E-Sommet: 2 Years On

R120

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Since like all of us I have a bit of time on my hands right now, and realising its coming up to two years and 4000 odd miles that I have the E-Sommet (it doesn't seem like that but time flies and all that), so I thought I would do a recap of my ownership experience, what I like, what I don't, and the issues I have had.

First off a big thanks to @Rob Hancill for starting the forum, as without it and the feedback on here I would never have looked into getting the bike. I love this bike, in 30 years of riding MTB the only other bikes I have had that made be smile as much and want to go out and ride at any opportunity where my first MTB (an Emelle Santana!) and my first proper full suspension bike, but those where first loves which will always be remembered through rose tinted glasses and where the best thing since sliced bread at the time.

The bike is just right, when it comes to riding it out on the trails I cant fault it, from the geo to the suspension kinematics, to the way it handles and how much fun it is to ride. It really is a bike you can just get on and shred, straight out the box . . . of course that doesn't mean I haven't "tinkered" with it ;)

I have put on, taken off again and adjusted a lot of parts on the bike, but honestly how it rides stock is so good that aside from personalising the contact points there is are only two changes (Meg Neg can upgrade to the super deluxe, and the 223mm front rotor) that I would do straight off the bat if starting again - however seeing as vitus have switched to Fox now the suspension is a moot point.

A fair few of the mods I have done, bearing in mind mine is a first generation bike, where subsequently implemented by Vitus on the later models, for example the e7000 controller and shorter cranks. Some changes are cosmetic, such as the bars and stem, and others are performance based. The bike has been through a fair few itineration's, but the way its set up now is how I have run it for the last six months, and I cant see any major changes in the future aside from a respray which I keep toying with the idea of once its out of warranty, and of course if Shimano's new motor is retrofittable when it eventually arrives I might go down that route, though I have to say I like the e8000 so it would have to be something with either a much tougher build quality, or performance to consider doing so.

So onto things I dont like.

First off the cable routing is a dogs dinner in terms of maintenance and replacing any of it - the internal cabling is neat enough, and sensibly routed in terms of avoiding cables getting fouled when riding, but the birds nest of cables above the motor is a mess, and add into that it s a bit of a lottery how CRC put together the bikes before shipping in terms of how bad the cabling is done in this area - its easy for a badly routed dropper cable for example to cause the post to not operate smoothly.

The area above the motor is a shelf for dirt, and the cable routing holes in the frame here allow for crap to get into and sit above the motor, potentially then getting into the motor covers - this is easily remedied by dropping the front of the motor and putting some Moto foam or similar in the gap between the frame and the motor, but its an example of the budget nature of the build itself.

Colour scheme - I have grown to like it and probably made it worse by going all technicolour with the mods, but I love a raw or matt black bike - Vitus's always look better in the flesh, but they don't help themselves with some of the paint jobs they produce.

No bottle bosses, I got around this by fitting a Fidlock Unibase with heavy duty zipties to the top tube, but tbh I have only put a bottle on it once.

Dropper post insertion - the frame design means you cant get a big drop dropper in there, because the insertion is limited - the stock 150mm Brand X has been faultless though, and works perfectly in terms of sizing for me, but may not for others. I swapped out the lever for a One-Up dropper remote, which has been a great upgrade, rock solid and smooth action, as good an experience as I have had with any dropper post.

CRC Back up. My motor went bang last year, and CRC where useless at dealing with it (covered in other threads) - I eventually went direct with Shimano UK via my LBS who where brilliant and sorted it out quickly.

Finally I couldn't fit a Super deluxe coil shock that I got for the bike - now this isn't really a fault of the bike as its not designed for the shock in question, but the rs coil shocks have the largest diameter coils out of the major manufacturers, and the clearance through the shock window in the frame isn't wide enough to fit the shock without taking a Dremel to the frame. However this was a cloud with a silver lining, as it lead to me doing the Meg Neg conversion to the shock, which mad a big improvement, basically keeping the supple nature of the shock, but with a lot more midstroke support. The main thing it improved was how much better the bike is now at "pumping" for want of a better phrase, I can now fire it into and out of turns/jumps etc with far more confidence.

And onto things I like

The price, pretty obvious that one, but I paid 3.5k for the bike, which looking at current pricing is the deal of the decade imo.

