This website is part of a quest to uncover as much history as possible about an interesting aluminum bicycle from the 80s called the Vitus 979. It was made by a joint venture of French companies Ateliers de la Rive and Angenieux-CLB. Ateliers de la Rive began fabricating lightweight steel tubing for bicycles in 19311 and for fifty years supplied it to a host of bicycle makers including Motobecane, Bertin, Mercier, Urago, Peugeot, and Gitane under various names such as Durifort-Rubis 888, Vitus 972, and Super Vitus 971 2. Angenieux-CLB was a maker of bicycle components, notably brakes, founded by Charles Lozier Bourgoin in the mid-40s. The first Vitus-branded Vitus 979 Duralinox frames of 5083 aluminum-magnesium alloy tubing and lugs were developed in 1978 and introduced in the Spring of 1979 3 with Ateliers de la Rive designing and producing the 979 Duralinox tube sets, forks, head tubes and rear triangle stays, and Angenieux-CLB producing the cast alloy internal slip-fit lugs, bottom bracket, fork crown, drop-outs and rear brake bridges. Vitus 979 frames were also supplied to Motobecane, Peugeot, and Gitane 4. Of interest is the fact that they were glued together! US Patent 4,479,662 5 for the Vitus 979 by inventors Paule Defour and Antoine Dumas is a fascinating read. I’ve read that the French company Bador was involved in the assembly of the frames.
A brochure on the Bicycle Info Project lists five colors: black, red, royal blue, grey-blue, and silver (I have also seen gold and rose). This was not paint but anodizing and it referred to the tubes only. The rest of the frame, including the fork, was polished aluminum. To my mind the loveliest was the silver since it combined beautifully with the nearly seamless bonding of tubes and lugs. Adrenaline Bikes, who will build up a custom 979 in multiple configurations, list the frame colors as silver, light blue, dark blue, red, black, pink, violet, and white, the last being, presumably, the only painted finish.
- See also this nice summary by Norris Lockley ↩
- There were at least a half-dozen additional numerical designations, as referenced in the Lockley article. Vintage bike forums discuss in depth the diameters, wall thickness, and proportion of elements in various alloys ↩
- in 1974 my brother Fred purchased a lugged aluminum frame made by the Italian company Alan, which I think was the first mass-produced aluminum bike frame of the time. Of course, aluminum bicycles had existed in one form or another since the early 20th century ↩
- It would be nice to have a chart of all the bicycle manufacturers and what tubing they used ↩
- the French patent was 78 33152 and is dated July 31, 1978 ↩