Newbie needs advice on Vitus 979

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by BigEd, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. BigEd

    BigEd New Member

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    Let me start off by saying that this is my first post and I am really happy that I found this site. I have been a serious mountain biker since 1997 and I have recently aquired an interest in road bikes. Recently a friend gave me a Vitus 979 that had been hanging in his garage since 1990. He bought this bike new in the early 80's (I think) and literally stopped riding it in 1990 when he fell off of it due to a head-on collision with a small kid that darted out in front of him on a bike path at some beach.

    Anyways, the frame is in very good condition aside from some small nicks and scratches from normal use. Suprisingly the frame did not suffer any damage in the accident although the front rim looks bent and my friend also thinks that the fork might be bent too ( I could not find anything wrong with it upon close examination.) The front and rear brakes and hardware are missing as well as the seat and pedals. The crank and head set is Shimano 600. The front and rear derailers are Suntour Cyclone. The front and rear rims and hubs are of unknown origin as well as the stem, handlebar, and seat post. I think the shift levers are also Shimano. It has Specilaized racing tires, but along with the tubes thay are probably rotten from age.

    Can anyone tell me if this bike is worthing bringing up to date. The frame looks really trick and it is very light. My knowledge of road bikes and parts is very limited so I need some good advice. What would it cost to bring this bike up to rideable condition with lets say "middle of the road" parts? I basically commute to and from work on my mountain bikes which is about 50 miles weekly and I am planning on riding an additional 75-100 miles on the weekends once I get a road bike.
     
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  2. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    Why don't you just clean it up and ride it like it is. If it's 7 speed, the rear dropout spacing is probably 126mm, and current 8,9, and 10 speed uses 130. Aluminum stays do not like being bent. And same goes for fork if involved in a crash. I would not spend anything on it.
     
  3. Gonzo Bob

    Gonzo Bob New Member

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    Hey, I've got a Vitus 979 from the mid-80s. Extremely light for its day but it has long been surpassed by carbon fibre and large diameter aluminum frames. I'm still running the original components on it since it has 126mm rear dropout spacing and aluminum frames should not be spread.

    What kind of rear hub - cassette or freewheel? 120mm or 126mm OLD? Probably not indexed shifting as that was not available until 1985 on Dura-ace and 1986 for 600 (plus it has Suntour derailers). But you don't *need* indexed shifting. If rear hub is 126mm, you may be able to put on a 7-speed cassette or freewheel and get some used or new-old-stock 7-speed indexed shifters. 8-speed shifters would probaby even work as the spacing is almost the same. But if you get Shimano indexed levers, you'd also need to get a Shimano rear derailer. The Suntour and Shimano stuff have different cable travel requirements.
     
  4. thowe

    thowe New Member

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    I would consider upgrading the frame. Throw all the components, except for salvagable ones, into a bin for some other use.

    I purchased a new Vitus frame (600 bucks!) and completed it with shimano 600 group, ambrosia wheels etc in 1986. At that time, the bike was the lightest and most "tricked" out on the road. I lived in the mtns and put many miles on this original setup, some racing and hill climbing. All in all, I estimate > 10000 miles on it over the years. Vitus was ahead of its time in glueing these aluminum tubes and joints. You will hear naysayers speak of the glue failing at the joints etc but I never experienced any problems. I should point out, I used the bike to do several state rides, RAGBRAI across Iowa, ride of the rockies and BRAG across georgia.

    2 springs ago as I was almost home from a ride, the fork broke near the top of the threading. I walked it home, next day purchased a new front end with a look carbon fork, deda headset and bars. It worked like a champ again, funky, the rear triangle flex with a stiff front was a new experince.

    I purchased a monocoque carbon frame last year and ride it primarlily now. I have since put the vitus it on the wall, ride it once in awhile and will continue to do so. Vitus inc. was bought out by Time in 1989 so the bikes all got absorbed by their product line.

    hope this helps.
     
  5. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    You never spread the rear triangle for wider current hubs either. not recommended for Al.
     
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