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World Superbike Champ Jonathan Rea’s custom Vitus ZX-1 Disc carbon road bike

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee Milner
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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.

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee Milner
courtesy Vitus Cycles, all photos by Gee Milner

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

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee Milner

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.

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee Milner

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.

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee MilnerRea’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 ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee MilnerVitus’ 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.

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee Milner

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.

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee Milner

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.

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee MilnerBeyond 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.

Vitus ZX-1 Disc custom, custom painted aero carbon road race bike_training bike for World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, photos by Gee Milner

“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.

Jonathan-Rea.com & VitusBikes.com

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Velo Kitty
Velo Kitty
3 years ago

How many employees does Vitus Bikes have, and where are the employees located? Are they not located at Chain Reaction/Wiggle facilities?

Are the frames made in China, or are the frames made in Taiwan?

Craig
Craig
3 years ago
Reply to  Velo Kitty

I wonder if it’s just the Vitus trademark that is registered in France. Sean Kelly designs them though and he’s Irish.

Velo Kitty
Velo Kitty
3 years ago
Reply to  Craig

Didn’t the relationship with Sean Kelly as brand ambassador end 5 years ago? Also “design” is a very nebulous word. It could mean he just chose the color scheme.

How about a tour of Vitus’s facilities?

DingDang
DingDang
3 years ago

Bike looks too small for him.

bmx
bmx
3 years ago
Reply to  DingDang

ding dong is correct a size up would be better. least he may last longer riding this on the roads than the motorcycle. that ninja is a widow maker for sure.

roadstain
3 years ago
Reply to  bmx

You can say that about anything, including a bicycle….shame that so many people live with nothing but fear of their own mortality. I prefer to live life, thanks.

Huffytoss
Huffytoss
3 years ago
Reply to  bmx

Not necessarily, Nicki Hayden died riding his bicycle in the road.

Joe Bond
Joe Bond
3 years ago
Reply to  DingDang

Sean Kelly fit

lawrencefalk
lawrencefalk
3 years ago

The paint job, decals, etc… look great! (And Prime Wheels should offer those holographic stickers if they don’t already!)

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