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1985 Royal Blue Vitus 979 Time Capsule

Old 11-18-22, 07:02 PM
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Flying G 
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1985 Royal Blue Vitus 979 Time Capsule

Several years ago, I purchased this lightweight bike as part of a package from a relative of the first owner who was acting as the executor for the owner's estate. I have cleaned up the bike, made some minor adjustments, etc. but have not changed any components except for the tires and believe that the bike remains original to the owner who enjoyed riding it in the 1980s. Because the bike is 58cm, it is too small for me so I have not ridden it. I would like to sell this Vitus but seek feedback from the community on what would be a fair price knowing that prices can vary depending on market location. I reside in Northern CA within easy driving distance of both San Francisco and Sacramento.

Attached are some photos but I have to admit that taking good photos is an art and one that I'm woefully inexperienced in. I've captured as much info about the bike and listed it below. I also have info on the original owner and will share it with the buyer if he/she is interested in that sort of thing.

Info on this Vitus:
Weight: 20 lbs, 6 oz with Specialized Turbo tires but without Silca frame pump.
Frame Serial #: E070583 (manufactured July 1985 and frame # 583)
Cinelli Giro D’Italia 64-38 bars with original Ciclolinea bar tape
Concour Comfort Saddle
SR Laprade Saddle Post
Shimano 600 Head Set
Shimano 600 Brake Set (left hood shows wear and signs of disintegration)
Shimano 105 Shifters
CLB Bottom Bracket Shell marked BSC
Campagnolo NR Front Derailleur
Shimano 600 SIS Rear Derailleur
Shimano 600 Brakepads and Gear Cables
Ofmega Super Competition Crankset with 52 and 42 tooth rings
Look Arc Delta pedals
Sachs Maillard 7 Speed Free Wheel (13-15-17-19-21-23-26)
Matching Silver Silca pump with Campy head – very good pressure

Matching Mavic MA2 700C Wheels laced with double-butted stainless spokes (wheels are “Performance Custom Quality” numbered 024634 and 024632).
Suntour Cyclone Sealed Bearing 36 hole hubs front and rear.
Mounted tires are Pasela Panaracer 700x28C however, I can provide the tires that came with the bike - Specialized Turbo R 700x25C. The tires hold air but should be replaced.
Includes one bottle cage on down tube but also bosses on seat tube for another.


Stem and saddle post can be easily removed.

Very small scratches on frame and seat stays that are only noticeable about 2 feet away. Some visible oxidation on Suntour hubs. Dural 979 decals in excellent condition but Vitus top tube decals are deteriorating. Will provide two new replacement Vitus decals for installation by buyer. Seat post clamp is “eared” with a rounded set screw to fit two holes in SR Laprade saddle post. This bicycle was built and sold before the seat post clamp was modified to use a “grub screw.”

Thanks in advance for your feedback!



Tough day for photos - strong winds and lots of leaves and debris dropping.



Have replacement Vitus decals for Top Tube (pinned to wall under the tube). The Panaracer tires, 700x28, just clear the seat tube and stays.

Really like the crankset but clearly the pedals are out of date!

Shifts easily.

Saddle post clamp is eared and the owner drilled a small hole to secure saddle post with a screw. I have a grub screw available.




