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  1. #1
    tsl
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    Built-up the Litespeed today

    Spent the day today tearing down Blue Steel and building up the Litespeed with Blue's components.

    I had very mixed feelings all day. First I was taking apart a bike I've come to love in just three short months. But I was building up a bike that holds much anticipation.

    Blue seemed okay with it. It's getting a new headset while its disassembled. It seemed crunchy and notchy after I took off the wheel and bars.

    The only hitch in the whole affair is that apparently, 11 years ago it was put together dry. Parts that had been changed over the years were fine, but not the crank. It's an Ultegra 6500 (9-speed) crankset with the Octalink bottom-bracket and self-extracting crank arm bolts. Pulling the cranks was a challenge.

    I eventually got the drive side off, but I had to take it to the LBS across the street to have the left (non-drive) side taken off. The self-extractor thingie, bulged, buckled and broke. Once it was out, they were able to remove the bolt, and thread-in a traditional crank puller, which worked Jim-dandy.

    Fortunately, we were able to also thread-in a new self-extractor bolt, although it's anyone's guess as to whether or not there's enough thread left in the crank for it to work. So I also ordered a new crankarm.

    Everything went together on the Litespeed just fine. I used plenty of titanium-compatible anti-seize, even though if things go according to plan, I'll be moving all the parts back towards the end of July. I got anti-seize everywhere, including my hair.

    For those just tuning in, the idea here that I'm trying out different frames--one steel, one Ti. They're nearly identical in geometry and design intent. Swapping parts reduces the variables between them and makes it easier for me to discern the differences between the two frames. At least, that's the plan.

    As they say in forum-land, pics or it didn't happen!

    First, all the parts on Blue Steel:

    The only changes since then are a longer, lower stem, new bottle cages and I took off the rear fender quick release.

    Here's everything on the as yet still unnamed Litespeed:


    The Litespeed has its own BB, FD (braze-on as opposed to Blue's clamp-on) and uses the second-bike kit for the cyclometer. Everything else came over from Blue today. As time goes by and budget permits, the Litespeed will get its own wheels and components, so that Blue can stay in one piece.

    Anyway, I put 1¼ miles on it in the parking lot this afternoon, working out the kinks. It's had a bath to remove all the anti-seize I got everywhere. I'm having dinner now and after that, we'll go for a nice, getting-to-know-you ride.

    Tomorrow's my birthday, so it will also see duty on the birthday ride.
    Last edited by tsl; 06-18-10 at 04:03 PM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Kojak's Avatar
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    Happy birthday tsl!

    I've got a Litespeed Vortex (just a year or two newer than your Classic). I love it, as I'm sure you'll love yours. I'm sure there's some placebo effect that comes with riding a titanium frame, but they feel great.

    TDF_1..jpg
    Last edited by Kojak; 06-18-10 at 04:36 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    That really looks awesome tsl. I would like to get one, but I'm at my limit already. Well kind of
    George

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    TSL happy birthday. Sweet bikes. You must let us know how they both perform. Wing Nut

  5. #5
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Nice thread about wrenching! Actually I will be posting a similar experiment soon... a frame swap with transplanted components.... so obviously this is a well-conceived mission.

    I assume the limitation with Blue Steel is the weight, yes? I just love the comfort of my steel Wayzata but the 27 pounds is a real issue sometimes. New frameset for my project (pic) is somewhere between here and Singapore as we speak.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by billydonn; 06-18-10 at 04:59 PM.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Have a great birthday ride

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  7. #7
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    I assume the limitation with Blue Steel is the weight, yes?
    No, not at all. I haven't weighed the Litespeed yet, but it's pretty close to Blue. If anything, it's a smidge heavier.

    I've been riding for only four years, and all on aluminum bikes with compact and semi-compact geometry. I've learned the differences between good aluminum and cheap aluminum. Now it's time for remedial lessons in steel and Ti with "classic" geometry. That's about half of the motivation of this test.

    The other half is that I've learned from others that aluminum in daily commute duty has a fatigue life of 30,000 to 40,000 miles. I just turned-over 10,000 on my Portland. I'd like to have it's replacement before its worn out so it can continue to serve in a backup role. (I really like that bike.) I'm attracted to both Ti and stainless steel for their corrosion resistance, ride, strength and durability. And they don't need paint, which I seem to leave behind everywhere I lock up.

