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View Full Version : Vitus/Alan bonded aluminium frames.


thinpin
03-26-2012, 05:08 PM
Cycle_chic's thread reminded me of a question I wanted to pop a while back. I have a hankering to try a Vitus or Alan lugged aluminium bike. I remember seeing somewhere the bonding on some of these can be an issue now. I think Alan frames were screw and glue. Anyone any experience of anecdotes to tell regarding current use of these frames?

Peter P.
03-26-2012, 05:24 PM
I have a friend who is a strong, fireplug built, sprinter. He loved his Vitus frames for their comfort, and never complained that they were unsuitable for sprinting.

He owned 2 of the Vitus 979s. When the first one failed, he liked it so much he bought another. Only after the replacement failed several years later did he decide to try something else although he would have bought a third if they were still current technology.

The first frame cracked where the downtube meets the one-piece headtube. The replacement frame's fork leg came unglued, without harm or accident to the rider.

The frame's rear spacing is flexible enough to accommodate 130mm rear hubs. The spacing should not be cold set as it's aluminum. The frames usually use a 25.0mm seatpost, I believe. Sometimes the seatpost binder screw can seize in the seat lug if not lubricated, so verify before you buy.

thinpin
03-26-2012, 05:45 PM
I have a friend who is a strong, fireplug built, sprinter. He loved his Vitus frames for their comfort, and never complained that they were unsuitable for sprinting.

He owned 2 of the Vitus 979s. When the first one failed, he liked it so much he bought another. Only after the replacement failed several years later did he decide to try something else although he would have bought a third if they were still current technology.

The first frame cracked where the downtube meets the one-piece headtube. The replacement frame's fork leg came unglued, without harm or accident to the rider.

The frame's rear spacing is flexible enough to accommodate 130mm rear hubs. The spacing should not be cold set as it's aluminum. The frames usually use a 25.0mm seatpost, I believe. Sometimes the seatpost binder screw can seize in the seat lug if not lubricated, so verify before you buy.
This is enough to but me off of a vitus.

christian
03-26-2012, 06:05 PM
My dad has one of the glued Alan carbon jobbies with the aluminum lugs. Shimano 600 8-sp. Rides it to this day. Very light and nice ride. Not very stiff, though.

I had 2 979s when I was racing in college. They were ok, but there's plenty of better bikes out there today.

thinpin
03-26-2012, 06:15 PM
My dad has one of the glued Alan carbon jobbies with the aluminum lugs. Shimano 600 8-sp. Rides it to this day. Very light and nice ride. Not very stiff, though.

I had 2 979s when I was racing in college. They were ok, but there's plenty of better bikes out there today.
I dont doubt there are better bikes, just curious to try one out. Some of he anodising on these frame looks really special.

christian
03-26-2012, 06:17 PM
I dont doubt there are better bikes, just curious to try one out. Some of he anodising on these frame looks really special.Should say, I do quite like them. The 997 looks cool too, with that fat head tube. At the prices they go for today, it's worth buying one, riding it, and selling it if you don't like it. Worst case, that'd probably cost you something like $100 if you buy and sell as a complete.

cachagua
03-26-2012, 06:50 PM
Didn't Sean Kelly used to ride the bonded-alminum frames? I remember thinking that if one of the most feared sprinters around rode a frame that everyone knows was a noodle, then frame stiffness must not be the end-all and be-all...

That was in the 80s, when it might have meant something to me. Mattress firmness means far more, nowadays...

thinpin
03-26-2012, 07:36 PM
Mattress firmness means far more, nowadays...:D:D

Yes Kelly did ride them, part of the reason I'd be keen to have one. Kelly was a hero of mine and I wanted one of those bikes badly back then.

ultraman6970
03-26-2012, 08:15 PM
Knew two sprinters in my country that liked them a lot for the comfort. Durability was another story because usually after a year the frames were trash and needed to be sent back to italy to get them reglued.

One thing tho, the quality of frames sent to the US and the other countries was different, we noticed one alan bought in the US back in the day and the fork was reinforced big time, the junky fork sent to south america after 6 months was cracked and after a year 1 or 2 frame tubes was lose for sure. Not the same to lose a market of 5000 bikes per year than lose a market of 250 frames a year. People liked them but durability was another issue at least in my country and other neighbor countries i raced at back in the day.

As for the irish guy, well sure he never got a problem, because for sure he was getting a float of frames for the year, doubt he used always the same frame and when that one gave up or something, it was going to the trash and replaced right away. Common guys like us can't do that.

Louis
03-26-2012, 08:24 PM
Those 979 bonded joints are way, way old.

My 979 is going to be wall art.

AngryScientist
03-26-2012, 08:50 PM
wow - wrong section...

Fixed
03-26-2012, 08:55 PM
:D:D

Yes Kelly did ride them, part of the reason I'd be keen to have one. Kelly was a hero of mine and I wanted one of those bikes badly back then.
he never looked comfy on one but he did go
cheers :)

bargainguy
03-26-2012, 09:15 PM
I had a 979 until last year. One of the most comfortable bikes I've ever ridden. Kind of hard to believe aluminum can ride like this, especially if you're used to ultra-stiff C-dale, Klein etc.

Some of the "wet noodle" criticism may come from larger frames with riders who were mashers rather than spinners. I didn't get appreciable lateral flex from mine, but at 5'4 / 125 not exactly a heavyweight.

Don

nm87710
03-26-2012, 11:04 PM
Old Skool

John M
03-27-2012, 09:05 AM
I had a 979 Vitus I rode for 20+ years. The joints were still solid. Not the stiffest frame, but a smooth riding an very nice looking bike. I have no idea on the shelf life of those bonds.

Kylide
03-27-2012, 03:01 PM
I just recently passed on a blue ano'd Vitus for $35. The der. hanger was bent so I was thinking to build it us as a townie, but I have heard mostly bad things about those frames and the bonding. They are beautiful looking frames, but I didn't want to take that risk.

Ken C
03-27-2012, 06:30 PM
Raced for Motobecane (the original French Co) on a Motobecane labeled Vitus built 979 frame in 1984. I'd say the team went through at least a dozen forks and equal number of frames for six riders with two bikes each over the season. I'm not a big/power guy and experienced a tt/ht come undone as well as a fork bond start to come apart. Motobecane just sent new ones. No crashes for anyone but the team did go back to steel frames (Echelon) for 1985. When looking up the definition for "bottom bracket flex" it should say see Vitus 979...

My father in law found one in a pawn shop in really good condition with simplex 610. It looks like it was used for less than a few thousand miles. I use it as my bar/beater bike. It is fun, but with that fork I wouldn't want to ever take it down hill above 25mph.

thinpin
03-27-2012, 06:33 PM
I've gone off the idea now!

singlecross
03-27-2012, 07:31 PM
I had a screwed and glued AlAn cross bike for a few years. Very comfortable ride with some flex to it in a 54cm. Remember that the AlAn's were World Champion cyclocross bike back in the day so they could take some bumps and knocks. Don't know about Vitus...

singlecross