Why Litespeed
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Thread: Why Litespeed

  1. #1
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    Why Litespeed

    I started really racking up the miles on the road bike (Orbea Volata) this summer, primarily as a training tool for mountain biking. I'm finding that the road isn't so bad-and much more time friendly than driving to trails.

    I ride a custom Titus on the trails and love the fact that I have a bike that fits me so well. I don't think the Orbea is the best fit for me-I'm 6'3" (long torso) and 220 (and dropping!). Litespeed has always been well know in this area (NC) as a quality company. Titanium is known for ride quality (I'm 44). I am in the research process now for a bike that I will probably buy late this year or first part of '06. I ride primarily alone in the Raleigh, NC area (lots of short hills). My parents and in-laws live in the mountains of NC and Va, I always take my bike when we visit. Most rides are 25-50 miles in length. I will ride the MS150 this year (2 centuries) and possibly will try a road race or 2 in the next year.

    I have a few questions and your help will be very much appreciated.
    Why Ti over high end custom steel? Lots of talk about Moots, Seven, Serotta, etc being of better quality than Litespeed-your thoughts. How long have you had your Litespeed (I plan on this bike lasting for a few years)? Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Carter

  2. #2
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by carter1
    I started really racking up the miles on the road bike (Orbea Volata) this summer, primarily as a training tool for mountain biking. I'm finding that the road isn't so bad-and much more time friendly than driving to trails.

    I ride a custom Titus on the trails and love the fact that I have a bike that fits me so well. I don't think the Orbea is the best fit for me-I'm 6'3" (long torso) and 220 (and dropping!). Litespeed has always been well know in this area (NC) as a quality company. Titanium is known for ride quality (I'm 44). I am in the research process now for a bike that I will probably buy late this year or first part of '06. I ride primarily alone in the Raleigh, NC area (lots of short hills). My parents and in-laws live in the mountains of NC and Va, I always take my bike when we visit. Most rides are 25-50 miles in length. I will ride the MS150 this year (2 centuries) and possibly will try a road race or 2 in the next year.

    I have a few questions and your help will be very much appreciated.
    Why Ti over high end custom steel? Lots of talk about Moots, Seven, Serotta, etc being of better quality than Litespeed-your thoughts. How long have you had your Litespeed (I plan on this bike lasting for a few years)? Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Carter
    Most important - Get a bike that you are comfortable on and that you love.

    My wife and I have a number of LSs and love them. LS knows Ti (The company came from making Ti defense parts) and has learned performance by building bikes to be re-badged for some of the worlds top manufacturers for some of the top racers.

    A competent builder can build a good bike out of any material. I prefer Ti for aesthetic reasons and for the ride and duability that the ones I have picked give me. First, brushed Ti has an exotic metal look that I really like. Second, paint doesn't stand up too well to me and in a few years looks 'less than new'. All the LSs look like new (3-6 years old) except for a few decal nicks.

    It is very unlikely that a custom bike is necessary or will even do you any good - unless, of course, you want one.

    TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up First of all...

    ...why not CF? Here's a quote from an earlier post I made re My Two Bikes:

    "I just got a 2004 Trek 5000...and I think it's a great ride. I already had a 2002 Litespeed Tuscany...also a great bike. So why did I buy the Trek? Other than the fact that you can never have too many bikes, that is? My Litespeed feels like it's aiming for the crit bike end of the spectrum...ti is supposed to have a real lively feel ("the titanium tingle") and while both bikes have identical head/seat tube angles, the Trek has a little longer top tube and chain stays...and it feels just a little bit more like an all-day-in-the-saddle steed. One thing you've probably noticed with the Trek 5000 is that you get a really good frame, pretty light wheels, and decent components (Shimano 105 brakes and front derailleur, Ultegra rear derailleur) selected to give you some good stuff but keep the price down...."

