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Super Vitus 971 Steel Tubing - French Piasentin Frame - Thoughts?

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Super Vitus 971 Steel Tubing - French Piasentin Frame - Thoughts?

Old 06-15-20, 01:55 PM
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NatusEstInSuht
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Super Vitus 971 Steel Tubing - French Piasentin Frame - Thoughts?

Hi all,

I'm just wondering if anyone has impressions or thoughts about Super Vitus 971 tubing? I've done a quick search and most of the posts seem to be from at least 5 years ago and they just have basic information. I'm curious about riding impressions. From what I can gather, it's double butted and similar in thickness to Columbus SL and Reynolds 531 and is of decent quality.

I'm looking at a 1980's French-made frame branded as a Piasentin. I've found nothing on this particular brand, so any insight on Piasentin would also be helpful.

Attached is a chart from Vitus outlining the 971 tubing dimensions.

Thank you!


Super Vitus 971 Tubing Information


French Piasentin Super Vitus 971 Frame
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Old 06-15-20, 02:31 PM
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Beautiful bike, top notch tubing. This is a fine machine. Plus it has a headset, bottom bracket, and seatpost which will make it easy to build up.

Is that a stronglight A9 headset? It looks like one and that is, IMO, one of the best headsets ever made.

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Old 06-15-20, 02:42 PM
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971 was intoduced in 1971 (how clever) it has the same wall thicknesses as 531 or Columbus SL
becuz of various treatments many French builders thought it to be superior to 531
Singer, Herse, Routens used Vitus often as did Motobecane
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Old 06-15-20, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Beautiful bike, top notch tubing. This is a fine machine. Plus it has a headset, bottom bracket, and seatpost which will make it easy to build up.

Is that a stronglight A9 headset? It looks like one and that is, IMO, one of the best headsets ever made.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, it's a Stonglight headset, so that's a bonus that it and the BB and seatpost comes with the frame.

I think I've managed to find out a little more about the provenance of the Piasentin frame, thanks to cross-referencing the Piesentin name, combined with what I can read on the headtube decal and my rudimentary French.

I'm pretty sure it was built by a frame builder or factory to be sold as a private label brand, in this case Piasentin. Piasentin was/is a bicycle shop located in Lancey just outside of Grenoble in the Alps. They sold bikes and frames, like this Vitus 971, under their own name. Today, it looks like the shop goes the name of "Piasentin Pere et Fils (Piasentin Father & Sons).

Now to try and figure out the name of the frame builder! This might prove a little harder, but I believe the lugs are by Nervex and whoever brazed it, knew what they were doing.



Piasentin Super Vitus 971 Stronglight


Piasentin Super Vitus 971 Stronglight Nrevex


Piasentin Super Vitus 971


Super Vitus 971 Advertisment

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Old 06-15-20, 10:04 PM
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And that's the better old (original) version of the A9, with the needle bearings.
I guess the tapered cartridge bearings they have on the newer version might he cheaper than the needle bearings and separate l, conical steel races? Otherwise, it seems to have been foolish for Stronglight to have a change such a good, reliable original design.

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Old 06-15-20, 11:54 PM
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Vitus 971 was top-quality tubing, every bit the equal of Columbus SL or Reynolds 531. You’ll note that the top tube is 9/6/9, the same as Columbus SL, as opposed to standard 531’s 8/5/8.

That’s a beautiful frame! If you haven’t already, you should buy it. Here’s my Super Vitus 971 bike (172 fork blades), a ‘78 Bertin C35:


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Old 06-16-20, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by SuperLJ View Post
Vitus 971 was top-quality tubing, every bit the equal of Columbus SL or Reynolds 531. You’ll note that the top tube is 9/6/9, the same as Columbus SL, as opposed to standard 531’s 8/5/8.

That’s a beautiful frame! If you haven’t already, you should buy it. Here’s my Super Vitus 971 bike (172 fork blades), a ‘78 Bertin C35:

Man that is gorgeous.
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Old 06-16-20, 03:54 PM
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Thank you greg3rd48.
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Old 06-16-20, 04:04 PM
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I have two 971 frames, both Bernard Carré. Both are fun riders, responsive and soak up the road buzz. Grab that frame.

