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Vitus 979 - frame...dead???

Old 03-21-12, 02:36 PM
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Vitus 979 - frame...dead???

hello!

this is my Vitus 979...


just today, ive noticed something very frightening...
THE SEAT TUBE'S BOND HAS SEPARATED FROM THE BOTTOM BRACKET

basically if i stand on the cranks, the bottom bracket lug tube thing (which is slightly smaller of a tube than the seat tube and fits inside the seat tube) will move downwards about 1 cm.

now, i do have other bikes, and luckily i bought this frameset a long while back used for decently cheap (and was aware of Vitus 979s being bonded and prone to such failures...and took my chance anyway...i just think they're pretty and like the history behind them), so if this frame is dead then so be it...wall art for my garage!

BUT im curious if there are those of you out there, experienced with Vitus's bonded aluminum frames, if it is at all possible to repair? say, using some new epoxy or something to rebond the bottom bracket tube lug thing inside the seat tube?

i would never sell this frame in good conscience, buuuuut i wouldn't mind trying to fix it, if at all possible, and if at all somewhat safe. maybe this is a common problem, and commonly fixed? i wouldn't know. thats why im asking you guys

and if i had to start window shopping for a different frameset to put all those components onto, i might not be too unhappy haha (the shopping is part of the fun in building bikes for me)

anywho thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 03-21-12, 02:53 PM
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I'm no expert on epoxies, but I recall there was a discussion of re-bonding a Vitus frame elsewhere. I think you'd have to use some very high grade (airplane?) epoxy. It would also be essential to remove and clean the existing epoxy extremely well in order to get proper adhesion with the new epoxy. How that would be done with the rest of the frame intact I am not sure. I probably would not try that kind of repair myself.

As a side note, I don't think I've ever seen a Vitus with a different color seat tube and chain stay. Usually the top, seat, and down tubes are all matching colors. Could those red tube have been replaced/repaired at some point?

Btw, judging by the exposed seat post, I'd say your frame looks a size or two too small. (Is it above the min. insertion line?)
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Old 03-21-12, 03:03 PM
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Here, I found the other related thread:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-glue-or-other
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Old 03-21-12, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777
I'm no expert on epoxies, but I recall there was a discussion of re-bonding a Vitus frame elsewhere. I think you'd have to use some very high grade (airplane?) epoxy. It would also be essential to remove and clean the existing epoxy extremely well in order to get proper adhesion with the new epoxy. How that would be done with the rest of the frame intact I am not sure. I probably would not try that kind of repair myself.

As a side note, I don't think I've ever seen a Vitus with a different color seat tube and chain stay. Usually the top, seat, and down tubes are all matching colors. Could those red tube have been replaced/repaired at some point?

Btw, judging by the exposed seat post, I'd say your frame looks a size or two too small. (Is it above the min. insertion line?)
oh the frameset was one of the white ones where the main triangle was white...but the paint was really bad shape (yes paint, most vitus's were anodized but in fact there were factory painted white ones) so i stripped it and rattlecanned the frameset that way myself.

and i assure you, its about a hair or two below the max insertion line. the way it is in the picture is (well, was) perfect for me, being that i am basically all legs
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Old 03-21-12, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by illdthedj
if i stand on the cranks, the bottom bracket will move downwards about 1 cm.
Originally Posted by illdthedj
i assure you, its about a hair or two below the max insertion line. the way it is in the picture is (well, was) perfect for me, being that i am basically all legs
I guess all you have to do is lower your seat post by a 1cm and be done with it!
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Old 03-21-12, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777
Here, I found the other related thread:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-glue-or-other
thanks! ill get reading.
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Old 03-21-12, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777
I guess all you have to do is lower your seat post by a 1cm and be done with it!
haha

well i guess what i meant to say was, if i stand on the cranks, the bottom bracket will separate from the seat tube about 1 cm...looks like it was a common problem!
im starting to think repairing it is more trouble than its worth though...
and shopping for a new frame does sound like fun haha
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Old 03-21-12, 03:22 PM
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If it was mine, I'd jack the joint open and apply epoxy.

It would probably be a better idea to send it to Guywires (the link provided by miamijim).
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Old 03-21-12, 04:33 PM
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I have one I need to reglue, the previous owner had tried and failed.

