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Litespeed - need advice!

Old 08-09-17, 07:37 PM
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todayandtmrw
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Litespeed - need advice!

Hi all
I am considering buying a Litespeed and think that I found a great one on Craigslist. The ad reads as follows:
Selling my fathers Litespeed 3/2.5 titanium bicycle. 61 cm frame. Its an older bike which was the top of the line when produced. It was super expensive when he got it. It is very light and because its titanium it is extremely durable. It has been upgraded over the years with a Time carbon fork, PW-260 carbon post and bars, TI egg crate pedals. It has all Campy components.

From the pictures, the bike looks to be in great shape. It has Campy Omega wheels, Campy Veloce brakes with paddle shift combo, campy Centaur 10 sp front derailer and Chorus 8 sp back derailer.

Seller is asking $950.
Is this a good bike and reasonable price? I would very much appreciate your opinions and input. Many thanks for the help in advance!
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Old 08-09-17, 08:08 PM
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Welcome to the forums. The first question is can you ride a 61cm frame?
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Old 08-09-17, 09:48 PM
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I'd look for a lot more info about year and model. Litespeed produced a lot of titanium bikes over the years and while all are generally decent bikes, you need more info to assess the deal. And don't take titanium's durability reputation as a blanket guarantee - while there are seldom any corrosion issues, titanium can crack just like steel, especially if crashed.

BTW, Litespeed generally used 6/4 titanium on their older top end models, which makes me doubt it it truly "top of the line".

- Mark

Last edited by markjenn; 08-09-17 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 08-10-17, 07:07 AM
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todayandtmrw
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Thanks, this is really helpful. I am 6'2" so I think the frame size should be ideal, right?
Are the parts reliable in general?
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Old 08-10-17, 08:43 AM
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That is in the ballpark for sure--- the parts kit makes it sound like the guy built it himself on a budget, as few dealers would mix and match stuff like that,

Not a bad thing for a rider , Campy components from Veloce level on up are generally very good

I would not sell my Litespeed Classic for any less than $1000. (It is, however, a newer dura ace 7800 build with everything more or less matching)

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Old 08-10-17, 08:50 AM
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Never assume any frame size is ideal until you've had a chance to test ride. We're all proportioned a little differently, and bikes tend to be proportioned differently as well.

So I'm assuming the drivetrain is 2x8 with an 8-speed rear cluster? While it's perfectly serviceable, it's an older drivetrain, and may hurt resale value should you purchase and eventually decide to sell.

Ti egg crate pedals - hope you like these and know what they are, essentially Shimano SPD clipless pedals with a minimalist design. If you're not already running SPD's, it'll cost to get into the system (shoes & cleats), and if you don't want to run SPD's, you'll need different pedals.

Without pix of the bike, we don't know which model, condition, etc. I would tread carefully on this one. I'm not a ti hater, have a ti Indy Fab and love it, but used ti bikes have taken a tremendous hit on value in recent years, and it is quite possible there is another ti bike with your name on it, better components and maybe even a lower price. Don't assume this is the only bike for you.
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Old 08-10-17, 09:11 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Welcome to the forums. The first question is can you ride a 61cm frame?
+1

And the most important question of all. If you don't have a good idea of frame size, then you should go to an LBS and get some advice on what bikes will fit. Also there are some online fit caculators like this one:

https://www.competitivecyclist.com/S...ulatorBike.jsp

that can help to get you in the ballpark. As an anecdiote, I used to ride 60cm frames in the 1980's in high school and part of college. I didn't know my correct frame size at the time. I now ride a 56cm frame and prefer a little longer top tube (56.5cm or 57cm). But it took some years and a few bike fits to get to where I am now. I'm 1 inch shorter than you at 6'1". But you can (and most likely do) have a different inseam and torso length than me. That's why you need the fit calculator and/or the fit advice from a shop.

Last edited by ptempel; 08-10-17 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 08-10-17, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
Never assume any frame size is ideal until you've had a chance to test ride. We're all proportioned a little differently, and bikes tend to be proportioned differently as well.

So I'm assuming the drivetrain is 2x8 with an 8-speed rear cluster? While it's perfectly serviceable, it's an older drivetrain, and may hurt resale value should you purchase and eventually decide to sell.

