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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:49 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Woz wrote:
- Did Raleigh go into this area too? They certainly did on the MTB side; with variations of Carbon and Ti for the main tubes.


Yup, there were also Raleigh road bikes with Dyna-Tech bonded frames. These tended to use steel or titanium but Al may have featured in some models. Raleigh USA had a similar range under the Technium banner and some of those were definitely aluminium* alloy.
Dawes also had a bonded Al range for a short while marketed under the "ZED" name, made by an outside firm - possibly even Vitus themselves - rather than at Tyseley. MTBs definitely featured, don't recall any ZED road bikes though but could easily be wrong.

David

*Even though it's the firm's US offshoot, please note use of the proper spelling of the element. ;)


Last edited by David B on Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:38 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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First … thanks for the very kind comps from thread readers.

Now to speak to Woz's comments and questions: I'm not an expert on frame design, and I failed physics at school. So, I cannot speak to Mr Bontrager's article. But as an aside, as well as in reference to what he said about motorcycle frames, I did do some motorcycle racing back in the Cretaceous. And I experienced some pretty hair-raising moments riding an up-rated engine that overpowered the frame. I experienced the frustration of not getting power to the ground because the frame was flexing in direct proportion to increasing throttle when exiting corners. There is my sum total of real-world experience with frame flexing.

As a casual "exercise rider" the geometrical stability of the Vitus 979 is not an issue. Old Ned may want to comment here. And my two thumbs are up for his racing efforts aboard this classic machine. Good on ya' mate! I was glued onto your linked picture

So, the issue does not affect my riding. I rarely sprint, and most of my stress and strain is involved in fighting some headwind blowing into eastern Japan from northern China or Mongolia. The Hirose River levee road is a sort of funnel for moving air. Anyway, it far as one can get from a sprint to the finish line among a pack of insane super humans flushed with adrenilan.

How do they hold up? Well, I don't pound this frame up and over curbs and other urban impediments. For one thing, I have too much respect for the ageing GP-4's. Giant potholes are not an issue here — unless maybe you're in the areas most affected by the 3-11 tsunami. I stay clear. Stress is not an issue. The bike feels very much like my 531 frames — not quite as "silky", but I never get the sense of anything wondering. And I don't have shifting problems on climbs.

To conclude this bit, I do not think that the sports enthusiast need worry. That being said, at least one writer has opined that the brazed steel frames will be flying about the planet when the bonded ones have been grounded. We will see. I do recall a surviving De Havilland Mosquito with a glued wooden airframe was doing astonishing displays at British airshows for a decade before a tragic mishap involving maladusted carburettors caused the destruction of the aeroplane, and the instant death of both the spectacular pilot and the man in the right hand seat. An exhaustive investigation of this incident concluded that the 1940's airframe was not at fault.

Now let's look at these questions another way. Al Vitus frames and their cousins were produced by the thousands. The next generation were similar designs using Al lugs and bonded carbon tubes. If there were significant horror stories of failure, where are the iconic reports? I cannot say that there are none, but I haven't found them. They have not come up in the articles and forums I have been trawling through for years. And if someone comes up with some on this thread, we could also pull in some stories of failed welds and brazing — cracked and failing steel tubing.

Some years ago, there was guy in Vancouver, B.C. who was a proprietor of a bicycle repair service. In addition, he did restorations — in particular, Vitus. His signature on-line advert featured a guy holding a failed Vitus frame member. There were no accompanying statistics or apocryphal stories. But there were some interesting adverts for spare frame parts, and most importantly, a description of a restoration service for Vitus frames — the dismantlement an rebonding of frames.

You can check it out, but some time ago, this restoration service seemed to be a fading enterprise, whether from lack of demand or for a myriad of other reasons — who knows? But it was interesting to see, and it was AFAIK the only site on-line offering such a thing.

Could he have been offering the real thing? Perhaps. Even some years go when this site was being revised and cared for, the chemistry and techniques very possibly had come a long way from when aerospace companies were charged with the assembly of bonded bicycle frames.

In 1980 I attended an industrial exhibition in Paris. I spent an hour in the aerospace section where the salient features were micro machining and an exhibit of aggregate sections of airframes (polymers and aluminium) that were fabricated without fasteners … but rather with adhesives! In my deficient French I was able to clarify with the exhibitors that this was the future of airframe construction. All these years on, so it is with sections of airliners as well as in the production of the world's more expensive military airframes.

If I were one of the world's few thousand or so supermen (or superwomen) charging down twisting mountain descents at 70 Kph … and being quite mad enough to qualify and ride a bonded, obsolete Al bicycle in one of the great classic alpine races, I might feel more secure if the frame were new, or at least remanufactured. On the other hand, for my recreation and velo madness, my 979 gives me no concern.

And one last thing: I think that it can be said that Sean Kelly had a distinct and special relationship with the Vitus frame. This involved his style of riding, his phsique and the size of frame he was riding. And let us remember that any of his frames would have been the so-called 'A' line products with pinned interfaces. How much the this contributed to any success we may never know. Anyway, pinning was a common practice for steel team or services des courses frames back in the day — Mercier being a notable example.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:34 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Lenton58 wrote:

As a casual "exercise rider" the geometrical stability of the Vitus 979 is not an issue. Old Ned may want to comment here. And my two thumbs are up for his racing efforts aboard this classic machine. Good on ya' mate! I was glued onto your linked picture


And one last thing: I think that it can be said that Sean Kelly had a distinct and special relationship with the Vitus frame. This involved his style of riding, his phsique and the size of frame he was riding. And let us remember that any of his frames would have been the so-called 'A' line products with pinned interfaces. How much the this contributed to any success we may never know. Anyway, pinning was a common practice for steel team or services des courses frames back in the day — Mercier being a notable example.


