Thursday, October 1, 2015

2010 circa Vitus Taillefer

Building a bike is not rocket science. With a fair amount of experience and proper tools, it doesn't take much to build a bike from scratch. The challenge is finding the 'right' one to build. Over the years, I have build, break-up and re-build many bikes. The time has come for me to be more discerning about building bikes that says something about its origin, evoke and convey an emotion and rides beautifully because after all, bikes are meant to be ridden. This is the challenge and in today's environment where bikes are a dime a dozen, finding that special frame is like striking the lottery. 

Vitus Bikes have a long heritage in road cycling and have racked up quite a few Pro Tour stage wins over the years with riding greats such as Irish road cycling star Sean Kelly who claimed stage victories in the Tour de France onboard a Vitus bike. Vitus pioneered the bonding process that is now widely used in the manufacture of carbon frames and this process has been developed and refined and is still utilized in all high end Vitus Carbon Fibre road bikes. In recent years Vitus has had close collaboration with French DH super star Christian Taillefer in designing their range of MTBs. Through sound design concepts through to the use of high grade aerospace alloy and carbon fibre you can be sure that each and every Vitus bike has been designed to provide the perfect balance between performance, function and style. 

Amidst all the advertisements in the classified ads, this frame stood out. It is a hardtail frame by MTB legend Christian Taillefer. I did some googling and discovered that he was once a downhill legend in France. Well, he must have been really good for Vitus to engage him in designing a frame. And what a frame came from that collaboration! See for yourself in the following pictures:

The seat tube is the first thing that caught my eye. Rather than a straight tube like most others, this one is made up of 2 parts. Why? This arrangement creates a steeper angle for the seat tube and at the same time, actually shortens the chainstay so that the wheel is more directly underneath the rider. Makes sense but only saddle time will tell.

Look at the reinforcement on the head tube. This frame is definitely designed to take on a lot of punishment and with Christian's background in downhill racing, this is not surprising. 

The frame takes a standard 68mm bottom bracket. 

One variant.

Another variant. 

Cable holders are placed in unexpected places on the frame.

Have you ever seen a rear hanger arrangement like this before?

Vitus did the right thing!

This is just the beginning. The process is going to be an exciting one when part by part, they make the bike whole. This one is going to be really special. Stay tuned.

Features: • Standard 1 1/8” headset • Replaceable mech hanger • Seatpost – 30.9mm • Seatclamp – 35.8mm • BB Width – 68mm • Brake Type - Disc and V-Brake Tabs • Headtube length – 125mm • Toptube length c/c (40cm frame) – 55cm • Weight (40cm Frame) – 2.44Kg

Finally, after months of sitting in the room, the bike was taken out for its first ride. One word, awesome! While the central idea for the bike was for DH purposes, it was a breeze to ride on the road. The long top tube provided space to stretch out and hunkered down. With a short stem, the riding position suited my style of riding. This is one bike you can ride around the whole day and not feel tired. 

I might replace the 1 x 10 Shimano Zee drivetrain for a 2 x 10 Deore drivetrain. That will give me a higher gear ratio for road riding and with the smaller chain ring, I can hit the trails without any problems.

The only complain is regarding the brakes. For some strange reasons, there is a 'wavy' sensation on the brake levers. The rotors are probably bent. Simple fix.

Never for sale....

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