Ti egg crate pedals - hope you like these and know what they are, essentially Shimano SPD clipless pedals with a minimalist design. If you're not already running SPD's, it'll cost to get into the system (shoes & cleats), and if you don't want to run SPD's, you'll need different pedals.

Without pix of the bike, we don't know which model, condition, etc. I would tread carefully on this one. I'm not a ti hater, have a ti Indy Fab and love it, but used ti bikes have taken a tremendous hit on value in recent years, and it is quite possible there is another ti bike with your name on it, better components and maybe even a lower price. Don't assume this is the only bike for you.
+1 In the current market I agree nicer 8 speed era TI and Top end steel bikes with carbon forks have come down a lot lately. This one likely has a great frame but the mixed components and second tier cabon stuff is just OK for the price. In most markets you should be able to fin something with slightly nicer matching components and a better wheel set in the $800-1000 price range.
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Old 08-10-17, 10:47 AM
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This is all really great advice, many thanks to all of you!
I will probably go and try it out in the next few days to see how it will feel riding it.
I uploaded a picture of the bike here!
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Old 08-10-17, 11:11 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by todayandtmrw View Post
This is all really great advice, many thanks to all of you!
I will probably go and try it out in the next few days to see how it will feel riding it.
I uploaded a picture of the bike here!
Hi ya and welcome,

The seller has a lot experience with Litespeed bikes. I recently bought a Litespeed from him and am very satisfied. He seems to be a decent bike mechanic and owns two Litespeeds himself. But does that make the bike the right bike for you? I can't answer that, I can only say the seller proved to me be an honorable individual. I believe he also has a Merckx ti bike for sale for about the same price. I'd check them both out.

Good luck.
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Old 08-10-17, 11:15 AM
  #11  
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My bad that isn't the same bike I thought it was. Looks like the same bike and same garage door but it isn't. Sorry for my original post saying I knew the seller.
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Old 08-10-17, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by todayandtmrw View Post
This is all really great advice, many thanks to all of you!
I will probably go and try it out in the next few days to see how it will feel riding it.
I uploaded a picture of the bike here!

Good looking bike ---- that looks like the "Classic" model -- I don't really know how to differentiate the Classic from any of the other frames except the Classic has straight seat stays (as this one does) -- and mine has a 1 cm longer top tube than most other bikes I have in my size range --- it rides long, low and laid back

The parts kit and 1" steerer tube and threaded fork point to a mid 90's model if I am guessing correctly

I still stand by my assessment that your $900 price is not that far off -- if you can get it any cheaper , so much the better -- but I will preface that statement by saying that I am not a true bargain hunter - occasionally I get a good deal, but more often than not, I pay a fair price for something


At 6'2, the sizing should also be in the ballpark judging from what I see my friends ride who are your height -- but as others have said, riding it is the true tale of the tape --- its a flat top[ tube (not sloping) and you should be able to get decent leg extension with a "not too much - not too little" bit of seat post extension and the top tube should get you in a comfortable on the hoods position with your back at a roughly 45 degree angle

---- but those are just very rough guidelines
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Old 08-10-17, 01:01 PM
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Looks like a pretty nice bike although I still would like to know the actual model. Normally Litespeed puts the model on the top tube near the head tube, but I don't see it in the picture. I have a mid-90's Natchez (I think it was the cheapest Ti Litespeed was selling at the time) and it looks about the same. Maybe the picture is not current but it doesn't look like a carbon fork (or carbon seat post) - in fact, it looks like the same alum Kinesis threaded fork my bike came with originally. I was not very fond of the original fork (extremely harsh) and I upgraded to a Look carbon fork almost immediately.

61cm is a very big frame and the bike in the picture doesn't look that big. Typically a 6-2 person would ride a 58 or 59 ideally, but it varies from person to person and bike to bike.

Based on what I see in the picture, I think $950 is in the ballpark, perhaps a little ambitious. But I'd be concerned that the description and the picture of the bike don't match - it sounds like the seller is not dealing in a very straightforward way and/or doesn't really know the bike.

- Mark
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Old 10-17-17, 09:28 AM
  #14  
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I too have been looking at a couple of titanium frames (Litespeed T1, T3 and T5) at a local shop that has one of each on sale (no dealers for and of the big names in Japan), and wondering if I should make the switch. I talked the local rep down to about $3100 for the T1 frame and fork. I already have 105 brakes, and Shimano RS81s to throw on it if I buy it. I'm guessing about $1000 will cover bars, seat, seat post, cranks, BB, cables and derailleurs.