Handles perfectly and predictably. So good that the original owner had a steel frame from Ellis-Briggs with exactly the same geometry - I've got that as well.

Thanks for your comments on the photo, I feel quite embarassed
:oops:

Regarding Kelly, he may have had 'special' frames but I think he also changed them regularly and quite often. But then he was (is!) quite a 'pugnacious' rider.

I have known friends who have had Vitus frames come unglued but generally as a gradual deterioration rather then a catastrophic failure.

In early 1989 'Cyclings', several dealers are offering Look frames KG76 (£598.00) Kevlar (?) and KG 66 (£450.00) carbon bonded, Mel Bentley has an 'Altex Carbon Fibre Frame' for £499.00 and Settle Cycles have TVT Carbon - 'just like Delgado's' - and Tange Carbon frames - but no prices.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:57 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Old Ned
Quote:
I have known friends who have had Vitus frames come unglued but generally as a gradual deterioration rather then a catastrophic failure.
Very interesting! I was always of the mind that if the bond really did come undone, the interference fit would hold things on until one could get off safely.

Now my question: the people who had de-bonding happen, what did they do?

As for your being embarrassed? IMHO, no need to be. I've always had a lot respect for anyone who can get out and do any cycling competition. Even as a youngster, I remained a sprinter, no matter how much I trained for more endurance. It took me a long time to accept that I ride my own ride. When dudes even my age drop me on my favourite run — like all the time — I just let them go without rancour or shame. It took ... er ... decades. I actually stopped cycling for years because of this issue and missed a lot of what love. Off topic, but there it is.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:01 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Lenton58 wrote:
Old Ned
Quote:
I have known friends who have had Vitus frames come unglued but generally as a gradual deterioration rather then a catastrophic failure.


Now my question: the people who had de-bonding happen, what did they do?



Generally chucked them or delegated to a turbo mule until they finally fell apart. Some may have had a go with Araldite or similar but for most 'real' road men, a frame was just a tool for the job and if it didn't work any more it was disposed of. Even quality 'outdated' steel frames were sawn up by some of my acquaintances even though they were still perfectly serviceable.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:13 am 
Dirt Disciple
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Quote:
Even quality 'outdated' steel frames were sawn up by some of my acquaintances even though they were still perfectly serviceable.
As the old saying goes, one person's treasure is another person's junk. I have considered that if de-bonding ever happened to mine, I'd consider MIG welding.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:18 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Old Ned wrote:
In early 1989 'Cyclings', several dealers are offering Look frames KG76 (£598.00) Kevlar (?) and KG 66 (£450.00) carbon bonded, Mel Bentley has an 'Altex Carbon Fibre Frame' for £499.00 and Settle Cycles have TVT Carbon - 'just like Delgado's' - and Tange Carbon frames - but no prices.


TVT frames had a bit of a hit & miss reputation when it came to reliability - a spate of warranty claims plus the detrimental effect on sales allegedly left the firm in poor shape financially and needing to be taken over by rivals Look. Could have my facts muddled there so feel free to correct me. The bloke behind the TVT framebuilding operation went on to found Time, whose reputation for carbon bikes - and forks in particular - seems pretty sound.

David


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:35 am 
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Probably belongs in the "eBay and marketplace watch" section instead/as well, but thought I would chuck this one into the mix:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CMP-french-al ... 256dff7857

Clearly not a product of the "Big Two" European bonded Al producers; the lugs seem to be very different indeed and the bolted chainstay bridge is something I've never seen before*. Anyone know anything else about the brand? Google has proved fairly fruitless so far.

David

*Edit: Ignore my drivel. Turns out ALANs also had 'em.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:54 am 
rider | rBoTM Winner
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David B wrote:
Probably belongs in the "eBay and marketplace watch" section instead/as well, but thought I would chuck this one into the mix:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CMP-french-al ... 256dff7857

Clearly not a product of the "Big Two" European bonded Al producers; the lugs seem to be very different indeed and the bolted chainstay bridge is something I've never seen before*. Anyone know anything else about the brand? Google has proved fairly fruitless so far.

David

*Edit: Ignore my drivel. Turns out ALANs also had 'em.


You know, to me it looks a bit like an Alan but with extra 'bits' on the lugs. The round forks are very 'Alanish' but the bulge on the seat cluster and the dual Campag/Huret (?) rear dropouts are different?

Veeerrry interesting :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:32 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Old Ned wrote:
David B wrote:
Probably belongs in the "eBay and marketplace watch" section instead/as well, but thought I would chuck this one into the mix:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CMP-french-al ... 256dff7857

Clearly not a product of the "Big Two" European bonded Al producers; the lugs seem to be very different indeed and the bolted chainstay bridge is something I've never seen before*. Anyone know anything else about the brand? Google has proved fairly fruitless so far.

David

*Edit: Ignore my drivel. Turns out ALANs also had 'em.


You know, to me it looks a bit like an Alan but with extra 'bits' on the lugs. The round forks are very 'Alanish' but the bulge on the seat cluster and the dual Campag/Huret (?) rear dropouts are different?

Veeerrry interesting :wink:


Having looked again, you may be right about the ALAN connection - the fancy parts of the lug almost seem to be purely decorative sleeves added later on. Take those away and it does have the look of an ALAN about it.

David


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