Hello folks. As threatened, here follows a long story short on the history of my old Vitus race bike for anyone who would like to read it. Photos follow for those who don’t.
Back around 1988-89 I started cycling competitively and joined my local club. I had been a good boy, and Santa came through, dropping a Raleigh Criterium down our chimney, and so it began…
The Criterium made way for a Nigel Dean 531 equipped with Shimano 105 as I made my way up through schoolboy U14 and into the U16 category. With mixed success, and the junior category beckoning, I was ready for the jump to better machinery.
I was now working part-time so had an increased budget with thanks once again to my long-suffering Dad/coach/mechanic/team driver/sponsor/masseur. I always wanted a Vitus ever since a friend lent me his 979 to do a few time trials. With the figures done, it was either a 979 with Shimano Ultegra, or a 787 Futural with mostly Shimano Dura Ace. I liked the quirky features of the 787 like the mono seat stay and Shimano had just released their new Dura Ace STI levers and dual pivot callipers, so 787 it was.
The Vitus performed very well, and was perfect for me, due to being only 9 Stone soaking wet, so no issues with frame flex etc. My racing days were numbered however, racing with the top senior riders, and longer training mileage were tough enough, but what stopped it all and consigned the Vitus to years of gathering dust in hibernation was the fact that I went and passed my driving test! 1994-95 was the last time the 787 was ever used in anger, and my Dad got his summer evenings & weekends back…
Approx. 16 years later.
Although I have always maintained an interest in cycling, watching on TV and popping to the shops on my mountain bike were never enough to make me unearth the old Vitus. Following some lurking on the RetroBike forum I was inspired to finally resurrect the 787. Having seen what forum members have been doing with their own bikes has totally re ignited my passion for my old racer and helped me realise the value of all my old components.
The Vitus was duly stripped down, cleaned, polished, re greased & rebuilt with a few minor changes. The Holy Grail of the Vitus range for me was always the carbones. I could never afford a Carbone 7 or Carbone 9 back in the 90’s, so with this in mind I decided to cover the stays & main tubes of the 787 in carbon fibre wrap, which turned out very well, pretty convincing, with a durable finish that can easily be removed. Despite being prepared to sell body parts back in 92-93 to own a set of STI levers, I decided to go more retro and fit traditional aero brake levers & downtube shifters. Everything else, with the exception of a new saddle, cables, chain & bar tape is as it was when I last raced the bike all those years ago.
Being back in the saddle again has been great, although I’ll suffer for it the next day until I get some fitness back. I have a few miles shakedown done on the bike since the rebuild, and plan to do many more. I also intend to continue lurking and hopefully contribute a bit to the forum. As for future project plans…well, I still have my other old bikes to tinker with, and I have always wanted something nice & Italian, so a 90’s Colnago or Pinarello with C Record is now down on Santa’s list…
Thanks for reading…
Vitus 787 Futural spec:
Frame: Vitus 787 Futural 54cm (sky blue anodised wrapped in carbon fibre)
Fork: Vitus 787 Futural
Headset: Stronglight A9
Stem: 3TTT Record
Handlebar: 3TTT Forma SL
Bar Tape: ITM black cork
Brake Levers/Shifters: Dura Ace SL-7402 (optional 7403 STI’s)
Brake Calipers: Dura Ace BR-7403
Brake Pads: Dua Ace
Brake Cables: SRAM
Shifters: Dura Ace SL-7402
Front Derailleur: Dura Ace FD-7403
Rear Derailleur: Dura Ace RD-7402
Derailleur Cables: SRAM
Cassette: Dura Ace 8spd Hyperglide 13-21
Chain: KMC X8.93
Cranks: Dura Ace FC-7400
Chainrings: Shimano 53-39
Bottom Bracket: Shimano sealed cartridge
Pedals: Time Equipe Titan Magnesium
Rims: Mavic Mach 2CD (28hole)
Hubs: Dura Ace 8spd hyperglide cassette (28hole)
Hub Skewers: Dura Ace
Spokes: DT Swiss (double butted radial built)
Tyres: Vittoria Corsa tubulars
Saddle: Selle Italia flight titanium
Seatpost: 25mm alloy
Seatpost Binder: Vitus
Bottle Cage: alloy