Available exclusively through Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, the Auro is the sole TT/triathlon bike in Vitus’ extensive range, and is now being ridden by two-time ITU world champion Helen Jenkins as she moves into Ironman 70.3 racing.
- How does riding a triathlon bike differ to riding a road bike?
- When should I upgrade to a tri bike?
- What’s the difference between a triathlon bike and a time trial bike?
There are just two Auro models, both with the same T700 unidirectional full carbon frame, and ours is the range-topper featuring a SRAM Force eTap AXS 12-speed electronic groupset, plus SRAM’s eTap CLICS performing shifts from the aerobars. You also get deep-dish carbon wheels from Prime (another Wiggle/CRC exclusive brand), Zipp base bars and extensions, and direct-mount rim brakes from Tektro, with the full bike weighing in at 8.95kg.
The Auro is UCI-legal, which means it can be used for competitive time trials and triathlon. UCI compliancy does mean that integrated triathlon-specific accessories such as storage boxes and hydration systems aren’t supplied. The flush top tube/stem combo does limit front-end storage options, although there are universal hydration systems and top-tube bags that’ll fit. When we pressed further about the Auro’s suitability for triathlon, Vitus accepted that it’s perhaps not middle or Iron-distance ready out of the box – but with an additional rear-mounted bottle cage system and space for two bottles in the middle, it’s possible to carry plenty of spares and hydration with added extras.
On the road, it becomes clear the Auro isn’t a bike for sitting back and enjoying the scenery. The 85mm rear/60mm front wheels are as deep as most of us would go when there’s wind to contend with, yet we found them impressively stable in crosswinds. A set of rather average Continental Ultrasport II tyres would be worth an upgrade if you want to extract every last watt, but it’s reliable rubber and fine for British roads.
A head-tube length of 9cm on a large frame sets the base bars down low, and the geometry is on the aggressive side with a 78° seat angle, 73° head angle and 41.6cm of reach. The seat and head angles are even steeper than Specialized’s Shiv, suggesting this is a thoroughbred racer. Vitus recommend that triathletes add additional risers and longer bolts to elevate the front end for a comfier position.
The minimal grip on the base bars is another indication that the Auro isn’t made for sitting up. An undulating ride where we made more use of the base bars left our palms blistered, so we’d advise additional bar tape further down the bars (it’s something Helen Jenkins appears to have done judging by the photos of her Auro on social media).
SRAM’s eTap shifting is ideal for tri, with a 12-speed, 10-28t cassette paired with a 48t chainring providing plenty of gearing options. We found it was imperative this was set up to shift sequentially on the eTap app, meaning the system takes care of your front derailleur shifting when necessary, rather than having to double tap on the CLICS. You can also purchase SRAM eTap Blips separately if you want shifting options from your base bars.
Travelling with the Auro and making adjustments is fairly stress-free with a plastic cover concealing the stem cap that can be removed via two small bolts. A bottom bracket-mounted rear brake isn’t the easiest to tinker with, but the front brake is on show for easy adjustment and the direct-mount style makes up for an aerodynamic penalty over concealed front brakes.
Overall, the Auro begs to be ridden as fast as possible. It certainly isn’t built for a relaxing ride, and for the vast majority of triathletes some adjustments will need to be made if you want to use it for middle-distance tri or longer.
Verdict: The Vitus Auro is good value compared to others at a similar price point, due to the carbon race wheels and cutting edge 12-speed electronic shifting. It’s very aggressive and isn’t ideal for long-course racing, so loses marks for its lack of versatility. 82%
More or less to spend?
The Auro with a mechanical Shimano Ultegra groupset comes in at £2,999.99. While our test bike with SRAM eTap shifting is the highest spec available, Vitus’ top-of-the-range ZX-1 aero road bike with SRAM Red eTap AXS shifting will set you back £5,199.99.