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Repair or Replace 1998 Litespeed

Old 11-24-17, 10:06 AM
  #1  
dstke
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Repair or Replace 1998 Litespeed

Problems with my wife's Litespeed are keeping us off the road.

Component Group: Campy Chorus 9. The latest problem is that the front brake spring broke. The rear brake could also use an overhaul for smoother opening and closing. Other problems: the shifters need to be overhauled every couple of years. I took it in once and did it myself twice. The second time I forget to wind up the cam on the front shifter so she has to pivot the shifter once or twice before it engages. But those shifters are rattletraps making noise over the smallest of bumps.

We both have Litespeeds, mine of a slightly newer vintage with Shimano Ultegra, and we like the feel of the bikes on the road. We're avid cyclists riding road and mountain bikes, singles and tandems and put in around 3-4,000 miles/year.

Is it time for a new bike or should I re-service the brakes and shifters? How about a complete component group replacement? Compact Campy? She loves her gooseneck stem but there are probably better options available today. What would be a good upgrade from the Litespeed?

Thanks for any suggestions?

Doug
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Old 11-24-17, 10:09 AM
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New groupset! Keep the frame and replace everything else. A Campy Veloce 10-speed in silver looks great on a Titanium frame - see mine here:

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Old 11-24-17, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
New groupset! Keep the frame and replace everything else. A Campy Veloce 10-speed in silver looks great on a Titanium frame - see mine here:

+1 Those frames will last forever and the only "obsolete" feature is the 1" headtube. You can still get 1" threaded headsets and could convert it to threadless if you wish.

I have a 1996 Catalyst almost identical to the one pictured above and mine has over 75,000 miles so far. I've switched the original fork and headset for a Nashbar carbon (with alloy steerer) threadless fork and a Cane Creek 40 1" threadless headset and, of course, most of the other components have been replaced over that time.

It's well worth the upgrade to whatever group you wish.
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Old 11-24-17, 11:12 AM
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Titanium frame is repairable if taken, or shipped, to a framebuilder with the gear to weld it .


back side of weld must be purged with an inert gas, as well as a gas flow around the TIG tip.

And Campagnolo does offer small parts to rebuild that existing piece or pieces ..
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Old 11-24-17, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Titanium frame is repairable if taken, or shipped, to a framebuilder with the gear to weld it.
If the OP is the original owner and either registered the bike when he bought it or, at least, has the original sales slip, Litespeed has a "lifetime" warrantee on their frames and will repair or replace a broken one at no cost. You do have to completely strip the frame and ship it to them but that's a lot less expensive than a new frame.
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Old 11-24-17, 05:55 PM
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It's a really nice bike, so I'd definitely repair it if I liked the fit and ride.

Clearly, the current shifters and brakes are not functioning and may be unreliable. Would your wife benefit from lower gearing? The least expensive option would be to repair the shifters and brakes, the next least would be to replace the shifters and brakes with compatible new old stock or used parts. But it might be seriously worth it to upgrade most of the components at this time.

Those Campagnolo wheels should work fine with an 11 speed Campagnolo cassette. If I were upgrading the group set on that bike I would probably get Campagnolo Potenza. Also, 11 speed cog spacing is the same for Campy as Shimano and Sram, so you could use an 11 speed Campagnolo cassette with the 11 speed drivetrain of your choice.

I wouldn't sweat the threaded stem. The difference in weight and stiffness isn't a huge deal for most riders. In a cool move, Velo Orange recently came out with threaded stems with 31.8mm clamps so you can use modern handlebars more elegantly than with a threadless adapter.

What could be significant is the improved comfort of a more current compact handlebar setup—the Soma Hwy 1 bar is good if you want to stick with a 26.0 stem.
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Old 11-24-17, 06:23 PM
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wiggle.com | Campagnolo Potenza 11 Speed Groupset | Groupsets and Build-kits

wiggle.com | Campagnolo Athena 11 Speed Groupset | Groupsets and Build-kits

https://www.probikekit.com/cycling-g.../10836459.html
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Old 11-24-17, 06:50 PM
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Has Campagnolo resolved the Athena 11-speed shifter failures? My right shifter broke after 18 months. It's a whole mechanism replacement now, Campagnolo doesn't stock shifter components like springs any more.