    So why did I get Litespeed? If you read up on Litespeed, they're pretty obsessive about the quality of their materials (including Argon gas for welding...they make their own) and construction techniques. They also have a full range of road bikes with different ride characteristics due to different geometries, tube sizes and geometries, and so forth. So if you want titanium, you have a pretty full range of options to choose from with Litespeed. Speaking of options...you're basically buying a frame and you have lots of different ways you can build it up. For me, Ultegra is just fine, so I saved a bunch of money over Dura Ace...also went with Cane Creek Aerohead wheels, which I like and aren't as pricey as some of the other options...but went with a Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork, which was worth the $$$. Speaking of $$$, Litespeed is definitely pricey overall...something I think they're becoming aware of. They had a "free wheels" promotion back a while ago, and they're also about the only major manufacturer that has the option of trading in your present ride...

    http://www.litespeed.com/2005/home.aspx

    Overall, I'm glad I got my Tuscany, and it's a great ride. There's a couple of other options you might want to consider:

    - Excel Sports in Boulder sells the Macalu line of bikes, and I've heard that the Macalu Pro is made by Litespeed and is basically identical to the old Arenberg...so for $950, you have a full TI frame made by Litespeed that you can build up any way you want:

    http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?p...ajor=1&minor=1

    - Colorado Cyclist carries the Douglas frame & bike line. Nice stuff, it looks like to me, and similar in price to Macalu. CC also has some pretty decent sales going on for Litespeed, also...

    http://www.coloradocyclist.com/

    Good luck...

  4. #4
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    1000 Reasons

    big clearance on LS frames/bikes ending this month i think. $1000 off of most of them. If you find a frame you like then grab one up now. I like my Siena a lot. I know 3 other people that love theirs too. The headtube cracked on me a while back and Litespeed's lifetime warranty on the frame came in handy. Ti is generally quicker and sharper feeling than the steel bikes. LS makes so many different frames so you should be able to find one that suits your needs.

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys, keep the replys coming. I still haven't had anyone address the steel vs ti argument. Please understand that I'm looking for an argument NOT to buy Litespeed-I've kind of made up my mind that theTuscany is the bike for me.

  6. #6
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by carter1
    Thanks guys, keep the replys coming. I still haven't had anyone address the steel vs ti argument. Please understand that I'm looking for an argument NOT to buy Litespeed-I've kind of made up my mind that theTuscany is the bike for me.
    Carefull with the Tuscany. It has changed drastically over the years. If you try a 2000 and like it, don't run out and buy a 2005. - TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

  7. #7
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    Why are you beating yourself up? You wrote..."I'm looking for an argument NOT to buy Litespeed-I've kind of made up my mind that theTuscany is the bike for me." If it speaks to you, get it! Who cares what anybody else says - talk is cheap when it's not their money, and its not their bike. The argument you are soliciting basically sets you up to find reasons for self doubt after the purchase.

    With any choice, you really can't go wrong. Reviewing similar traditional geometries, it was amazing that ALL reviews in RBR for Litespeed Tuscany, Merlin Cyrene, Seven Altis, Seven Axiom, Moots Vamoots, Serotta Feirte and Legend, and IF Crown Jewl Ti ALL returned the maximum 5 of 5 rating. Essentially, it doesn't matter - get the one that speaks to you. While some may be cynical of the reviews - "If you spend $3000-$8000 for a bike, are you going to admit that you don't like it?" Many og those biks/frames had over 20 reviews, one would think that at least a couple of those people wiould speak out if something was lacking, as each is likely to have 'high end' expectations.

    If you are looking for the best deal on the Litespeed, the best I see with Litespeed spec'd parts is the Ultegra 10 at Colorado Cyclist at $2599.
    http://www.coloradocyclist.com/commo...273&TextMode=0

    Quit torchuring yourself.....get it.

  8. #8

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    From my perspective it's because there's no argument to be had. Materials science, frame design and manufacturing are so sophisticated that any style bike can be made of any frame material. i.e., steel frames can be cushy and comfortable or rigid and brutal, same for aluminum, carbon and titanium. And it doesn't stop there, since so many frame-fork sets combine materials.

    Ultimately, a Ti frame can be made lighter than a steel frame because of the nature of the materials. There's no getting around the fact that iron weighs more than titanium! The other unavoidable reality is that steel will develop rust spots over time regardless of how fanatical one is about keeping the frame clean. None of this means any cyclist wouldn't welcome a beautiful steel bike into the collection!

