Vitus Sommet 297 AMP review
Jul 10, 2023
A killer spec for the price and a ridiculously fun ride feel make the Sommet 297 AMP very appealing
This competition is now closed
By Robin Weaver
Published: June 6, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Vitus has a knack for creating great bikes that ride well, with some seriously cool kit bolted to them. It sounds easy, but these guys manage to do it for a very appealing price too.
When the latest carbon-framed Sommet was unveiled a few years ago, aside from the appealing looks and decent geometry, it was the parts package and price tag that raised eyebrows.
Fast forward to 2023 and that's very much still the case. However, with an updated spec, the Sommet 297 AMP has seen a hefty spike in price compared to the 2022 equivalent.
The new parts are still bolted to the same, long-travel carbon frame, which uses mixed-size wheels (29in up front and 27.5in at the rear), so you can rest assured the ride will be just as fun as ever.
With such stiff competition in our enduro Bike of the Year test, though, the Sommet 297 AMP really is up against it.
Along with the updated spec on the Sommet 297 AMP, Vitus is also treating the frame to some fresh colours.
Although our spec is as close as possible to that of the new 2023 bike, the frame still has the older paintjob.
Vitus has produced the Sommet 297 AMP's front triangle from T700 carbon fibre. This is mated to a 6061-T6 aluminium rear end.
At the rear, there's 170mm of rear-wheel travel – a bump of around 10mm compared to the full-blown 29er version of the Sommet. It's dished out using a four-bar Horst-link suspension design. This is all controlled by a vertically mounted trunnion shock.
The shock mount bolts into a bracing cradle that straddles the down and seat tubes. It's here you’ll find the flip chip to alter the geometry, but more on that later.
Across the range of travel, the Sommet 297 AMP offers a decent amount of progression at a shade under 26 per cent. With the suspension sagged (at around 30 per cent), according to Vitus, anti-squat is over 100 per cent.
If you were hoping to slot a bigger 29in rear wheel in place, you’re going to be disappointed. That's because the rear end of the bike is designed specifically around the smaller 27.5in wheel size.
Cables are routed internally and enter the frame close to the head tube junction through neat, secure cable ports.
There's a threaded BSA 73mm bottom bracket and mounts for a bottle cage inside the front triangle.
As I mentioned above, the Sommet 297 AMP features a flip chip at the lower shock mount. Flipping this enables you to tweak the head angle by 0.5 degrees and alter bottom bracket height by 6mm.
In the lower of the two settings, the head angle sits at a slack 64 degrees, while I measured the effective seat tube angle (with the saddle set to my preferred pedalling height) to be 77 degrees.
Reach on the medium frame is 444mm – a somewhat conservative measurement by modern enduro bike standards.
The front centre (the horizontal measurement from the centre of the bottom bracket axle to the centre of the front wheel axle) is 795mm.
Out back, the rear centre (effective chainstay length) is 435mm which, like the head and seat tube angles, is very much on a par with the Sommet 297 AMP's contemporaries.
I measured the bottom bracket at just over 340mm off the floor, which is pretty low considering the amount of rear-wheel travel on tap here.
The 2023 Vitus Sommet 297 AMP is dripping with some of the nicest kit going.
In certain areas, components have been upgraded from the 2022 build, which explains the £900 price difference between the two bikes.
One of the biggest changes comes in the form of the RockShox Reverb AXS post, replacing the standard hydraulic version of the dropper.
The wireless theme extends to the gearing, too. A SRAM GX Eagle AXS transmission takes care of shifting duties, while SRAM's top-spec Code RSC brakes look after slowing down, matched to 200mm rotors at the front and rear.
Like the previous build kit, this latest bike ships with Ultimate-level RockShox suspension at the front and rear. The fork in question is the top-of-the-line ZEB Ultimate, which now features the updated DebonAir+ air spring and new Charger 3 damper.
The new Super Deluxe Ultimate air-sprung shock gives plenty of external options, enabling you to tweak the high- and low-speed compression, as well as rebound damping.
