Built specifically for off-road adventures, the Vitus Plus kid series (available in 20″ and 24″ sizes) are amazing bikes for beginning to intermediate trail riders. Equipped with 2.6″ wide tires for plenty of traction and Tektro hydraulic brakes for on-the-spot stopping power, the Vitus Plus packs a lot of punch into its very competitive price tag.
Only available online via Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle in the UK (they ship internationally), Vitus bikes aren’t common in the US, but as long as you catch them in stock and with a reasonable shipping rate (rates vary due to changes in shipping and duty fees), they are solid bikes that are worth adding to your consideration list.
Vitus 24 Plus Overview
BEST FOR: Beginning to intermediate mountain bike riders who need a rigid fork bike (which we think are best for those just learning)
SEAT HEIGHT: 26″ – 31.5″
WEIGHT: 25.5 lb.
SHIFTER: Shimano Altus Rapidfire 7 speed (Trigger)
BRAKES: Tektro Hydraulic Disc
- Responsive Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
- Grippy and cushioning 2.6″ wide Crown Vee tires
- Lightweight bike with a rigid fork keeps weight down for beginning riders
- Padded saddles that our testers raved about
- Trigger shifters great for kids who want to ride more aggressively
- Shimano Altus drivetrain is a step up over the standard base line Shimano Tourney found on similar bikes
- Shimano trigger shifters can be challenging to learn for those new to shifting
- Shipping rates can vary greatly! (We’ve seen rates vary from $46 to $140)
- Only 7 speeds, versus 8 or 9 featured on other mountain bikes
- Lowest gain ratio is 2.4, which is considerably higher than comparable bikes (harder for steep climbs)
What type of rider is the Vitus Plus line of bikes best for?
Before we jump into the details of this bike, it’s important to consider what type of rider is a best fit for the Vitus Plus line. Vitus makes three different 24″ kids bikes – the Vitus Kids line ($349) , the Vitus Kids Plus line ($449) and the Vitus Nucleus ($599).
The general kids line is designed for the ambitious everyday rider who sticks mainly to pavement as well as some compact dirt trails. On the opposite end, the Nucleus is designed for those fully committed to trail riding and legit mountain biking as it features a suspension fork and clutch derailleurs. The Plus line is designed for that sweet spot in the middle.
Based on our experiences, the Vitus Plus line is best for beginning to intermediate trail riders. A solid mountain bike, but without suspension, the Vitus Plus bikes are in a somewhat rare group of bikes that we just love. Most people automatically assume that all “mountain bikes” MUST have suspension, like the Nucleus, but that is simply not the case for kids.
While suspension forks certainly have their well-earned place on the trails, most shocks are very heavy and can add 5+ pounds to the weight of a bike. For a young rider who may only weigh 50 to 60 lbs., an additional 5 lbs. of weight is a lot. Furthermore, essentially all low-end suspension forks on the market hardly offer any true dampening and simply add weight to a bike.
The solution? Create an awesome bike with killer components, like hydraulic disc brakes and upgraded trigger shifters, but instead of adding a heavy suspension fork, add cushioning “plus-size” tires. When set to the proper PSI, the plus size tires on the Vitus Plua can provide as much cushioning as a suspension fork with 30mm of travel!
Heavier Weight Trade Off for Lower Price
For a mountain bike (even without a suspension fork), the Vitus 24 Plus is on the heavier side at 25.5 lb. So if you have a really timid, beginning rider, a lighter bike will likely be better. But be prepared for those few fewer pounds to cost you a few extra hundred dollars.
For example, the 24″ rigid woom OFF is much lighter at 18.9 lb., but its MRSP is $180 more than the Vitus 24 Plus. The woom OFF does have a slightly better shifter and more speeds (9-speed versus Vitus’ 7), but it also offers less cushioning with narrower 2.25″ tires versus the Vitus Plus’ 2.6″ (which does add to the weight of the Vitus).
Besides weight (which shouldn’t be underplayed – but dollars speak!), the Vitus 24 Plus is an outstanding bike for its MSRP, with components that can’t be beat by any other bike in its price range. (More details in comparison chart below)
What size rider will fit on the Vitus 24 Plus?
The Vitus 24 Plus has a seat range of 26″ – 31.5″ and was a perfect bike fit for 52″ tall 8-year-old tester as well as our 54″ tall 9-year-old tester.
For those debating between the Vitus Kids vs. the Kids Plus, although the bikes vary in frame design and components, they have almost identical seat heights with the standard Vitus Kids 24″ seat height ranging from 26″ – 32″. They are both similar in size to our other favorite 24 inch kids bikes.
