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Ordered Litespeed T6: My Review

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Ordered Litespeed T6: My Review

Old 10-05-18, 10:00 AM
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Paul Barnard
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Ordered Litespeed T6: My Review

A few weeks ago I ordered a closeout Litespeed T6. Now that I have it in and have ridden it a little bit, I'll provide a review. I don't think Litespeed is making that particular model anymore, so I'll make my review more about the Litespeed experience than the bike. I had a 10 year old Specialized Tarmac that was just a little to harsh for my aging body and my style. I sold it to make way for the T6.

The bike:

https://litespeed.com/collections/cl...nt=42050082319

I can't remember how it was brought to my attention, but I learned that Litespeed had a closeout going on a number of their bikes. The T6 frame was advertised below a grand, so I clicked on it. I learned that I could get a complete Shimano 105 bike for $1999. I am not a racer. I do occasional sport rides. About once a year I'll head to the mountains. I need the lowest possible gearing I can get when I do.

I sent an email asking if they had 105 in a midcage RD and 11-32 cassette. Jack responded almost immediately. They did not. He gave me a rundown on what they had available. The best he could do was Ultegra midcage with 11-30. He also gave me a coupon code for discounted shipping. I mulled it over for a while. I didn't really want to spend $2700 for a full Ultegra.

After a week or so I thought I'd ask if he could do a 105 with Ultegra RD and cassette. Again Jack responded immediately. He could do it for a $100 upcharge. I followed up by asking if they could do a 172.5 crank with the fork at max length. No problem, the deal was done! He told me it would be about 2 weeks for the bike to come in. It was right at that. They don't ship in a traditional flat box. They use a wedge box that literally requires nothing but mounting wheels and pedals. I have assembled a number of bikes, so it would not have been a big deal with the traditional boxing, but for someone who doesn't have any experience, it would be super easy.

The frame came in a polished finish. It looks nicer than I expected. The welds are flawless. You can tell by looking at it that it's a quality package. For some reason Litespeed made a midstream spec change on some of the parts. The value difference was nominal, but they did change from a puncture protected tire to a sport tire. I emailed Jack to tell him the puncture protection was important to me, and within minutes he had a set of Gatorskins coming my way. That folks is what separates good companies from great companies. Crap happens, and it is how it is dealt with that really matters. I am a picky bastard, and I rate their customer service A+.

This is my second Ti bike. I built a Lynskey Backroad tourer back in August. I realize that steel doesn't ride a certain set way and aluminum doesn't ride a certain set way and carbon doesn't ride a certain way, but there are general frame material characteristics that affect the way they feel and respond. Let me delve into those generalities, while recognizing that one size doesn't fit all. I have owned and ridden all of the major frame materials and must say I have found where I belong on Titanium. It is plush, planted and responsive. It's not willowy at all. It's stiff, it dampens road surface irregularities, but you still feel well connected to the road. In terms of cars, steel might feel like my daughters 2007 Avalon, aluminum might feel like my wife's Mazda CX3, Carbon may be more like 'Vette. This bike would be like a BMW 7 series. Fast and responsive but luxuriously smooth without being floaty or flexy.

The T6 has what I'd consider to be somewhere between a classic and endurance geometry. I am still fine tuning the fit. At this point I am certain it is going to be more cozy than the Tarmac due to the geometry and the ride. It's a fairly robust frame. It's not intended to be a flyweight dedicated racer. Litespeed does have those though. Jack told me a medium 105 build would weigh in without pedals at 18.5 pounds. Mine was a medium-large that came in at about 19. Riding weight with pedals, bottle cages, frame pump, lights and computer it is 21 even. My Tarmac was 18.5 in the same condition.

I am very happy with the bike. I think as I get it dialed in just right and get used to it, it'll be a love affair. The quality is top notch and readily evident. It feels good to deal with a comparatively small builder who builds their frames in the United States. Right in Chattanooga TN where my family roots lie. Next time I am up that way I am going to message Jack to see if I can get a tour. Jack did a fantastic job with customer service. My Litespeed experience has been fantastic. They still have the closeout sale going.

Not the best pic, but it's all I have right now.


