Are Litespeed Bikes In The Pro Peloton?
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  1. #1
    Team Tom's
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    Question Are Litespeed Bikes In The Pro Peloton?

    I've looked but have not seen any...

    Why is that, can they just not compete with the qualities of carbon???

  2. #2
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    It could be many things ....

    The ability to furnish a pro team with road bikes and TT bikes can be a cost burden on a company like Litespeed (which is not owned by ... ABG? Is that the acronym?)

  3. #3
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    There have been a few "stealth" (re-badged) Litespeeds ridden by a few guys in the past, but I'm not aware of any now. I could be wrong.

    Yeah, bike sponsorship of a ProTour team is mondo expensive. With at least two (or three?) road bike models, TT bikes, etc...

    I don't know of any Ti bike manufacturer who has a big enough chunk of the market share to be able to take on sponsorship.
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  4. #4
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    Ahh, didn't realize that... I was just curious because they seem like a popular bike and I seem numerous out here where I ride.

    Anyone know how much the Archon weighs?

    Oh and I just found the Litespeed forum here... So I'll research them there... Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Lightspeed sponsored the lotto team in 2002.

    It's hard to tell if the reason that they don't sponsor a team now is financial or that carbon is so much better.... but given that all the frames in the TdF are carbon now, it could well be the latter.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979
    Lightspeed sponsored the lotto team in 2002.

    It's hard to tell if the reason that they don't sponsor a team now is financial or that carbon is so much better.... but given that all the frames in the TdF are carbon now, it could well be the latter.
    One major (?) factor: I think the (ride characteristics:weight) ratio is probably superior for carbon. That's coming from a guy who rides Ti. But I think the carbon frames allow them such a low overall weight that the teams get to ADD equipment like SRM power meters, etc. and still be right at the UCI weight limit.
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  7. #7
    gh1
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    Come on, there are million of dollars at stake. In rides like tdf, they ride the bikes that they are paid to ride. Small companies cant compete with that sort of price. On the other hand, if they had a choice they would be riding carbon.

  8. #8
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    Remember, the Pros are racing since it's their job. You can't complain about sponsors at all.

    Most should be happy they're allowed to pick their pedals.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaddSkillz
    I've looked but have not seen any...

    Why is that, can they just not compete with the qualities of carbon???
    No. Given UCI weight limits, a Ti bike is fully competitive with carbon. Remember that professional sports are studies in marketing, and the larger manufacturers have the coin to sponsor teams, which is a sizeable expense beyond supplying all the bikes.

    Litespeed does sponsor at lower levels - or at least they have recently. Financial conditions being what they are, my info may be out of date.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  10. #10
    Satanic Watch Winder
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    Kestrel finally made it after 23 years.

  11. #11
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    Quote Originally Posted by oily666
    Kestrel finally made it after 23 years.
    Yeah, good thing they got bought out by the BIG BOYS.
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    1 hour of running = 1 hour of wasted time when you could have been riding. - Alaska Mike

  12. #12
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    As said, they have sponsored teams in the past, I think most recently Team DFL in 2006 or so all road the Siena (which I can vouch is a great bike). Not sure where Litespeed has gone the last couple years? Prior to that, I know Lance once used Litespeed for TT in the TDF and McEwan used to ride a LS. Haven't seen any pros recently on a LS though. I don't believe it is a weight issue either, my Siena with carbon clinchers, ultegra brakes (heavy!), computer and DA pedals weighs in at 15.6 pounds. Throw some tubulars and lighter brakes on my bike and it is sub 15 (below uci limit). I'd guess the issue to be money, and the fact carbon bikes have really advanced in recent years.

  13. #13
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    As stated above, Litespeed did sponsor a team in 2002.
    Lemond also sponsored the Saturn team, with Chris Horner BTW, on Ti bikes in 2002 and 2003 (2003 the bikes were ti and carbon).
    The money can't be that big an issue. Parlee is now supporting a continental team and Parlee is a tiny company.

    I think it's just a hard sell for the team management to sign enough riders with a bike that might be heavier and/or less stiff. It could be done, but they would have to shell out some serious cash to turn the riders into believers. They don't need the press that bad.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbolaya
    The money can't be that big an issue. Parlee is now supporting a continental team and Parlee is a tiny company.

    I think it's just a hard sell for the team management to sign enough riders with a bike that might be heavier and/or less stiff. It could be done, but they would have to shell out some serious cash to turn the riders into believers. They don't need the press that bad.
    Different levels of competition have drastically different levels of sponsorship costs. And by looking at rider movements over the years, it seems obvious that sponsored bikes are way down the list of things worried about. Pretending that one high-level bike is meaningfully different from another in absolute performance is the stuff of marketing and lousy magazines.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  15. #15
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    Also of note... Robbie McEwen won the 2002 TDF Green Jersey competition while riding for Lotto; he rode an Ultimate on sprint stages. Most of the rest of the team rode Vortexes (Vortices?). I understand that feedback from Lotto after a season of racing led to a significant redesign of the Vortex.

    More recently (2006), Sean Kelly Racing raced on Merlins.

  16. #16
    Team Tom's
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    Well, its apparent that Ti frames can compete both in the weight and in competition... So it's gotta be cost or something else like a lack of interest in the part of the manufacturer... Hmmm

  17. #17
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    Possibly bike companies make more money on a carbon bike than they do on a Ti bike? If this is the case, then they would want their team riding carbon bikes as an incentive for the public to buy carbon.

  18. #18
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    Carbon bikes are not better than titanium. They are just MARKETED BETTER. The ability of an artist to change tube shapes annually and then have somebody dream up ad copy to justify the change to promote sales is the greatest advantage of carbon. Most of the carbon tubes today looked like they should be flowing inside a lava lamp. This is not so easily done with titanium.

  19. #19
    monkey with flamethrower
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    Titanium bicycles are significantly more expensive to produce than a carbon bicycle. For a small company like Litespeed furnishing a large pro-caliber team is a massive financial investment. They had the funds at one point, they probably don't now mostly due to the fact that Ti isn't the 'in' material right now.
    Chances are, I posted this drunk.

  20. #20
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    Mid 1990s ...several of the "Eddy Merckx" and "Caloi" labeled bikes that Motorola rode were Litespeeds (including the Blade that lance rode in '99 and also in '96)

  21. #21
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    At one time Greg Lemond made a Titanium bike. I don't know if he rode any in races.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence
    At one time Greg Lemond made a Titanium bike. I don't know if he rode any in races.
    Those Lemonds were actually made by Clark Kent back in 1991-1993 or so.

    I believe he did ride that version as well as the Calfee carbon bike (then called Carbonframes).

  23. #23
    MTT
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawrence
    Possibly bike companies make more money on a carbon bike than they do on a Ti bike? If this is the case, then they would want their team riding carbon bikes as an incentive for the public to buy carbon.
    And we have a winner!

  24. #24
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    Analysts estimate that the cost of sponsoring a professional cycling team is around $11.75 million per annum. Annual sales for ABG is was $8.1 million in 2008.
    Litespeed / ABG could never afford to be the main sponsor of a team but even as just the team bike supplier, the cost can be very high depending on the partnership with the main sponsor.

    EDIT: Oh, BTW, Litespeed is the bike supplier for Team Maxxis MTB team. Canadian champ Geoff Kabush is one of the riders.
    Last edited by Tequila Joe; 02-26-2009 at 05:16 PM.

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