Results of our Test Rides
We tested out the 24 Plus with two riders. Our first tester was a 8-year-old tester who is experienced on the trails, but is still very timid in general – we’ll highlight his experience in the first half of this review. Our second tester, was a 9-year-old tester who is more advanced and aggressive – whose we feature in the second part of this review.
Performance with a Timid Trail Rider
“Mom, check this out!” From taking off up the trail to powering up a rolling hill, the Vitus Plus delivered. Fun, nimble, and perfect for riders getting their first taste of trail riding, the Vitus Plus is bound to get your kid excited to hits the trails.
Starting with our 8-year-old timid rider. As one who doesn’t have the inner drive to race up a hill just for fun, when testing bikes, it quickly becomes apparent which bikes hinder his riding and which ones motivate him.
We fully expected him to opt for a shorter ride while on the Vitus Plus (his main bike, the woom OFF AIR 5, is the 5 lb. lighter but just about double the cost). However, our ride ended up being longer than normal, and in a good way. While the difference in weight was noticeable riding uphill – he rode slower and was less than excited to ride further uphill past our normal turn-around point – the Vitus Plus was by no means hindering in his overall ability and desire to ride.
The real surprise came when we reached a clearing on the way down with a large dirt mound in the middle of it. While only about 10 feet tall, the mound was quite steep, but he was determined and after several attempts, successfully made it to the top and was eager to go again!
Considering going above and beyond is not in his nature, I was pleasantly surprised at his desire to keep going regardless of the difference in weight to his woom. All in all, we spent a considerable amount of time riding around this area as he throughly enjoyed practicing his “skills” in his makeshift bike park.
Heading down the trail, the geometry of the Vitus was a win as it easily allowed him to get off the seat and into a comfortably aggressive attack position. Being 52″ tall, he was easily able to come off the back end of the saddle and get ready for action.
Performance with Intermediate Riders
To put the Vitus 24 Plus to test with an intermediate rider, we headed over to the local bike park. Our 54″ 9-year-old tester is one aggressive little grom who is more than happy to take on the expert jump lines. After making sure we lowered the air pressure in the tires, he hit his first jump line and was quickly in his happy place.
At first he was a little turned off by the weight of the bike because his regular bike is a 4 lb. lighter rigid mountain bike without plus size tires. However, upon feeling the extra cushioning of the tires, he quickly fell in love and was motivated to push his limits to see how high he could really jump!
Watching him hit jump after jump was quite impressive. The Vitus Plus easily flowed and helped him get in the groove. Speaking to him afterwards, he does still really want a bike with “a cool shock”, but said from now on, he also wanted a bike with “soft tires like this one for jumping”.
All in all, after watching the Vitus Plus in action with a timid as well as an intermediate rider, it performed amazingly well. From flowy mountain bike trails to bike parks, the Vitus 24 Plus is a solid ride.
Vitus 24 Plus Components
A vast majority of “mountain bikes” or “trail bikes” for kids come with basic components. For the average everyday neighborhood rider, basic components are acceptable, but for true responsive shifting and braking, an upgrade on components makes for a much more enjoyable ride.
Plus size tires – For added cushioning and traction
Built for getting dirty, the 2.6″ Vee Crown Gem tires provide plenty of grip for riding the trails. The wide tires also allow you to reduce the PSI of the tires on the trail to help provide cushioning. According the Vitus’ website, the tires themselves (when set to the proper PSI) are equivalent to having a shock with 30mm of travel.
The lower PSI also allows for a wider footprint, allowing for additional grip along the trail. From cornering to picking the best line, wider tires can help young riders get a feel for the trail and provide more wiggle room for error. As an added bonus, the two-tone skinwall tires also make quite an impression on young riders and certainly adds to the coolness factor of the bike.
On the down side, the larger plus size tires add to the overall weight of the bike. As you can see in our 24 inch mountain bike comparison chart below, the bikes with larger wheels are often heavier than bikes with narrower tires. This is due to the larger tires themselves as well as the heavier duty rims that are often required to ride with plus size tires.
Rapidfire Shimano trigger shifters
Ready for on-the-fly shifting, the Vitus 24 Plus comes equipped with Shimano Altus trigger shifters. For kids not accustomed to using trigger shifters, Shimano trigger shifters are slightly harder to use than SRAM’s.
Shimano’s requires kids to use two different fingers to shift – their thumb to shift down and their index finger to shift up. On the other hand, SRAM’s has two thumb buttons, one for up and one for down. So while kids still need to remember which button to push with SRAM, they don’t have to remember which finger.
