“It’s not every day that you get a call asking for a bike to suit a rider that’s six foot nine! ”
When Vitus Bikes continued their sponsorship of An Post – Chain Reaction for the 2014 many things changed. The team reverted back to become Irish registered, we lost some riders to other teams including Sam Bennett’s move up to Pro-Continental with Nett-App Endura and Irish stalwart Ronan McLaughlin retired from Pro racing. For Vitus as a brand the 2014 season would also see the An Post – CRC squad run the new “Vitesse Evo” frameset: an all new design that had been 2-years in the making.
One of the biggest changes (excuse the pun) was the introduction of some new riders – one of whom would present a problem that was going to require a little extra work!
Standing at 6ft 9in Conor Dunne is a giant of a man. It was evident that our 60cm size (the biggest size originally planned for production) was going to be too small for Conor and so the only option was to create an XXL size 62cm.
Simon Cordner Vitus Bikes Brand Manager comments;
“It’s not every day that you get a call asking for a bike to suit a rider that’s six foot nine! Having a pro road race team is an important activity for us as a brand. Vitus has been synonymous with the Pro peloton for over 30 years and our support for An Post – CRC continues this legacy. Whilst it was going to be a challenge to produce a bike for Conor we felt it was important to give him the best tool for the job”
Having spent some time with Conor to establish his exact requirements the Vitus R&D team set out to create the new bike. R&D Manager Dale McMullan explains
“We wanted to give Conor all the benefits of the new Vitesse Evo as there was a risk of losing the stiffness and responsiveness when going to this XXL size. The second element to this was that we wanted the geometry and sizing to be “proportional” – in line with all other sizes of the Evo. Having ridden other bikes during his career Conor had expressed that some were tall enough – but still didn’t have the reach he needed. As such we wanted to ensure that both the top-tube and seat-tube grew in proportion for this new size.”
The ultimate goal for this project was to provide Conor with a bike that he could be both comfortable on and perform on. With his previous team Conors’ set-up involved both a 35mm layback seat post and a 140mm stem onboard a 61cm frameset and he still felt cramped. Something clearly had to be done. Conor explains
“Being 6ft 9in presents many problems; clothes don’t fit, shoes look ridiculous, doors are too small and everyone thinks you’re a basketball player. Another major issue is the fact that it is near impossible to find a decent bike big enough for the cause.
In the past I have always had to make myself fit a bike instead of finding a bike to fit me. The reach was always too short plus I felt cramped and limited in my position. The 62cm Vitus Evo has a longer top tube which allows me to gain that all important extra reach on the bike.
After getting the bike last week and putting it to the test in two hard European professional races, I can say it passed with flying colours. My position feels so much better, the bike handled fantastically and when the power really had to be applied it didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait to get back on it for the next race now and hopefully winning on it! Without coming across as a “sponsors dream” this bike is genuinely the best I have ridden!
So what does Conor’s bike look like? Here are the vital stats and a quick bike-check on the Vitus Vitesse Evo. Whilst a 62cm doesn’t seem that big due to Vitus’s proportional geometry approach the 62cm Vitesse Evo is up to 26mm in effective TT and 14mm in reach longer than other “big name” bikes of similar size. The good news for all you riders of a “taller” nature is that Vitus Bikes will be offering the 62cm Vitesse Evo as a frameset in their 2015 range!
An Post – Chain Reaction Race Bike 2014