Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Merlin vs. Litespeed vs. Moots

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Merlin vs. Litespeed vs. Moots

Old 11-17-21, 05:29 PM
  #26  
Crankycrank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,187
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 690 Post(s)
Liked 702 Times in 526 Posts
Originally Posted by cj3209 View Post
It's too bad Ti is an afterthought now for cycling.
Here's another Ti custom frame shop. In San Diego maybe close to you. Expensive but another option. I see many of these around San Diego and never met an owner that didn't love their Holland. Holland Titanium Bicycle Holland Cycles Craftmanship/Welds are an 11 on a scale of 1-10.
Crankycrank is offline  
Old 11-17-21, 07:02 PM
  #27  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 5,445

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1815 Post(s)
Liked 1,955 Times in 1,200 Posts
Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Here's another Ti custom frame shop. In San Diego maybe close to you. Expensive but another option. I see many of these around San Diego and never met an owner that didn't love their Holland. Holland Titanium Bicycle Holland Cycles Craftmanship/Welds are an 11 on a scale of 1-10.
That ExoGrid is insane.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Old 11-17-21, 07:28 PM
  #28  
Crankycrank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,187
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 690 Post(s)
Liked 702 Times in 526 Posts
Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
That ExoGrid is insane.
John
Yeah, check out the video on that site of how they make it. Crazy expensive and I have seen probably 15 of them around here and talked to some of the owners. Not sure if the ride justifies the price but still interesting.
Crankycrank is offline  
Old 11-17-21, 08:54 PM
  #29  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 5,445

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1815 Post(s)
Liked 1,955 Times in 1,200 Posts
Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Yeah, check out the video on that site of how they make it. Crazy expensive and I have seen probably 15 of them around here and talked to some of the owners. Not sure if the ride justifies the price but still interesting.
I watched the video. That skeletal cut tube is awesome. Can't believe they hand cut the carbon filler pieces.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Old 11-17-21, 10:05 PM
  #30  
easyupbug 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,337

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 467 Post(s)
Liked 416 Times in 305 Posts
Sorry I can only add that at one time I had 200 welders working for me in unusual metals like lead and Ti; the craftspeople you and the other site are brilliant from what I can see, would not know how to differentiate. I am old so stuck on Litespeed but hope that the chance arrises for some bizarre need or to want to try another craftsman's output.
easyupbug is offline  
Old 11-23-21, 05:45 AM
  #31  
kfried
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by head_wind View Post
I haven't owned any others you are considering but am really
pleased with my Dean.
https://www.deanbikes.com/menu.htm
Second this. Again, not one the OP is considering but my Dean has been fantastic. Welds look great (to me). I received it at the end of July and have about 2,500km on it so far, and it has been solid.
kfried is offline  
Old 11-23-21, 08:01 AM
  #32  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,033

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2163 Post(s)
Liked 1,387 Times in 883 Posts
Back before this thread became a zombie, Litespeed was independently owned and operated, and made only titanium bikes...
pdlamb is offline  
Old 11-24-21, 07:51 AM
  #33  
easyupbug 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,337

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 467 Post(s)
Liked 416 Times in 305 Posts
Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
..I don't like sloping toptubes...
As an engineer I have no sound reasoning for this but I agree fully with your TT comment. I supervised a weld shop for several years and have reverential respect for all the fabrication of the bikes mentioned here. My Litespeed '98 classic and '04 Firenze are marvelous (other than cracking decals) and I suspect one day my son-in-laws will be handing them down as I will to them.
easyupbug is offline  
Old 11-24-21, 10:47 AM
  #34  
CyclingFool95 
Full Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 410

Bikes: 1987 Pinarello Montello, 1996 Litespeed Classic, 1996 Colnago Master Light, 1997 Litespeed Ultimate, 2006 Opera Leonardo FP, 2006 Pinarello Paris FP, 1984 Pinarello Record, 89-ish Cornelo Profilo

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 144 Post(s)
Liked 93 Times in 67 Posts
Like easyupbug, I'm not a fan of the styling of the sloping top tube. All of my bikes are traditional diamond shape.

