Review: 2022 Vitus Sommet 297 AMP – Good Performance, Great Price
Although it was quick and easy to get a decent starting setup, it took a lot longer to get the most out of the Sommet.
Out of the box, with just under 30% sag, the rear suspension isn’t particularly supportive. It moves through its travel quite readily in berms and compressions, making the bike a bit less engaging and settled than I’d like. The Zeb fork isn’t the most supportive in the middle of its travel either, which in a way makes the balance better, but the lack of support from the rear suspension is what I noticed especially in flowing terrain with berms and jumps. The leverage curve is progressive throughout, so I’d put this down to the shock’s compression tune.
The obvious solution is to increase the spring rate and run less sag on the rear or increase compression damping. I tried going from 190 psi to 210 psi, but this noticeably increases harshness over small bumps and near the start of the travel. A better solution was to add a volume spacer with the pressure at 200 psi, and I added more low-speed compression for tracks with big undulations.
The main thing which held it back for me was the bar height. With just 20 mm of spacers to play with, the bar was too low at the highest position, which makes it difficult to keep pressure on the front wheel while keeping my weight centred between the axles when tackling steep descents with big steps and holes. Swapping to a 40 mm rise handlebar made a world of difference, allowing me to tackle these steep sections comfortably. Even with these modifications, the Sommet’s suspension isn’t the most composed and supportive when pushing into compressions; the chassis rocks back and forth more than some bikes on steep, technical terrain with big holes and steps. I’d put a lot of this down to the RockShox Zeb fork, which pushes through the middle part of its travel a bit too easily. Despite this, the long front-end and slack head angle mean it’s easy to attack steep, technical sections with confidence.
When the gradient levels out, the relatively short chainstay and long front centre (on the Xl size) can be a bit of a handful of flat, loose turns, as there’s less weight on the front wheel. This will be less of an issue for smaller frame sizes though. The flip side is that it’s easy to loft the front wheel and place the back wheel on steep terrain, but personally, I’d prefer a longer back end.
The Sommet is in its element on fast, rough sections, where the long front centre and active suspension allow you to plow through the rough and look further ahead. While the small back wheel still gets hung up on one-off, square edge bumps more than a 29er, when it comes to fast sections of braking bumps, roots or rocks, it irons things out beautifully even when compared to full 29ers I’ve tested lately – including the Canyon Strive and Nukeproof Giga. There’s loads of bottom-out resistance when set up with three volume spacers, too. That makes it hugely enjoyable on bike park-style terrain.