    Riders who own both tell me 853 and 953 stainless ride about the same, so Blue is standing in for stainless in this test. The as yet unnamed Litespeed is the Ti bike in the test. Even if you only compare the photos, you'll see their geometry is nearly identical. The main difference is a one-degree steeper head tube angle. It's compensated for by a 3mm longer offset in it's non-stock Easton carbon fork, so despite the differences in HTA, the front-center remains the same. Even so, I could really feel that difference in tonight's ride. I'm learning about geometry too, it seems.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  8. #8
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojak View Post
    Happy birthday tsl!
    Quote Originally Posted by Wing Nut View Post
    TSL happy birthday.
    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
    Have a great birthday ride
    Thanks, all!
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  9. #9
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    BTW you should probably name it Mig-29 as it probably has a few melted down parts from one in it.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  10. #10
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Awesome present to yourself. Happy birthday.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
    2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 "Racing Edition"--The bike shop owner said it's toast. R.I.P.

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  11. #11
    Senior Member ecrider's Avatar
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    What a noble experiment. Happy B Day!

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    Nice job on "unnamed Ti, tsl, and happy birthday.

    All of these wrenching posts are inspirational. I'm slowly learning to do some of my own by reading and by trial and error, mostly error.

  13. #13
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Now that you mention it, I can see the HTA difference. I would assume the steeper angle of Blue makes her quicker or twitchier. Whatever the case, I hope you will report what you have learned. I thought TI was supposed to be a little lighter than steel, so the weight similarity surprises me.

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  14. #14
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
    mostly error
    Tuition in the School of Hard Knocks, I say.

    I learned by buying a bike that had been terribly abused and never maintained. It was a seven-year-old road bike and I bought it for only $100. That's about all it was worth. I figured that if it all went to hell in a handbasket, I was only out a hundred bucks. I still ride and love that bike.

    Most of the bike went straight to the trash can when I got it home. Then I rebuilt it. I spent most of a winter on the project, buying the tools and parts I needed. When I put it on the road, all that was left of the original purchase was the frame, fork, stem, bars, brake calipers, and bottle cage bolts. In the three years since, I've also replaced the fork, stem and brake calipers. Still using those bottle cage bolts.

    Most of that knowledge I use only once a year. I ride year 'round right through winter's snow and the DPW's salt. The bikes all get stripped down, cleaned, detailed, greased, and reassembled every spring. Keeps me in practice for jobs like this.

    It's all remarkably easy. The toughest nut to crack is learning how to adjust shifting. Everything else is just screwing stuff together. The instructions that come in the box with Shimano's stuff breaks it all down step-by-step. Interestingly, I found Shimano's instructions easier to follow than Park Tool's--especially the instructions for adjusting shifting.

    For today's project, I used very few tools too, since I'd had the LBS install the Litespeed's bottom bracket. I used 3mm, 5mm, 6mm, and 8mm hex wrenches (mostly the 5mm), my torque wrench, cable and housing cutters, 4th-hand tool for pulling the cables and zip-ties tight, and my master link pliers for the chain. Finally, I used some chain lube and some anti-seize compound. And my pump on the tires. That's all.

    I keep cables and housing in stock. I was able to re-use the front brake and rear derailleur cable, and used new for the FD and rear brake. Those were the only parts I used. Well, new cable housing ferrules and crimp-on cable ends too.
    Last edited by tsl; 06-18-10 at 10:47 PM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Nice job -- looks like a great bike.

  16. #16
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    I would assume the steeper angle of Blue makes her quicker or twitchier.
    As I wrote recently in another thread, there are no twitchy bikes, only twitchy riders.

    I can't imagine what the bike handled like with the stock 40mm offset fork. With the 43mm, it's quick and responsive, without being subject to the sneeze effect. The handling is also nearly neutral. It corners well, but doesn't have the same "corners on rails" feeling that I associate with carving corners on my other bikes.

    The Litespeed's handling is very neutral and it carves corners like my other bikes. It feels bolted-down to the pavement. Interestingly, it also feels stiffer than the steel bike. That may be just the fork too. More miles will tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    I thought TI was supposed to be a little lighter than steel, so the weight similarity surprises me.
    Surprised me too, but that's also part of the advantage of using the very same components. I know that any weight difference is in the frameset.

    Both bikes are about 20 pounds, give or take. For 1990s metal road bikes, with metal components, that's still pretty good.

    Both bikes are also nose-heavy when I carry them on the stairs to go outside. Threaded steel steerers and the associated headsets and quills is my bet.

    The Portland with its threadless aluminum steerer and Yellow Bike's threadless carbon steerer make those bikes tail-heavy in the stairwell test. (Come to think of it, both those bikes have rear racks too.) Well, now that it has a dynamo hub in front, the Portland is more balanced., fore and aft.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

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    Good job, tsl.

    After meeting "Blue Steel" in person, I'm going to feel better when she gets all her parts back. But I must admit, it was quite noble of her to cooperate...in the name of science, and all.

    I do stuff like that all the time, plus maintain bikes for friends and family. Sometimes it's hard for me to know exactly how many bikes I have because of the constant transfusion of parts. Does a bare frame count as a bike? Etc. etc.