I've owned a 96 Litespeed Classic since late 95 (no, not a typo), and a 97 Ultimate since last year. The old Litespeeds are beautiful craftsmanship. A decently cared for Titanium frame is pretty much forever - why not pick up a used one and set it up with modern kit. My Classic is running its original stem/seatpost with 11 speed Chorus and Zonda wheels, and the Ultimate has 11 speed Centaur/Shamals and a quill to ahead adapter for modern handlebars.


CyclingFool95 is offline  
Old 01-04-22, 02:07 PM
  #35  
genejockey 
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 12,936

Bikes: Litespeed Ultimate, Ultegra; Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace; Cannondale R500 RX100; Schwinn Circuit, Sante; Lotus Supreme, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7268 Post(s)
Liked 7,744 Times in 3,947 Posts
Originally Posted by CyclingFool95 View Post
Like easyupbug, I'm not a fan of the styling of the sloping top tube. All of my bikes are traditional diamond shape.

I've owned a 96 Litespeed Classic since late 95 (no, not a typo), and a 97 Ultimate since last year. The old Litespeeds are beautiful craftsmanship. A decently cared for Titanium frame is pretty much forever - why not pick up a used one and set it up with modern kit. My Classic is running its original stem/seatpost with 11 speed Chorus and Zonda wheels, and the Ultimate has 11 speed Centaur/Shamals and a quill to ahead adapter for modern handlebars.


I just picked up a '95 UItimate, which has now been stripped, Scotchbrited, and re-decalled, and is currently undergoing what I think of as a 'interim' build with components I have lying around, which are mostly about the same vintage as the frame. But the ultimate (haha) plan is to build it with modern components, since I like having more than 8 gears in back.
__________________
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
genejockey is offline  
Old 01-04-22, 05:44 PM
  #36  
Camilo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 5,995
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 791 Post(s)
Liked 738 Times in 472 Posts
Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
As an engineer I have no sound reasoning for this but I agree fully with your TT comment. I supervised a weld shop for several years and have reverential respect for all the fabrication of the bikes mentioned here. My Litespeed '98 classic and '04 Firenze are marvelous (other than cracking decals) and I suspect one day my son-in-laws will be handing them down as I will to them.
I have a 96 Classic which I bought a couple of years as a bare, decal-less frame and replacement fork (which I upgraded). I built it up and rode it for a couple of seasons, but then last winter, I stripped it down again, buffed/brushed it up (with the specified maroon scotchbrite) and bought a set of decals from Litespeed. The decals are just beautiful, certainly OEM quality. With the brushing and the new decals, anyone would be hard pressed to think this frameset was anything but brand new. For a 25 year old, well ridden frame, it's just remarkable.

That's my long winded way of saying, get new decals if the old ones are getting ratty looking and brush it out with scotchbrite - it's easy.

FWIW, I didn't buy '96 decals. The ones I bought were, I think, 01 0r 02. I went through their decal page and found ones I liked a bit better, but still a set for the Classic frame: My criteria were: "Classic" top tube decal, traditional yellow "Litespeed" on the downtube, Lynskey signature (since the 96 has it), and similar other details to the 96 - flag, ti sticker, etc. I happened to like the graphics on the later ones better than the '96 but only went as far forward in time as Lynskey was still on the frame. Since none of the components except the headset are original, I had no reason to keep it authentic, but chose "authentic-ish"
Camilo is offline  
Old 01-04-22, 05:56 PM
  #37  
Camilo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 5,995
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 791 Post(s)
Liked 738 Times in 472 Posts
Regarding the original, 15 year old question!

