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Merlin vs. Litespeed vs. Moots

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Merlin vs. Litespeed vs. Moots

Old 06-20-07, 01:10 PM
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Merlin vs. Litespeed vs. Moots

I am soliciting opinions on the basic build quality of the major Ti frame builders. I am not interested in design elements, components, etc. just quality and workmanship on the frames and only on their Ti models. Feel free to include other manufacturers than the 3 above. P.S. I know Merlin and Litespeed are part of the same company, but many still prefer one over the other. Thanks, VJ
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Old 06-20-07, 01:59 PM
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New litespeed sucks.

Lynskey= old litespeed.
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Old 06-20-07, 05:34 PM
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You should take a serious look at Habanero frames. The welding is just as good, or better, than the vendors you list. Their customer service is excellent and you can get a similar frame for less than half of what you will see from those guys. There are a LOT of very happy Habby owners out there. I have yet to hear of a complaint from anyone. Yes, I own one and would do it again tomorrow. Plus, you can go custom for about $100 more. Take the money you save on the frame and go for better components and wheels.

https://www.habcycles.com/index.html

edit: Custom geometries are more like $400 more these days. Still a bargain, compared to the competition. Try getting a custom geometry L/S, Merlin, Moots, IF, or Serotta for $1195. Fuggedaboudit.

Last edited by cascade168; 06-20-07 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 06-20-07, 06:01 PM
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I am in the middle of a Merlin build, but I've recently finished a Bianchi build. I think the workmanship on the traditional geometry Merlin is absolutely amazing, but I just would not simply be able to afford what they charge; I was very lucky to get one on an Excel closeout.

That said; I think the best value is Moots (unless you can find a Merlin closeout!)
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Old 06-20-07, 06:49 PM
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habanero is owned by some right wing conservative nut job. he doesn't want people from other countries in the US but gladly uses a foreign language to brand his bikes. the irony is STUNNING!

litespeed and merlin are owned my american bicycle group. they've lost their wow factor. i see one these days and they do nothing for me. and what's with the decals on those things. remember the old Merlin? nice and subtle.

moots is /still/ independent. go moots!
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Old 06-20-07, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by thesuper
habanero is owned by some right wing conservative nut job. he doesn't want people from other countries in the US but gladly uses a foreign language to brand his bikes. the irony is STUNNING!

litespeed and merlin are owned my american bicycle group. they've lost their wow factor. i see one these days and they do nothing for me. and what's with the decals on those things. remember the old Merlin? nice and subtle.

moots is /still/ independent. go moots!
You obviously know very little about Mark Hickey. What do his politics have to do with his ability to build great bikes? He is a very hands on guy and how likely do you think it is that you'll get the owners of other bike companies to test gear - for you - to make sure it will work on one of their frames. When I told him what tires I was going to run on my Habby he took the time to acquire the tire I wanted to use, mount it up, and make sure that it would fit on the frame I wanted. He is very polite and responded very quickly to every email I sent him, and I had a lot of questions when I did my build.

He spent two years living in China to develop his company and has some of the finest Ti welders in the world working for him. They all come from the aerospace industry so bicycle frames are not quite as demanding an application as jets.

Yes, he enjoys engaging in the many political discussions that are so common on the r.b.t. forum, but you won't see him do any uninformed low blows to people's character like you just did to him. You need to look in the mirror and get a clue. I respect Mark for his very high quality of customer service and the clear success of his company. His whole staff are very nice and helpful people.

Probably the most respected member of this forum is Sheldon Brown, and, if you would take the time to notice, Harris Cyclery carries the Habanero brand in their store. Maybe you should think about that.

The true indicator of quality on a Ti frame is the quality of the welds. Since most Ti frames stay unfinished, the welds are right out there to see. I've had my Habby side by side with Litespeeds, Merlins, and Moots on several occasions and the weld quality of the Habby is always clearly superior. Mark did a great job setting up his company and has a great product. He understands how to produce a very high quality product in a global market. He deserves a little respect and most people should be so lucky to be as hard working and intelligent as him.

Your comment about the name of his company is just stupid. Ironic? Please give us a break. Do you think that Pedro's is run by Mexicans because of the company name?

