Another Vitus 979 has landed in our shop. This one belongs to Raditya “Ottid” Wisnuwardhana, and this time the brief was to turn this classic racing machine into a more urban environment friendly steed: a townie.
The 979 frame is believed to be the lightest production frame available for several years since its introduction in 1986. Easily recognisable from its bonded lugs and anodized colours, this frame is also known as one of the most flexible high end road frames of the past two decades. This characteristic means supple ride for lighter riders, but wobbly feel for strong or heavier riders. Although we might want to take account for Sean Kelly’s win aboard the 979 in 1988 Vuelta a Espana and green jersey at 1989 Tour de France, which might indicate that stiffer frames aren’t always better.
This 53cm Vitus 979 is already equipped with early to mid ‘80s Campagnolo Super Record group and Mavic GP4 tubular rims. Since the intention was to provide extra comfort while dealing with city traffic the rims have to make way for a pair of mint Araya VX-400, laced to the Record hubset with Richman double-butted spokes in 3-cross pattern. 28mm Panaracer Pasela tires add another degree of comfort to the already supple frame. Aside from thorough cleaning and setup on the Super Record group, we feel the need of replacing the worn out brakepads with modern type that uses special rubber coumpound to prevent scratching on the rim sidewalls.
|28mm is the fattest size we can squeeze through 979's tight seatstays and chainstays.|
A townie is nothing without upright handlebar, comfortable saddle, and front rack to add the versatility. Replacing the 3TTT dropbar with a Velo Orange Postino was a snap, but the 979’s racing pedigree means the frame doesn’t have the means necessary to install the Wald basket. We ended up making custom strut to connect the basket’s lower mounting to the brake hole in the fork, creating simple and clean look. We also keep the basket as low as possible to retain the original handling characteristic. Velo Orange City brake levers and Dimension cork grips tops up the cockpit setup nicely, while a well-worn Brooks B17 replaced the original Selle Italia Turbo.
We immediately take this bike to the street after all these makeovers. The handling was surprising: the agility of a racing frame combined with upright riding position and added comfort. You can’t have a blast on this bike without a slight of smile on your face, literally.