We bought two new gravel bike framesets last spring: a Litespeed Watia and a Lynskey GR300. Here's my take:

They cost close to the same, shipped (one had free shipping to my location, the other was not free, so that factors into the prices). The Litespeed did cost a couple hundred dollars more - shipped - but was also a bit lighter - both by spec and actual. So the price, I felt was a fair reflection: the slightly lighter frameset was slightly more expensive.

I'm not an expert on ti welds, but do have a 96 Lynskey-era Litespeed to compare. I have looked closely at the welds on both bikes, again with inexpert eyes. They both look perfect to me, equal to the '96. An expert might be more discerning, but they both look really nice.

There are some design differences. The Litespeed has some tube shaping and the rear dropouts and some other features are different. The stock fork is distinctively different - slimmer, kind of racier looking (but not significantly lighter according to my scale!). The Litespeed maybe a bit more eye catching than the Lynskey because of the tubes and fork, or maybe not.

We ordered both frames with the same sort of finish and etched graphics and they're very similar, if not identical, in quality and degree of visual obtrusiveness, or unobtrusiveness as the case may be.

They came with different BB standards - Lynskey BSA, Litespeed PF30. Both work fine (I use a screw together Wheels Manufacturing for the PF).

Lynskey has an integrated headset, Litespeed pressfit. Both are fine. But these might be deciders for some. I prefer threaded BB and regular press-fit type headset, but not enough to choose a bike based on that. If anything, the PF30 might be the only thing that I dislike enough to make a decision based on it. It all works fine.

Last edited by Camilo; 01-04-22 at 06:28 PM.
Camilo is offline  
Old 01-05-22, 06:31 AM
  #38  
easyupbug 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,337

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 467 Post(s)
Liked 416 Times in 305 Posts
Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
...The decals are just beautiful, certainly OEM quality...
They are OEM, SSSink has made and still makes Litespeed decals. I replace my 2004 Firenze decals a little over a year ago and SSSink supplied without the flag or the Ti decal and the decals cracked within a year. I have installed a lot of decals so did not read the directions and am sure I used alcohol as a last step to clean the tubes which SSSink said is a no no and was told Litespeed got away from the large panel decals due to the failures but if your clear coat over the decal and when applying use only water to clean the tubing they will last as long as any other decal. The new ones look great but it has only been a couple of months and I have not clear coated them as suggested. The tech help line at LS is good they got me in touch with the right guy at SSSink but still no flag or Ti decal.
easyupbug is offline  
Old 01-05-22, 08:28 AM
  #39  
Sy Reene
Advocatus Diaboli
 
Sy Reene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 8,110

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene, Nashbar steel CX

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4384 Post(s)
Liked 1,320 Times in 859 Posts
Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
Regarding the original, 15 year old question!

We bought two new gravel bike framesets last spring: a Litespeed Watia and a Lynskey GR300. Here's my take:

They cost close to the same, shipped (one had free shipping to my location, the other was not free, so that factors into the prices). The Litespeed did cost a couple hundred dollars more - shipped - but was also a bit lighter - both by spec and actual. So the price, I felt was a fair reflection: the slightly lighter frameset was slightly more expensive.

I'm not an expert on ti welds, but do have a 96 Lynskey-era Litespeed to compare. I have looked closely at the welds on both bikes, again with inexpert eyes. They both look perfect to me, equal to the '96. An expert might be more discerning, but they both look really nice.

There are some design differences. The Litespeed has some tube shaping and the rear dropouts and some other features are different. The stock fork is distinctively different - slimmer, kind of racier looking (but not significantly lighter according to my scale!). The Litespeed maybe a bit more eye catching than the Lynskey because of the tubes and fork, or maybe not.

We ordered both frames with the same sort of finish and etched graphics and they're very similar, if not identical, in quality and degree of visual obtrusiveness, or unobtrusiveness as the case may be.

They came with different BB standards - Lynskey BSA, Litespeed PF30. Both work fine (I use a screw together Wheels Manufacturing for the PF).