The stock parts - whilst I have swapped out the suspension, the stock part are on point - the wheels have survived well, one set of new bearings a piece, but still running well and strong. They are basic DT Swiss wheels, still decent but distinctly average in terms of bling factor, but at no point have I thought of changing them. Same goes for the Brand X dropper, dirt cheap but bullet proof and when combined with a decent remote as good as any other post out there. Shimano drivetrain has been faultless, with only minor maintenance needed, and two cassettes replaced over 4000 miles. Chain wise I have been through 3 in that time. All frame bearings going strong, along with the original headset.

This bike is all about the riding, how it looks is secondary, and they haven't compromised the riding experience to try and make it look better.

The weight, or more importantly the weight placement. The bike is relatively light (mine is hovering around 22kg) compared to other long travel emtbs's, but more importantly the low BB combined with great geo and how the weight is placed in the frame, is what makes this bike ride so well. I have ridden so many EMTB's but this is still the easiest one to pick the front end up on that I have tried outside of the "lightweight" emtbs's like the Levo SL. This has two benefits, it makes the bike fun to ride, and also gives you more line options when riding - what do I mean by that? Well we all know that the added weight of EMTB's mean they can bulldoze through stuff that would buck a normal bike, and that's all good and fun for a while, but the easy to manoeuvre front end also means you are not restricted to just ploughing through stuff, you can also get funky to your heart desire, or in my case till I bin it! :cool:.

The Shimano motor - the system remains my favourite, for me I just stick it in trail and ride, it has the most natural feeling in terms of response and mimicking how pedal inputs etc effect a normal bike, the power ramps up nicely, it never kicks in unexpectedly or feels awkward on the trail. I love the fact the you can mix and match parts from the Shimano E-Mtb ecosystem, have no display if you want, have no mode switch if you want etc etc. Also the fact you can update the software via the app is great - the app itself is pretty limited, but it does all I need. My motor did develop a fault, but that was after 3000 miles in all weathers, and having seen friends with other motors have no end of problems the relative reliability of the system is a big plus.

Also aside from the messy cable routing, which can easily be sorted by a competent home mechanic, this bike is a doddle to work on, the simplicity of the design means its easy to work on, and the plug and play nature of the Shimano system means that is also easy to swap out part on.

Worst Mod

Putting 180mm forks on it - I put a set of 180mm Lyric RC2's on it, and rode it that way for about 6 months before shortening them back to 170mm and upgrading the damper to Ultimate spec. 10mm may not sound like much, but it made the front end vaguer, and want to lift up too much when climbing - there weren't any real benefits to the extra travel, I wasn't using it, so only downsides from my experience of doing this - now its back to 170mm its much better. Vitus new what they where going here and I was foolish to think I knew better :p. Of course for some people it might work, but not for me or my riding.

Best Mods

Meg Neg Can which I have discussed above

223mm Galfer Front rotor - this has been an awesome mod, I liked the stock Guide RE's, despite being a lifelong Shimano fan, and had fully expected to swap out the brakes to Siants at some point, however the Sram's worked well from the off so I never bothered - however I was interested to try a larger front rotor and went with the Galfer as it was the easiest to get hold of at the time. The braking now verges on brutal, I would do this mod to any EMTB. The front brake not only stops faster, but also modulates way better, and has better feel. Simple and cheap mod to do that is far more effective than swapping out the whole brake system.

160mm Cranks. Now I know @Gary will call me a southern pussy for this mod (and he is right when he says that getting used to the bike and good technique eliminates the need for this mod to a certain extent), but genuinely I haven't had a pedal strike since doing this, and the peace of mind in knowing its unlikely I will get one is good to have - I didn't get strikes going downhill before the mod, just on technical climbs. The newer version of the bike comes with shorter cranks as standard now, so I wouldn't need to do this Mod on a newer bike.

EW-EN100 wireless unit that replaces the display - this is a little connector that allows you to ditch the display, it currently on my E-Sentier as I smashed the display on that, but I love it as it cleans up the cockpit, I don't like cycle computers or anything distracting me.

EW-EN100

Michelin E-Wilds 2.6 - I love these tyres, burly as f@@k but still manage to be fast rolling, great in all conditions and yet to have a flat - tyre choice is personal but I love em.

