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Old Frame, New components??(11 posts)

Old Frame, New components??nelslynn
Apr 3, 2001 8:02 PM
Does anyone know if I can equip an old Vitas Frame (1987) with the new Flight Deck shifting system? I've been told the rear frame set is too narrow for the new cassettes.

re: Old Frame, New components??Dave Hickey
Apr 4, 2001 2:35 AM
The Vitus was made for 126mm spacing but you will have no problem stretching to 130mm. I have an old Vitus 979 and I'm using 130mm spacing in the rear.
re: Old Frame, New components??nelslynn
Apr 4, 2001 6:05 AM
Thanks Dave,

Does that mean my vitus frame needs to be stretched in the back? Is it worth it to spend the $ to convert it, or should I just buy a new bike. How durable are the vitus frames, I've had mine for several years, but have only about 1000 miles on it.

re: Stretching aluminum???Skeptic
Apr 4, 2001 7:12 AM
If the stays are aluminum, they don't like to the bent or stretched. Many people just spread em and ride, and many later report breakage of the stays or dropouts. Do so at your own risk,and don't go looking for a lawyer if it comes apart on you.
re: Stretching aluminum???Dave Hickey
Apr 4, 2001 12:12 PM
The tubing diameter of the rear triangle on Vitus is so small, stretching is not a problem. I would not try it with a Cannondale, but my Vitus works just fine.
so far...nm
Apr 4, 2001 3:01 PM
re: Stretching aluminum???grz mnky
Apr 4, 2001 4:17 PM
He was refering to the material being aluminum and cracking, not the diameter of the stays, which does make a difference. Anyway, the point is moot since your frame is not aluminum. You can go ahead and bend it yourself or get it done more accurately by a frame shop.

The real issue is that it's going to cost you a small fortune to upgrade your vintage machine (yup, vintage) to run STI with flight deck. You will need to replace you entire drive train (crank, BB, chain, rear hub, cassette, front and rear der.) assuming that you don't have something funky like Swiss (or French) threads on your BB. If you're running 27" rims then count on having to get a rear wheel custom built for you (more $$). This assumes that your chainline is correct and that everything will line up. When your all done you'll have a heavy older bike with some nice parts on it. It will almost be cheaper to buy a new bike and get the added benifit of lighter weight, modern geometry and a better ride. It's a trap to try and take an older bike and make it newish. Take it from someone that has an old French bike that I'll never part with, but regularly rides a totally modern machine.

Cruise the web and see how much all the parts are going to add up to, throw on a couple hundred if you want someone to do the conversion for you, otherwise learn some new cuss words - you'll need them. This is the most expensive and least satisfying way to get a new bike.
re: Stretching aluminum???Markar
Apr 4, 2001 4:38 PM
I have a Vitus 979 also and have been considering updating to 9 speed also. Did you have your rear triangle bent to 130mm or does the 9 speed hub slide in as is? What group are you using? STI set up or 9 speed down tube shifters? For about $650 you could update your shifting and drivetrain with a new rear wheel to Shimano Ulegra the way I see it and have a pretty nice bike. You could always move the new components over to a new frame later.
Vitus is aluminumDave Hickey
Apr 4, 2001 5:40 PM
My Vitus 979 is aluminum. I'm using a Ultegra 9 speed rear hub and it slides in with just a little pressure. Aluminum will give a little. I spend 15 years racing sailboats with aluminum masts. Believe me it bends. As I said before, because of the small diameter tubing, it will give 4mm without problems.
Vitus is aluminumgrz mnky
Apr 5, 2001 8:06 AM
Huh, I figured from his vintage that the Vitus he was using was steel, like on my old Motobecane. Shows what I know and that little saying about making assumptions.

In any event, also being a racing sailor also, you are correct about aluminum flexing, but the difference is that they are talking about yielding it for a permanent set. In any event it shouldn't be too big a deal.

Bottom line: he can easily accomodate the wider spacing, but the component cost will eat him alive when he compares it to a new ride.
re: Old Frame, New components??tommyb
Apr 4, 2001 5:51 PM
I have a 1988 Vitus with many, many miles on it. It is perfect in every way for my needs, and I would never upgrade it. Replace worn parts, yes; make radical changes, no. It has been a crit racer, a triathlon racer, a lightly loaded touring bike, a Saturday morning racer, and a reliable commuter. The 7 speed downtube shifting is enough for any of these activities.

I disagree with anyone who claims these are not reliable frames. Although I would never do it, I'm sure that after the beating my bike has taken, it could easily tolerate having the chain and seat stays stretched a mere 4mm apart. Upgrade it if you want, but I think a fine bike like that should be left as originally intended.

As far as this being a heavy, old bike, in a way, it is. As a combined unit, the Vitus and I have gained 10 or 15 pounds since I bought it, but I don't think upgrading to STI is going to put a significant dent in that. As is, built with Shimano 600 and Matrix Iso sew-ups, the Vitus is still under 20.