Also, if you do scrap the frame I will buy the forks from you as I have a 59/60cm vitus with out the correct forks
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Old 03-21-12, 04:50 PM
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One fork or two forks?
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Old 03-21-12, 05:15 PM
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yah im still debating whether i want to try to epoxy it myself with something from here:
https://www.westsystem.com/ss/

or just keeping the frame around for wall art...
if i do the later i will let you (prettyshady) know about the fork. my frameset is a 58cm btw
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Old 03-21-12, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois
One fork or two forks?
Red forks, Blue forks?
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Old 03-21-12, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois
It would probably be a better idea to send it to Guywires (the link provided by miamijim).
https://guywires.com/vitusmain.htm

Just to reiterate miamijim and Grand Bois, I think this option at least worth exploring.
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Old 03-21-12, 10:39 PM
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I have a Vitus and some years ago I made a note of Guywires in my hometown of Vancouver. They have been really quiet on their site for some time, so I've thought of other options in case mine becomes unbonded.

Any DIY was quickly dismissed. Vitus frames were assembled by a French aviation company that used heat has part of the bonding process. My solution — and note that I have NOT done this, or had it done — merely a conjecture: MIG welding. The bike would be stripped. Both of the joints on the BB would have to be done. IMHO and with some hesitation — I'd suggest that there would not be enough heat from MIG to travel destructively to any other part of the frame. I'm sure that BF has folks who know a lot about MIG.

Your Vitus is a beauty. I'd sure hate to see you lose it. Stay in touch, cuz if you decommission it, I might go looking for a MIG welder here in Sendai or Tokyo.
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Old 03-22-12, 12:47 AM
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As I noted in other posts recently, you can still contact the person from Guywires through that email address, but I'm not sure if he can still help you with repairs as it seemed like the company isn't really in full operation anymore. What I remember him saying was he only had small number of parts that he can sell to people who contacted him. But by the way the Guywires site looks like (half dead), the comapny operations might have moved to the owner's garage or became a part time business.

As for DIY repairs on bonded aluminum frames like the 979, Wouldn't there be glues/epoxies out there that have been developed since the 979s came out over 20 years ago that would be just as good or better than what was used at that time and be available commercially to us??

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Old 03-22-12, 07:19 AM
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Wouldn't there be glues/epoxies out there that have been developed since the 979s came out over 20 years ago that would be just as good or better than what was used at that time and be available commercially to us??
Just my opinion: I think that the OP really needs expert advise about the actual application before he can trust a DIY attempt at re-bonding. Here is some background that I think is relevant:

The process of using adhesives for structures that could fail catastrophically under stress was pioneered by the DeHavilland aeroplane company in Britain. Their versatile and legendary twin engined aeroplane dubbed the Mosquito was constructed of spruce and balsa and was bonded together by adhesives. Initial machines were assembled by furniture makers. It's strength and performance quickly dispelled all official doubts in regards to its unusual construction. In 1944-45, a very sleek grandchild of this machine was developed for what was foreseen as a protracted war in the Pacific. The DH-109 Hornet was an aluminum aeroplane, but it also used used adhesives in its construction. Years ago I read on-line a contemporary paper about the technique used to do this. It was revolutionary, yet it was largely unused until the late 70's and early 80's when new materials came into the picture. Airframe sections using plastic foam, metal foils and carbon were being sandwiched together using adhesives. The French were very much in the forefront of the science. It is now an integral part of aviation technology.

So what's my point?

Effective adhesives have been around for a very long time. Technique is essential for each application. At the same time it must be assumed that much of the leaps and bounds must have filtered down to the public in the form of products available at the local DIY store. But what is incumbent on the DIYer who wants to re-bond an essential part of a bicycle frame and ensure perfect safety? Is there a say a two pack adhesive that will chemically bond metals (Al in this case) to the original or even perhaps surpassing the original construction. And remember, Vitus and its partners who produced the 979 and later variants did not build these frames themselves, but actually contracted them out to a state-of-the-art airframe constructor using tubing that Vitus provided. And BTW, certain frames that were services des courses, such as those that Sean Kelly rode to fame, were also pinned in addition to the interference fit and the epoxy process. I say [I]process[I], because it was not just a matter of glue and shove. Dry heat was used as a catalyst in the chemical reaction. How was the heat applied? How much heat? How long was it applied? In what sort of atmosphere was it applied. Was humidity and ambient temperature controlled? Can we be sure that any adhesive we buy in the store can replace this process that may now be so obsolete that all we need to do is glue and shove? How much interference in the fit should we allow?

Among our BF mob there may be all sorts of talent and expert knowledge that can answer these questions. But unless we hear from them — or other sources — I am still thinking about MIG welding as the safest resort.