Nukeproof (another brand under the Chain Reaction Cycles/Wiggle umbrella) provides a host of parts, including the bar, stem, grips, saddle and impressive Horizon V2 wheels.
Wrapping these wheels are two of my favourite Maxxis tyres. The Assegai at the front uses the sticky 3C MaxxGrip compound and EXO+ casing, while the Minion DHR II at the rear gets the quicker-rolling 3C MaxxTerra compound and tougher DoubleDown casing for peace of mind.
Overall weight is 15.59kg (medium without pedals).
Considering the spec and carbon frame, you’d generally expect to spend a lot more money than the price tag of the Sommet 297 AMP.
I rode the Vitus Sommet 297 AMP on a wide variety of trails around the South West of England and South Wales.
These varied in speed, gradient and terrain. They included some man-made tracks littered with high-speed rock gardens, heavy impacts and big jumps through to steeper, natural, technical trails where the roots and rocks were plentiful but speeds a little lower.
Setting up the Sommet 297 AMP was a quick and easy process.
At 68kg with kit on, I ran 54psi in the air spring of the ZEB Ultimate fork with one volume spacer, and both compression and rebound dials wound fully open.
At the rear, 148psi gave me 30 per cent sag. I set the high-speed compression to the mid setting and had one click of low-speed compression on to keep the back of the bike nicely propped up.
Once set, I never once had to alter it.
Start winching the Sommet 297 AMP uphill and you’ll be impressed by the steep seat tube angle and comfortable upright position.
The addition of the new 2023 RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock (and potentially a slight alteration in shock tune) adds more control to the back end and more support, too.
With the older version of this shock bolted in place, it had a tendency to sink into its travel a little too easily, slackening the effective seat tube angle. As a result, I’d often reach for the shock's threshold lever to firm it up when riding uphill.
That's not the case with the updated spec. Instead, the Sommet 297 AMP remains calmer under seated efforts, and I never felt the need to use the shock lever.
Thankfully, the new shock retains the supple, lively nature of its predecessor, working rapidly to keep the rear tyre in contact with the dirt and ensuring you can keep making forward progress.
Compared to the bikes in our enduro Bike of the Year test with longer front centres, though, when faced with really steep pitches, I found myself inching forward to the nose of the saddle in order to keep the front wheel weighted. This is something I didn't have to do on the more stretched-out bikes.
The first thing I noticed when getting up to speed on the Sommet 297 AMP was just how agile, fun and playful it felt.
Rip through a turn, exit at speed and you can loft the front wheel almost effortlessly, ready to manual and pump obstacles or rollers in front of you.
Loading the Sommet 297 AMP heavily in corners is better now with the updated Super Deluxe shock in place. While it wasn't bad before, the older shock felt a touch more wallowy in these high-load situations, which required the rider to compensate with shifts in body weight.
Now it feels easier to scream into turns with blatant disregard or more effectively drive your weight down through the bike to pump an undulation and maintain speed.
This playful nature urges you to dance the bike around, skipping and popping from line to line as you tackle mellower trails that on some enduro bikes, simply feel dull.
On faster-paced tracks, when things get rough, the Sommet 297 AMP's supple suspension offers decent levels of control. It's not just the back end of the bike, but the new ZEB Ultimate fork too.
The supportive air spring and smooth damping might feel less active than those on the bike's predecessor, but the overall sensation is one of stability and composure.
As the wheels patter over the chunder, the Sommet 297 AMP remains very calm and controlled, and a comfy place to be. There's feedback through the bike, but it's muted and not harsh in any way.
It doesn't feel as though it isolates that feedback from the rider as well as some bikes, though.
On loose, gravelly surfaces, the active suspension and impressively grippy, predictable tyres do a great job of keeping you pointed in the right direction.
Drop into anything more technical and steep, and the Sommet 297 AMP continues to impress. That's not to say it’ll shine as brightly as some of its slacker and longer counterparts, here, though.
In these scenarios, it doesn't feel as though it offers that same safety blanket of confidence as those bikes every time you drop into something steep and fast.