    We'll be waiting for a report on the performance differences.

    Oh, and happy birthday.

  18. #18
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Interestingly, it also feels stiffer than the steel bike.
    Ti has a modulus of elasticity closer to aluminum than to steel - that may be what you are feeling.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  19. #19
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Good job, tsl.

    ...

    I do stuff like that all the time, plus maintain bikes for friends and family. Sometimes it's hard for me to know exactly how many bikes I have because of the constant transfusion of parts. Does a bare frame count as a bike? Etc. etc.

    ...
    Goes in the "mothball fleet" category!

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  20. #20
    Senior Member RoMad's Avatar
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    Happy birthday and thanks for the comparison post. I ride both Ti, Litespeed Tuscany, and steel, Lemond Poprad, but mine are two completely different bikes. When I ride the Lemond I always am amazed by how comfortable it is and how well it rides. It has a Brooks B17 saddle and 28cm touring tires. Then when I ride the Litespeed with the 23's and a Brooks B17N I always think, wow, this thing is so smooth and handles like a high performance machine. One big difference for me is that though I ride them both with no hands when drinking, or coasting to a stop sign I even go around corners with no hands on the Litespeed. It is more like an extension of my body.

  21. #21
    invisible friend seenoweevil's Avatar
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    Hope you had a happy birthday TSL! Sorry I missed it. I haven't been on the forums in a couple of days. As I posted on another thread earlier, the Litespeed is beautiful! I'm envious of her, and sad that Blue Steel is resting wheelless in a corner for the time being. I can't wait to hear more about the Ti frame, as I've lusted for one for quite some time. Maybe steel is more my cup 'o tea, since I seem to be accumulating plenty of them lately! Best of luck with the comparison and keep us informed!
    Faster than a sundial.

  22. #22
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by seenoweevil View Post
    Hope you had a happy birthday TSL! Sorry I missed it. I haven't been on the forums in a couple of days. As I posted on another thread earlier, the Litespeed is beautiful! I'm envious of her, and sad that Blue Steel is resting wheelless in a corner for the time being. I can't wait to hear more about the Ti frame, as I've lusted for one for quite some time. Maybe steel is more my cup 'o tea, since I seem to be accumulating plenty of them lately! Best of luck with the comparison and keep us informed!
    Hey! I see the Takara has made it to your sig line. The bike's a keeper then? It sure looked nice under you a week ago Sunday morning.

    I've come down with sickness--most likely the flu. I can't remember the last time I called-in sick. Maybe six or seven years ago? I called in sick today, and at the rate it's going, tomorrow doesn't look so good either. And that's after being pretty much inert on Saturday and Sunday.

    I haven't been on a bike since that Friday night test ride, and even that was pushing it. I really shouldn't have ridden. (And I'm not counting the 0.85 mile round-trip to the grocery store Sunday morning. They don't deliver. I tried that.)

    I'm reserving judgment on the Ti bike for a while. Both since I haven't been able to ride it, and because when I first rode Blue, I wasn't sure I liked it. In three months and 600 miles, Blue has nearly overtaken the Portland as my favorite. I seem to need time and miles with bikes before I can appreciate them. (Interestingly, Blue has also helped me to appreciate how truly magnificent the Portland is.)

    And as for the birthday ride, well, I could use the Ovid ride at GFLBT. I needed only 53 and that ride was 54 or 55. Or there's always this coming weekend. If I live that long.

    Meanwhile, the Litespeed taunts me from its hook on the living room wall.
    Last edited by tsl; 06-21-10 at 02:57 PM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


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  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Both are awesome.

  24. #24
    invisible friend seenoweevil's Avatar
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    Yeah, the Takara is a keeper, for now at least! Val really wasn't upset at all about me bringing another bike home, imagine that! I'm betting the fact that I got it for $20 might have something to do with it. Just got in a new set of aero brake levers and handlebar wrap, so I'll post some pics as soon as I get them on.
    Man, I hate it you're sick. The summertime funk is always rough. After you've recuperated, you'll have plenty of time to put your Ti wall teaser through its paces. I have to agree with you on the long term testing. A few short rides just doesn't do it for me either. Maybe that's why it's so hard for me to decide which bike to ride which day, I'm still testing! Ah, decisions, decisions!
    Well, it's the Takara tomorrow, and I have to get in the sack to be pedalling at 5:30 in the morning. High of 98 tomorrow afternoon, by the way! Gonna be a warm ride home! I get the Miyata out of the shop tomorrow too, had a 105 rd I took off the Raleigh, the lbs is straightening the hanger and wheel.
    Rest well sir, and may you dream of titanium blurs on long, swoopy downhills!
    Faster than a sundial.

  25. #25
    Senior Member ecrider's Avatar
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    Get well soon. Your bikes need you.

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