Current Build

The bike is currently running these non standard parts:

  • 170mm Lyrik Ultimate
  • RS Super Deluxe with Meg Neg Can
  • Nukeproof Horizon Bars 30mm rise
  • Nukeproof Horizon 35mm stem
  • 160MM Miranda Cranks
  • Hope 36t Chain ring
  • HT pedals (cant remember which ones)
  • Deity knuckleduster grips
  • Galfer 223mm front rotor
  • Ergon DH saddle
  • One Up dropper remote
  • eBay special crank bolts
  • Fidlock Unibase water bottle system
  • Michelin E-Wild 2.6's
  • Shimano E7000 switch
  • Shimano EW-EN100 Wireless unit in place of display (not shown in pics as currently on my other bike)

IMG_0573.jpeg


IMG_0576.jpeg


IMG_0577.jpeg
 
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Gary

Old Tartan Bollocks
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I'm on 165mm cranks (standard length on 2019s). 8 of my bikes have 165s including my roadbike as I can spin them faster and they reduce knee pain.
Capra and bmx have 170s. Capra because YT used a shitty raceface bb/crank standard (but it refuses to die) and I honestly don't ride my bmx enough for it to matter.
I also probably run less sag than you (<27% rear, <20% front) as I like more support in the first place.
I've ridden the same bike (not an Ebike) with the same shock except one had Meg neg the other didn't and genuinely prefer the less sag smaller air can (no Meg neg) route. particularly for jumping/pumping. so I'm not going to berate you for running more sag and a 5mm shorter crank. It's afterall the entire reason DH bikes started running 165s 15 years back. ?

Good long term report. Cheers for taking the time. I agree with most of what you've said. So not much to add. Except I'm actually running a 170mm brand x Dropper on mine with a little room to insert it a tiny bit deeper (ooooh errr). 33" inseam flat pedal rider. I guess the massive seat mast on yours is stopping you fitting a 170. My 170 genuinely only makes manuals less nippy by giving a little more crotch clearance and I honestly never had a single issue riding anything with the 150mm drop I ran for over a year on my previous Esommet. (or the first 4months on this one) 150mm was absolutely fine for jumping or mega steep tech descending. and TBH if I bothered to learn how to drag a brake while manualling instead of brakeless (bmx style) I wouldn't actually need as slammed a saddle and as much movement room.
DSC_1833.JPG
 
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knut7

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I never rode the e-Sommet, but it's interesting to see how well the geometry has "aged". The BBH is some 330mm as far as I can tell? The 444mm CS is turning out to be a good compromise between handling and climbing, not many brands doing 430's at the moment. HA and SA is still looking pretty modern. I hope this frame will live on for 2021. Sticking with the external Shimano BT-E8010 battery - combined with the expected upcoming hopefully more lightweight Shimano motor - could make this one of the more lightweight emtbs on the market.
 

Master Link

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Dec 7, 2018
156
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Great and honest review? I have had my 2019 for 15 months now and haven’t changed a thing or had one problem with it so far (tempting fate saying that). I just do the normal maintenance and it is reliable. The one thing I found was that the bearings are cheap and I had to replace mine after 9 months. When I got mine it was already noted on the forum about the mud trap above the motor, so I immediately used duct tape to seal the area, I also used moto foam and also removed the motor covers and used grease on the seals to add extra protection. When I remove the covers during a check, the inside of the motor is spotless. All in all, very happy with the bike. I can’t see me replacing it with anything else for years to come.
 

R120

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I have been pretty fastidious with maintenance, whilst I dont care about the bike getting scratched up cosmetically (it has held up pretty well) as I like a bit of trail patina, I do clean it down thoroughly after each ride, and regularly check/service/clean all the bearings as necessary.

One of the best things for maintenance that I have bought, is a bike dryer, which is basically a glorified hairdryer, but it does get all the water out of the nooks and crannies, and blast loose dirt and crap out of the hard to reach places - I was actually pretty surprised my bearings had lasted so long, and put the fact they have down to using the bike dryer.

Having said I am not looking at doing any further mods, one thing that has always annoyed me is that the suspension hardware isn't black, and I think the newer bikes, and the replacement hardware kits CRC sell for the bike are now black, so I will likely change them over.
 

cjm_wales

Member
Mar 19, 2019
102
86
Cardiff
Love this write up.

