Vitus Chrono II - first look

New range-topping time trial bike from Vitus

Vitus’ Chrono II is a new top-end TT bike for 2015. It's the time-trial weapon of choice for the An Post-Chain Reaction Cycles UCI continental team, so its been thoroughly tested alongside the Irish Cycling High Performance Programme, with Ryan Mullan clocking the fastest time of the day – both under-23 and elite – at Irish time trial championships on the bike.  The Chrono II also scored a bronze medal at this year’s UK national 100-mile TT championships under Ironman UK winner Lucy Gossage.

The Chrono II is fully UCI approved across all five sizes (XS to XL). Vitus says it has been designed with maximum aerodynamics at its heart, while integral moulding process for the high-modulus, uni-directional T700 carbon means the top tube, down tube, head tube and seat tube are all produced in a single step, which helps improve stiffness.

The design itself features shapes reminiscent of the Cervelo P5 combined with the Scott Plasma 3.

The head tube’s wide trailing edge leads onto a non-wheel hugging down tube that features a blunt, truncated foil similar to that of the new Scott Plasma 5.

The straight top tube runs into a broad seat junction that sits between the Plasma and the P5 in width while the seatstays attach low on the wheel-hugging seat tube as with the new Plasma models.

The top of the bottom bracket area is squared off to give a chunky home for a standard 68mm screw-in BB shell.

Under the BB area is a screw-on faring that shields the installation point for the TRP TTV brake, which comes included with the frameset and fits smoothly with the contours of the frame. It also weighs only 134g including all hardware and is adjustable thanks to independent spring tension screws.

The substaintial chainstays stay close in to the wheel before flaring out into the horizontal dropouts, complete with a replaceable aluminium gear hanger.

The seatpost is held in place by a wedge that’s tightened on the top tube just in front of the post’s entry point. The top of the seatpost has a two-rail clamp for standard saddles, but one that can slide 25mm along the top of the seatpost in order to change the effective seat tube angle from 75 to 77 degrees, before saddle adjustment.

Up front, the design follows the increasing trend in TT bikes for total integration. The stem sits atop a reduced head tube (scaled for each frame size) and the bayonet-style fork to keep the setup in line with the top tube. Another TRP TTV brake slots in on the reverse of the fork, again following the trailing edge for maximum aerodynamic benefit.

The stem itself has a top cap that is used for both the tightening of the stem onto the headset and for securing the base bar in place via four bolts on the top. The stem will take any standard 31.8mm bars, but the frameset comes with a base bar and extensions that transition into the stem shape for a smooth, aero look.

The carbon base bar features a broad, fairly tall aerofoil with flat bullhorns. There’s plenty of width adjustment on the pads, but only one mounting width for the bars. There’s no X- or Y-axis adjustment either, leaving you to tilt the whole base bar to alter the angle of the J-bend extensions. There are a variety of spacers to effect desired stack height above the standard 492.7mm (centre BB to head tube centre line) on the medium 52cm frame.

The front brake cable runs externally while the rear brake and gear cables slot neatly onto the top tube behind the stem. Vitus says that all the cable paths have been engineered to minimise bends and maximise shifting performance, which should make cable changes a little easier too.

The production models will feature a red, rather than green, colourscheme and will be available through Chain Reaction Cycles from November for £1,574.99 (RRP £1,749.99) so it should be considerably cheaper than the bargain Shimano 105-equipped Cervelo P2, built-up with like-for-like kit. Though of course, the beauty of the frameset-only Vitus is that the specification will be up to you.

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