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December 17, 2010

Another Viner owner has been in touch. Tim Wellman (pictured above dishing out some pain!) sent me some shots of his stunning ‘Team Miche’ Mitus Plus, along with a truthful but glowing review:

“Although I had enjoyed riding my Bianchi for a few years, I was getting new bike lust. After seeing Marcel Wursts glowing Maxima review in Procycling in 2008, I decided to check out Viner’s bikes myself. Fortunately Viner were exhibiting at the London Cycle Show that year, so it was  a chance to see the bikes and talk to the extremely knowledgeable and helpful Viner UK staff. Whilst the Maxima got the stares of everyone passing the stand (including me), the bike that caught my attention was an Mitus Plus in Orange and White.  That was it, studying the various catalogues I had collected on the way home I had a feeling what my next bike would be…

After a lot of helpful discussions with the guys at Epic Cycles, I ordered my Viner Mitus Plus frameset in Miche team colours. Like the Maxima the Mitus Plus is available in a number of standard sizes and could be made to any custom size by the guys in Tuscany for no extra charge. You could also specify integrated seatpost (ISP) and BB30, remember this was over two years ago!  For me there was no need to go down the custom route as a medium was perfect. Whilst I toyed with a BB30 shell, the £200 upcharge (apparently the BB30 carbon layup was more complicated) and the lack of BB30 cranksets dissuaded me.  I also didn’t want an ISP since that just made transporting the bike awkward and I didn’t particularly like the look.

Two months passed and then during a snowy winter day the frame turned up. I unboxed it and at first glance it was beautiful, I was happy… at first. Then after closer inspection I noticed a couple of cosmetic problems. The headtube hadn’t be finished cleanly leaving a large bobble on the inside. Worse than that was the marker pen on the carbon weave which had then been lacquered over!  A call to Epic and the frame was on it’s way back… To be fair both Epic and Viner were great at getting it sorted.  Sadly Epic Cycles are no longer Viner dealers.

Five weeks later, my replacement frame arrived. It was perfect. I built it up in full Italian gear in anticipation of the coming season. As soon as the fine weather started in March I was out. The frame had a lovely smooth ride. I really like the look of the frame, the tubes were much chunkier than my old Bianchi and the slightly wavy (Deda Black Wave) forks and curved and flattened stays all seemed to work together without looking quite as over the top as something like a Pinarello.  Duck footed riders could find the flattened stays clipping your heels.

The frame wasn’t particularly light for it’s medium size, around 1300 grams if I recall, but I didn’t care too much.  Although I’ve often said this frame is lugged and smoothed, that’s not actually correct. My understanding is that the frame is made of separate tubes, just like a lugged frame (which is why custom sizes are available) but instead of using lugs to join the tubes, wraps are applied to the joins. This gives the joins a smooth appearance. The frame is then put into an autoclave to be bonded under high pressure. The carbon tubing for the front triangle is supplied by Toray via Dedaccaci and is high end T900.  The rear triangle and forks are supplied by Deda. The end result is a frame which looks like a monocoque but isn’t.

I posted faster times in all my usual rides and several Sportive events, where the bike and matching orange jersey often got noticed. This is a riders bike. It was a real mile muncher and comfortable without having the almost sit-up and beg geometry of many bikes.  I clocked several thousand enjoyable KMs.”

Tim has recently sold the Mitus and opted for a new frame from another “true Italian marque”, although this did give him a good chance to compare the two frames:
“…the kit was almost a like for like swap so it did allow me to compare the two bikes almost back to back. Whilst it’s unfair to compare a bike from a couple of years ago to a new model, I would say on the whole the Mitus Plus ride compares quite well.  The biggest difference is in the steering. Despite using the same Deda Presa carbon bars, there is noticeably less flex on the new bike which I would say is due to the tapered headtube, something I’m glad to see Viner have adopted in their 2011 Mitus Plus 0.4 and other bikes in their range. Ironically when I asked Viner about these back in 2008 they felt there was no need. The back end and BB area are better and stiffer on the new bike, but again since the 2008 Mitus Plus, Viner have changed the rear end of the Mitus. In 2009 it adopted the rear triangle from the original Maxima, so again the already good ride should be even better – hopefully without losing the smooth ride.

The new ‘naked’ carbon 2011 Mitus 0.4 model looks like it could have addressed many of my niggles… sadly I’ll never know. I think I’ll always have a soft spot for the Mitus though, we had a lot of fun.”

Tim’s right – the new 2011 Mitus 0.4 would definately have fulfilled his needs. Boasting a tapered headtube, BB30, ISP and the new rear RS triangle, it’s reckoned to be a level above some other marque’s top offerings. So I suspect we might see Tim on a Viner again!
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