I plan on keeping my E-Sommet VR for a long time. It'll take a lot of riding before I can ever honestly say 'this bike limits me'.

The only real niggles are the aforementioned motor crud trap, and the dropper post cable, which took a lot of fettling and a wolftooth lever to sort.

This bike makes me smile every time I ride it.
 

cjm_wales

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Mar 19, 2019
102
86
Cardiff
Sticking with the external Shimano BT-E8010 battery - combined with the expected upcoming hopefully more lightweight Shimano motor - could make this one of the more lightweight emtbs on the market.

I reckon shimano might put out a lighter replacement battery (less capacity, much less weight) to follow the lighter-is-better trend. And it'll be an easy swap.
 

knut7

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I reckon shimano might put out a lighter replacement battery (less capacity, much less weight) to follow the lighter-is-better trend. And it'll be an easy swap.
Yeah, they should do a 390Wh battery (30 cell 3600mAh) for both the external and internal formats. The external would be just over 2kg, and the internal would probably be just over 2,5kg which is about the same as the old external E8010 500Wh battery. These batteries will work with the E8000 and most likely with whatever the new motor is.
 

Shane(NZ)

Active member
Sep 4, 2019
179
140
NewZealand
Good honest writer up,glade its all going so well.
Was it 170mm fork as std?,I realise you upgaded to the lyric,which looks pretty smart with the colour scheme. have not seen this brand in NZ. what was the std crank length? I'm looking to go shorter too, mine has 170's

Cheers enjoy
 

R120

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Yes the model I have , which is a 2018 E-Sommet VR, came with a 170mm Lyric RC Solo Air out the box.

I swapped it out for a 2019 180mm Lyric RC2 (not going to lie, the red colour way was a big part of doing that). When I shortened the travel back to 170mm I also updated the internals to the latest charger damper, effectively turning it into an Ultimate.

Original cranks where 170mm
 

Cisco

Active member
May 1, 2018
186
182
Elderslie
Good write up!

My bike is about the same age, warranty up at end of April..It has done about 4K miles as well but it is on motor #3. Both the previous motors fell to the E010/W013 torque sensor issue, the first at about 2500 miles and the second 1000 miles later.

For both those issues, I persevered with the CRC warranty procedure which went ok once I got used to waiting :) Altogether our riding team have about eight E8000 motors with five or six of the same torque sensor issues, so tbh I am just waiting for the next failure.

Apart from that it's been a cracking bike. I was thinking to replace it this year with the Radon Render 10 as that looks like a good bet but I'm going to hold off for a bit with all the shit that is happening just now and if Shimano offer the new E9000 motor as a retro fit for a reasonable price (<£1k) I will go with that.

ATB Frank
 

R120

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Last winter I rode the bike through all conditions, but this winter, and going into this year, I have primarily used my E-Sentier to ride in bad conditions, or on my local trails, saving the E-Sommett for when I go over to Surrey Hills, so as to try and not expose the motor to too much crap.

However I suspect the reason for most shimano motor failures is down to riding the bikes hard, and them not handling the torque on the cranks/BB when the motor is put under lateral pressure during heavy riding, rather than any weather related issues if you do the right maintenance.

Screenshot 2020-04-04 at 12.40.17.png
 

mike425

Member
Jan 9, 2020
60
41
Sheffield
I am really liking my e sommet VRS, great review. With the longer dropper posts, does anyone have any experience with the medium sizes and fitting a longer drop? I wanted the medium size even though I am 6ft but I have measured the drop on my post and it is 120mm. Ideally I would like to fit a bigger drop post.
 

Zimmerframe

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I am really liking my e sommet VRS, great review. With the longer dropper posts, does anyone have any experience with the medium sizes and fitting a longer drop? I wanted the medium size even though I am 6ft but I have measured the drop on my post and it is 120mm. Ideally I would like to fit a bigger drop post.

I think Gary's is a small and he said he was running a 170.
 

