Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Litespeed Classic vs Catalyst vs others: any feedback?

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Litespeed Classic vs Catalyst vs others: any feedback?

Old 10-19-23, 08:58 AM
  #1  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
Litespeed Classic vs Catalyst vs others: any feedback?

hi
Yesterday I found here and downloaded all the catalogs made by Litespeed from the early 90s to the late 90s.

It includes a lot of interesting frames and info.

I really like to find and buy an early Litespeed Classic 1993 (size 56), as it looks a manificient blent of geometry, strenght and comfort, while looking more "vintage" than both of the other models and of the subsequent Classic models.

What do you think of the Classic? Any feedback from an owner?

Do you recommend that I proceed with this one or should I focus on other models? Vorex? Ultimate?
  • Vortex, 6Al-4V, cold worked
  • Utlimate,6Al-4V/3Al-2.5V, cold worked
  • Classic, 3Al-2.5V + 6Al-4V BB, cold worked
  • Catalyst, 3Al-2.5V, cold worked

Last edited by DiTBho; 10-19-23 at 02:01 PM.
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-19-23, 09:01 AM
  #2  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
p.s.
Can I also ask you for some suggestions on where I could find one of these frames? even without a fork as I already have one here.
I'm already keeping an eye on eBay but I've never seen any stills of the '93.
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-19-23, 10:38 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
SpeedofLite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Central Florida, USA
Posts: 1,996

Bikes: Litespeed (9); Slingshot (9); Specialized (3); Kestrel (2); Cervelo (1); FELT (1); Trek (2)

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 426 Post(s)
Liked 3,336 Times in 970 Posts
Originally Posted by DiTBho
hi
Yesterday I found here and download all the catalogs made by Litespeed from the early 90s to the late 90s.
It includes a lot of interesting frames.

I really like to find and buy an early Litespeed Classic 1993 (size 56), as it looks a manificient blent of geometry, strenght and comfort, while looking more "vintage" than both of the other models and of the subsequent Classic models.

What do you think of the Classic? Any feedback from an owner?

Do you recommend that I proceed with this one or should I focus on other models? Vorex? Ultimate?
  • Vortex, 6Al-4V, cold worked
  • Utlimate,6Al-4V/3Al-2.5V, cold worked
  • Classic, 3Al-2.5V + 6Al-4V BB, cold worked
  • Catalyst, 3Al-2.5V, cold worked
I don't have significant experience with Litespeed before 1997.
Of the models you listed, I have a 2001 Vortex and a 2001 Classic. I once owned a 1997 Catalyst.
They all provide that famous titanium ride (feel the road, but not the bumps). However, handling and responsiveness is where they seem to differ in my hands. The Vortex is great for rides up to 20-40 miles during which I want to go fast. I feel it accelerates faster and has better responsiveness than either the Classic or the Catalyst, but it also seems just a bit less comfortable than the Classic over distances greater than 50 miles. So I like the Vortex when I feel the need for speed. I like the Classic when I want to be comfortable and recreationally fast over longer distances. The Catalyst I had just didn't have anything going for it other than being titanium. Not bad, just not inspiring. All of that said, all bikes were set up differently so there are those variables to consider besides my subjective opinion. Tires, tire pressure, wheels, and frame fit can all change one's perspective.

Bottom line -- I would buy a Classic before the other two. I have never owned or ridden an Ultimate, but I've had a few friends comment about their Ultimates, and they all said pretty much the same thing -- stiff, quick handling, a rocket ship great for criteriums. Good luck with your decision and quest for an early 90s model. They're out there, just be patient and cast a wider net than just eBay and Bike Forums.
__________________
WTB: Slingshot bicycle promotional documents (catalog, pamphlets, etc).
WTB: American Cycling May - Aug, Oct, Dec 1966.
WTB: Bicycle Guide issues 1984 (any); Jun 1987; Jul, Nov/Dec 1992; Apr 1994; 1996 -1998 (any)
WTB: Bike World issue Jun 1974.














