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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I run a small bike shop in the Twin Cities area. I am trying to help out someone with an insurance claim. The bike in question is a early/mid 1980s Keith Bontrager road bike. It was destroyed when it was mounted on a trunk rack and the vehicle was rear ended. The person filing the claim bought the bike second hand in the 1990s in the Bay Area. Other than that I have nothing to go on to identify the bike and ascertain its value. The insurance company will (likely) low ball the claimant so I'm trying to help her do a little better.

It appears to use lugged construction. The rear triangle is aluminum and the bottom bracket shell has Vitus engraved. The front end -- head tube an fork -- also are Vitus. The top, down and seat tubes appear to be steel? But the bike isn't in my custody so I can't verify that.

The groupset is Shimano 600 and it appears to be original. Any help is appreciated. Disclaimer: I am doing this to help her out; there's no expectation she will spend her settlement at my shop; and I'm just trying to help her value what seems to be a very unique bike. Thanks! ~ Mark

front end.jpg
bb junction.jpg
Vitus bb.jpg
rear triangle.jpg
 

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Russian Troll Farmer
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Looks like one of those bonded-aluminum frames Vitus used to make. I'm not certain if a framebuilder could repair it or not; it would be a shame to scrap it.

BTW, you say you run a bike shop, yet you've never seen a bonded aluminum frame? Or know what a lugged frame looks like? Or how to tell if a frame is steel???
 

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That's a Vitus 979 frame. Not super exotic or custom, but definitely aftermarket and not OEM stuff. Think: buy an aftermarket frame and hang a group on it.

You're going to quote the replacement cost of the bike, not what it was originally cost.

It's equivalent to whatever you have in stock with current Ultegra level components, because the parts on it now are not available.

Doesn't matter whether your replacement is carbon or aluminum. You could pick a Cannondale CAAD 13 with caliper brakes equivalent or a Trek/Specialized similar offering.

You're too young to recognize a Vitus 979 and it's history with Sean Kelly? Sheesh; I'm old...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Looks like one of those bonded-aluminum frames Vitus used to make. I'm not certain if a framebuilder could repair it or not; it would be a shame to scrap it.

BTW, you say you run a bike shop, yet you've never seen a bonded aluminum frame? Or know what a lugged frame looks like? Or how to tell if a frame is steel???
It is a Vitus 979. Not sure why the second paragraph of your reply is necessary. I know what a bonded frame looks like; determining what the main tubes are made of when I only have photos to look at is more difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your help. Yup, Vitus. The owner threw me a curveball when she said she thought it was a Bontrager. I don't have the bike in my possession -- only photos of it. I told her what it was and linked her to a marketplace where that model is being sold.

She'd asked me to sign an affidavit; nope, because I fix bikes, I don't abet insurance fraud.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I missed it-where does the insurance fraud come in? What did she want you to do?
The fraud would be attesting to an inflated value for a 40 y/o glued-together bike which I sure as hell would not be brave enough to ride myself. And her implication was that if I did sign off on such a thing that I could expect her business when she got her settlement.
 
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