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Old 11-18-22, 11:17 PM
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That it is...beautiful bike.
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Old 11-19-22, 07:52 AM
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Eclectic selection of parts and the seat post binder hack would have me looking elsewhere immediately.
(and I really love my V2 KAS 979)
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Old 11-19-22, 09:45 AM
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I'd install 600 shift levers if it were mine. And I would perhaps put a 600 crankset on there too (I have a box full). The seat post hack would be a deal breaker for me. But another buyer not so picky may not mind.
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Old 11-19-22, 10:06 AM
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I would say only $300-400 or so the mix of components and frame issues hurt price. It's hard to tell from the pics but the rear frame alignment looks off likely from were someone spread the rear dropouts some for the current 7 speed setup this and the seat clamp hack like wrk101 would make this one a pass for me. While as said some buyers may not be so picky yet a lot of potential buyers will just pass on bounded aluminum frame with issues.
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Old 11-19-22, 06:12 PM
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Flying G You have done a very good job listing the components, adding comments, and providing pictures.
I believe the vintage buyers interested in bounded aluminum frames aka "glued n screwed" is small compared to steel, TI, carbon, and welded aluminum frames. Its a beautiful bike and has quality components and Im sure would be a fun ride. The seat post clamp will hurt and many times hacks like this will fail especially with heavier riders. If it was mine, I would not sell if the price is only 300..400 since you can make more parting it out.
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Old 11-26-22, 06:40 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the feedback - much appreciated. Your concerns about the small bolt for the saddle post mirror mine but since the original owner passed away in the spring, we may never know the history of this modification. I do have a friend who is a bike builder and it would be easy enough to ask his opinion and go from there. I don't think that the rear triangle was spread to accommodate the 7 speed freewheel - it seems too risky to try to spread an aluminum rear triangle bonded to aluminum lugs. Steel frames will allow some cold re-setting, if done carefully, but to the best of my knowledge, it would be foolish to attempt the same with an aluminum frame. I'll ask the bike builder to take a close look at this as well.

I normally ride 64cm bikes, otherwise, I would be putting miles on this Vitus!

Thanks again for the comments!
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Old 11-27-22, 10:20 AM
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One thing you may want to check close when going over the frame is the SR seat post may be one size off .2mm or so too small.since the frame has been worked on and modified at least some it is a very good idea to have it checked out and possibly fixed corrected.
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Old 11-27-22, 01:34 PM
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By now, you've probably figured out that the serial numbers aren't decodable the way you have decoded them. My guess is that E is for English, F is for French, and I is for Italian threading, and then the six digit numeric portion is just ordinal from first production. This checks out, because later frames with the grub screw seatpost all have higher numbers. Anyway, at this moment I think it is impossible to determine the year, but maybe with the compilation of a serial number database that will become easier.

The size of the frame is stamped on the left side of the headtube. I think I can see it in one of the pictures... 58? Worth noting that when you sell it. It is a good standard way of sizing Vitus 979 frames.

Is the seatpost clamp damaged? It doesn't really look like it. Or else why is the grub screw there? Just as an extra fail-safe so you don't have to tighten the clamp and risk damaging it? Do you know? Seatpost diameter should be 25.0, FYI. Measure or look for stamping on your post to make sure it's 25.0. My guess is it's right because there aren't a whole lot of common sizes under that.

I'd agree, $400-500 probably. These are still underappreciated bikes. But like eating a Reeses cup, there is no wrong way to build out a Vitus. It is a blank, '80s, weight-weenie canvas for you to explore your whimsy on.

I have spread 4 different Vitus 979 frames from 126 to 130 for the Cambridge Vitus Club. We like our freehubs. None of the frames have failed yet. Some have been in service doing regular rides for three or four years. Take from that what you will. I'm not going to tell you whether or not to do it. I've spread a lot of frames and I'm very careful. Vitus frames, I will only do with my bare hands, so I never overshoot the target width.
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Old 11-29-22, 06:03 PM
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Thanks for the additional replies and information – much appreciated!



I think that we can shine more light on the mysteries surrounding the serial number and seat clamp set screw.



I re-read Peter C. Kohler’s article On the Drops: Light & Legendary: Vitus 979, and he writes that the E070583 serial number signifies E = 1984 (A = 1980, B = 1981, . . . E = 1984), with 7 indicating the month (July in this case) and 583 as the frame number for that month. The design of the CLB cast seat clamp of my bike was apparently used from 1979 – 1986. This could be another data point to support a manufacturing year of 1984.



However, SCARLSON’s assertion that the E represents English threading in the bottom bracket also makes sense. If he has seen a variety of other Vitus frames that start with E, F, or I, it is hard to argue with that logic.