Last edited by Paul Barnard; 10-05-18 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 10-05-18, 11:04 AM
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if you want to to go lower, Your RD8000 can handle a 11-40 cassette with the 50x34 crank.
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Old 10-05-18, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SSRI View Post
if you want to to go lower, Your RD8000 can handle a 11-40 cassette with the 50x34 crank.
I will eventually go lower. I didn't know I could go that low though. That's awesome!
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Old 10-05-18, 12:18 PM
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Hey Paul,

Thanks for the thread! You're so right, stuff happens, but how people deal with the issues or mistakes is what defines them as people and their companies. Glad to hear that this worked out so well. It's a stellar looking bike and I can't believe the price, which is pretty darn awesome IMO. Ride well, and ride safe!
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Old 10-05-18, 03:42 PM
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Your RD8000 midcage is rated for 34T, as long as you chain is long enough you can go Lower.
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Old 10-05-18, 03:52 PM
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Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading.
I agree with what you say about frame materiel in general and Ti specifically. I have Chromo, 853 steel, Carbon and Ti. Very different bikes overall so the frames are hard to isolate, but my Ti bike just feels right. Nice and smooth.

Enjoy!!
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Old 10-05-18, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pvillemasher View Post
Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading.
I agree with what you say about frame materiel in general and Ti specifically. I have Chromo, 853 steel, Carbon and Ti. Very different bikes overall so the frames are hard to isolate, but my Ti bike just feels right. Nice and smooth.

Enjoy!!

One day I will find a way to do more justice to the ti ride when I write about it. It gets it done for me.
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Old 10-05-18, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post

This is my second Ti bike. I built a Lynskey Backroad tourer back in August. I realize that steel doesn't ride a certain set way and aluminum doesn't ride a certain set way and carbon doesn't ride a certain way, but there are general frame material characteristics that affect the way they feel and respond. Let me delve into those generalities, while recognizing that one size doesn't fit all. I have owned and ridden all of the major frame materials and must say I have found where I belong on Titanium. It is plush, planted and responsive. It's not willowy at all. It's stiff, it dampens road surface irregularities, but you still feel well connected to the road. In terms of cars, steel might feel like my daughters 2007 Avalon, aluminum might feel like my wife's Mazda CX3, Carbon may be more like 'Vette. This bike would be like a BMW 7 series. Fast and responsive but luxuriously smooth without being floaty or flexy.
My steel Wraith Hustle felt like a Porsche 911
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Old 10-05-18, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
My steel Wraith Hustle felt like a Porsche 911
That's why I noted that one size doesn't fit all. I had never heard of that brand before. I just looked them up. Where's the drool emoticon?
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Old 10-09-18, 04:37 PM
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Great review. I was only looking at the Ritchey Road Logic or All City Mr Pink for my next bike but I am definitely going to call Lynskey tomorrow and get more info on the T6 at that price.
Thanks!
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Old 10-09-18, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
Great review. I was only looking at the Ritchey Road Logic or All City Mr Pink for my next bike but I am definitely going to call Lynskey tomorrow and get more info on the T6 at that price.
Thanks!
Litespeed, not Lynskey. Lynskey has been running some good sales of late, but nothing like that Litespeed T6. Please tell Jack I sent you. All they have left are small, medium large and large. I am 5' 11" and the ML fits me great.
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Old 10-10-18, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Litespeed, not Lynskey. Lynskey has been running some good sales of late, but nothing like that Litespeed T6. Please tell Jack I sent you. All they have left are small, medium large and large. I am 5' 11" and the ML fits me great.
Sorry, meant Litespeed. Had looked at Lynskey for comparison purposes and you are right, the Litespeed is a much better value.
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Old 10-10-18, 04:13 AM
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They all come out of the same factory in Tennessee, right??
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Old 10-10-18, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
They all come out of the same factory in Tennessee, right??
Not sure but I think so. Lynskey seem to be more expensive with less discounts though.
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Old 10-10-18, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
They all come out of the same factory in Tennessee, right??
No. Both of them are based out of Chattanooga (Litespeed is in a burb called Ootelwah,) but they are different companies. From what I understand The Lynskey family formed Litespeed in the 80's and eventually moved in their own direction with Lynskey.
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Old 10-10-18, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
they all come out of the same factory in tennessee, right??
no.
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Old 11-22-18, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SSRI View Post
if you want to to go lower, Your RD8000 can handle a 11-40 cassette with the 50x34 crank.
I am getting ready to make the switch from an 11-30 to an 11-36 if possible. Will a SRAM PG-1170 work? Will I need a longer chain, or as long as I am not cross chaining will I be okay as I am?
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Old 11-22-18, 10:27 PM
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I run a SRAM 11/36 PG-1170 (force) cassette with Ultegra 50/34 cranks and Ultegra 6870 GS derailleur. It shifts flawlessly.

