What road bike would a 4x World Superbike Champion ride to match his championship winning Kawasaki ZX-10RR? Well, Vitus Bikes makes a semi-aero carbon ZX-1 disc brake road bike. So that seemed like a fitting start for a custom painted build befitting the successful Northern Irish motorcycle racer, and a valuable tool as Jonathan Rea pedals to stay fit & fresh for motorbike racing…
Custom Vitus ZX-1 Disc aero road bike of Jonathan Rea
Vitus’ brand manager Chris McGlinchey actually, “first met Jonathan by chance at a local coffee shop near Vitus HQ, just after his 4th consecutive World Superbike title. We got chatting and I thought it would be an amazing collaboration to create him a custom road bike that replicated his championship winning Kawasaki. I knew he has an avid cyclist so thought it would be great to give him something special that would get him super excited about getting out on the road!”
Even though the Vitus brand
is officially still headquartered was originally based in France, they are owned by WiggleCRC with their home base now totally in Northern Ireland near Rea’s home.
That chance meeting opened up the discussion to creating this custom painted Vitus ZX-1 to match Rea’s Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR. As a longtime cyclist, Rea says that riding a road bike plays a “huge part” in his training program, letting him escape the intense physical & mental demands of Superbike racing.
ZX-1 Disc tech details
The UD T700 carbon Vitus ZX-1 Disc with its semi-aero shaping offered the base for Rea’s custom all-rounder training bike. Introduced in 2018, this latest ZX-1 Disc features 12mm thru-axles, flat mount disc brakes, modular internal cable routing, a tapered 1.5″ steerer, a BB386EVO bottom bracket, and room for up to 30mm tires.
The 2019 bike is available in four complete builds from Vitus for £2100-4600, and in six stock sizes (50-60cm). Rea’s bike is a size Small/52cm.
For the Superbike Champ’s complete build, Vitus kitted out his custom ZX-1 with a full SRAM Red eTap AXS 2×12-speed groupset, a CeramicSpeed bottom bracket, Prime Black Edition 50mm deep carbon wheels with chrome graphics & a matching Prime carbon aero cockpit.
Rea’s mechanic popped a home workstand up next to his race bike & trophies to build up the custom road bike. And UK filmmaker Gee Milner followed along to give you that moody bike build video above.
Vitus’ in-house graphics team blended their own style with the look from Rea’s championship-winning #65 Kawasaki Ninja. It started off with a raw carbon finish both for light weight and to see what goes into making the bike, then a healthy dose of Kawasaki green.
The custom bike gets a few special logos thrown in, like sponsor Monster on the chainstay, and Jonathan Rea’s own JR1 logo too. But there are some more subtle details too, like rebadging the bike as a Vitus ZX-10RR to match the Ninja. The custom finish was made real by master painter & ex DH pro Ali of Fat Creations in West Sussex, England.
The SRAM Red AXS group gets topped off with a Quarq AXS power meter crankset, big (for the 10-33T 12-speed cassette) 50/37 chainrings, and Look Keo Blade pedals.
Beyond that & the Prime carbon components, the complete bike build gets filled out with a Selle Italian SLR ti saddle and 25mm Schwalbe Pro One tires set up tubeless. Complete bike weight is said to be 7.5kg, including pedals, the Prime carbon bottle cages & a rubber band Garmin mount on the stem.
“I would like to thank the Vitus team for all their support and commitment to make sure I have the best product to perform my cycling training and ensure I’m in the very best shape in the quest to win a fifth World SBK Championship,” said Jonathan Rea MBE – 4x World Superbike Champion.