Toronto, Canada: 09-April-2010
WHAT DOES “CUSTOM BUILT” MEAN FOR VITESS?
Vitess bikes are built-to-order and according to the individual needs of our riders. Those needs
are assessed through discussion, interview, road test and physical assessment. Only
demonstration bikes are assembled prior to having a set specification list.
Performance level, dimensional fit and visual uniqueness are the three pillars of our custom build philosophy. Performance level and dimensional fit variables create over 1,000,000 different combinations. When considering visual uniqueness, this number is actually much closer to infinite. This is our definition of “custom-built”.
o Performance level
All Vitess bikes are built around the same full-carbon frame-set (See Vitess White Paper 7.0 for more details). Until the introduction of our Super Road Bike (See White Paper 10.0 for more details), the difference in performance between two Vitess bikes is grounded in the choice of packages and options, which are selected according to the individual needs and preferences of the rider. Several packages are available for each module of the bike: Control and Power Transmission, Rider Interface and Ground Interface.
For each module, we have developed the component packages and options based on a detailed evaluation of the market offering as well as what we think fit best our approach to performance, quality and exclusivity.
After months of discussions and product testing, we chose to build strong relationships with the companies whose names are now closely associated to Vitess (3T, Fi’zi:k, Acros, Continental, Lightweight and Shimano). In each case, there is a very strong rationale supporting our choice of partner. In all cases, we have developed OE relationships directly with component manufacturers, to guarantee optimum level of know-how and expertise as well as long-term partnerships.
Five different packages are available for the Control and Power Transmission of your bike, each one providing a different set of characteristics: weight, reliability, micro-adjustability, usability… Three different packages are available for the Rider Interface of your bike. It is important to note that the entry model is the one generally used by Tour de France pro racers. The mid-level and range-topping packages lower weight and increase exclusivity through prestige. Each package is available with the choice between 2 different 3T handle bar types (different reach/drop and ergonomic top bar, depending on riding style) and 4 different Fi’zi:k saddles (different length/width and support shapes, depending on riding style and body morphology).
Ten different Ground Interface packages are available. From excellent training aluminum Easton EA 70 wheels, up to the most exclusive and sought after German-made Lightweight Standard C. Each wheel system is available with 2 different tire mounts from Continental. This base selection provides for 2,400 different possible combinations.
o Dimensional fit
Fit should not be a matter of luck or even a matter of post-purchase fine-tuning, we believe that it needs to be incorporated in the purchase process of a bike. Too often we meet riders whose frame is too big or too small, or with components that are not appropriate to their needs. Based on our vision of building a model that allows the rider to get what he/she needs and not what is available, we are promoting a no-worry approach in terms of bike fit. We have fully integrated the fitting protocol in the selection and purchasing process of your bike prior to final delivery. We have developed protocols and guidelines that ensure that frame and component selections are optimum for today’s fit, but also for tomorrow’s. Body flexibility, physical and health conditions fluctuate over time and we always provide for sufficient adjustment window (mainly in terms of drop and reach) so that follow-up fit sessions can still influence bike set-up. One of the reasons why we chose not to use a monocoque construction (See Vitess White paper 6.0) is to be able to offer our frames in a much greater number of sizes than the industry average. While some major brands offer only 5 frame sizes (mainly due to capital investment requirements), we offer 9, with minimal dimensional increments between each frame and a very simple approach to reach and drop. The frame size is generally a very straight forward outcome of body morphology assessment, but in some cases, a slight variation might be chosen as to take into account other issues such as flexibility and trends.
Crank length, handle-bar width, stem length, seat-post offset configuration are all variable selections in that they are chosen based on the individual needs of the rider after detailed consultation.
With those 432 different dimensional combinations before final adjustments (saddle height and Fwd/Rr position, bar rotation, hood positioning …), we think that guaranteeing perfect dimensional fit for a serious performance-oriented cyclist can be successfully achieved without custom-designing a frame-set.
The last few months have showed us that the laws of average demographics are very relevant to forecast in general terms, but certainly not precise enough to ensure fit every single time. Riders in need of a relatively small size 54 frame-set and a wide 44cm bar are not that uncommon. Loving the look of an Arione CX saddle is one thing, having a morphology that is better suited to an Antares is another. Only a proper fit can ensure that the rider is equipped with a bike that fits him or her. Only a build-to-order process can ensure that the rider gets the bike that he/she needs right from the factory.
o Visual uniqueness
Standard, rider-selected colour packages and full-custom frame artwork, and component colours such as saddle and bar tape, makes for the visual identity of a Vitess bike.
The notion of “best looking bike” is very relative and is very much a function of who will give his/her opinion. We know that not every rider will fall in love with the understated look of our frame-sets and that some will prefer curves, aero-shaped tubes and a multitude of colours. But we also know that those trends might fade as quickly as they arose, and we think that our simple approach to design will stand the test of time in a very effective way. Rolex, Ferrari, Lacoste and Armani among so many other top brands in their fields have shown us that to be the case.
Exclusivity means making the visual yours, not making it complicated. And this is what we offer our riders through our programs of rider-selected colour packages and full-custom artworks.
Even though our two standard colour schemes have captured most of the attention so far and account for most of the Vitess bikes on the road at this point (Raw Carbon and Arctic White), our rider-selected colour packages have started to gain rapid momentum. For those packages, we build upon our current design and offer the choice of frame colour. See below for some source of inspiration:
In the case of full-custom, one would need to come and spend time with our Art Director to define from ground-up what the artwork could look like.
Vitess not only delivers a very high quality ride, but it does so by offering a high degree of customization that is selected prior to your bike being built. No longer will you be forced to compromise your sizing or component selection based on what has been delivered to your local dealer. By focusing on the needs of the rider, and by offering millions of configurations one can be sure that their Vitess is unique.
You can download the pdf here