Vitus E-Mythique LT VRS review: Quite Good (While It Lasted)

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The Vitus E-Mythique LT VRS launched as a brand new entry-level full-power e-bike model with 160mm of rear travel, an alloy frame, mixed wheel sizes and a 95Nm Bafang M510 motor.

  • Brand: Vitus
  • Product: E-Mythique LT VRS
  • From: Vitus Bikes
  • Price: £3,899.99
  • Tested by: Benji for 6 months (August ’23 to January ’24)

Pros

  • Generally good geometry
  • Decent suspension (once tickled, see below)
  • Bafang motor is powerful enough

Cons

  • Short chain stays
  • Underpowered brakes
  • Motor/system died

We ran a pretty comprehensive feature about the Vitus E-Mythique LT range when it launched last year. But I shall still do decent rundown as to the whys and wherefores of the bike range here.

The E-Mythique LT is NOT the electric version of the regular Mythique. The ‘LT’ means Longer Travel. All the E-Mythique LT bikes have 160mm of travel at the rear. The top top E-Mythique LT models (VRS and VRX) have 170mm travel forks up front (the entry level VR has a 160mm fork).

What is definitely ‘Mythique’ about the E-Mythique LT is its value proposition. It’s a ‘cheap’ e-MTB. You’d be hardpressed to find a similar spec e-bike for under the £5,000 mark, even with direct sales rivals.

What’s the remit of the new E-Mythique LT? Broadly speaking, it should be able to go anywhere. It has the motor power (95Nm, 550 watts peak, 400% of rider input) to ascend pretty much with the best of them, in theory. It also appears to have the geometry and suspension firepower to cope with being sent down the most severe of terrain.

Having said that, big bikes like this arguably don’t do one thing very well. Namely, tame terrain. Full power e-bikes’ raison d’etre is technical terrain and repeat runs of it. And yeah, ‘power hour’ hot laps of your friendly neighbourhood woodland mess-about spot is a real speciality of bikes like the E-Mythique LT.

The most striking thing about these E-Mythique LTs is that Vitus went with a Bafang motor. We don’t seen much Bafang stuff on many mainstream e-MTBs. The E-Mythique LT models all use their M510 drive unit, paired to their own battery. The 630Wh battery is pretty middle ground-y in terms of capacity, sitting in between the 500ish Wh of other budget e-bikes and the 700+ Wh that are becoming the expected on mid- to high-end e-bikes these days.

The battery can be charged in situ, or removed and charged externally. You’ll need the key to remove the battery from the bike by the way. You’ll also not need the latch lever to fall off somewhere in the middles of nowhere. Which is what happened on our VRS test bike. It’s not the end of the world – you can still open the battery cover with some needle nose pliers – but it’s not ideal.

On to the user interface stuff. The controls. The buttons and display. Vitus did some good work here with Bafang and came up with a display that’s leagues mbetter than Bafang displays we’ve encountered before. The remote control near the lefthand grip is a simple but effective three button affair. An up button for more power. A down button for less power. The third smaller button at the middle-side is the ON/OFF button. Whilst ON, this third button also acts as the info-scrolling button for the display that cycles through various stats (range, cadence, trip distance etc).

The display itself is a mixed bag. The size is fine. Not too big. Not too small. Full colour but not distractingly so. The big numbers are easy to read. The sub-info text is rather small. And it doesn’t display the time (which I find rather disappointing). But special mention for having the battery power level as a percentage instead of a handful of ‘blocks’. Kudos Bafang.

There are five assistance modes: ECO, ECO+, TRAIL, BOOST and RACE. These are shown as initials in the display ie. E, E+, T, B and R. Each mode gets its own colour vibe too: ECO is green, ECO+is cyan, TRAIL is blue, BOOST is red and RACE is purple.

As with cerrtain Shimano displays, the amount of assistance you’re getting at any one time is also displayed as a rising and falling ‘graphic equaliser’ style bar on the right hand side of the screen. This is actually quite useful when you want to get the most assistance out of the system and require some feedback as to what to be doing with your pedaling cadence and/or pedal force.

Focusing on the motor and the assistance. It’s a cliche when pontificating on about e-bikes that “numbers don’t tell the whole story”. And this is true. What’s more useful to know is HOW and WHEN the power is delivered. This is what gives different motors different ride characteristics.

Absolute maximum assistance (95Nm and 550 watts peak power) is only accessible in RACE mode. This same 550 watt peak power is accessible in BOOST mode too but comes in a bit later. The top torque of the BOOST mode is 85Nm.

BOOST and RACE modes are often used as your classic ‘Power Hour’ modes. All-out for 60mins. You can use BOOST and RACE during your ‘normal’ rides for predictable steep pitches but it’s often TRAIL that is the default mode for normal weekend rides.

TRAIL is the Most Important Mode in my opinion. TRAIL gives 495 watts peak power and 75Nm of torque. It’s TRAIL mode that has the most interesting – and significant – power delivery ‘method’. 