If decals on a frame is your measure of quality or performance, or whatever, you should be investing in Ti chains for you bike. They are made for people with your view.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:17 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by I_bRAD
New litespeed sucks.
I disagree with you on quality but agree with your comment concerning Litespeed's current designs. Nothing but compact frames and no Touring (Blueridge) models at all. However, I bought a 2006 Tuscany last year and the welds and finish quality are first rate

Lynskey= old litespeed.
Right and it's well worth the OP's getting a quote from them. Another, very pricy, possibility is Seven.
I see Merlin as just an overpriced Litespeed.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by thesuper
moots is /still/ independent. go moots!
Yes, but even their founder left the company.

I dream of getting a Ti road bike and would love a Moots, Seven, or Indy Fab. Maybe someday. Maybe it'll be a Hab.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cascade168
You obviously know very.....*white noise*
another habanero shill.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
I disagree with you on quality but agree with your comment concerning Litespeed's current designs. Nothing but compact frames and no Touring (Blueridge) models at all. However, I bought a 2006 Tuscany last year and the welds and finish quality are first rate
The welds are OK, but the overall attention to detail and care about the final product just isn't there anymore. I say this after a particularly frustrating time dealing with warranty last summer. I have an old litespeed mountain bike, and a 2004 Siena. Even though the old one is low end (Ibed) I've never ever had a problem with that one. Can't say the same for the road bike... and you'd think a mtb would be seeing more abuse as well.

They're also all over the place- redesigning and coming up with a 'revolutionary' concept every year that gets pulled the next. They've lost direction and are coasting on the reputation gained from the old days. The video with the truck running over the tubes pretty much confirmed to me they're full of crap.
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Old 06-21-07, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by I_bRAD
I say this after a particularly frustrating time dealing with warranty last summer. I have an old litespeed mountain bike, and a 2004 Siena.
If your warranty issue was with the headset on the Sienna, I realize why you had a problem. IIRC, in 2004 LS still used "integrated" (actually zero stack) headsets and had a lot of trouble with poor fit and noise. In '06 they went back to regular style headsets for that reason.

As to absurd and ads and the latest "revolutionary" concept that isn't, every bike manufacturer does that.
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Old 06-21-07, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by thesuper
another habanero shill.
I've heard nothing but good stuff about Habanero frames. There may well be bad stuff, and I know that they're not as sexy of designs (straight-gauge tubing, for example, is one reason why they're cheaper frames, esp. because titanium is so tough to cold-work and draw).
But the OP asked for opinions on the basic build quality of the major Ti frame builders. If you have info or experience with this, they would be relevant to this thread. If not, you might consider taking your comments to the politics and religion forum or someplace like that.
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Old 06-21-07, 08:00 AM
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I haven't owned any others you are considering but am really
pleased with my Dean.
https://www.deanbikes.com/menu.htm
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Old 06-21-07, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
If your warranty issue was with the headset on the Sienna, I realize why you had a problem. IIRC, in 2004 LS still used "integrated" (actually zero stack) headsets and had a lot of trouble with poor fit and noise. In '06 they went back to regular style headsets for that reason.

As to absurd and ads and the latest "revolutionary" concept that isn't, every bike manufacturer does that.
Yeah, it was the headset... and it took them two tries to fix it. I'm still not 100% satisfied with the repair but I'm just cutting my losses.

Not sure that every company does that... Take Cannondale and their CAAD series frames for example. They've been slowly evolving over the years and improving on what they had (resulting in a pretty kick-ass frame) They don't just scrap whatever they had last year and start again.
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Old 06-21-07, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by I_bRAD
Not sure that every company does that... Take Cannondale and their CAAD series frames for example. They've been slowly evolving over the years and improving on what they had (resulting in a pretty kick-ass frame) They don't just scrap whatever they had last year and start again.
Well, Cannondale is entering uncharted (for them) waters with their Carbon and Carbon/Al frames so they aren't completely committed to their existing technology.

Litespeed certainly made some poor tactical and marketing decisions in the past. Their foray into Asian sourced Aluminum and Carbon frames was very ill conceived and diluted both the brand and what they did best. They seem to have realized this was a big mistake and have returned to Ti only.

