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Few entry level bikes boast genuine trail ready geometry, so we review the Vitus Nucleus VRS to see if the number add up to make it your best first mountain bike.

vitus nucleus vrs
Best for...
Your first bike to take on serious trail riding
Overall Score
Trail ready geometry at a rock bottom price
Limited components lifespan, but done to a price

There has been a tendency in the past for manufacturers to assume that entry level riders won't want to take on serious mountain biking, rather sticking to easy trails and pottering around towns. This leads to them specifying steeper, more racey geometry suitable for these pursuits. Vitus have received awards for doing quite the opposite with the Nucleus range, specifying surprisingly aggressive trail geometry and a finishing kit that support advanced offroad riding.

Of course it is done on a budget, and £600 is about the least you could expect to spend and get a functional mountain bike that will take more than a few months of trail abuse. As such the drivetrain is a mix of very basic Shimano Acera with Suntour chainset, with the fork being a 120mm Rockshox Silver TK Air. Braking is taken care of by 160mm Tektro M290s front and back. It would all have a finite lifespan when thrashed offroad, but then you have the comfort in knowing the frame is good enough to warrant replacing the bits should you throw yourself into mountain biking to that degree.

That is why the Nucleus is a cracking first bike - it has the capability to throw you deep down the rabbit hole of mountain biking enjoyment without breaking the bank. Where many entry level bikes may just have scared you to death as you progressed onto more technical trails the Nucleus would carry you through wanting more.

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