Essentially, you don’t get TRAIL’s peak assistance until you’re inputting around 250 watts. And the assistance is delivered in an exponential curve. Pootling about (soft pedalling 100 watts ish) will get you a modest amount of assistance, putting some effort in will get you a lot more assistance out.

The lowest two power settings are ECO+ and ECO. ECO+ gives out 412 watts peak power and 55Nm of torque. ECO gives 302 watts peak power and 35Nm of torque.

Confused as to the difference between watts and Nm? Basically, Wattage increases are felt on less steep terrain (flying along contouring terrain), it’s Nm (torque) that is felt when climbing and is Much More Important, for me at least. Diet and mid-power bikes (decent watts but low Nm) feel fine on the flat but can’t compete with full-power ebikes (decent watts AND decent Nm) on climbs.

What about the bike frame? What does it have? Simple (as it gets) internally routed cabling. Bottle bosses on down tube. Down tube protector. Sump guard. Motor cover (another thing Vitus badgered Bafang to do). Plenty dropper seatpost insertion (this L will easily accept a 210mm travel dropper as future upgrade over the 170mm dropper that it comes with)

Suspension geekery. The shock is a healthily long-stroke 205 x 65mm. And there’s a trunnion mount there that really helps reduce stiction in the system. The leverage ratio is 27% (2.83 to 2.06). Which is genuinely progressive. So the bike should offer a cushy start that build into a supportive mid-stroke and a ramp-up end stroke. And yep, coil friendly if you want to ‘go coil’ at some point in the future.

The rear suspension on this VRS model was pretty decent. The RockShox Super Deluxe does a good job of hoovering up traction and dealing with big hits. It was possibly a bit vague in the mid stuff but it was certainly not a killer blow. The E-Mythique LT was a very adept descender.

Geometry time! Essentially: not bad for a modern mountain bike. 63.5° head angle is good. The 77.5° seat angle felt fine. The 476mm reach on this Large felt a bit short but manageable (mainly due to the slack head angle). The 26mm BB drop height felt fine. The seat tubes are nicely short and not overly compromised or kinked.

The one and only issue I had with the geometry were the chain stays. At 445mm long I just think they’re rather too short to play to the strengths of full-power e-bike. A hefty e-bike is never, ever going to be very nimble or ‘playful’. By sticking short stays into the mix all that it seems to result in is a drop in climbing ability and all-out wheelbase stability at speed. The Bafang motor can do steep pitches, the frame cannot. The front wheel just lifts up. It’s a real shame that. A definite USP of e-bikes is stoopid climbing challenges. The E-Mythique LT falls short on these, literally.

On to the spec sheet. The Vitus E-Mythique LT range begins at £3,299 and tops out at £4,399. How have Vitus hit these price points? A canny choice of alt. brands and own brand stuff. Alt. brands like: Bafang, Suntour, TRP and Vee Tire Co. Own brands such as Vitus, Nukeproof and Brand-X. The sole ‘big brands’ present are SRAM for the drivetrain and WTB for the wheels. 

Spec highlights? As mentioned, the RockShox rear shock is a dependable and known quantity with plenty of spares backup and tuning potential. The Vee tyres have been fine. Perhaps not quite as gluey as their nominal durometer would suggest but certainly cpabale enough. The cockpit was okay. The dropper was good.

Spec lowlights? The fork and the brakes. Now then, the fork was a relatively quick fix. Initially it was an incredibly harsh ride with not much travel being reached no matter how low we dropped the PSI. We ended up taking the fork apart and upon unscrewing of the lower leg footnut there was an escape of built-up air. Think: opening a can of pop. There was air trapped in the lowers, possibly caused by excessive grease and/or tight bushings. It was this trapped air build-up that was stopping the fork from compressing properly. Anyway, a quick clean and light re-lubing and all was well. The fork then worked really well.

The brakes were something of a letdown. We’ve had TRP Slate brakes before and got on fine with them. But the ones on this bike just didn’t have the power. A swap of pads and a rebleed did improve things but we never really found the brakes powerful enough for a full-power e-bike.

Although a decent descender, we couldn’t help but think that the E-Mythique LT could be even more capable if it had more confidence-inspiring stoppers on it. So that’s what we did. With a set of 203/203mm Shimano Deore 4-pots on, the bike was a lot less worrying and a whole load more enjoyable and capable.

And then, unfortunately, after around six months the bike started throwing up error codes. At first, a simple off-and-on again cleared things. But eventually the system wouldn’t even turn on. An iffy display/control was suspected at first, and Vitus duly sent a replacement. No change. And then Vitus, the bike brand, went wrong. As in, ceased to exist.

Overall

Well, here we are. With a dead e-bike from a seemingly dead bike brand. How was it while it lasted? Pretty good all in. Sure, we had some niggles with the shortish chain stays hampering the bike’s ascending abilities. And the fork needed some modest TLC to actually work. And the brakes aren’t really up to the job. But… you do have to factor in the price tag. Costing under £4,000 still gives you a bit of room for upgrading the brakes to something more suitable.

The good aspects of the E-Mythique LT VRS were undeniable. Plenty of power from the motor. A good level of MPG from the battery. Capable geometry for the fun, descending stuff. Good cockpit, dropper, wheels, tyres, rear shock and so on.