As to the current compact frames only lineup, Litespeed has said that when they offered both horizontal top tube and compact frames that were otherwise identical, the compacts outsold the conventional by a wide margain. I don't like sloping toptubes but I can't fault their reasoning. I'm just glad I got mine when I did.
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Old 06-21-07, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
As to the current compact frames only lineup, Litespeed has said that when they offered both horizontal top tube and compact frames that were otherwise identical, the compacts outsold the conventional by a wide margain. I don't like sloping toptubes but I can't fault their reasoning. I'm just glad I got mine when I did.
Coming from a mountain biking background... when I chose my frame I took the Siena over the tuscany because of the compact geometry I'm used to! (Not sure if they still are, but in '04 they were essentially the same frame in regular and compact geometries)

When I used to ride traditional geometry frames I found I would keep brushing my legs on the top tube for the first few rides!
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Old 06-21-07, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by cascade168
The welding is just as good, or better, than the vendors you list.
I think they make nice bikes, especially for the price and there service is great.

But there isn't a single weld picture in their entire website gallery that stacks up against a Moots weld. And I've never seen one in person that was any better than the pics they post.

Not that weld "beauty" means a whit.
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Old 06-21-07, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by terry b
Not that weld "beauty" means a whit.
Quite right. Weld integrity and alignment are by far the most important attributes of any frame. Beauty requires charging more as it more skill is needed to weld and finish pretty joints. It contributes nothing to longevity, ride or handling, just to appearance and price.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by thesuper
another habanero shill.

If being a very satisfied customer makes me a shill, then I'm fine with that. I think you'll find that almost all Habby customers are shills, by your definition.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by terry b
I think they make nice bikes, especially for the price and there service is great.

But there isn't a single weld picture in their entire website gallery that stacks up against a Moots weld. And I've never seen one in person that was any better than the pics they post.

Not that weld "beauty" means a whit.

Even Mark Hickey admitted to me that the pictures on his site are not good. You really have to see these frames yourself to see what I am talking about. I have pictures that I took myself that are better than what's on the Habby site. I will dredge them up and post some in an edit to this post.

I would disagree that pretty, or beautiful welds don't mean anything. I have talked to the guys at I.F. and they told me that that's exactly what you are shooting for. And, their reputation for frames is pretty good, last time I checked.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cascade168
I would disagree that pretty, or beautiful welds don't mean anything. I have talked to the guys at I.F. and they told me that that's exactly what you are shooting for. And, their reputation for frames is pretty good, last time I checked.
Of course that's what IF is shooting for. They have to to justify the very high prices they charge. They do great work and charge accordingly and pretty welds are one of the things they provide as part of a premium package.

My point isn't that pretty welds are automatically inferior, they aren't. It's that they aren't essential for a good, durable, well aligned frame. Pretty costs extra money but doesn't contribute mechanically. You have to separate fashion from function.
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Old 06-21-07, 07:02 PM
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I go with Cascade on the Habanero thing. Mark and I couldn't be on more opposite sides, politically, but he's a damned decent guy who makes a good product.

That said, I ride a Moots. I've tried really, really, really hard--for several years now--to find anything -- a-ny-thing--wrong with it.

I can't.

Check my avatar. Pretty welds may NOT mean anything, structurally, but ... a) they're pretty welds, and b) they show a pride in craft that doesn't hurt anything.

Think it's called "puddle welding" and I haven't gotten tired of looking at it ... at eye level ... when it's up on the Park stand for cleaning.

You're playing in lofty air when you're looking at LS, Merlin, and Moots (look at IF, too). You can't go wrong. It's really a personal preference thing at this point. It may come down to which builder gives you the warm fuzzies when you talk to/visit them, which one you see LESS of in your area ... you know: little, worthless things.

Not a BAD bike in the bunch.

Lucky ba$tahd
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Old 06-21-07, 07:13 PM
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I've got an old '98 Eddy Merckx TiAx that has welds that look just like that. It was designed by Eddy, but built by Lightspeed. Not sure if it's good quality or not, but it looks nice. Anyone know if these bikes are good Ti bikes? Been around since '98, so I suppose it isn't too bad.
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Old 06-21-07, 08:09 PM
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Please post some, I'll post some from my Moots and we'll see how they compare. As I've said, I've not been impressed with what I've seen in the wild, maybe you got one from the best welder on his best day.

As far as beauty goes - IF is selling a premium bike, they have to make up some excuse as to why it's a thousand more than anyone else's.
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