The thread that was referred to above more than implies that most of these de-bonding issues do not occur from the failure of the adhesive itself. It occurs when the joint allows oxidation/corrosion of the aluminum. Now ... the interference fit plays a vital role in the bonding process. Anyone who has worked with furniture building or modeling knows that clamping and binding during the curing process of the adhesive in vital for a perfect bond. Once tolerances widen, the adhesive becomes compromised. Adhesives alone cannot interminably tolerate torsion and stress. Structural integrity and bonding are commensurate.

This leads me to my next point. If corrosion has infected the BB and area enough to create a de-bonding and separation, we have to ask what re-bonding might mean. If the interference fit is compromised, is there a sufficient reason left to reassemble it? Maybe ... maybe not. ‘Guywires’ used to advertise that their service included complete dismemberment and re-bonding of all the tubing. It is reasonable to resume that they knew what they were doing. The OP needs experts. I hope to hear back if anything comes out of what may remain of Guywires. And would the process be worth the expense. To real aficionados of the 979 the answer is maybe a ‘yes’. And BTW — they also used to offer a colour re-anodizing.

These paragraphs are only speculative and illustrative of some of the factors involved.
I am very attached to these frames. I cannot afford a Colnago or a Bates. I do have a Woodrup waiting for a build. Still, if my Vitus BB de-bonds, I may devise a fix involving a MIG weld on the joint that is filed flat ... then hemispherical sections "fish-plated" in a MIG weld to cover both joints. With the edges filed out and the work polished it would look only marginally strange and might even be stronger than the original BB area of the frame. All for a slight increase in weight where the center of gravity could ignore it.

Many may think this to be too heroic. The patient has had the biscuit — let him go. On another bike forum, a guy who still races a 979 says that colleagues who have had these frames delaminate underneath them simply toss them on the scrap heap. I can’t say that they are wrong, but that won't be me. Well, I don’t think so now. I do not ride my Vitus in the rain, and I keep it waxed. A little bit of insurance — perhaps.
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Old 03-22-12, 11:21 AM
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thank you all for some interesting reading and sound advice.

all in all, while toying with the idea of fixing myself, it seems beyond the scope of my abilities...ive built dozens of bikes before and have fairly good working knowledge of most bicycle mechanics (well, still learning wheel building) but jacking the seat-tube up from the bottom bracket and cleaning the interfaces correctly and finding a suitable bonding agent and trusting my own work in an area i have zero experience...AND trusting my work enough to ride....yah the more i think about it the more its beyond my abilities.

...or beyond what I would want to pay to fix it. i havn't contacted Guywires, but just thinking about it...first off that site seems like a ghost town...and from what people have said, it seems their operations are minimal if anything at all. if they were still in operation, im sure the shipping cost for me to ship there, then the shipping cost back, is already approaching more than im willing to pay to fix.

dont get me wrong, i am definitely a fan of the Vitus 979. but i have a feeling my specific dimensions (6'2 and 230 pounds) are really just not suited for bonded frames. alas, i think i am coming to the decision to just finding a new frameset to transfer the parts over to. right now looking at a 1990s Klein Quantum...buuuut nothing set in stone (hey if any of you have a good suggestion for a nice light, but older frameset that shimano 600 tricolor group would be a good match for, then let me know

so yes, thank you all for your input...even though i dont think i will be fixing this frame, it was all interesting to read and I learned allot more than i knew before about the Vitus 979.

and to those of you that expressed interest, obviously i would be willing to sell you this frameset cheap if you feel inclined to try to fix it yourself with MIG welding or whatever...just let me know. it would be nice to know it actually was still alive and being rode as opposed to just wall art in my garage

cheers! -daniel
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Old 03-22-12, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by illdthedj
dont get me wrong, i am definitely a fan of the Vitus 979. but i have a feeling my specific dimensions (6'2 and 230 pounds) are really just not suited for bonded frames. a
I think this is the basic problem with Vitus frames-- larger riders can pull them apart. Not only is rider weight increased, but the longer frame tubes act as more of a fulcrum.

At six one, one eighty, with an ape index of five (necessitating a large frame), the Vitus frames have always worried me a bit. I finally picked one up cheap (35$) because I've always liked them, but I'm keeping an eye on mine. It's not as flexy as reported, and certainly the best riding aluminum bike I've ever been on, but their reputation gives me some pause.

In other words, I'm happy but cautious, and not out a lot if problems develop.
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Old 03-26-12, 11:34 AM
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yah i payed more for mine but not too much, so i wasn't too terribly unhappy when this happened. but still a bummer.
i will agree, it was a little flexy but not "wet noodle" status as some suggested...and i will agree as well that it was the nicest riding aluminum frame I've been on.


so i've been in the market for a new frame now that this one is kaput.

would it be absolutely idiotic if i was eying yet another bonded frame?? Specifically, an Alan Carbonio or whatever its called. Alan's carbon tube, aluminum lugs frame.