SpeedofLite is online now  
Likes For SpeedofLite:
Old 10-19-23, 10:44 AM
  #4  
Fuji Fan
 
beech333's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oswego, Il
Posts: 1,941

Bikes: Was Fuji and got my grails (Pro, Pro SR, Design Series, & Ti). Now I hunt 50's and older road bikes.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 150 Post(s)
Liked 161 Times in 106 Posts
I own a Classic, Natchez, and Appalachian. I really like the Natchez, because it smooths out road chatter so well. I imagine it would be a poor choice for a wannabe racer though. Most would likely call it "noodley". If I want to go "fat guy fast", this is my go-to bike.

I picked up a larger frame last year, but i don't have photos available. I think this was the initial build of my original frame, using parts I scavenged out of my spare parts bin. It's ugly, but comfortable. The fork was kept uncut, in anticipation of a larger frame.




I dislike the Classic for the same reason that I like the Natchez. It is a bit more stiff and I find I never really ride it. If I were into group rides, this might be more appealing. I've been meaning to harvest the parts off of it for a few years now, but never got around to it. Maybe next year...

I like the Appalachian quite a bit, but it has much wider tires, and fender mounts. I use this one with bags, then tend to haul bakery/farmers market goods back home after saturday morning rides.

Last edited by beech333; 10-19-23 at 10:52 AM.
beech333 is offline  
Likes For beech333:
Old 10-19-23, 02:31 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 14,773

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 517 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3222 Post(s)
Liked 3,817 Times in 1,427 Posts
I wonder how much depends on the fork. These were available with at least three different forks. I'd guess that makes a noticeable difference, but I'm not sure which of the options is best. Aluminum forks have a reputation for a harsh ride, but I find that good tires eliminate that, if it is a real thing at all

I've got a '96 Classic with the Kenesis fork (which I pm'd you about). I didn't find the fork to be harsh, but I haven't ridden a Litespeed with any of the other options, so I don't know how the handling compares.

My theory is that the lateral stiffness of the fork would be the important thing, but I don't know which option would be stiffest. I think with carbon that's a property of the design rather than the material. To some extent that's true with steel or aluminum too, but particularly so with carbon.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Likes For Andy_K:
Old 10-19-23, 02:39 PM
  #6  
Steel is real
 
georges1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Not far from Paris
Posts: 2,122

Bikes: 1992Giant Tourer,1992MeridaAlbon,1996Scapin,1998KonaKilaueua,1993Peugeot Prestige,1991RaleighTeamZ(to be upgraded),1998 Jamis Dragon,1992CTWallis(to be built),1998VettaTeam(to be built),1995Coppi(to be built),1993Grandis(to be built)

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 583 Post(s)
Liked 825 Times in 540 Posts
Two of my friends owned a Catalyst and loved every bit of their bikes for the handling and comfort. Another one owned a vortex and used it for triathlons, it had mavic cosmic carbon wheels and dura ace 7800 transmission and brakes, it was his favorite bike, he still uses it.
georges1 is offline  
Old 10-19-23, 07:51 PM
  #7  
spondylitis.org
 
kunsunoke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Fleetwood, PA, USA
Posts: 1,016

Bikes: '84 Colnago Super; '90 Bridgestone MB-1; '81 Trek 930; '01 Cinelli Supercorsa; '62 Ideor Asso; '87 Tommasini Super Prestige; '13 Lynskey R2300; '84 Serotta Nova Special; '94 Litespeed Catalyst; etc.

