Vitus Sean Kelly LTD Edition review

Easy on the spine

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £3,199.99 RRP | USD $5,439.98

Our review

Good value and easy on the spine, but slightly soft when pushed hard
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Sean Kelly won around 80 percent of his victories riding Vitus bikes, so he was the obvious choice as frontman when Chain Reaction Cycles revived the brand last year. This limited edition model adds Kelly’s choice of cockpit kit to a proven smooth riding frame and Shimano’s top conventional groupset.

  • Highs: Excellent spec levels for the money and a smoothly buoyant ride despite a proper pro ride position and cockpit choice
  • Lows: Power delivery, cornering accuracy and confidence are slightly soft when you push the Vitus to its limits
  • Buy if: You’re after a racer-shaped bike with excellent spec but want a smooth and forgiving ride as well

We asked Sean about the bike when we rode with him at the 2012 launch. In typically succinct fashion he told us he’d put what he wanted on, but “without going crazy on the price” – £3,000 for full Shimano Dura-Ace kit on a carbon fibre frame and fork is certainly an attractive option. 

Sean’s influence is clear in the cockpit choice; not only are 3T his favourite trusted brand, he’s also gone for the assured strength and security of alloy over the super-light temptation of carbon fibre. The long stem and tight round bar shape encourage a racer’s low elbow, flat forearm position too, rather than a more relaxed anatomical bend. The Dura-Ace transmission has a full size 53/39-tooth chainset designed for fast riding and racing, not the more comfortable compromise of a compact. 

From this aggressive first impression comes a surprisingly genial ride. The Vitesse frame that the SK version is based on is a long way from the original plug-and-lug Vitus framesets, but it’s still smooth rather than sharp in feel. In fact, the more we rode it, the more we began to appreciate the buoyancy of the ride over rougher roads. 

The genuinely floated feel is even more remarkable considering its riding position is competition- rather than cruise-orientated. It’s also running on conventional clincher tyres rather than tubulars. Nonetheless, on our longer rides not even the foulest grit and sleet-laced weather could dampen our enthusiasm for staying out longer.

The sprightly feel of the Vitus extends up into the hills as long as you can spin the bigger rings. If the cadence drops, though, the more malleable nature of the frame is noticeable in a slight lack of edge to the drive as the material sucks up some of your muscle twitch. Despite a tapered head tube and full-carbon fork, several of our testers found flex up front unsettling when riding technical descents hard.

Vitus sean kelly ltd edition:
Dave Caudery

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Product Specifications


Name Sean Kelly Limited Edition (12)
Brand Vitus

Description 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60cm sizes, Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium Elite, adjustable bearings; spokes: 18 radial front, 20 Isopulse bladed rear, Michelin Pro 3 Light SC, 700x23 tyres,
Rear Derailleur Shimano Dura-Ace 9700, short cage
Top Tube (cm) 54.7
Standover Height (cm) 74.5
Seat Tube (cm) 51.5
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (kg) 7.27
Stem 3T ARX-Pro 120mm
Shifters Shimano Dura-Ace 9700
Seatpost 3T Palladio Pro 31.6mm
Seat Angle 74
Saddle Vitus Ti
Rear Wheel Weight 1440
Headset Type FSA
Bottom Bracket Shimano Dura-Ace 9700
Head Angle 73
Handlebar 3T Rotundo Pro 400mm
Front Wheel Weight 1090
Front Derailleur Shimano Dura-Ace 9700
Frame Weight 1255
Frame Material High modulus carbon fibre
Fork Weight 430
Fork Full carbon, tapered steerer
Cranks Shimano Dura-Ace 53/39, 175mm cranks
Chain Shimano Dura-Ace 9700
Cassette Shimano Dura-Ace 9700 12-25
Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace 9700
Wheelbase (cm) 98