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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Vitus 20+ (Delivered)

Ordered the Vitus 20+ last week from chainreaction.com for my just turned 6 year old and it was delivered today. $400 total after taxes and whatever. Bike was well packaged and had no issues, not a single scratch.

Easy to put together and they even provided tools (and not cheapo ikea tools either, but a nice little multi tool and a quality pedal wrench), touch up paint and even a bell. ( I remember looking at a 20" Cleary and they offered a bell, but it was a $50 extra, spare no expense for your child's Bell I guess? :skep:)

Mech brakes needed a little adjusting, but super easy as is my experience with most disc brakes. I also shortened the reach for the brake levers all the way. The hubs seem too tight and will probably need some adjusting, but I will check again after it gets broken in a little and see if I still need to losen.

Bike weighed in just under 22lbs and the tires just a hair less than 2.5" wide. However, that was with what felt like at least 35 psi. I lowered the tires to about 15 psi and the width was then just under 2.4" wide. Still a high volume balloon tire, but nowhere as big as what I've seen on those spec and trek plus bikes. I have a pair of faster rolling, but knobby, 500g 20x2.35" already ordered which I will switch out for the pump track until the snow melts.

Bike feels and looks like quality. The welds on it make it look super tough and look really good for a kids bike. Will post more pics and info after my kid takes some rides.

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Sweet. I saw some of those tektro brakes on ebay yesterday. They are about 45$ a set shipped if you wear out those mechanical ones.

Can you measure the chainstay length? Seems like geo is hard to find for this thing
 

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360mm for the chainstay and 890mm for the wheelbase. Not sure of a 20" plus bike with a shorter chainstay, but I am sure they are out there.
360 isn't bad, that'll work nicely I'm guessing. Regardless for the money it's a heck of a bike no way around it. The Riprock 20 is a rediculous 390mm in comparison. I think our Yama Jam is 345. 22lbs isn't too bad either. Thanks for the info, I'm passing it along to a buddy on a budget.

Any idea on tubeless compatibility?
 

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For tubeless (quote didn't work)

I was going to pull the tire and look but spoke to another Dad who just runs 8psi front and rear on a Salsa kids fat bike for 2 years now. Schraader valve hole and hoping when he is on a group ride fixing a tube is easier for the adult then tubeless, he's only 5!!
 

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Bipolar roller
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
First ride recap:

We got out for an early morning neiborhood ride last Saturday before heading down to the bay for mother's day. Left before his little brother even woke up :rolleyes:

He did great on the bike. We rode about 3 miles with a stop at the play park. Stand over was great and gave him confidence to go over more difficult terrain and climb steeper inclines. Gears are a game changer and that made it easy for him to keep his speed for some of the rockier sections like the washed out bridge as well as handle smaller transitional climbs. He now needs stronger legs as he even said "my legs feel like burning" :D

We had the psi to start at around 11, but let air out at the beginning of the ride and probably was at 6-8 psi. Super low psi made a big difference in helping him over the rough terrain.

Brake levers were fully maxed on the reach adjust. Thinking of putting the levers more inbound for better leverage, but he was able to stop with good power. He learned good use of brake levers from his electric quad (vs the coaster brakes on his other bikes.

Bike is light enough he was even able to push it up the short, but steep incline out of the forest and back up to our street.

Overall, very impressed with this bike so far and my boy is super excited about mountain biking.

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We too had a great weekend. He did the kids race at the MBAA season finale Saturday just a few miles from home, at 5yo. Leo was nervous before but after wants to race "all the races" now! He's the lil guy on the left... I had him run up on the podium between awards for a sweet pic, he told another parent the other day, "I won, well not really, we all got medals" Funny stuff. Then Sunday 10 miles further up the road we went skiing!