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 120 Post(s)
Liked 97 Times in 63 Posts
I can vouch for the Catalyst. It has smooth, supple riding properties; good directional control, and it doesn't beat you to death from fifty miles in the saddle. You'll want to get a good fork and a good wheel-set for it, though - preferably fat tubulars, or ghetto road tubeless.
kunsunoke is offline  
Old 10-20-23, 06:15 AM
  #8  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by SpeedofLite
They all provide that famous titanium ride (feel the road, but not the bumps). However, handling and responsiveness is where they seem to differ in my hands. The Vortex is great for rides up to 20-40 miles during which I want to go fast. I feel it accelerates faster and has better responsiveness than either the Classic or the Catalyst, but it also seems just a bit less comfortable than the Classic over distances greater than 50 miles. So I like the Vortex when I feel the need for speed. I like the Classic when I want to be comfortable and recreationally fast over longer distances.
That's exactly what interests me: an average speed of 30-35km/h on 50-80 Km round trip a day, and ~25-30Km/h 180Km round trip during some weekends.

I tend to prefer steel forks even on titanium frames. However, we are talking about artisanal forks, handmade by craftsmen, with a high offset and weighing 450g.

Classic 700x24 wheels (like Campagnolo Omega), medium profile, medium compound tyres, inflated to 7 BAR.
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-20-23, 07:49 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,639

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

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 555 Post(s)
Liked 533 Times in 389 Posts
Many years ago I spent time on a '93 Ultimate and was not impressed with the Kinesis aluminum fork. Very happy with the carbon forks on my 3 Ti frames, Tuscany, Firenze and a Habanero.
easyupbug is offline  
Old 10-20-23, 08:38 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Dean51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Posts: 649

Bikes: '8? Ciocc Mockba 80, '82 Ron Cooper, '84 Allez, '86 Tommasini Racing, '86? Klein Quantum, '87 Ciocc Designer 84, '95 Trek 5500, '98 Litespeed Classic, '98 S-Works Mtb

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 226 Post(s)
Liked 306 Times in 120 Posts
I purchased a '98 Classic frame with a Look carbon fiber fork just over a year ago. I built it up with DA-7700 hardware and it has been on the road for ~1200 miles. This is the only ti frame I have ever ridden, so I cannot compare it to other Litespeed models. I was drawn to the Classic because.....at risk of offending others....of the straight seat stays.

Dean
__________________
Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die

Last edited by Dean51; 10-20-23 at 08:45 AM.
Dean51 is offline  
Old 10-27-23, 07:31 AM
  #11  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
So, definitively the Litespeed Classic is the best for me, as I'd like to ride for long distance: 50Km .. 200Km

I know a craftsman who builds ultra-light steel forks in Nivacrom, weighing only 430g, classic design with curved blades.
It's not cheap (~300 euro), but I can think about starting to save and put some money aside, to give myself a gift for Christmas 2025.
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-27-23, 11:49 AM
  #12  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
It seems difficult to find a Litespeed Classic frame, and when I find one on eBay typically it's never my size (560mm)
Very frustrating because I've been looking for it for years now and I've done nothing but hot air.

But I won't give up =)
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-27-23, 06:30 PM
  #13  
Junior Member
 
purpurite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Aurora, Illinois
Posts: 112

Bikes: 2003 Litespeed Classic Ti, 1960 Frejus Supercorsa, 2015 Rocky Mountain Blizzard, 2001 Cannondale F700

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 126 Times in 53 Posts
I can't compare to other Litespeed models, because I haven't ridden others bikes. I can only compare to my previous steel and aluminum bikes. So what you get from me is pure exaggerated infatuation about my '03 Classic. Easily the best road bike I have owned.