Considering SRAM shifters are only available on higher-end bikes, for the price range of the Vitus 24 Plus, the Shimano Altus is a welcome upgrade compared to Shimano’s lower-end Tourney shifters.
Gearing – Less gears than competitors, and with a higher gain ratio
The Vitus 24 Plus comes equipped with 7 speeds as compared to the 8 or 9 speeds on its competitors. With a 12-32t cassette and a 32t chainring, the Vitus 24 Plus is also geared slightly higher. Taking its 140mm crank arm into account, the Vitus 24 Plus has a gain ratio ranging from 2.4 to 6.4.
As a comparison, the similarly priced Commencal Ramones 24″ has a gain ratio of 1.9 to 4.8. So for those tackling major hill climbs, the Vitus’ pretty high 2.4 gain ratio of the granny gear isn’t going to be ideal. Based on our test rides, for longer and milder climbs or short burst up small hills, the Vitus’ gearing certainly wasn’t an issue.
Tektro hydraulic disc brakes for plenty of stopping power
In a head to head comparison between similarly priced bikes, the hydraulic brakes of the Vitus 24 Plus truly makes it stand out. With increased stopping power and modulation only offered by hydraulic brakes, this choice is a no brainer for those young groms who are prone to push the limits.
The 24 Plus features 160mm rotors on both the front and rear tires with Tektro levers.
Padded saddle our testers loved
Last but not least is the beloved saddle. The Vitus Plus saddle offers plenty of cushion that our testers raved about. The fabric is also slightly tacky to prevent kids from sliding off the back. The saddle is also railed to allow for slight forward and back adjustments.
How easy is the Vitus 24+ to assemble?
Surprisingly, the Vitus 24 Plus came with the front wheel already installed! As a result, it shipped in a very large box (which arrived in pristine condition), but by doing so the dropouts on the fork (which are commonly bent in shipping) were protected. Assembly simply required attaching the handlebars and pedals.
For those shipping across the pond, be aware that shipping rates can vary widely. When we ordered the bikes each bikes cost $49 to ship, but months later shipping (and included duty fees) had gone up to $130. Due to the constant changes in shipping and duty rates, these changes are to be expected.
We did experience a significant issue with shipping. We also ordered a Vitus 20 Plus for this review, but it was lost in shipment. Chain Reaction Cycles quickly refunded our order, but it was a bit disappointing as the bikes were sold out by then and we couldn’t get another.
Of the two other bikes we ordered from Chain Reaction (the Vitus Kids 20″ and 24″), the 24″ also arrived in pristine condition, but the 20″ box was literally falling apart with the handlebars sticking out. Luckily the 20″ wasn’t damaged and was good as new on the inside.
How does the Vitus compare to other 24 inch mountain bikes?
When compared to other rigid fork trail bikes, the hydraulic brakes and the upgraded drivetrain really make the Vitus 24 Plus stand out. All other trail bikes we could find within $175 of the Vitus 24 Plus have mechanical disc brakes. In addition, most feature the lower-end Shimano Tourney drivetrains as compared to the Vitus’ upgraded Shimano Altus. You can check out more details on the bikes below on our best recreational mountain bikes for kids page.
Vitus Plus Comparisons
|Trek Precaliber 24||24.6 lb.||$349||Caliper||2.25″||Shimano Grip||8sp/Shimano Tourney|
|Vitus 24 Plus||25.5 lb.||$499||Hydraulic||2.6″||Shimano Trigger||7sp/Shimano Altus|
|Commencal Ramones||24.5 lb.||$479||Mech Disc||2.6″||Shimano Grip||7sp/Shimano Tourney|
|Specialized Riprock||~27 lb.||$550||Mech Disc||2.8″||Shimano Grip||8sp/Shimano Tourney|
|Pello Reyes||21.9 lb.||$619||Mech Disc||1.95″||SRAM Trigger||9sp/SRAM x5|
|woom OFF||18.9 lb.||$679||Hydraulic||2.25″||SRAM Trigger||9sp/SRAM x5|
If you’re looking for a solid and durable trail bike, the Vitus Plus series (available in 20″ and 24″) should absolutely be on your list. Well equipped with Tektro hydraulic disc brakes and an upgraded Shimano Altus drivetrain, the Vitus packs a lot of punch into one awesome ride.
Constantly changing shipping rates, however, can affect the overall value of the bike for those shipping to the US. But even with shipping rates up to $130, the Vitus can still hold its own when compared to other kids trail bikes in the US such as the Specialized Riprock.