Other than that, the newer Campagnolo shifter hoods are very ergonomic. I didn't think I'd like the "shift 3 larger cogs, shift 1 smaller cog" after having 10 speed Veloce, but it's fine, and the shifts are easier, too.
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Old 11-24-17, 10:35 PM
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I'm turning my 1999 Litespeed Tuscany into a rebuild job this summer when I switch back to my Cervelo for good weather riding. I'll be keeping my eye out on the discount sites for either Shimano 105 5800 or Ultegra 6800 or get some pull offs from ebay this winter. I think getting the Litespeed may have been one of my better decisions. I still have my original receipts and build list so if anything does happen I can send it back to Litespeed for warranty work.

Even though I have the R3, I do enjoy taking the Litespeed out for spins. Keep it!
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Old 11-24-17, 10:40 PM
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From the first post, frame is not the problem, just old components. You might consider a new fork if it is original, just from
age, as fork failures can be catastrophic to the rider and a 20 yr old CF fork is in that category. I am partial to Ti, having
a 2001 Vortex Lightspeed, a retired 1976 Teledyne Titan, a Ti Rotator Pursuit still in active use. My milage is ~25-26k on the Lightspeed
and the Rotator recumbent each. I am planning an Ultegra 8000 groupset for the Lightspeed early next year and
replaced the fork last year. You could easily go to a threadless setup with a new fork and headset, which is what I did.
Keep the frame and upgrade it, should be doable for $1000 or 1200, slightly more if you have to get a rear wheel swap.
Ultegra 6800 groupsets will presumably be phased out as the 8000 is replacing it and should be available for good
prices if your wife does not object to Shimano over Campy. The flattened handlebars now popular are a nice upgrade also.

Last edited by sch; 11-24-17 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 11-25-17, 04:27 AM
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Carbon fiber components such as the fork are not subject to fatigue failure (Fatigue strength of carbon fibre composites up to the gigacycle regime (gigacycle-composites) - ScienceDirect; "a fatigue limit [endurance limit] was not found"). The fork might break in a crash, just as a steel fork or an aluminum fork might, but otherwise, it should last as long as you want to use it.
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Old 11-25-17, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Carbon fiber components such as the fork are not subject to fatigue failure (Fatigue strength of carbon fibre composites up to the gigacycle regime (gigacycle-composites) - ScienceDirect; "a fatigue limit [endurance limit] was not found"). The fork might break in a crash, just as a steel fork or an aluminum fork might, but otherwise, it should last as long as you want to use it.
Awesome

My fork suggestion:

https://www.raceviewcycles.com/colum...n-integrated-1

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Old 11-25-17, 07:32 AM
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Doug, In general my friends with older Campagnolo have not had any problems, I'm a bit surprised.

My vote is to properly repair or update. Do not tinker with fitment items unless needed. If an update is preferred address gearing changes your wife may prefer.

Brad
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Old 11-25-17, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sch View Post
I am partial to Ti, having a retired 1976 Teledyne Titan........
Good move. Those Titans gave Ti a bad name initially. They were made of CP-grade Ti, used "standard" diameter tubes in vulnerable places and were notorious for cracking. A good idea improperly done.

It wasn't until Litespeed and a couple of other makers started using 3/2.5 Al/V grade Ti alloy and "oversize" tubing throughout that Ti developed it's current reputation for extreme longevity.
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Old 11-25-17, 08:57 AM
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Fork concern mainly 2° to age and potential for failure at the steer tube bond with the crown and the
crown bond with the legs. As noted the CF portion has 'infinite' fatigue life, it is the bonds that are
more suspect and there has been some improvement with time in this. My CF flat section bars from
two different manufacturers both had suggestions/warnings that bar should be replaced after 3 yrs
service, a bit of a bummer.

A friend who bought a Teledyne at same time as I did in 1976 had the seat tube fracture off the BB within
months. My frame lasted 22k miles before a longitudinal crack in the R chain stay was found ~2013,
probably a weld failure where sheet was rolled into a tapered tube. All the BB and head tube
welds have held up fine. Stronger riders found the Teledyne to be quite noodly compared with steel
frames of the era. I paid $365 for frame/fork and Ti BB axle.
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Old 11-25-17, 09:19 AM
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Beautiful bike but ...

The bar tape looks like the color from a lot of those 1980s wedding suit. A darker or solid color would be better.

Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
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Old 11-25-17, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
The bar tape looks like the color from a lot of those 1980s wedding suit. A darker or solid color would be better.
Hey now, the 80s are IN! ("Stranger Things", anyone?)