On to the set screw and the saddle post. I measured the saddle post several times and sure enough, the diameter measures 24.9mm. The original owner must have been frustrated by a saddle post that slipped on him and consequently, he drilled a hole in both the seat clamp and saddle post so that a set screw could hold everything securely. I can’t think of any other explanation.



To prove to myself that this wasn’t a problem, I placed my 6’4” and 210 pound body on this 58cm bike and rode around the city just to see if the saddle post remained secure, which it did. I also stopped by the LBS to get a second opinion. The tech took a close look at the post, seat clamp, set screw and confirmed that the post had a diameter of 24.9mm. He also felt that the arrangement was satisfactory and didn’t pose a safety hazard. I will probably replace the saddle post with a “true” 25 diameter post which seems like a reasonably easy fix.



At this point, I’m going to still sell the bike and will place it on CL, the BF, OfferUp, eBay and FB in that order. Of course, all info will be disclosed. There must be someone out there that wants a super lightweight Vitus 979. Who knows, maybe someone in that famous Cambridge Vitus Club will want it for their own!



Thanks again to all that contributed to this thread – further proof that the BikeForum community has a terrific group of people that can answer nearly any question that one could possibly have!
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Old 11-30-22, 12:57 AM
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Pretty sure the E=English theory is correct.

Mine has serial # E124661 and it was definitely made after they redesigned the problematic seat binder area.
What is odd though, is that mine doesn't have the seat tube water bottle bosses like yours.
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Old 11-30-22, 09:18 AM
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I've only seen one in person and it remember thinking "wow, what an attractive frame". The one I saw was red and the highly polished aluminum tubes and lugs were very appealing. Have yet to see one come up for sale locally. Maybe they had no dealers in my area in the past.

In order to generate interest and confidence, it might be good to include some history along with the details of the bike itself. Might make a difference to some people unfamiliar with the bike and the concept itself.

1980's - THE GOLDEN YEARS & SEAN KELLY ERA

The 1980s was an iconic era for bike racing as technology rapidly evolved and some of the all-time greats hit their prime. Debuting in 1979 the Vitus 979 frame became one of the most successful racing bikes ever built. Raced by many including Australia's Phil Anderson and Allan Peiper, Ireland's Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche, Britain's Graham Jones, Colombia's Luis Herrera and America's Marianne Mart.

It was of course Sean ‘King’ Kelly that became synonymous with the Vitus brand given his domination of the classics and Grand Tour win at the Vuelta Espania on board the 979, becoming the world's No.1 ranked cyclist of the era. Sean's uncompromising gritty style, all-round ability and powerful sprint earned him the reputation as the hard man of cycling, with many of his wins on board Vitus now an integral part of cycling's folklore.

Vitus were now the world's largest manufacturer of aluminium bicycles and at the fore-font of technology with most rival brands still using steel. During this period Vitus pushed the boundaries of frame construction further by introducing carbon tubing to the bonded 979 frame with the introduction of the Carbon 3, Carbon 7, and finally the Carbone 9 in 1986.
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Old 11-30-22, 10:08 AM
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I would agree on the idea of changing the seat post and getting rid of the set screw. While not safety risk with a larger rider a hard bump could break the set screw potentially leaving a slightly messed up seat post and broken screw stuck in the frame which would be a pain to fix.
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Old 12-13-22, 07:09 PM
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As a postscript to the discussion on this thread, I measured the saddle post to see if it was truly 25mm and of course, it was just barely 24.9mm (see photo). I was able to find a new 25mm post and it installed smoothly, securely and safely. This must have driven the original owner crazy and yet it was such a simple fix. Anyway, it was easy and well worth it to remove that potential issue for the next owner.

Just learned of a buddy who has a red Vitus 979 which he used for 3 or 4 California Death Ride events. He plans to strip it and hopefully sell the 53cm frame so if anyone is interested in just that frame, let me know and I can put you in touch with him. He is a builder and I don't believe that anything is wrong with the frame. He is just focusing on the rest of his stable.



Even though the post was marked as 25mm, it turned out to be 24.9mm!
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