I. LOVE. THIS. BIKE.

It's not the flashiest road bike, or new, or super light, but I don't see myself ever selling the Classic. Just perfect for me, and that old school geometry is just wonderful to look at.

purpurite is offline  
Old 10-27-23, 06:40 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Shore of Long Island
Posts: 2,728

Bikes: 2010 Carrera Volans, 2015 C-Dale Trail 2sl, 2017 Raleigh Rush Hour, 2017 Blue Proseccio, 1992 Giant Perigee, 80s Gitane Rallye Tandem

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1066 Post(s)
Liked 980 Times in 697 Posts
I had a 98 or 99, it was done in pearl white with bare ti stays and matching carbon fork. It is seriously one of the only bikes, the other was an elos steel DeRosa, that I wish I could have back. The look was sedate but amazing and the ride was incredible.
Russ Roth is offline  
Old 10-27-23, 10:28 PM
  #15  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by Andy_K
I've got a '96 Classic with the Kenesis fork (which I pm'd you about). I didn't find the fork to be harsh, but I haven't ridden a Litespeed with any of the other options, so I don't know how the handling compares.
PM ... there are funny people out of there.

Frst they contact you because they want to sell you a bicycle frame, then it turns out that they have no intention of selling anything and start making up "fancy reasons", as if to export something from the USA it was necessary to go through the FBI, the CIA and the White House with the written permission of the President of the United States (sarc).

and when you tell them that you can manage the whole importing procedures, prepare the exporting documentation, and book a ticket from UPS, so all they have to do is:
  • pack the bicycle frame
  • receive a label by email, to print
  • put the label on the parcel
  • drop the parcel off into the nearest UPS point
they start saying that what YOU say doesn't necessarily make it so, as to export something from the USA will really require to contact the FBI or CIA or whatever other "fancy government agencies".

Two years ago, a Chinese guy from a Chinese government agency that does avionics R&D contacted me on a forum because I had two SandPoint PowerPC boards for sale at a yard sale, and he sent me a PDF contract. He said ... that stuff is difficult to find, and they needed two.

So, I simply filled it out a digital document and followed the same procedure for exporting. No "man in black" knocked on my door and I received two international bank transfers of 500 euros.

So, what's the point in wasting people time? If you are not willing to sell, don't waste people time with your fantasies, and I already know there are thing on eBay, I don't need someone telling me this, as those two american selles on eBay don't want to export, for other reasons, this time linked to the very stupid eBay policies which add a lot of costs, among other things, also at my expense.

If only... they used the international shipping program, we would be all happy.

So, time and time again, it's really frustrating once again to have to say "never mind, maybe next time".

Last edited by DiTBho; 10-27-23 at 10:36 PM.
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-27-23, 11:03 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 14,773

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 517 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3222 Post(s)
Liked 3,817 Times in 1,427 Posts
Originally Posted by DiTBho
PM ... there are funny people out of there.
Like I said in my most recent PM, I'm sorry my decision upset you. It was not my intention to waste your time. If I had known it would involve international shipping, I would not have sent the initial offer.

Again, I apologize.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Likes For Andy_K:
Old 10-27-23, 11:48 PM
  #17  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
A guy in the UK had a Titanium Lemond frame (590mm, not my size) for sale, and a friend of mine contacts him because he is interested. The seller responds with two solutions:
  • due to eBay policies he didn't like he doesn't want to use the international export program, so he suggests that, in order to stay with eBay,my friend should have found someone in the UK so that the seller would ship the goods to the UK as eBay's end-to-end business. At that point there would be no more seller liability, no more business with eBay, as this “man in the middle” would have to handle a shipment from the UK to Germany.
  • private negotiation, outside eBay, Paypal payment "friends and family", which violates the user agreement on Paypal, especially if you have a "business account", so it's potentially money lost if something goes wrong.
The matter was at a standstill, because neither solution suited both of them, but Liverpool is not that far away from London where I had to go there for work, so I made a favor to my friend, took the train, then a taxi and I went in person to collect the package and paid in cash.
(~900 UKP)

I remember, the fork was not included, so I only brought along a cheap rear Campagnolo Avanti16 hub, which I mounted on the frame before it was put into the package to make sure that something doesn't go wrong when they load the package into the hold of the plane and maybe load something heavy on top that could bend the seat stays or/and chain stays of the bicycle frame.
(maybe it's just my paranoia, but that's how I am)

Then once arrived the airport at the final destination, before going home, I looked for the first UPS point, filled out a form, the dude printed a ticked and applied it on the parcel, so it got shipped to Germany.