B. Carre July 2016 by L Travers, on Flickr

MercaderCarré 1 by L Travers, on Flickr
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Old 06-16-20, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
That crankset is awesome! (The rest of the bike is pretty spiffy as well.)
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Old 06-16-20, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SuperLJ View Post
Vitus 971 was top-quality tubing, every bit the equal of Columbus SL or Reynolds 531. You’ll note that the top tube is 9/6/9, the same as Columbus SL, as opposed to standard 531’s 8/5/8.

That’s a beautiful frame! If you haven’t already, you should buy it. Here’s my Super Vitus 971 bike (172 fork blades), a ‘78 Bertin C35:

Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
I have two 971 frames, both Bernard Carré. Both are fun riders, responsive and soak up the road buzz. Grab that frame.

B. Carre July 2016 by L Travers, on Flickr

MercaderCarré 1 by L Travers, on Flickr
Thank you very much both of you and wonderful choices in bikes. They look great!

So I'm going to try and get the frame. Hopefully it works out! I'll know in a few days.

I've been spending a good deal of time researching French frames, given their not so common dimensions and idiosyncrasies. It looks like I'll have to source a 22mm stem or slim down a quill stem by 0.2mm. There's also the issue of attaching a front derailleur to the frame. I'm pretty sure the seat tube is 28mm, given the 26.4mm seat post so I'll have to purchase, fabricate or bodge a shim for the clamp. Any thoughts or experiences?
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Old 06-17-20, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by NatusEstInSuht View Post
Thank you very much both of you and wonderful choices in bikes. They look great!

So I'm going to try and get the frame. Hopefully it works out! I'll know in a few days.

I've been spending a good deal of time researching French frames, given their not so common dimensions and idiosyncrasies. It looks like I'll have to source a 22mm stem or slim down a quill stem by 0.2mm. There's also the issue of attaching a front derailleur to the frame. I'm pretty sure the seat tube is 28mm, given the 26.4mm seat post so I'll have to purchase, fabricate or bodge a shim for the clamp. Any thoughts or experiences?
I’m sure you’ve already found this, but here’s Sheldon’s article about French bikes: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/velos.html

Often you can use a 28.6 front derailleur on a 28.0 French seat tube without a problem. It depends on the derailleur clamp. Here’s a good thread on the topic: 28.0 seat tube new Front Derailleur

That’s a rare and beautiful frame. The fact that it comes with a French-dimensioned seat post, BB, and headset is a huge plus. I hope it works out for you. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. You’re gonna love it!
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Old 06-17-20, 08:07 AM
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For the front derailleur, you can shim it or use some plasti dip.
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Old 06-17-20, 08:57 AM
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I have been riding French since 1972 and have never had an issue with the front derailleur not fitting or being loose.
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Old 06-20-20, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by SuperLJ View Post
I’m sure you’ve already found this, but here’s Sheldon’s article about French bikes: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/velos.html

Often you can use a 28.6 front derailleur on a 28.0 French seat tube without a problem. It depends on the derailleur clamp. Here’s a good thread on the topic: 28.0 seat tube new Front Derailleur

That’s a rare and beautiful frame. The fact that it comes with a French-dimensioned seat post, BB, and headset is a huge plus. I hope it works out for you. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. You’re gonna love it!
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
For the front derailleur, you can shim it or use some plasti dip.
Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
I have been riding French since 1972 and have never had an issue with the front derailleur not fitting or being loose.
I read Mr. Brown's thoughts and the information he provided. It was quite helpful.

If I am able to get the frame and need a shim to stop the front derailleur from slipping, I'll just glue a piece of rubber (from an old inner tube perhaps) to the band. That should work alright.
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Old 06-20-20, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by NatusEstInSuht View Post
I read Mr. Brown's thoughts and the information he provided. It was quite helpful.