    I ended up with a Firenze because I'd gotten bored with my regular (custom steel) bike and went test riding. It stood out among numerous similarly priced bikes of every conceivable description as offering the liveliest, most responsive ride quality. It was quite different in a good way. While I considered the Ti frame and CF fork to be plusses, I'd have quickly purchased something else had I found a bike that better suited me. I'm in my second season with it and in the midst of some component upgrades, and am still very happy with my choice.

    I'd recommend to anyone shopping to ignore the frame and fork materials and simply ride bikes until you find one that you love--you'll know it when it happens. (It would be best if we didn't know what the frame was made of until after the ride.) I do understand how difficult it can be to find high-end bikes to test ride, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by carter1
    Thanks guys, keep the replys coming. I still haven't had anyone address the steel vs ti argument. Please understand that I'm looking for an argument NOT to buy Litespeed-I've kind of made up my mind that theTuscany is the bike for me.

  9. #9
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    I'm 6'3" and 215# with a 2001 Litespeed Vortex (before they went with the integrated headset and larger downtube). I never got to test ride the Litespeed, but went ahead with a 61cm frame. Overall, I've been very happy with the frame. It's incredibly light for so much metal on a large frame and generally stiff. When I say "generally," I mean: good until I start pounding hard on the uphill grinds. I get a bit of bottom bracket sway which never bothered me much until I became a stronger rider. I only think this is personal because I feel a need for a stiffer response when I really want to stomp on the pedals and keep up with some of my anorexic buddies.

    With that said, I truly love the feel of my Ti frame when cruising out on those long, 40-100 mile rides. I used to ride an aluminum Specialized Allez and became incredibly sore after 35 miles on chip-sealed roads. The Ti frame geometry is not too aggressive for me, so I can ride till my legs give out, instead of stopping due to an aching back. It reduces the road buzz and softens the larger bumps. It tracks great on the descents and I love having a traditional frame geometry because I'm able to clamp my knees on the top tube when rocked by a vicious crosswind. It also feels lively. I believe the Ti gives a good "feel" for the road than a carbon fiber that I had tested. The Giant absorbed the road well, but felt a little dead.

    I've been informed the new, larger downtubes help stabilize the bottom bracket, so maybe this might be a solution for me. There are no dealers close, so I'll have to wait. Sorry, I've never test-ridden a steel frame.
    Last edited by agbagel; 07-30-2005 at 07:57 PM.

  10. #10
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    tuscany

    I just bought a Tuscany at CC's sale......hard to argue with the price. As you have already decided as well, it is a nice bike.

    My only question was the Tuscany or a custom Seven. The straight tube Seven is a really cool frame at around $2000.00. You can make it ride however you like. It can be firm, soft, stiff, lite or a lot of other things I'm sure. I don't think that I could tell much of a difference anyway; I am not an experienced racer just a normal rider with a century in mind.

    My thoughts were that I really fit just fine on an off the shelf bike so why spend the extra dollars on custom. If ya have problems with fit by all means go custom and be able to ride in comfort. I am happy with my purchase and will spend the dollars I saved on new Sidi's and pedals.

    Good luck and enjoy whatever you decide on.

  11. #11

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    I saved up for and bought a used Tuscany 3 years ago. I felt I needed titanium (vs steel) because I sweat a lot, so much that it causes corrosion on a steel frame. I recently bought a used Merlin Ti MTB for the same reason. My sweating causes steel to rust, plus I live in Seattle where rain and humidity are a given.
    I love my Tuscany, it has changed my athletic life! I'm even trying racing now!
    My used Tuscany still feels like a new bike to me! Hope you will love yours!

  12. #12

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    Decisions, decisions

    Like you, I obsessed over which material would suit my needs the best. I was interested in buying a Specialized Roubaix which was as comfortable as claimed, but something wasn't quite right. I tried out the Tuscany. A test ride around the block became a 25 mile ride and I just knew. I am still very happy with my choice.

    Once I decided on Titanium, I took a hard look at Seven and IF. Just a little bit too expensive. I would have paid over a thousand dollars more and got a lot less for my money. Litespeed does a lot more with their tubing than a similarly priced Seven (Axiom). Litespeed butts and shapes their tubing where Seven does not. (At least at the same price range) If you have a bottomless pocketbook, you can order a Seven that is tailored exactly to your proportions and riding style. The questionnaire you will fill out to be fitted for the bike is longer than my background check in the military. No joke. They are very thorough.