Long trip, happy ending.

Last edited by DiTBho; 10-27-23 at 11:54 PM.
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-27-23, 11:52 PM
  #18  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by purpurite
I can't compare to other Litespeed models, because I haven't ridden others bikes. I can only compare to my previous steel and aluminum bikes. So what you get from me is pure exaggerated infatuation about my '03 Classic. Easily the best road bike I have owned.
2003? it looks "too modern" for me =D
Which fork are you uring?
I really like your wheels!
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-28-23, 01:46 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Manny66's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Whittier
Posts: 843

Bikes: 1973 Colnago Super, Litespeed Classic , Automoto , Pinarello Gavia TSX,Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra,Eddy Merckx EMX-5 , 1982 Moser SL, Concorde TSX, Vitus 979 KAS. Diamant SLX,60's Meteor

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 228 Post(s)
Liked 791 Times in 299 Posts
I have a Litespeed Classic with LOOK forks, It rides fantastic , super light with the Dura Ace 9 speed and bladed spoked wheels. I highly recommend it , great all around bike . It feels Fast.
Manny66 is offline  
Old 10-28-23, 03:08 AM
  #20  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by Manny66
I have a Litespeed Classic with LOOK forks, It rides fantastic, super light with the Dura Ace 9 speed and bladed spoked wheels. I highly recommend it , great all around bike . It feels Fast.
May I ask why you specifically decided to choose the Classic frame instead of other models?
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-28-23, 04:17 AM
  #21  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
the Classic bicycle frame has a particular top tube, whose diameter is greater on the head-tube than on the seat-tube. Aesthetically, it's something unique.

has anyone ever tried to assemble a Classic bicycle frame with late 80s and early 90s part?
e.g. Victory headset and cranks, steel fork, Cinelli 1A Stem and classic handlebar (not oversized)?
DiTBho is offline  
Old 10-28-23, 07:25 AM
  #22  
Junior Member
 
purpurite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Aurora, Illinois
Posts: 112

Bikes: 2003 Litespeed Classic Ti, 1960 Frejus Supercorsa, 2015 Rocky Mountain Blizzard, 2001 Cannondale F700

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 126 Times in 53 Posts
Originally Posted by DiTBho
2003? it looks "too modern" for me =D
Which fork are you using?
I really like your wheels!
As far as I know, there have been few (if any) changes in the Classic frame up until about late 2003 or 2004 or so when they went to an integral headset (other than decals). Finding one from any year up to that integrated headset, and you essentially will find an identical frame. Litespeed also sells decals from just about any year bike, if you want to back-date or up-date the look to something you like more.

The fork is a Litespeed-branded Reynolds Ouzo Pro carbon. Rides wonderfully.

The wheels are 2003-era Velomax Tempests with the decals removed. I think they were bought by Easton and now sold as Easton Tempest IIs. The hubs spin smoother and easier than any bike wheel I have ever owned. Almost completely silent rear cassette, too. I would buy another set if I came across one in good shape.


EDIT: if you are looking for a Classic frame, the serial number under the BB will tell you the born on date.

1XXXX = 1997
2XXXX = 1998
3XXXX = 1999
4XXXX = 2000
5XXXX = 2001
6XXXX = 2002
7XXXX = 2003
8XXXX = 2004
9XXXX = 2005
10XXXX = 2006

So, look for any frame number under 80000 that does not have an integral headset and you will find the same Classic frame. Mine is an early 2003, so just before they made the change to integrated headsets.

Last edited by purpurite; 10-28-23 at 07:40 AM.
purpurite is offline  
Likes For purpurite:
Old 10-28-23, 09:24 AM
  #23  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 41 Posts
I have the Litespeed Tuscany. Love that bike.
WaveyGravey 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
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.