Despite the unfortunate and thankfully rare occurance of a bike brand ceasing to exist mid-test, this bike is a reminder of the potential pitfalls of buying an e-bike from a direct sales brand. It’s something of A Thing that e-bikes will probably just go wrong at some point. Not having a real bike shop to take your dead e-duck back to is the price you may have to pay for not paying the price for an e-bike from a real bike shop.

But money is money and, truth be told, I personally would probably still take risk of direct sales. I’d just make sure I still had a spare ‘bio bike’ that I can ride whilst my e-bike is in the post.

Vitus E-Mythique LT VRS specification

  • Frame // 6061-T6 Double Butted Alloy, 160mm
  • Fork // SR Suntour Durolux36 Boost EQ 29″, 170mm
  • Shock // RockShox Deluxe Select R, 250 x 65mm
  • Wheels // WTB KOM Trail i30 rims on Vitus KT hubs
  • Front tyre // Vee Tire Co. Attack HPL 29in
  • Rear tyre // Vee Tire Co. Attack HPL 27.5in
  • Chainset // Bafang, 165mm
  • Drivetrain // SRAM NX/SX, 11-50T
  • Brakes // TRP Slate EVO 4-pot, 203/203mm
  • Stem // Vitus Alloy
  • Bars // Nukeproof Neutron V2 Riser
  • Grips // Vitus Lock-On
  • Seatpost // Brand-X Ascend dropper
  • Saddle // Nukeproof Neutron
  • Bottom Bracket // Bafang
  • Motor // Bafang M510, 95Nm
  • Battery // Bafang 630Wh
  • Size tested // L
  • Sizes available // S, M, L, XL
  • Head angle // 63.5°
  • Effective seat angle // 77.5°
  • Seat tube length // 440mm
  • Head tube length // 120mm
  • Effective top tube // 619mm
  • BB height // 26mm BB drop
  • Reach // 476mm
  • Chainstay // 445mm
  • Wheelbase // 1,275mm
vitus e-mythique lt vrs
Vitus E-Mythique LT VRS

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Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Vitus E-Mythique LT VRS review: Quite Good (While It Lasted)
  • thepodge
    Free Member

    Spell check broken?

    jam-bo
    Full Member

    Surely the ride qualities are a moot point when you have an unrideable, unfixable bike after 6 months.

    binman
    Full Member

    So, are you going to provide some insight to readers how you go about getting it fixed independently without just handing it back ? It would be a useful insight for most of us.

    Rich_s
    Full Member

    Anyone else looking through Trisportsresort on eBay trying to figure out which of their recent sales was the stw test bike? 😁

    Ben_Haworth
    Full Member

    @binman Yep 👍

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    I think there are threads on emtb forums about setting these motors up and fixing them. I think you need the besst tool.

    https://www.emtbforums.com/threads/bafang-m510-setup.34118/

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005005907995597.html

    Opensource firmware
    https://github.com/OpenSourceEBike/Bafang_M500_M600

    wheelsonfire1
    Full Member

    If I’d purchased one of these bikes since the test period ended and the bike died, (Jan 24th?), I’d be rather annoyed that the long term test had only just been released!

    devash
    Free Member

    Bafang and the motor’s gone.

    fahzure
    Full Member

    Someone told me that Cycle Fast in Sowerby Bridge specializes in eBike diagnostics.

    crossed
    Full Member

    Reading that just makes my head hurt.
    Does no one proof-read things before they publish them on the site?

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I feel like we’re constantly moaning about the reviews lately.

    At least this one was longer, but I’ve rarely seen so many typos in an article.

     

    zerocool
    Full Member

    Can Bafang be approached directly to sort out warranty faults now that Vitus/CRC are dead?

    If I’d spent £4k on a new bike after the initial first reviews raved about it I would be pissed if it was now junk.

    b33k34
    Full Member

    Essentially, you don’t get TRAIL’s peak assistance until you’re inputting around 250 watts. And the assistance is delivered in an exponential curve. Pootling about (soft pedalling 100 watts ish) will get you a modest amount of assistance, putting some effort in will get you a lot more assistance out.

    As an Orbea Rise owner I’m intrigued that more full fat bikes seem to be moving towards a power delivery that actually requires you to ride them, change gear etc (delivering power at higher cadences and rider input).   Personally dislike the “as soon as the pedals are turning the motors giving it’s all” style of a lot of e bikes.  (No need to change gear, just boost up the hill in the middle of the cassette at low cadence)

    VanHalen
    Full Member

    more full fat bikes seem to be moving towards a power delivery that actually requires you to ride them, change gear etc (delivering power at higher cadences and rider input)

    as far as i`m aware all ebikes have a setting like this – my shimano and bosch bikes, and the yamaha hire bikes ive used , certainly do. they are not new bikes btw.

    the main issue will be motor warrenty for the poor buggers who have been landed with one of these. is there even a UK importer/service for these motors like shimano/bosch etc?? or was that CRC?

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

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