Best Budget Hardtail Mountain Bike – Vitus Nucleus

Are you looking for your first hardtail mountain bike? Well look no further as we ride and test out the MBR award winning Vitus Nucleus! A bike that not only looks good when you are ripping through the trails but is built to last with great set of components to keep you riding for longer!

Every year without fail, Vitus has tweaked the Nucleus to ensure that it stays ahead of the competition. So, what makes the Vitus Nucleus so good and why should you be adding this bike to your shopping basket?

Let’s take a look at this awesome hardtail…

Vitus Nucleus – at a glance:

  • Frame: 6061-T6 Aluminium Alloy
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCR32 100mm travel fork with air spring
  • Groupset: Box 1×8 speed drivetrain 
  • Wheel Size: 29″ & 27.5″
  • Available Size: S, M, L and XL
  • Colour: Velocity Blue, Oryx Grey and Black
  • Weight: 13.5kg (Medium)

Vitus Nucleus VRS

  • Wheel Size: 29″ & 27.5″
  • Groupset: Shimano Deore
  • Price: £799.99

Vitus Nucleus VR

  • Wheel Size: 29″ & 27.5″
  • Groupset: Box 1×8 speed
  • Price: £649.99

Vitus Nucleus VRW

  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Groupset: Box 1×8 speed
  • Price: £649.99

Overview – Vitus Nucleus

Overview - Vitus Nucleus
Vitus Nucleus - Frame


The versatile Nucleus has a tried and tested geometry which has helped it earn best Hardtail of the Year four times in a row by MBR Magazine.

Rocking a lightweight and durable 6061-T6 Aluminium Alloy frame that gives you confidence in the trails with twists and turns, rises and falls.

Vitus Nucleus - Groupset


On the model we have tested – Nucleus 29 VR – there is a Box Four 1×8 speed drivetrain with narrow wide chainring and clutch rear mech.

A durable, reliable and high quality drivetrain ensures gear shifting is fast, light and responsive for when you’re tackling the uphills or the gnarly descents.

Vitus Nucleus - Fork

Fork & Braking

If this is your first hardtail or you’re looking to update the old one, this Nucleus rocks the terrain-smoothing SR Suntour XCR32 air spring front fork; with the beauty of a lockout on the top of the fork to make it a climbing beast!

On the way downhill, the Vitus Nucleus ensures you have responsive brakes no matter the conditions as it rocks the Clarks M2 hydraulic disc brakes.

Vitus Nucleus - Wheels & Tyres

Wheels & Tyres

The VR version of the Nucleus comes in both a 27.5″ or 29″ wheel bikes, so depending on your own personal preference you can choose a wheel size to suit you!

To keep you rolling the Nucleus is equipped with WTB i30 TCS 2.0 rims and fitted with Maxxis Ardent tyres.

Vitus Nucleus - Other Components

Other components

To finish off the bike, Vitus have added some reliable components which if desired can be upgraded to suit your needs. Fitted with Nukeproof Neutron V2 Riser handlebars, Nukeproof Neutron saddle and Vitus 6061 Alloy seatpost.

The Nucleus also comes with internal cable routing for a dropper post meaning if you want to upgrade in the future, you can.

Check out some of our other relevant articles!

Mountain Bike Buying Guide
6 Ways Your Mountain Bike Setup is WRONG!

Tried and Tested – Vitus Nucleus

Our very own Matt recently got the chance to take the 2022 Vitus Nucleus for a rip through the local trail centre.

That was the first proper big bit of downhill done and it was an absolute blast. You can really tell that this frame has been built to be as confidence inspiring as possible. Everything just came together…gear shifting was positive, the brakes, ok, they aren’t going to be perfect straight out of the box because you’ve got to bed them in but after a while they were really really good coming into some of them fast corners.

For the full review click the video below:

If you want to see our other range of Hardtail MTB bikes available, click below:

Tom Adams

Tom is a bike enthusiast! Originally a mountain biker, Tom enjoys going fast on two wheels, whether it's on the road or on the gravel, mountain bike or commuting! Tom has been riding bikes for almost 18 years and loves nothing more than getting out on the roads or trails and testing out the newest and most innovative things on the Chain Reaction website!

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