If I am able to get the frame and need a shim to stop the front derailleur from slipping, I'll just glue a piece of rubber (from an old inner tube perhaps) to the band. That should work alright.
hold but add vagueness to shifting.
i think there is concern where there should not be.
measure the rear triangle width to determine 5 or 6 speed spacing. The French often made 5 Speed 122-123 instead of 120mm wide.

i think the bigger concern is the low end Simplex prestige front mechanisms on 28.6 tubes- one of the contributing factors to the nylon bodies cracking, that and age and UV exposure. I do not anticipate you looking for one of those. The frame has Campagnolo ends... let that guide you. If you want to use a French rear mech it needs to be designed for a Campagnolo end.
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Old 06-20-20, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
hold but add vagueness to shifting.
i think there is concern where there should not be.
measure the rear triangle width to determine 5 or 6 speed spacing. The French often made 5 Speed 122-123 instead of 120mm wide.

i think the bigger concern is the low end Simplex prestige front mechanisms on 28.6 tubes- one of the contributing factors to the nylon bodies cracking, that and age and UV exposure. I do not anticipate you looking for one of those. The frame has Campagnolo ends... let that guide you. If you want to use a French rear mech it needs to be designed for a Campagnolo end.
Thanks! The width of the rear triangle is 126mm, so that will work with six- and seven-speed hubs. Plenty of those around!

And if I am able to get the frame, I'll most likely use a seven-speed Shimano 1055 groupset that I recently acquired.
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Old 07-04-20, 04:02 PM
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Update

Hi all!

Just to provide an update, I decided to purchase the frame. As luck would have it, I was the only bidder and won the eBay auction for the tidy sum of €89 (about $100 USD) plus a further €64 ($72 USD) for shipping. It arrived a few days ago, after taking a week to travel from France to Surrey, B.C.

My first impressions? Well, the frame is exceptionally light – as to be expected from Super Vitus 971 tubing – is of high quality, carefully brazed together and, for 40-ish-years old, the French blue paint is in pretty decent condition. So, I certainly have my money’s worth!

As this is going to be a budget build, I’m not going to do too much to the frame except to clean and wax it and apply some nail varnish where needed. The JPR seat post (I believe) and Stronglight headset are in good shape, but the TA bottom bracket spins a little rough. As it has been a few decades since I’ve owned a cup and cone bottom bracket, I’ve had to order the correct spanners so I can crack it open and service it.

I will build the frame up using the 7-speed Shimano 105SC groupset and 105 / Mavic 190FB wheelset I have at my disposal. They’re transplants from a far-to-large for me 1990 Diamondback Master TG.

I’ve checked the Paisentin’s steerer tube and it’s for a 22.0mm stem. A 1991-ish 22.2mm Cinelli XA stem I have is too wide and it’s too nice to sand it down, so I’ve ordered a used stem and appropriate-sized 25.0mm circumference handlebars from France.

Also on the way are new Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres, tubes, rim tape, brake shoes and pads, cables and housing, ball bearings to service the bottom bracket (and perhaps the hubs and pedals), a cassette and a chain, along with a retro road caliper bolt kit from Tektro (I don’t want to drill the frame and fork).

For the crankset, I jumped on a nice, period-correct 170mm Sugino Mighty Tour compact with the brilliant Autex self-extracting crank bolt that was listed on Craigslist for $80 CAD. It came with a pair of Sakae/Ringyo (SR) SP-100AL pedals, Christophe Special toe clips and well-used and loved Alfredo Binda straps. At 175mm, the Diamondback’s stock 105 crankset is too long for my stubby legs. Plus, I’m much happier with the 48/38 chainrings on the Sugino. I’ll most likely use a set of SPD mountain bike pedals on a daily basis, instead of the SR/Christophe/Binda set-up though.

Right now, I’m all in on this build for $764 CAD ($564 USD). This includes $214 CAD ($158 USD) in shipping charges (!) I’ve incurred, along the tools I need to service the bottom bracket and hubs. With continued good fortune, I’ll be spared any duties and taxes for the four out-of-country packages that are coming from the UK, France and the US.