The bike is a Niner RLT 9 RDO gravel bike. No Wolftooth was used. I crosschain the crud out of it, never give it a second thought.

Every bike is different. The only way to know for sure if it will work is to try. Pay very close attention to the length of the chain and err on the side of too long at first. Pedal and shift slowly on the stand. You don't want to rip the derailleur off when in the big-big combination. If there is too much slack in the small-small combination then take links out. You will also need to crank the B screw down. Some turn the B screw around so that the head is against the derailleur hanger. You will probably need a longer chain than what you have now.

Just saying, "Well, I won't crosschain" isn't a solution. That's my opinion. What if you make a mistake while riding or forget? Its easy to do when tired at the end of a long, hot ride. It either works or it doesn't IMO.

This is how mine looks in the small-small combo, 34 front and 11 rear.



This is the big-big, 50 front/36 rear.



Again, no one call tell you whether it will work unless they have tried it on the same exact bike. It is up to you to try. I can say that it works and shifts flawlessly on my Niner and I beat the crud out of the bike. I rode it 60 miles in the North Georgia mountains today.


-Tim-
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Old 11-22-18, 10:33 PM
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Super nice bike by the way. I was looking at their discount/clearance bikes and was probably considering that exact bike at one point.

Good luck with it. It is gorgeous.


-Tim-
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Old 11-23-18, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Not the best pic, but it's all I have right now.

Photo needs more incidental American flags; five is insufficient.
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Old 11-23-18, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I run a SRAM 11/36 PG-1170 (force) cassette with Ultegra 50/34 cranks and Ultegra 6870 GS derailleur. It shifts flawlessly.

The bike is a Niner RLT 9 RDO gravel bike. No Wolftooth was used. I crosschain the crud out of it, never give it a second thought.

Every bike is different. The only way to know for sure if it will work is to try. Pay very close attention to the length of the chain and err on the side of too long at first. Pedal and shift slowly on the stand. You don't want to rip the derailleur off when in the big-big combination. If there is too much slack in the small-small combination then take links out. You will also need to crank the B screw down. Some turn the B screw around so that the head is against the derailleur hanger. You will probably need a longer chain than what you have now.

Just saying, "Well, I won't crosschain" isn't a solution. That's my opinion. What if you make a mistake while riding or forget? Its easy to do when tired at the end of a long, hot ride. It either works or it doesn't IMO.

This is how mine looks in the small-small combo, 34 front and 11 rear.



This is the big-big, 50 front/36 rear.



Again, no one call tell you whether it will work unless they have tried it on the same exact bike. It is up to you to try. I can say that it works and shifts flawlessly on my Niner and I beat the crud out of the bike. I rode it 60 miles in the North Georgia mountains today.


-Tim-

Great info. Thank you.
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Old 11-23-18, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Photo needs more incidental American flags; five is insufficient.
I was wearing an American flag T Shirt but couldn't figure out how to get it all into a selfie.
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Old 11-23-18, 07:09 PM
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Nice review. I've ridden many steel bikes and never found them to be especially comfortable. This was back in the late 80's and early 90's when steel bikes were readily available at reasonable prices. I find it curious that they now have a niche as uber comfortable wunderbikes. It's almost as if they have magical properties when no one around 1990 seemed to share this opinion. It was just the default material.

As a matter of fact, trek's bonded alu frames had the rep of being significantly more comfortable than steel, and the midsized tubing they used in their road bikes did live up to that reputation. Carbon had a bit of a reputation for comfort as it was being introduced. But it was really titanium which was the wonder metal for comfort back then. Steel was just the default, the industry "average" for comfort if you will, with OS aluminum on one end of the spectrum and ti on the other.

Yet we are now to believe that steel in the interim decades has somehow become much softer, much better at soaking up vibration in the past 3 decades. I'll never get past the snake oil aspect of bike salesmanship. Not a criticism of your review, but just reminded of the bizarre which material is best threads that were so popular on forums in the past.
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Old 11-24-18, 04:40 AM
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Timely thread. I see a good used Litespeed locally for $1,200 with Dura Ace components. Awfully tempting if I didn't have a stack of medical bills to pay. Maybe next year.
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Old 11-25-18, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Timely thread. I see a good used Litespeed locally for $1,200 with Dura Ace components. Awfully tempting if I didn't have a stack of medical bills to pay. Maybe next year.
Priorities man. Those bills can wait.
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