At A Glance
A race-ready DH bike for £2399.99/€2699.99? A few years ago that phrase would have been laughed at, but following in the recent tradition of well made bikes going for a song the Vitus Dominer is here to buck the old trends. What is perhaps most surprising is the spec that has been laid on, you’re not getting Fox or XTR, but you are getting quality parts that will last the rigours of a full on season or two.Buy DH Bikes on
There are some nice surprises as well, the Marzocchi 380CR forks up front felt sublime throughout the test and the Zee groupset is excellent. The frame itself is a Hydroformed 6061-T6 Aluminium offering with the tried and tested Four Bar suspension platform that features a V-Link. This offers progressive and supple suspension throughout the travel with minimal pedal bob. There are details at play here too; the bearings are all of a sealed cartridge type, perfect for a rider looking for a low maintenance rig.
The rear shock is a RockShox KAGE RC offering 200mm of travel with the aforementioned Marzocchi 380CR fork taking care of things upfront. This matches the rear travel with 200mm of coil suspension, it features a spring preload, compression and rebound damping with 38mm stanchions that have the Marzocchi Gold Race coating to keep things extra supple up front.
With Shimano Zee brakes and a Zee drivetrain featuring a clutch rear mech the shifting duties are well catered for and the stopping power of the Zee brakes is well known. You get fantastic control with good modulation and no nasty surprises, all very confidence-inspiring stuff! You’ll also find an E.Thirteen LG1+ chain guide to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Vitus have recognised that this bike is going to be used in anger, so the rest of the finishing kit is equally up to the task in hand. WTB Frequency Team i25 TCS 27.5” rims are tubeless ready should you decide to go down that route. The rims are laced to Funn DH disc brake hubs, which should stand the test of time and any abuse you can throw at them. To ensure you aren’t left behind in the rubber department the excellent Maxxis High Roller II tyres finish things off.
The cockpit is a mix of Vitus and Funn components with a 760mm wide set of bars on a direct mount stem.
On The Trail
It’s always a pleasure to swing a leg over a full-on DH machine for a test; it means a few things: firstly, we get to go to Wales and ride some proper DH trails; secondly, we get to ride a DH bike. 160mm travel enduro beasts are all well and good, but they don’t quite compare to going flat out on a fast track with a big rig underneath you.
The Dominer fulfilled those pleasures on the trail and had us grinning from ear to ear in no time. It’s a very easy bike to ride; the geometry and angles sit you comfortably in the sweet spot. It’s also pretty light for a DH bike, a few years ago under 40lbs was the golden ticket, the Dominer comes in at just over 37lbs. Okay, by the carbon-fuelled lightweights of todays standards that isn’t headline news, but at this price point it is more than impressive.
The rear end on the bike has a good blend of suppleness and feel, and the rear wheel tracks the ground well. In the corners you can really feel the energy come back at you as you pump the bike through the turn. This helps you to exit at speed and also to carry pace throughout longer more drawn-out berms and corners.
On the rougher stuff the suspension works well to keep the wheels tracking and the ride smooth. The Marzocchi fork upfront proved to be a real highlight on the Dominer. There is almost zero stiction throughout the first part of the travel and the fork feels lively with constant feedback to the rider. It’s stiff too, allowing you to point the bike in the direction you want and trust that it will follow the line you desire.
In terms of performance the fork is a seriously high-end bit of kit that makes the bike feel very alive and capable. This is complemented by the rest of the gear too, we kept scratching our heads and thinking, all this for the price? It just didn’t seem to add up!
At speed the long wheelbase keeps things stable while the relatively short stays keep the back end manoeuvrable too. The bottom bracket is pretty low, which does aid with stability, though we did suffer a few pedal smashers on the way down so bear in mind your positioning on the pedals when hammering corners and smashing through rock sections.
The Dominer is long, low and fast, the geometry makes this bike feel alive and nimble yet totally capable in even the roughest of sections. The spec is outstanding and you won’t be disappointed to swing your leg over this straight from the shop and to go and ride. We’d perhaps put some wider bars on, but that is personal preference, other than that you could turn up to a DH race and just let your riding do the talking…
Vitus Dominer DH Medium
Seat tube: 444.9mm
Effective top tube: 607mm
Head tube: 110mm
Chain stay: 448mm
BB Drop: 0mm
Head angle: 63°
Seat angle: 61.5°
This review was in Issue 33 of IMB.For more information visit Vitus
By Rou ChaterRou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.