The Retro Weight Weenie - Vitus 979

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themidge
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by themidge

Vitus 979 - Andre Bertin
I've finally got around to building up my absolute favourite frame, it's been way too long but I finally have all the tools I need on order (or in the lbs). To say I'm excited would be a massive understatement!
A bit of back story: this is my second Vitus frame. The first one (badged as a 'Benotto', see my sig) I bought five years ago because I really wanted a retro bike, and I loved riding it so much. It was also my first experience of tubular tyres which was, shall we say, a learning experience. Unfortunately it was a 52 so I grew out of it a little while ago and bought the exact same white frame in a 56, although this time in a more future-proof size 56. That was in February 2019, so even with a complication with the fork steerer threads it's taken me a hot minute to get around to building it up.
I'm definitely biased, but I honestly can't think of a better-looking frame :D.
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It was common practice in the 80s for bike shops to badge up frames as their own, Andre Bertin was a prominent French bike shop.
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Since I'm basically doing a frame swap, I have all of the parts, updates to follow as I get them installed. There are a couple of changes though. Firstly, replacing the supremely uncomfortable Vetta saddle (wrong shape, too much padding), is a Smud, 69g nice of Polish carbon goodness, thanks to @campagowlo.
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Obviously it's a modern part, but I think the shape helps it fit quite well with the rest of the bike. The seatpost is also modern, a carry-over from growing out of the old frame, so it needs cutting down now that I don't need all the extra length. The goal with this build is to have a really nice retro bike that I can take out on a sunny sunday, and since it's a race bike it'll go fast every now and then. Consessions to modernity include the saddle, clipless pedals, and recording the rides on strava :P.
Last edited by themidge on Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RowdyBurns
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by RowdyBurns

Looks great - I am still new here. Can you give some more details on where/how to get that saddle? Do you like it? How much do you weigh?

by Weenie


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themidge
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by themidge

Thanks! I'm afraid I literally just got the saddle today, so can't really give a review. The weight limit is 85kg and I weigh a bit less than 60, so there shouldn't be any problems there. Here's the link to their website: http://www.smud-carbon.eu/saddle.html. I'll do a review once I've been able to ride it for a while.

Geoff
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by Geoff

Ok, that's nice.

Andre Bertin was a 6-day rider before the war. After the war, he was actually a manufacturer, not a retailer. He produced bikes in St. Laurant-Blangy. In my city, an LBS called Vitasport sold Bertin, so it became very well-known here. I have wanted to add a 60s-vintage Cycles Bertin professional bike to my collection for many years, but have not come across a good one. Nice find!

HumanReason
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by HumanReason

Hello fellow retro-weenie, beautiful frame. What group are you putting on the bike?

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themidge
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by themidge

Thanks guys :)

@Geoff, thanks for the info! Cool to hear that Bertin also manufactured frames; since I had seen his name on such a wide variety of bikes I had assumed they were all rebadged. The rainbow stripes on the frame surely denote (as they do for Colnago) that a rider using a Bertin bike won the world championship, but I haven't been able to find out who this was if that's the case

@HumanReason, I'll go through the groupset once I get to that stage of the build, but in short it'll be a bit of a mix. The previous (and first, I think) owner of the smaller Vitus that all the parts are coming from made some interesting component choices. Some are very nice and will definitely be kept, and some a bit more mid range so while I'll use them right now I think some upgrades will happen in the future.

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

How heavy is the frame.

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themidge
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by themidge

Oh yeah I forgot about weights, I've even got a spreadsheet somewhere although it'll need a bit of updating.
Frame with no hardware (not even the little grub screw for the seatpost), and the fork with the wrong crown race but I assume they're all about the same:
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So a good few hundred grams less than a typical steel framset.

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

Depending on how you build it 6 to 7 kg is possible. Go all retro and it will be heavier.

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themidge
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by themidge

^ True, sub 7 is definitely possible with some more modern parts, however I'm going almost all vintage. It should end up around 8kg with the current build sheet, with maybe 300-500g further to drop with some upgrades I have planned.

Speaking of weight, and starting strong, I got the headset off the old frame today, minus the crown race which I'm still waiting for the tool to remove. Edit: got it off, so full weight below:
Stronglight A9 headset with crown race:
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The main reason it's taken me so long to doing this build is because I had to buy a mountain of tools for the threaded headset and square taper BB. However, those are all on their way now so I'll be doing the build as and when each piece arrives. I'll be learning on the job a bit, but that's half the point.

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themidge
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by themidge

Got the headset in (cor using a headset press is satisfying isn't it), so I was able to install the fork, which I think is one of the most beatiful parts of the vitus design.
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That meant I was able to work out the stem length I need, either 100 or 110.

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themidge
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by themidge

One great thing about vintage bikes is the brake and gear systems are completely independent, so you can service one without touching the other. On that note, my new stem arrived so I was able to complete the 'top half' of the bike, as it were :).
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There's still bubble wrap round the top tube to protect the paint when it's resting in the stand.
Cockpit:
stem, 3ttt record strada (mk2): 277g
bars, 3ttt superleggero competizione: 265g (!!) that's quite light for old alloy bars
levers, modolo kronos: 140g These are the probably the silliest part of the bike, but I had them on the old Vitus so they're going on this one too. They are super flexy, have terrible leverage, and aren't sprung, but they're aero, light, and they look insanely cool so... :twisted:
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They also allow me to use the internal routing that the previous owner had drilled into the bars, which I think makes for a very clean cockpit. And of course I had to have a bit of fun with the finishing tape (bar tape is Tesa 51608, 22g). Now I just need some French flag bar end plugs.
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The brakes themselves are another classic 80s 'aero' part, Dia Compe AC300-g, 302g with pads. The angle the cable approaches them really cleans up the routing, especially at the rear.
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I'm still waiting on my bottom bracket tool to arrive from Poland, but once that happens I'll get the drivetrain installed. Sadly it's probably the least interesting part of the bike, and is definitely the first port of call for upgrades, along with the rear wheel.

by Weenie


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