[CR]Vitus 979 question - Anyone Heard of An "A Line" Frameset?

Example: Framebuilding:Tubing:Falck
From: "R.S. Broderick" <rsb000@hotmail.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2008 06:14:48 -0600
Thread-Index: AclZ97r2A3i45jIsS7mSbzR5RQgmfA==
Subject: [CR]Vitus 979 question - Anyone Heard of An "A Line" Frameset?

Why is it that every time I am decidedly NOT looking for a special project bike, one just seems to fall into my proverbial lap….

Only after having been given explicit permission from Listmeister Dale that I am not about to run afoul of his good graces with respect to the boundaries of what does and does not qualify as being topical to the CR List, I seek enlightenment from the vast collective pool of knowledge represented herein regarding the specifics of a particular Vitus 979 bonded aluminum frameset.

Back in June of this year, George Hollenberg posted a question that obliquely dealt with just what weight weenie components might be appropriate for an early 1980’s Vitus 979 rebuild. Consequently, he and I exchanged a series of emails “OFF LIST” on this topic as I thought it to be a both a worthy question and potentially a very worthy project. The fact of the mater is that I have on hand more than a few of those spares which might be considered appropriate to such a task, but not enough to complete a true “period correct” bike assuming that one was trying to abide a “tout Français” theme (...which means that I will likely be soliciting the CR List in the near future with a “Parts Wanted” list). Well, lo and behold, a good friend of mine from across the state calls me up a few weeks back, and in the course of our rambling conversation he mentions that he happens to have a 1984 vintage Vitus 979 Duralinox Mk I frameset knocking about in search of a good home. We came to an agreement, and last week said frameset was summarily delivered into my hands courtesy of his girlfriend who was visiting the “Frozen Flatlands” of Sioux Falls from the equally frigid and foreboding Rapid City. So, now I am looking over this frameset, contemplating just how I might want to build it up and what parts I lack to achieve that end, when I notice a marking on both sides of the seat tube about half way down from the top. At first, I thought it to be a vestigial ghost image from some decals that had once been affixed inasmuch as any manner of badging once existent had been removed from the frame excepting those actual Vitus 979 tubing decals which could still be found just above the shifter bosses on the down tube as well as both sides of the front fork blades. Being the ever curious sort, however, I decided to look closer and make a concerted effort to determine just what those mysterious missing decals might have been. And that is when I came to discover that the faint images on either side of that seat tube were not remnants of some decal at all, but rather, a sort of watermark for lack of a better term, located underneath the surface of the anodized coating - and that each of these read in stylized form, “A Line”.

Well, I promptly picked up the telephone to call up my cross-state compatriot and query him as to the meaning of said mark, only to learn from my former LBS owner of a friend that he had once similarly questioned the U.S. distributor from whom he had purchased this very frameset back in 1984, whereupon he was told that Ateliers de la Rive maintained an inhouse “Service Course” dedicated to the production of racing specific bicycles and that those framesets which were the byproduct of this operation were built to a higher standard and more often than not to custom specification including such details as application specific dimensions and frame angles, tailored chain stay lengths, steel reinforcement pins at strategic locations for enhanced durability, non-standard colors and graphics, et cetera - and that all of those frames were thereafter marked with the ever so subtle “A Line” graphic on both sides of their seat tube. I have made my best effort to try and capture these delicate watermarks in digital form and have now posted a couple photographs to WoolJersey for inspection and review (...please click on the respective thumbnails to bring up successively larger images to view):

http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/broderir/1984-Vitus-979/ http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/broderir/1984-Vitus-979/

All of which finally brings me around to my questions. First of all, does anyone monitoring the CR List have any further information regarding Ateliers de la Rive or Vitus “A Line” framesets that would either corroborate or debunk that information which I posited above? Fact? Fiction? Fantasy? Falderal? Enquiring minds want to know. Absolutely none of the Vitus literature resident in my reference library makes any mention of this. Secondly, realizing that the subtly of its marking may well have escaped attention, or worse yet, that the location is such that it may well be obscured entirely by any existing seat tube decal graphics, does anyone else out there happen to have one of these “A Line” marked Vitus bikes in their stable and would any of you fortunate folks be willing to compare notes as it were? And finally, at the risk of inviting the type of technical discussion that might well lead us off into areas that have precious little to do with vintage bicycles per se, does anyone have any concrete understanding, or even some reasoned speculation, as to just how the sublimated effect of those “A Line” markings themselves were actually produced? My interest in asking this final question is begot of a desire to quite possibly have the frameset re-anodized or even partially re-anodized - but that decision may well depend upon the relative import of the “A Line” marking and whether or not it might be preserved or replicated in the process of re-anodizing. It is my intention at this time to bring the frame minus front fork back to Portland, Oregon when I visit over the Christmas holiday and discuss the matter in person with the folks at both Sapa Profiles and Apex Anodizing (...both rightfully thought it best to view the marking in person before commenting further). In the mean time, any insight shared by others is most welcome, although I would suggest that replies specific to this last question might be better sent along directly and “OFF LIST”.

Thank you to everyone in advance,

Robert “where is Sean Kelly when you need him?” Broderick

…the “Frozen Flatlands” of South Dakota

Sioux Falls, USA