Next time I might go for a light green, or maybe pink. My helmet is pink, and the light "sky" blue goes really well with that; and for the moment at least, I like the 1950's retro "Americana" vibe of the light "sky" blue, which wouldn't be out of place on a '56 Thunderbird.

The common choice (that came on this bike in the late 90's) would be black, or yellow (or <barf> speckled-black-and-yellow)... but I'd rather have something that no one else has.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 11-25-17, 09:59 AM
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If your wife wants that bike just swap out the components. If she wants a newer one then go that route. People build up bikes from frames all the time, not a big deal.

Whatever you do, revisit the gearing and setup to see if you can make changes to improve her ride.

John
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Old 11-25-17, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
+1 Those frames will last forever and the only "obsolete" feature is the 1" headtube. You can still get 1" threaded headsets and could convert it to threadless if you wish.

...
If you want a fork that will look great, be entirely your wife's and completely different from any other out there and ride wonderfully (and last as long as the rest of the bike) seriously consider a steel fork. The stiffer steel on the long cantilever of a fork blade is a wonderful match for the titanium frame. And going steel opens up all kinds of choices. You can fine tune the stiffness and feel, choose the crown that suits you and paint it any way and color you want.

I own 2 ti bikes with 1" steerers and steel forks, one threaded, one threadless. (The threadless will probably get cut and threaded when the current headset dies. I don't need to be able to do fast stem changes but love the really easy raise and lower of quill stems. Plus they look so much better.

Ben
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Old 11-25-17, 05:14 PM
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On the brake issues check your cables. Cables sleeves build up rust over time and should be occasionally replaced. Symptoms of a rust cable would appear like the springs are worn out.
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Old 11-25-17, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Titanium frame is repairable if taken, or shipped, to a framebuilder with the gear to weld it .


back side of weld must be purged with an inert gas, as well as a gas flow around the TIG tip.
+1 this would be the ONLY reason to replace it. pretty expensive to repair a Ti frame. but no frame damage? just why? keep the frame, swap the parts!!
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Old 11-26-17, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dstke View Post
Problems with my wife's Litespeed are keeping us off the road.

Component Group: Campy Chorus 9. The latest problem is that the front brake spring broke.
Those are about $3 each and require periodic replacement.

https://www.amazon.com/Campagnolo-Re.../dp/B005GEYYKW


The rear brake could also use an overhaul for smoother opening and closing.
They get dirty, especially when you ride in inclement weather. Sometimes you need to disassemble them, lubricate the pivots, reassemble, and get preload right. Your cable could also be gunked. See if the brake works OK without a cable installed to isolate the problem.

But those shifters are rattletraps making noise over the smallest of bumps.
Assuming the problem is there when the front brake return spring isn't broken, you're probably missing the rubber bumper which is a $5 part. Those fall out.

https://www.amazon.com/Campagnolo-Ru.../dp/B001CK0KXE


Is it time for a new bike or should I re-service the brakes and shifters?
Service the brakes and shifters.

How about a complete component group replacement? Compact Campy? She loves her gooseneck stem but there are probably better options available today.
About $900 will buy you a new Chorus 11 speed group from your favorite UK online reseller. Potenza is a down-grade which can't shift more than one cog smaller per lever actuation, the second coming of the much loathed Escape mechanism.

What would be a good upgrade from the Litespeed?
There are lots of nice small companies that do titanium frames. Expect to spend $2000-$7000 for the frame plus whatever you spend building it up.

I'm still riding my 1997 Litespeed frame and Look fork, although when I wore out my right lever in 2014 I installed NOS 2010 10 speed Centaur Carbon Ultrashift levers with 2003-2006 Record titanium derailleurs.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 11-26-17 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 11-26-17, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I own 2 ti bikes with 1" steerers and steel forks, one threaded, one threadless. (The threadless will probably get cut and threaded when the current headset dies. I don't need to be able to do fast stem changes but love the really easy raise and lower of quill stems. Plus they look so much better.
I used to think quill stems look better too, but now they just look flexy and heavy to me.

I hated the look of Shimano's four bolt road cranks when they came out (still not a fan of their current styling aesthetic), but as time goes on, I find them starting to make the traditional five bolt cranks look a bit dumb and arbitrary.

Sexiness may be in the eye of the beholder, but it's based on fitness, which is somewhat more objective.
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Old 11-26-17, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
The bar tape looks like the color from a lot of those 1980s wedding suit. A darker or solid color would be better.
Or bright yellow to match the decal.
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Old 11-26-17, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Or bright yellow to match the decal.
Match the colour of your hoods,IMO
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