Rangga Panji and his wife run Pancalen Cycles in South Jakarta. They have been busy lately, two of the many bikes that have been through their shop were both Vitus 979. One was immaculately restored to showroom, period condition with a 7-speed Campagnolo Chorus gruppo, while this one was converted into a townie that belies its racing heritage.
Rangga tells the story: “The 979 frame is believed to be the lightest production frame available for several years since its introduction in 1986. Easily recognisable from its bonded lugs and anodized colours, this frame is also known as one of the most flexible high end road frames of the past two decades. This characteristic means supple ride for lighter riders, but wobbly feel for strong or heavier riders. Although we might want to take account for Sean Kelly’s win aboard the 979 in 1988 Vuelta a Espana and green jersey at 1989 Tour de France, which might indicate that stiffer frames aren’t always better”.
“A townie is nothing without upright handlebar, comfortable saddle, and front rack to add the versatility. Replacing the 3TTT dropbar with a Velo Orange Postino was a snap, but the 979’s racing pedigree means the frame doesn’t have the means necessary to install the Wald basket. We ended up making custom strut to connect the basket’s lower mounting to the brake hole in the fork, creating simple and clean look”.
“We also keep the basket as low as possible to retain the original handling characteristic. Velo Orange City brake levers and Dimension cork grips tops up the cockpit setup nicely, while a well-worn Brooks B17 replaced the original Selle Italia Turbo”.
“We immediately take this bike to the street after all these makeovers. The handling was surprising: the agility of a racing frame combined with upright riding position and added comfort. You can’t have a blast on this bike without a slight of smile on your face, literally”.
Massive thanks to Rangga for the words and photos. Drop in to Pancalen Cycles next time you’re in Jakarta, where you can be assured of quality service with a smile.