Bike Check: Kyle Strait’s Custom Vitus Escarpe Slalom Build

Pro mountain biker Kyle Strait works on his Vitus Escarpe MTB.

Kyle Strait’s success as one of the world’s premier gravity athletes hasn’t come by chance. With a career spanning over two decades, including two Red Bull Rampage wins and podiums in slopestyle, dual slalom, dirt jump, speed and style, enduro, and downhill, Strait has figured out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to finding top speed on dirt. The SoCal-based rider is keenly aware of the impact bike setup can have on the results sheet. We have been working closely with Kyle to craft a ripping slalom race bike.

Kyle Strait's custom Vitus Escarpe 27 mountain bike.

It all starts with our playful trail bike, the Vitus Escarpe 27, in Racing Green. Strait opted for the size medium frame and set the adjustable flip chip in the low setting for a lower bottom bracket, with an angle headset installed to steepen the head angle by 1 degree. This results in a mega-low setting which allows Strait to push into turns at tearjerking speeds.

Kyle Strait's custom Vitus Escarpe 27 mountain bike.

The standard carbon rear of the Escarpe is designed for on-trail compliance, but a pure slalom bike needs to maximize stiffness. We’re fabricating Kyle a custom aluminum rear end for the bike, making it super-stiff with short 420mm chainstays that’ll allow Strait to snap through the deep corners at Strait Acres, his private training and testing ground in Alpine, California. The custom rear is still in the works, so Kyle will be running the stock carbon rear until the aluminum mod arrives.

Custom 7spd SRAM X01 AXS on Kyle Strait's custom Vitus Escarpe 27 mountain bike.

The SRAM X01 AXS derailleur is garage-modified with a short cage for a 7-speed drivetrain. Kyle enjoys the precise shifting of wireless – when every fraction of a second counts, quick shifting is crucial.  

Rockshox Pike on Kyle Strait's custom Vitus Escarpe 27 mountain bike.

Kyle chose a Stan’s NoTubes Arch MK4 rim for slalom because the thinner 28.4mm internal diameter of the front rim creates a rounder front tire profile for better steering stability. The rear rim, a Stans NoTubes Flow CB7 with a wider internal diameter of 29mm, gives the rear tire a squarer profile for better grip. The suspension travel has been limited to 140mm front and 121mm rear – made possible with a shorter stroke shock – resulting in a quick-handling, responsive and poppy ride.

SDG Bel-Air III saddle on Kyle Strait's custom Vitus Escarpe 27 mountain bike.
Deity Components bars and Sensus grips on Kyle Strait's custom Vitus Escarpe 27 mountain bike.

This one-of-a-kind bike is finished off with signature touchpoints: an SDG Bel-Air III saddle and Meaty Paw grips from Sensus, both of which were developed by Kyle himself.

Stans NoTubes Arch and Flow wheels with Onyx Vesper hubs on Strait's custom Vitus Escarpe 27 mountain bike.

Vitus is thrilled to partner up with the big dog of gravity, Kyle Strait, and we look forward to watching him throughout the coming year. All the nitty-gritty on Kyle’s customized Escarpe 27 can be found below.

Kyle Strait on his custom Vitus Escarpe 27 mountain bike.
  • Frame: Vitus Escarpe 27
    • Flip chip in the low setting
    • Forthcoming Vitus custom aluminum rear triangle, 420mm chainstay length 
  • Fork: RockShox Pike Ultimate
    • Set at 140mm. 125psi, 3 clicks HSC, 7 clicks LSC
  • Rear shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
    • 200 psi, 8 clicks LSC, medium tune
    • 205 x 50mm trunnion for 121mm travel
  • Headset: Angle headset, +1 degree
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 AXS DH 7-speed (garage made)
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 Ultimate, 180mm rotors
  • Front wheel: Onyx Vesper hub, Stan’s NoTubes Arch 27.5 front rim
  • Rear wheel: Onyx Vesper hub, Stan’s NoTubes Flow CB7 27.5 rear rim
  • Front tire: Kenda Pinner ATC 2.4x27.5
  • Rear tire: Kenda Karma 2 2.4x27.5
  • Crankset: SRAM X01 DH cranks 165mm, SRAM 32 tooth chainring
  • Bars: Deity Black Label bar cut at 780mm
  • Stem: Deity Copperhead stem
  • Saddle: SDG Bel-Air III, Strait Acres Edition
  • Grips: Sensus Meaty Paw grips
  • Pedals: Sensus Crue pedals