RocketMagnet

Well-known member
Dec 16, 2018
166
134
UK
I've had and got "Super Bikes" decked out in top end spec gear and was surprised at how well this bikes rides in comparison. The E Sommet VR cured me of my Fox fanboy as the fork and deluxe rear shock are IMO better than their comparable Fox Factory variant 2019/2020. I just set them up on my VR and that was it done.. I've been constantly fiddling with my Fox Factory Forks and DPX2 in comparison. I'll be honest on timed DH sections I'm a fair bit quicker on my Santacruz but that's mainly due to the weight and my ability wrt this. However the VR is fantastic to ride, I've even used it on XC rides in the Lake District and getting a bike with so much travel up some of those monster climbs and the big rocky descents is just brilliant.

I personally had some difficulties jumping on the VR and still do to some extent but it was just practice.. though due to me not being the best I'm impacted more by the weight I think.
I've kept the bike clean and wash after every ride, dry off, use a compressor and cloths then contact cleaner and so far no issues. I did strip the bike down on receipt as I didn't trust it was all correct and I like to know specific bolts are Torqued properly and threadlock where appropriate.

As for upgrades I thought I was going to change out lots of stuff but in the end I've only changed the grips and put a Tyreinvader in the rear and put on some RRP mudguards. I also changed out the Dropper lever for a Wolftooth as I much prefer the latter. I also thought I would change out the brakes but they are great stock though the bike is definitely harder to slow down than my other bikes due to the weight but they are great. I also got the bike Invisiframed to protect the paintwork both aesthetically and the paints job is to protect the metal underneath. The dropper post is good for the price and works fine but the return is a bit slow IMO... still gets the job done and so far has been reliable (Its cheaper than a service on my Fox Droppers including postage)

As I ride in the Lakes it's pretty rocky (hence the Tyre invader) and the wheels have held up well, I normally ding and scuff up wheels pretty badly but as you don't get pinged about as much? they are doing well. Just thinking about it now I've never fell off the VR.

I can do most maintenance myself so a direct sales isn't that bad for me personally. If I had an issue with the motor I would go through my LBS and not bother with Wiggle other than a frame defect, the rest is IMO my responsibility to maintain or just consumables. If your not as good at the home maintenance or are not prepared to learn then spending more on a store bought bike with the direct support may be the best choice IMO.

I personally turned down the assist on Turbo and still never use it as it's just too much and uses more battery than it's worth IMO. I thought the VR would ruin my enjoyment of my normal bikes .. but it didn't it's just another option for me.

My main complaint was the delivery with poor packaging on the first bike resulting in damage (I returned the bike). Also the price is starting to creep up and the no brainer value they were has been eroded somewhat and I suspect a major revamp for the next years model.
 

R120

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The dropper post is good for the price and works fine but the return is a bit slow IMO... still gets the job done and so far has been reliable (Its cheaper than a service on my Fox Droppers including postage)
.

Try putting a bit more air in the dropper - mine started slowing up after a year and I just pumped it back up a bit more
 

R120

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I am really liking my e sommet VRS, great review. With the longer dropper posts, does anyone have any experience with the medium sizes and fitting a longer drop? I wanted the medium size even though I am 6ft but I have measured the drop on my post and it is 120mm. Ideally I would like to fit a bigger drop post.
The issue is that there is a little tab at the bottom of the seat tube to stop you over inserting the post and hitting the shock, this means that there is a limit to how far you can insert a post - e.g on my size l if I try my 170mm One Up I cant get it in enough so that when fully extendedly feet still touch the pedals.

If you are taller on a a smaller size like @Gary then then you probably can make it work.
 

Gary

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150mm drop will fit no probs. Whether a 170mm will or won't will depend on the brand of Dropper, the stack height of your saddle, your inseam, crank length, pedals and whether you run your saddle height at full extension when pedalling (like you would on a roadbike)
 

R120

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If you take off the seat clamps you can access the valve, its under a rubber bung - however I believe only some of the Brand X post have this feature, not sure why, might have been a design change along the line somewhere.
 

R120

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Good question! Can remember but It either gives a range on a sticker somewhere on the post, or I googled it. I pumped it back up to just below the max recommended IIRC
 

R120

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Just checked on mine (150mm) and it has the valve, and also recommended pressure printed on the top of the seat mast. So I guess if it has the pressure guide on it you can tell if it has the valve.

Screenshot 2020-04-07 at 11.19.33.png


Screenshot 2020-04-07 at 11.23.42.png
 

R120

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Looking at my pics look like I have my clamp on back to front o_O - something to take up some time today :LOL:
 

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