As the house brand of Chain Reaction Cycles, Vitus has a well-deserved reputation for excellent-value rides. It sent over the brand-new Razor before its official release to make sure we got the benefit of the latest smooth-riding evolution of this popular and cost-effective bike.
It’s not just a fresh lick of paint on the 2018 Razor, the frame and fork are totally new in construction and geometry, as well.
Interestingly, it has a traditionally shaped frame with the very slender triangular top-tube kept almost horizontal rather than sloping noticeably like most modern road frames.
The down-tube is also a simple round section but double-butted so the ends are thicker walled where stresses are higher but thinner in the centre to reduce weight and liven up the ride. The hourglass head-tube is tapered so the bottom bearing is larger than the top one, increasing fork stiffness while adding minimum weight.
The matching tapered fork is fully carbon, rather than using a metal steerer tube inside the fork like similar bikes. The front mech is direct-mounted onto a seat-tube tab rather than a clamp around the frame, and external gear cables simplify servicing and minimise friction. That evens out the increased friction from the new style internally routed Shimano Claris shifters, so gear changing feels clean and accurate.
External cable tension adjusters make keeping that changing accuracy easy and you even get rubber cable bumpers fitted as standard to protect the paintwork.
While the down tube might be simple, the rear stays are heavily worked. The seatstays start in a deep oval for braking stiffness then flatten below that point, turning round again just above the 3D dropouts. There are neatly hidden mudguard fixtures inside the rear stays and fork legs too, but no rack mounts if you’re thinking of cargo carrying. The chainstays use an oval to round format, leaving plenty of room for wider tyres.
That’s not an insignificant detail in this case, as larger volume tyres are an easy way to make a bike ride more smooth, and the Vitus team has exploited this to the full.
While the Vittoria tyres are marked as 28mm, the use of broad 22mm own-brand rims mean they actually measure just under 30mm. The effect on the ride of the Razor is dramatic, turning the ride quality from good (with 25mm width tyres I swapped to double check) to really great, and not just in terms of the way they quiet vibrations and take the sharp edges off bigger hits for a smoother ride.
That same damping effect also increases traction and the ability to roll over rougher surfaces without losing speed. That means not only do you go faster in the worst conditions you can also keep that speed through corners better.
There is a slight pay off in terms of muted acceleration, but once rolling the Razor has impressive speed sustain for hour after hour, whatever the conditions.
The contact points are good enough to pass without comment, which leaves only moulded brake pads that make the braking mushy as an obvious glitch. When I checked on Chain Reaction you can sort that for £13.98 both ends, so it’s hardly a deal breaker.