The bike is great and we had more then a few offers to take their number for when we are ready to move up and sell it.
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Are you guys still happy you went with 20 plus compared to a more conventional tire with an air fork for your little rippers? The weight trade off seems to be the same. I know from my experience, the 27.5 x 2.6" that I'm running sure has helped my riding. Better traction, smoother rolling, a little buffer for bad line choice... (My boy is on Spawn Banshee right now with normal 16" tires and a rigid fork, and ready for an upgrade)
 

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Are you guys still happy you went with 20 plus compared to a more conventional tire with an air fork for your little rippers? The weight trade off seems to be the same. I know from my experience, the 27.5 x 2.6" that I'm running sure has helped my riding. Better traction, smoother rolling, a little buffer for bad line choice... (My boy is on Spawn Banshee right now with normal 16" tires and a rigid fork, and ready for an upgrade)
I think it depends on what you are using it for. Plus tire bikes are not designed for jumping, dropping, flow trail, pump track etc. If you are going on mellow single track with some roots and rocks, the plus will work fine. From what I can tell, 20" and 24" real air suspension forks are expensive and parents are trying to use the plus size tire as a cheap hack trying to get around the suspension. They are not the same thing. My experience is kids like speed, jumping etc.

I, like a lot of parents on here, aren't a huge advocate on fat tires for kids, as they are not conducive for skill development, but Vitus doesn't look anywhere near the fat tire tanks that Trek and Specialized make. Seems like a fair compromise. I too am interested in an update from the parents who bought them!
 

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I think it depends on what you are using it for. Plus tire bikes are not designed for jumping, dropping, flow trail, pump track etc. If you are going on mellow single track with some roots and rocks, the plus will work fine. From what I can tell, 20" and 24" real air suspension forks are expensive and parents are trying to use the plus size tire as a cheap hack trying to get around the suspension. They are not the same thing. My experience is kids like speed, jumping etc.

I, like a lot of parents on here, aren't a huge advocate on fat tires for kids, as they are not conducive for skill development, but Vitus doesn't look anywhere near the fat tire tanks that Trek and Specialized make. Seems like a fair compromise. I too am interested in an update from the parents who bought them!
They don't look like the fat tire tanks, but for a kid is 2.6" like us riding a 4.5" fat bike? That's what I don't want.
 

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They don't look like the fat tire tanks, but for a kid is 2.6" like us riding a 4.5" fat bike? That's what I don't want.
Yeah, depends on what you are wanting to do. I have never seen a kid who really rides who is on a plus bike. Or has even ridden one unless snow. Spawn, Trailcraft, Flow etc are big money but the difference is unmistakeable.

And I grateful for the advice I got on here. Kids who can really ride almost all have some kind of BMX foundation. It is a game changer.
 

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My kid loves it, roll's off the big drop at our bike park and he just turned 6. The 50# of a kid compressing the tires at the pump track is not an issue as I see it, 30 kids riding it yesterday and the Vitus did just fine. We just finished a trip to tahoe, yosemite, and sequoia. I think the bike is great and he has a blast, the 1 mile paved uphill from the General Grant Grove in sequoia was where he learned to climb without blowing it out 6yo style.

If you ride your bike more then fuss with it your kid will be fine, if you obsess over air forks and light seat posts for a 20" bike your kid will still be fine. I'm old but didn't most of us go mountain biking at 5 or 6 before there even was mountain biking on a bmx bike?? Hand brakes and gears are 1000 times more tech then I ever had.

:thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
They don't look like the fat tire tanks, but for a kid is 2.6" like us riding a 4.5" fat bike? That's what I don't want.
That analogy makes no sense. If true it would mean that a 2.3" for a kid would ride like a 4" fat bike tire for an adult. Regardless, the tires that come with the bike measure 2.4" wide. The gum walls and being only 20" make them look larger than they are.

Don't get so cought up with marketing. "Plus" 2.6 and even many 2.8 wide tires are no bigger that what I and many others were riding in the mid to late 2000 well before "plus" plus was a thing. I still ride some 2.5" tires from 2008 that I bought multiple of on a great deal. These tires actually measure 2.6" on only i26mm rims at just 850 grams. Much wider than the 2.6" tires that came on the vitus.

I would say that any tire marked 2.2" or less for a 20" bike on actual mountain trails would be rough and that kid would have a harder time with the the tire bouncing off rocks and roots rather than conforming to the terrain like a bigger tire that can run low psi will. Also, tires are far more responsive than a suspension fork.

If your kids are riding on smooth city park type trails then a 2.2" or less would be no problem. However, most the trails I ride on with my boys are not sanitized.
 