You don't feel quite as hunkered down or planted on the Sommet 297 AMP as some, but that doesn't hold it back massively.
Thanks to the impressive suspension, that works well on brake-dragging, chattery descents, the tyres and the brakes, there's still plenty of control when you do try to push and tackle something a little trickier.
Ultimately, though, the takeaway here should be that the Sommet 297 AMP is incredibly capable on just about every type of terrain.
It might not share the same pure-bred race credentials as some, but the fun factor and versatility on offer will appeal to a lot of riders. As it should. After all, we’re not all desperate to get in between the tapes and race the clock.
Because the Nukeproof Mega 297 Carbon Elite is arguably the Sommet's closest relation, it feels comparing the two makes most sense.
Both offer a fun, nimble streak that helps to make tracks with less gradient more fun to ride. But the Vitus has the edge here, feeling that bit more flickable and fun, especially on smoother jump lines.
Get into steeper, natural technical terrain, and the Mega inches ahead. While their numbers are almost identical, I always felt that bit more confident on the Mega, thanks largely to how supple and balanced the suspension is.
It was a similar case on the faster, rougher trails. The difference is minimal, but it's a difference.
Finally, considering the rides are matched quite closely (even if the Mega does feel a bit better in tougher terrain), there's still a decent saving to be made if you opt for the Nukeproof. While I love the flashy spec of the Vitus as much as the next rider, having an extra £600 in my back pocket certainly isn't a bad thing.
The Sommet 297 AMP is a seriously fun bike to ride. Whether that's in the bikepark or tackling something steep and natural carved into the side of the mountain, I’m sure you’ll have fun riding this bike.
It might not offer quite the same level of confidence or ground-hugging grip as some bikes, but you’ll likely have just as big a smile riding it as you would on one of the thoroughbred race machines.
As a fun all-rounder, the Sommet 297 AMP seriously impresses.
Just what constitutes a great enduro bike and what does it take to earn the crown of the best enduro bike on test?
We’d argue it's all about balance and compromise.
Enduro riding and racing takes in all kinds of terrain and gradients. To tackle it confidently, safely and at pace, your bike needs to feel balanced, composed and stable.
Essentially, that equates to suspension that keeps the tyres glued to the trail but prevents the bike feeling like a bucking bronco when things get rough.
Of course, balance doesn't just come from the suspension, but the geometry, too. The right mix should enable it to feel like to a downhill bike when gravity is on its side and pedal back up the hill when the time comes.
The parts package needs to offer good value for money too. There's always going to be an element of compromise, but the smart brands will spend their budgets wisely.
Over a 12-week period, all of the bikes in this category were put through their paces on a wide variety of trails and tracks to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses.
The bikes were ridden back-to-back, as well as in varying orders to see how each one felt at the start and end of the day, once rider fatigue had set in.
Thanks to our sponsors Crankbrothers, MET helmets, Bluegrass Protection, Supernatural Dolceacqua and BikePark Wales for their support of Bike of the Year.
Rob Weaver is BikeRadar's technical editor-in-chief. Rob manages all of the testing here at BikeRadar and across our magazines, Mountain Biking UK and Cycling Plus. Rob first graced the pages of MBUK back in 2001 when working as a freelance writer and went on to start testing bikes for the title in 2007. In 2010 he joined the team full-time and has been keeping a close eye on all things test-related ever since. Rob's expansive knowledge of bikes comes courtesy of his passion for racing. He cut his teeth racing cross-country mountain bikes in the early 90s before finding his feet in downhill. After many years competing on the UK national circuit (including a year attempting to race UCI DH World Cups), Rob realised his know-how and passion for bike setup, tech and writing clearly outweighed his racing ability. A degree in sports technology and decades of riding experience all help to give Rob a thorough understanding of what's needed to create a great bike or product. While Rob's a mountain biker at heart and never happier than when he's sliding down a Welsh hillside, he's more than happy to put the miles in on the road or gravel bike, too. ❚