With all of that said, I didn't read much in this thread about Litespeed. I've read a few complaints about them on other sites but so far I haven't seen anything effectively proving Litespeed isn't good.

When I chatted with a Litespeed rep he answered all of my questions quickly and even followed up with an email the next day. I chatted with a rep from 1 of the other major titanium bike makers and When I asked how much it would cost for me to get a frame and fork sent to Japan his answer was "shipping starts at $199."
That was it.

I don't know why people are quick to bad mouth or exclude Litespeed as a potential next bike.
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Old 10-17-17, 12:20 PM
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Litespeed had some QC issues in the past, specifically rear triangles out of alignment from the factory. This was not an isolated issue. It was happening quite frequently, and some of the Merckx ti frames built by Litespeed had the same problem.

Folks who ordered a frame noticed that when they installed the rear wheel, it wouldn't be parallel with the rest of the frame. Some shop owners got into the habit of inspecting rear triangles before proceeding with a full build. Not something you want from a premier builder.

I only know one person with a current Litespeed and he's happy, but memories of past troubles might be at work here. Those who had an affected Litespeed a decade or two ago might be tempted to shop elsewhere for a new ti frame.
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Old 10-17-17, 12:50 PM
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I think it looks nice. The price is probably close to what would be expected, somewhere between say $800 and $1000.

Campy did change their rear derailleur pull somewhere during the 8 speed era, so just make sure it all shifts well.

There has been a recent tendency towards lower gearing, but it all depends on your riding style, and a cassette and chain are easy to change out.
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Old 10-17-17, 05:55 PM
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In 1999, I purchased a brand new Litespeed Tuscany. It had the described rear triangle alignment problem. Sent it back immediately. Too bad, since it fit great and the ride quality was fantastic.
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Old 10-17-17, 06:39 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys. I didn't read about those problems on other places and wasn't aware of that, but it's good to know and completely understandable that people were hesitant to buy from them again. Certainly something to check before making a purchase and I do believe that any reasonable person who wants to stay in business would take corrective steps to prevent a product from leaving the shop with similar problems in the future, which I believe they did.
Nonetheless, it makes me nervous and still want to take a rear tire to the shop to check the alignment before purchasing.
Out of curiosity, I wonder what lead to the problem. Sloppy welding, inaccurate measurements, a faulty design...
Anyway, I'm not trying to promote or badmouth any company.

This might be a bit late, but 6/4 titanium is stiffer than 3/2 but more brittle so all things being equal, it seems that 6/4 will crack earlier when exposed to the same forces as 3/2. Considering how strong titanium is anyway, you just have to think if you are going to stress the frame in excess of that point. In a crash other factors are going to have an equal or more effect on frame survivability. I can say that if I were big enough to need a size 61 then I would probably get a 3/2 frame for piece of mind.

OP, did you buy it?
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Old 10-17-17, 07:21 PM
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Well, I can think of two things that might have caused Litespeed's alignment problems.

First, I would assume that in a production environment, frames are built in a jig. If that jig is not perfectly aligned, the frames won't be either. I remember touring the Moots factory in Steamboat Springs back in the 90's. They were happy to show me around but didn't want any pix taken of their jigs, fearing that their setup would be copied and their proprietary methods and machinery would be distributed freely.

Second, the heat needed to weld titanium is enormous, above 1700 degrees C. That much heat causes distortion. Thin walled tubing tends to lift toward the heat source. Use of heat sinks and alternate welding sequences is critical. It's almost like pushing and pulling to create a frame that is reasonably straight (not perfectly) so it needs minimal post-welding alignment. If they skipped the post-welding alignment on the rear triangle, not good.

I'm assuming that if the frames were not produced on a jig, they would at least be checked on a flat table. Maybe they skipped a few steps and didn't perform enough sampling to ensure proper QC. Maybe they had multiple welders who weren't all on the same page. Maybe they were trying to push production at the cost of proper alignment. If anyone knows exactly what happened, by all means share.
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Old 10-17-17, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MauiKai View Post
OP, did you buy it?
we may never know --- looks like another one and done poster ----- a lot of interesting and informative information about Litespeed and ti in general still being lobbed around though, so its all good
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