Ive heard that these were not just bonded (ie tube shoved into another heated tube and "glued" to put it simply...or something of the sort?) but "screwed and glued" ie both interfaces had threading?
Do these carbon Alans also have history of coming unbonded like the Vitus 979s?

something tells me that i should give up these type of frames altogether...but i cant help but find them interesting.



also, one last question: so this Vitus frame leaves me with more or less a complete group of shimano 600 tricolor to find a frame for...any suggestions? something somewhat period correct? im not opposed to steel, but something light like aluminum or even carbon would be nice...

anywho thanks for any help/advice
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Old 03-26-12, 01:04 PM
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If it were me, I'd at least try to repair the frame myself. I agree that you shouldn't EVER re-sell it. That could open a can of worms, at least ruining your whole day. I do believe there are at least some YouTube videos out there to help in the correct technique, which I would look at at least a few times each. DIY looks like the only option for you, if you want to use it. Otherwise, wall-art is no shameful use for such a nice looking piece of art, IMO.
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Old 03-26-12, 02:22 PM
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Oooh, Alan Carbonio!....a much more exotic (and expensive) bike than the all aluminum Vitus 979s and the Alan Records.
I'd say go for the Carbonio if you do find one.
Not sure how the Carbonio frames are really put together, but I suspect that the tubes are actually aluminum tubes wrapped in CF and that the aluminum tube is what screws into the lugs, sans the CF, so the construction should be very much like the all aluminum Alan Records.

I love C&V CF bikes and have good luck with my 1985 Vitus Carbone that I got two years ago and restored to its present condition:

The frame is very solid even after 27 years. Surprisingy, as a bare frame, it even rings like a bell if you tap it near the joints. The ride is stiff and plush at the same time. Stiff because I made it a point to find the smallest frame size I could ride so I can avoid the "wet noodle" situation with the bike.
I liked the Carbone so much that I did not hesitate buying my next bike project which is an even older 1972 Line Seeker CF bike:

It survived for 40 years without asploding at the lug connections, so I think I won't be able to kill it. It also helps that the PO really took care of it as it looks like it was not ridden in the rain at all as the biggest enemy of bonded/lugged CF frames is moisture that causes galvanic reaction/electrolysis at the lug tube junction that will break down the epoxy bond in due course. The pins through the lugs and tubes must have also helped keep the Lineseeker alive through all these years.

Chombi

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Old 03-26-12, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi
Oooh, Alan Carbonio!....a much more exotic (and expensive) bike than the all aluminum Vitus 979s and the Alan Records.
I'd say go for the Carbonio if you do find one.
Not sure how the carbonio frames are really pu together, but I suspect that the tubes are actually aluminum tubes wrapped in CF and that the aluminum tube is what screws into the lugs, sans the CF, so the construction should be very much like the all aluminum Alan Records.
There's an NOS Alan Carbino at one of the local shops. The tubing sounds as if it is pure carbon, and the flattened profile of the top tube doesn't suggest wrapping either.

There's no evidence of an edge at the lugs either - the carbon goes directly into the lugs.

I can get some photos next Friday, if you wish.

-Kurt
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Old 03-26-12, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
There's an NOS Alan Carbino at one of the local shops. The tubing sounds as if it is pure carbon, and the flattened profile of the top tube doesn't suggest wrapping either.

There's no evidence of an edge at the lugs either - the carbon goes directly into the lugs.

I can get some photos next Friday, if you wish.

-Kurt
That would be interesting if the tubes are not CF wrapped aluminum. Then the term "screwed and glued" might not apply to it then...unless they figure out a way to mould in the threads on the CF tube surface??
I wonder how much do they want for that NOS Carbonio??

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Old 03-26-12, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi
That would be interesting if the tubes are not CF wrapped aluminum. Then the term "screwed and glued" might not apply to it then...unless they figure out a way to mould in the threads on the CF tube surface??
I wonder how much do they want for that NOS Carbonio??
I'll get photos next Friday.

Price? Probably anywhere from $700 to $1,100 - it's no wonder he hasn't sold it since the '80s.

-Kurt
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Old 03-27-12, 08:52 AM
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... also, one last question: so this Vitus frame leaves me with more or less a complete group of shimano 600 tricolor to find a frame for...any suggestions? something somewhat period correct?
I always wanted to try one of the Vitus steel frames.
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