Hopefully, all the parts will arrive within the next few weeks, so I can start the cleaning, servicing and build and get the Paisentin on the road.

Thanks again everyone for your advice!


Piasentin Super Vitus 971

Piasentin Super Vitus 971

Piasentin Super Vitus 971

Sugino Mighty Tour, Sakae/Ringyo (SR) SP-100AL, Christophe Special, Alfredo Binda straps

Shimano 105SC 1055 groupset
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Old 07-07-20, 11:19 AM
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971 was quickly superseded by 973 (in 73) as Vitus top line steel frame tubes
so more info to be had on 973, I think the differences are VERY minimal

as far as fitting front derailleurs what I remember is that hinged clamps need a shim (only 1 mm)
and 2 screw clamps do not
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Old 07-07-20, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by steve sumner View Post
971 was quickly superseded by 973 (in 73) as Vitus top line steel frame tubes
so more info to be had on 973, I think the differences are VERY minimal

as far as fitting front derailleurs what I remember is that hinged clamps need a shim (only 1 mm)
and 2 screw clamps do not
I've never heard of 973. I know about 980, so I'll have to do a bit of a search, especially on French-language websites and forums.

Good news about the front derailleur clamp - it matched-up perfectly when I tested it on the seat tube. And my findings were confirmed in this 1991 calalogue. The 1055 front derailleur clamp has an adjustable diameter from 28.0mm to 28.6mm. Shimano Bicycle System Component - 91 Page 34.

Result!
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Old 08-27-20, 07:27 PM
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Piasentin Super Vitus 971 Build Completed!

Well, after a couple of months and a few delays, I’ve finally built up the frame and taken it out for a quick, 20km spin.

What has taken me so long? The main reason was due to the six weeks for my Retro Mounting Bolt Kit to arrive from Tektro. This had nothing to do with Tektro – they shipped my two kits the day after I ordered them – but my parcel was held up by Canadian customs. Ironically, this parcel had less distance to travel and arrived after anything else I ordered online. Oh well, COVID I guess.

Other hiccups along the way? The length of bottom bracket spindle that came with the frame was for a triple-ringed crankset, so I had to acquire a 115mm TA 344. Easy peasy. The short-reach Shimano BR-1055 calipers I had on hand did not have enough reach, so that was remedied with the purchase of a set of Tektro R539 calipers via Craigslist. And, of course, no build of mine will be complete without me messing something up; and with this one was me somehow destroying a new chain.

Anyway, I consider the build finished, barring a few fine adjustments to the derailleurs and perhaps getting a longer stem down and replacing the brake hoods down the line.

Impressions, based on my short test ride? The frame is very comfortable and the Super Vitus 971 tubing is really good at absorbing road bumps and ripples. It’s smoother than my carbon frames. The Shimano 105/Sugino Mighty Tour drivetrain works well together despite me trying to get used to downtube shifters again. And the Tektro R539 brakes/Disco Brake pads have very decent modulation and rapidly and safely bring the Piasentin's Mavic 109 FB wheels and Vittoria Rubino Pro tires to a halt.

Hopefully, I’ll find the time to get more acquainted with the bike in the next few weeks!


Piasentin Super Vitus 971 - Shimano 105, Mavic 190 FB, Sugino Mighty Tour, Tektro R539 build

Piasenton SuperVitus 971 Front End

7-Speed Shimano 105 Sugino Might Tour Drivetrain

Tektro R539 Nutted Front Caliper

Tektro R539 Nutted Rear Caliper
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Old 08-27-20, 07:36 PM
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The bike looks fantastic, but do get those brake pads turned to face the opposite of how they are mounted now. The pads can launch out of the holders, leaving you brakeless.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
The bike looks fantastic, but do get those brake pads turned to face the opposite of how they are mounted now. The pads can launch out of the holders, leaving you brakeless.
Thanks! I can't believe I missed this.
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