Lynskey has an integrated headset, Litespeed pressfit. Both are fine. But these might be deciders for some. I prefer threaded BB and regular press-fit type headset, but not enough to choose a bike based on that. If anything, the PF30 might be the only thing that I dislike enough to make a decision based on it. It all works fine.
Did you build up either frameset and ride them, or just hung them on the wall?
Sy Reene is offline  
Old 01-05-22, 09:40 AM
  #40  
HillRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 33,521

Bikes: '96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '20 Surly Midnight Special, All are 3x10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 39 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1953 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 948 Times in 662 Posts
Originally Posted by CyclingFool95 View Post
I've owned a 96 Litespeed Classic since late 95 (no, not a typo), and a 97 Ultimate since last year. The old Litespeeds are beautiful craftsmanship. A decently cared for Titanium frame is pretty much forever -
I have a 1996 model LS Catalyst frame also purchased in late 1995. It has over 80,000 miles and, as you noted, seems like it will last forever. The welds are extremely well crafted, particularly considering the Catalyst was Litespeed's "entry level" frame at the time.

I also have two newer Litespeeds, a 2005 model year Firenza and a 2006 model year Tuscany. Both were purchased in 2006 from Colorado Cyclist on closeout after ABG pulled their franchise following complaints from brick-and-mortar dealers. The newer ones have over 55,000 miles each and, again, seem like they will last forever. The Firenza was LS's entry level frame at the time and, while the welds are very neat and clean, they aren't quite as cosmetically good as the older Catalyst or the newer, higher line Tuscany.

As to the Titanium competition, I was considering both Seven and IF when I bought my 2006 Tuscany but they would have doubled the cost and I couldn't begin to justify that. Merlin wasn't even a consideration as, by then, they were just overpriced Litespeeds. I have never regretted any of my Litespeed purchases.
HillRider is offline  
Old 01-05-22, 09:42 AM
  #41  
Litespud
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Chapel Hill NC
Posts: 1,683

Bikes: 2000 Litespeed Vortex Chorus 10, 1995 DeBernardi Cromor S/S

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 645 Post(s)
Liked 793 Times in 445 Posts
Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
They are OEM, SSSink has made and still makes Litespeed decals. I replace my 2004 Firenze decals a little over a year ago and SSSink supplied without the flag or the Ti decal and the decals cracked within a year. I have installed a lot of decals so did not read the directions and am sure I used alcohol as a last step to clean the tubes which SSSink said is a no no and was told Litespeed got away from the large panel decals due to the failures but if your clear coat over the decal and when applying use only water to clean the tubing they will last as long as any other decal. The new ones look great but it has only been a couple of months and I have not clear coated them as suggested. The tech help line at LS is good they got me in touch with the right guy at SSSink but still no flag or Ti decal.
the issue of alcohol vs water is a puzzle. I saw the same cracking when I replaced decals on my LS in 2020 - the big downtube ones were cracked within a year. I routinely use isopropanol to clean and degrease any surface before I attempt to stick anything to it. However, I wait for everything to evaporate and give it a good scrub with dry towel to ensure everything is dry before I apply decals. Im not planning on redoing the decals anytime soon (I think a little cracked patina looks fine), but maybe Ill degrease with alcohol then rinse with water next time.
Litespud is offline  
Old 01-05-22, 11:35 PM
  #42  
Camilo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 5,995
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 791 Post(s)
Liked 738 Times in 472 Posts
Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Did you build up either frameset and ride them, or just hung them on the wall?
Both bikes are Sram AXS "Wide" Etap, hydro disk builds with very nice aluminum wheels. We've been riding them a lot since early May! I still like my road bikes but the gravel bikes are what we travel with (12 weeks this fall, another 3 this month) and do much of our riding at home on. We've had gravel bikes for about a decade - really pre-disc cross bikes modified gearing etc. - so were familiar with the usage. These new ones are an upgrade in terms of fit, handling, tire clearance, the disk brakes (which I'm still not super in love with),and of course the Etap and the ti mystique. And we have one of each!
Camilo is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.