    Bottom line, if the Tuscany fits you well, go for it!! You will not regret it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by carter1
    Thanks guys, keep the replys coming. I still haven't had anyone address the steel vs ti argument. Please understand that I'm looking for an argument NOT to buy Litespeed-I've kind of made up my mind that theTuscany is the bike for me.
    I have just purchased a 2005 Ultimate from Competitive Cyclist...LS was closing out the 05s due to big changes....fine with me got the frame for half price. I am coming from an 01 Lemond Zurich which is Reynolds 853 steel. Top of the line steel a few years ago.

    They are two completely different bikes. The Lemond has a fluid feel that is nice on longer rides, but it does not respond nearly as quickly and does not climb as well as the Ultimate...I can feel a difference in the power transmission to the rear wheel between the two. And I am using the same wheels and tires on the Ultimate as I used on the Zurich so thats not the issue.

    The Ultimate is a much firmer ride than the Zurich even with some 3/2.5 tubes. But the massive 6/4 down tube, BB, and short wheel base make it much firmer in the rear, my rear.....I tell you they are both great bikes just for different things. I also understand that Independent Fabricators is making some noise about some new super steel that is coming down the pipe in the near future......

    Also brushed TI just looks bad ass.........

  14. #14
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    One more vote for Tuscany

    This past spring I ordered a 2005 Tuscany decked out (D/A, Ksyriums SL's) Mine is a 53cm I'm 45 years old and love the med to fast grup rides in the summer and ride a few centuries each year. I love my bike it is more than I hoped for it's light climbs well and is very comfortable on the long rides. My old bike (whitch I still ride) is a Jamis Quest 1999 model 631 steel frame and 105 group I fitted a Raynolds onzo pro fork and king head set, and Velomax circut wheels, this is very smoth riding bike handles pretty much as good as the Tuscany (due to the mods).

    Now the Tuscany is far and above in these areas, I get less "high" freqincy vibration on stone chip roads, Its much stiffer so acceleration is better as well as climbing, I think it "tracks" better (meaning holding a line). The fit is right on with the stock bike size and this is likely a big factor. I spent the last 5 years on the Jamis and thought that I had the fit dialed (did my first fitting (fit-kit) for the Tuscany) now I'm adjusting stuff to duplicate the fit of the Litespeed on the Jamis.

    When you get into the range of bikes you are considering it's hard to go wrong, as mentioned by many of the other posters, fit is everything. I think that if you get a good fit, you will be happy. -- BIll

  15. #15

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    litespeed

    I purchased a Litespeed Solano thru CC last August and saved $700 off the $2995 bike shop price. I am very happy with the smooth Ti ride on my Texas backroads. The handling is great and the solid 100% ultegra drive train is too.

    Quote Originally Posted by carter1
    I started really racking up the miles on the road bike (Orbea Volata) this summer, primarily as a training tool for mountain biking. I'm finding that the road isn't so bad-and much more time friendly than driving to trails.


    I ride a custom Titus on the trails and love the fact that I have a bike that fits me so well. I don't think the Orbea is the best fit for me-I'm 6'3" (long torso) and 220 (and dropping!). Litespeed has always been well know in this area (NC) as a quality company. Titanium is known for ride quality (I'm 44). I am in the research process now for a bike that I will probably buy late this year or first part of '06. I ride primarily alone in the Raleigh, NC area (lots of short hills). My parents and in-laws live in the mountains of NC and Va, I always take my bike when we visit. Most rides are 25-50 miles in length. I will ride the MS150 this year (2 centuries) and possibly will try a road race or 2 in the next year.

    I have a few questions and your help will be very much appreciated.
    Why Ti over high end custom steel? Lots of talk about Moots, Seven, Serotta, etc being of better quality than Litespeed-your thoughts. How long have you had your Litespeed (I plan on this bike lasting for a few years)? Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Carter

  16. #16
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    Love my classic, had it for years and it's not for sale.
    Steel has one big merit. Price.
    You can have a custom steel bike made for you with custom spec tube diameters and geometry (careful here, you have to know what you're asking for) for a very reasonable price. The stuff rides very nicely too.

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