, it’s certainly more conservative when compared to similar bikes such as the Ragley Marley 1.0.
Vitus has been very good with the two wheel size options and has given each build its own specific frame. The bigger wheeled bike is sorted with the same 73° seat tube angle but it gets a slightly steeper 66.5° head tube angle, a shorter 446mm reach (on a large) and as you might imagine, the chainstay has been stretched to 439mm.
This bike sits fairly central in the Sentier range with the base level Sentier 27 sitting at £900. Impressive value seems to be the theme with the Sentier range as the base level bike is kitted with an X-Fusion RC32 fork, Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain, Tektro brakes, and the very same wheel set up as what you’ll find on the VR. There is a 29” version of the base bike but that’ll cost you an extra £50.
One up from the VR is the Sentier VRS and that’s priced at £1,550. This bike receives a Fox 34 Rythym fork, a mixed Shimano SLX and Deore 12-speed drivetrain, Shimano MT520 and 510 brakes, and the same wheel setup.
Then topping the range is the Sentier VRX at £1,750. This bike is graced with an upgraded Fox 34 Performance fork with a mix of Shimano XT and SLX making up the 12-speed drivetrain. Stopping the bike is a pair of Shimano SLX brakes and you’ll find the same wheels as the rest of the range on this bike.
Each bike gets a 650b or a 29” wheel size option and apart from the base level build, either wheel size will set you back the same amount of money.
And that's the First Look of the Vitus Sentier 27 VR, so now it needs to be put through its paces for a full review heading your way in a few weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out for that one.
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