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Those 2.6 tires are fairly light (smaller actual size) for the size. That's not too bad considering, especially for the price. The key part is that it isn't a crappy Riprock style bike with massive heavy 2.8 tires, wheels, fork on bad geometry. This is a fine bike. And quite nice for the money, nearly impossible to complain about at this price. You drop 200$ for a fork and hydraulic brakes and have a hardtail for like 560$ too.

FWIW plenty of kids DH race on nice 2.2in 20" tires (we did too) and they did fantastic even in the technical stuff (adult was lifted out with broken leg on the same stuff last race).

It's nice that kids have some decent options at most price points now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Are you guys still happy you went with 20 plus compared to a more conventional tire with an air fork for your little rippers? The weight trade off seems to be the same. I know from my experience, the 27.5 x 2.6" that I'm running sure has helped my riding. Better traction, smoother rolling, a little buffer for bad line choice... (My boy is on Spawn Banshee right now with normal 16" tires and a rigid fork, and ready for an upgrade)
Yesterday, my boy and I went on what I would call his first real mtb ride from our house at about 6,600' down to lake level at 6,200' and back (about 3 miles). We rode mix of double track and on some of the mellower single tracks trails that connect them. The bike performed awesome and my boy had a blast and was confident with handling much tougher terrain then he ever had before.

To give you some insight to his skill level; he turned 6 2 months ago and is a beginner mtbr who just came off of learning how to ski during a huge winter. He had just learned to ride without training wheels at the end of last summer and quickly developed valuable basic skills at the local bike park, but once winter began, he hasent rode his bike until the snow melted about a month and a half a ago.

The big tires at low pressure definitely helped him out a lot as he is a beinner and some parts of even the most mellow single-track and double tracks are very rough and rocky. He eventually settled on running extremely low psi probably in the low single digits, but he is so light it works great. The tires just soaked up the rough stuff and he was able to keep control and the front wheel steady without bouncing all over the place.

The best thing was how easily he was able to climb on the way back from the lake especially over the rougher sections. He just put it in a lower gear and pedaled hard and the bike just monster truck over the kid sized chunk without bucking him all over the place. I could tell he was into it too because he would just keep going to the point where he was saying his legs were burning, but he would keep pushing with controlled cadence until he couldn't take it any more. After I lowered the tire pressure the final time to its lowest psi, he said that it was much easier to ride up the rocks and keep pedaling and he didn't want to stop. :D

Now, I want to make it clear that he is not running some huge 2.8" or 3" wide tires. The tires that came with the bike measure out to about 2.4" wide at a usable psi and weigh 600 grams. The tubes were meant for something like 3" tire though and weighed 300g, so I switched those out for some 140g 2.25" tubes to save weight and give a more compliant ride without the thick rubber tubes. I don't know what those 20x2.8" or 3" tires on the specialized, trek and other 20" plus bikes weigh, but they look huge and much, much bigger than the rubber that came with the vitus. And if you have to use those 300g tubes because the tires are so big then that could be a lot of combined rolling weight.

On this ride though, he was running his tires he uses for the pump track, the supper knobby schwalbe 20x2.35" that measure about 2.3" wide and weigh 500g. These tires are huge for non-plus tires and are supper grippy with big chunky knobs and a good packed tread pattern down the center for fast rolling. Only being a bit smaller than the stock tires means the BB hieght barely changed and we saved over a pound of weight all of wich came from outer part of the wheels making the bike much easier to pedal. Trying to run these tires on a bike meant for 3" or even 2.8" tires like the plus treks/specs etc and I would think would be too much of a bb drop which I think makes this vitus more versital. I could fit those huge 2.8" and 3" tires easily though, but I think those are overkill and may not be worth the weight.

Here are a few pics from he ride. I have to say the bike was totally worth it and we had so much fun!

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Thanks for the updates guys! Sounds like they're all doing great. Singletrackmack, thanks for clearing up about the size of these tires. I also like the the idea of loosing a pound of weight just by swapping to the Schwalbe 20" x 2.35" tires. I have their 20" x 2.0" Little Joe tires on my daughter's bike and they work great. I just see my boy being a lot more aggressive than his older sister, and don't want him to be out growing a rigid bike. Like svinyard mentioned, I could always put on a $200 air fork and still be under the high end brand's price. The Vitus does seems pretty versatile.
 
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