Nearly every rider heading to Red Bull Rampage brings some flash to the freeride contest in the desert with a custom-painted, custom-built, one-of-a-kind bike. This year, Vitus teamed up with Kyle Strait to decorate a special bike that honors his 20-plus year career as a professional rider. With Kyle’s input and guidance, we created this unique downhill rig, inspired by classic country and western – a music genre that the Strait family loves.
From Hank Williams to Johnny Cash, George Jones to Dolly Parton, the golden age of American country music was visually defined by the Nudie suit. These flamboyant, rhinestone-studded cowboy outfits were originally worn by country singers in the 1950s and they are seen in American popular culture to this day. Kyle Strait was raised with country music, and he often listens to the twangy honky-tonk hits while digging or riding at Strait Acres.
The initial concept for this bike came from a conversation Kyle had with the Vitus creative team in Wales. Our Graphic Designer, Steven Mooney, took Kyle’s direction and sketched up a drawing. After some more back-and-forth with Kyle, professional painter Jake Wilkins, who had previously painted Kyle’s Rampage frames and Rachel’s helmets, took Steven’s concepts and brought them to life.
This isn’t just a custom paint job – it’s a completely custom prototype bike that Kyle will be testing at Rampage as part of the Vitus Gravity Project. Dubbed the VT-01 (VT for Vitus, 01 because it’s the first prototype), this bike and rider will provide valuable data points that will guide the future of mountain bike design at Vitus.
When it came time to build the bike, Kyle took matters into his own hands. From pressing the bearings to dialing in the bars, the Natty Daddy personally wrenches on his own race rigs. This is something Kyle’s always done, and it’s that DIY attitude that makes us proud to sponsor him. We are thrilled to watch Kyle take this country-inspired gravity machine to Red Bull Rampage.
The relationship that we have with Kyle is how we at Vitus want to treat all our riders. It takes a two-way street of respect, collaboration, and communication to make the best bikes come alive. BUILD DETAILS
Frame: Vitus VT-01 Prototype [200mm travel, custom 435mm chainstay, flip chip in high/progressive setting]
Fork: RockShox Boxxer Ultimate 200mm travel
Shock: RockShox Vivid Air Ultimate
Wheels: Stan's Flow
Tires: Kenda Prototype 27.5x2.45-inch front and rear
Bar/Stem: Deity Blacklabel 38mm rise, Intake direct mount
Seat: SDG Patriot I-beam
Grips: Sensus Meaty Paw signature model
Pedals: Sensus Crue
Drivetrain: SRAM X01-DH 7-speed
Cranks: SRAM X0-DH 36T chainring
Brakes: SRAM with 220mm HS2 rotors