In late January I was bitten by the bug to get a new bicycle. I love riding and get out every chance I get – a quick 15k or a hard century – it makes no difference to me. I love the speed, the total focus required, the camaraderie, the tech and the toys. Two summers ago my cycling addiction took us to France to see Le Tour in person. And for me to ride some of the famous climbs like Alpe d’Huez.
Accepting the fact that I’d be getting a new ride this season it was time to decide on what bike was for me. Should I get a Cervélo R3? They’re sexy, and Canadian, and highly regarded. Or perhaps stick with Specialized and get a Tarmac SL3? An upgrade to the Tarmac I currently ride. Or something more a little more exotic like a Pinarello or Willier?
While all of these bikes are terrific none of them really made me want them. And the staff at the stores I visited/contacted didn’t do anything to change this (aside from the guys at Gears… but the bike still didn’t do it.) This changed when I checked out Vitess – a new manufacturer of performance road bikes with a showroom located in my ‘hood of South Etobicoke.
I exchanged a number of emails with Julien (the founder and face of Vitess) and learned a lot about the company and their plans before ever visiting the showroom and seeing the product in person. But once inside the showroom the decision was pretty much made that this would be my new bike. Their bikes are definitely not flashy – not covered in graphics with wicked paint schemes. But they look good. And fast. Just what I wanted.
A few weeks later my bike arrived and we scheduled my fitting session – a three-hour intensive session conducted by Fitt 1st at the Vitess showroom – where every part of the bike is adjusted and tweaked to ensure the perfect fit. During my session it was discovered that I need a narrower handlebar than originally thought, and than what I ordered. Not a problem! Julien swapped out the ordered bar with a bar of the correct width and ordered in the carbon bar I originally ordered at the correct size. The next week I returned and we made the swap again – adjusting the fit perfectly before sending me on my way.
With the last six bike purchases none of the stores every followed up with me to see how I was enjoying my purchase; to see if I had any questions or needed to make any changes. Vitess did – and have stayed true to their commitment of being rider-centric in all aspects of their operation.
Now… regardless of the customer service and rider-focus the bike needs to be a star on the road – and it is. From the minute I got on the saddle and clicked in I new that this was going to be a fun season of riding. And through the first two-plus months of riding this has proved true. After the first 500k of riding here are my thoughts on this terrific bicycle:
• I’m fast. Noticeably faster than previous years. Subtracting the placebo effect of thinking I’m faster because of my new bike, I’m still faster. And my riding partners have all taken note.
• The bike is much stiffer than my Tarmac. This is most noticeable when I switch get out of the saddle and hammer it for a sprint.
• The fit is perfect. I’ve had my previous bikes fit to me but not like this. My comfort level is much higher than I thought possible on a high performance bike – and my endurance is better as my body doesn’t fatigue from holding a position.
Don’t mistake me for some errant fanboy – I like this bike but I’m not blindly tossing out compliments and ignoring the shortcomings… it’s just that for me, there aren’t any. I’ve ridden this bike harder and faster than my previous bikes and it has performed when the others have failed. The only comparison I haven’t made yet is on the roads of France… but trust me I am working on convincing Leah that we should go again!
If you’re in the market for a high performance road bike be sure to give Vitess a call!