LiteSpeed Arenberg vs. Habenero



Purple Reign

New Member
Sep 20, 2003
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Hi. I have finally decided to go Titanium after a lifetime of riding steel. Now that I am (well) over 40, and can afford it I have decided to buy a bike that I will be able to ride well into my 50's. I think I have narrowed my choice down to the Litespeed Arenberg. I found an Arenberg in my size (61/62 cm) on sale for about $2,000 (apparently the '02/'03 models were the last manufactured before the model was discontinued. ) Another friend told me that if I was going Titanium I should definitely look at and then buy Habanero, particularly since I am thinking Ultegra. He felt that the ultra or pro Hab with Ultegra would be superior to the Arenberg. He also raved about the Hab warranty, money back guarantee and 1/2 price crash protection... I had never heard of Hab before, but I am curious as to the quality of the bike and experiences others have had with the company. I welcome any suggestions or comments about experiences with the two bikes. Is there a significant difference, or is this, as a third friend suggested, like choosing between Halle Berry and Beyonce Knowles?
 
I bought a Habanero road frame last year and love it. No problems. I got some flack from a local bicycle store stating it's made in China and they still use a seat post binder and straight tubing- blah, blah, blah - from a bicycle store that wants to sell you you everything you don't need. It's so ignorant to think that people in China can't weld. You know what, the bicyle rides like a dream. It's smooth, light, and the customer service is excellent. I think some of it comes from a prejudice point of view in relation to China and manufacturing. My habanero went together like a charm - no problems with threads, spacing or any such matter. So all in all, if you can't or don't want to spend a lot on a Ti frame, I would consider a Habanero. So far in my last 5 races, I have placed in the top 8 (5 times). So if you think having a more expensive Ti frame will make you faster, I doubt it. I think the Habanero is a good buy at $695. Personally, I 've seen more American Ti frames have tube and weld problems than Habanero frames.
 
Dave539 said:
I got some flack from a local bicycle store stating it's made in China and they still use a seat post binder and straight tubing- blah, blah, blah - from a bicycle store that wants to sell you you everything you don't need.
The difference between straight and butted tubes on a Ti road frame usually works out to about four ounces and a thousand dollars.
 
artmichalek said:
The difference between straight and butted tubes on a Ti road frame usually works out to about four ounces and a thousand dollars.
Is Ti tough to drawn out into butted tubes?

One thing I don't like about the Habanero is the 1" steerer tube. The whole industry went 1 1/8".
 
53-11 said:
Is Ti tough to drawn out into butted tubes?

One thing I don't like about the Habanero is the 1" steerer tube. The whole industry went 1 1/8".
The cost is partly difficulty and partly volume. The straight gauge tube sizes used on bike frames are all pretty much standard in the aerospace industry. Most of the butted tubes are bicycle specific, and the smaller production runs increase the cost.
 
53-11 said:
One thing I don't like about the Habanero is the 1" steerer tube. The whole industry went 1 1/8".
Here is Habenero's answer to your concern (copied from their web page):

*********************************************************

Why still design road frames for a 1" fork?

With seemingly the rest of the world rushing toward the "new" (hardly) inch and 1/8 spec, one has to ask "why are those retrogrouches at Habanero not getting on board with the new, improved spec?". Simple - it's not really "new and improved". Let's look at the reasoning behind the move to the "MTB spec" inch and 1/8 steer tubes in road bikes.
Claim: By making the steer tube bigger, we can use less material and the fork will still be just as strong.

Not necessarily. Certainly making a tube's diameter bigger makes it stiffer - but you can't necessarily shrink the walls on a fork's steer tube without disastrous results. Also, it's been suggested that an "over-stiff" steer tube concentrates stresses at the ends, rather than distributing along the entire length as well as a 1" steer tube might. And after all, the ends are where steer tubes will break, not in the middle.

For comparison's sake, let's look at the difference in weight between typical 1" and inch and 1/8 models of the same fork, all based on an uncut steer tube.

The Time Millenium Club fork comes with a 330mm aluminum steer tube in inch and 1/8 format at 542g, and with a 300mm steel 1" steer tube that weighs in at 505g. Add 30mm of steer tube to the 1" CrMo steer tube, and the weight increases to 526g - actually lighter than the inch and 1/8 fork, and steel (with its better fatigue characteristics).

The Profile Design forks with their aluminum steer tubes all weigh in within 10 grams (that's a little over 1/3 of an ounce) of each other when comparing 1" and inch and 1/8 (with the lighter forks being the 1").

The Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork with its carbon fiber steer tube weighs a svelte 370g in 1" format, and 445g in inch and 1/8 format. Advantage, 75g to the 1" fork.

On the other end of the scale are the Kinesis forks. The Carbon Wedge model comes with a 300mm aluminum steer tube and weighs 433g, compared to the 564g steel 1" steer tube (a whopping 131g - or 4.6oz difference). This is of course, and apples and oranges comparison, since the steer tube material is different, but it does provide one data point where there seems to be an advantage to fatter steer tubes.

So, based on a 200mm final trimmed steer tube length, the difference in fork weight will be between 50g in favor of 1" to 87g in favor of the inch and 1/8 fork.

Now let's look at the rest of the bike (unless of course, you just want to buy a fork to admire by itself, in which case you can stop reading now). Bigger headsets are heavier. The difference between the 1" and inch and 1/8 format for some common headsets: Cane Creek C-2, 20g; Chris King NoThreadSet, 18g; FSA Orbit XL-II, 26g. How about stems? Again, bigger stems are heavier - though direct comparisons are more difficult since no one seems to make the "same stem" in both sizes. Add in the additional material required to make the head tube larger and it's easy to see that at best you MAY shave a few grams with a inch and 1/8 fork and frame, but chances are you're adding even more weight by choosing the "new improved spec", not losing it.

Then there's the subjective matter of "looks". Everyone's free to determine which looks better on a road bike, but I'll take the cleaner lines of the 1" headset and stem any time I can get it. It's easy to imagine that the smaller head tube is more aerodynamic (read, faster) but since I don't have a wind tunnel to test that theory I'll leave it as an unsupported hunch (for now).

And for my fellow retrogrouches (those of us who still prefer threaded stems because of their ease and range of adjustability without the need to reset the preload of the headset, and since they are easily removed or twisted for shipping) there are still a good number of stems and headsets available to outfit your 1" threaded fork - not so with inch and 1/8.


**********************************************************
So, the point is, they did give plenty of thought to the question. Obviously, not everyone is going to agree. I'm getting ready to buy one myself and had no problem finding a nice, modern 1" threadless headset.
 
I also didn't like that they were using 1" head tubes, too. Yeah, they're more or less equal for performance or weight. But it's a lot easier to find a 1 1/8 in a modern fork than a 1". So why not go with 1 1/8"? It doesn't make sense. For those of us with a lot of equipment lying around, it means something extra to buy if wanting to buy one of those frames that will be incompatible with everything else.

fish156 said:
Here is Habenero's answer to your concern (copied from their web page):


not everyone is going to agree. I'm getting ready to buy one myself and had no problem finding a nice, modern 1" threadless headset.
 
Dave539 said:
I bought a Habanero road frame last year and love it. No problems. I got some flack from a local bicycle store stating it's made in China weld problems than Habanero frames.

For an even less expensive Titanium alternative, check out

http://www.xacd.com.cn/

They build frames that several other low cost outlets use. I think they were running around $4-450 for a frame, but it's worth it to pay a little extra and get the convenienve of buying in the states. You'll lose $50-80 in wire transfer, $80 in shipping, going that route. Where it does become much less expensive is if you want a custom frame built. They are very reasonable to work with if you want a custom geometry.

Agreed: weld quality is perfectly fine. These guys surely have way more practice than any other builder in the states.
 
Another producer you might consider is everti (ex-epic)... They are a Canadian firm, and I believe their frames are Russian made...

http://www.evertibikes.com/
Seem to have good prices and the bikes look quite good in the pictures!

Happy shopping!
 
Powerful Pete said:
Another producer you might consider is everti (ex-epic)... They are a Canadian firm, and I believe their frames are Russian made...

http://www.evertibikes.com/
Seem to have good prices and the bikes look quite good in the pictures!

Happy shopping!
I second the motion to consider Everti. I picked up an Everti Falcon at the beginning of April, and I've been feeling the Ti love in a big way ever since. Previous bike was Litespeed Atlas, one of their relatively short-lived aluminum series. That was a big step up from my previous bike, but this has been significantly better still. The construction at the bottom bracket seems more narrow than I'd like, but I haven't noticed the bike being loose or soft there, and overall it feels like it's just always ready to go, without jackhammering my butt. I'm the stereotypical ~150 lb. rider, and if you're heavier or really want to emphasize the stiffness in the bottom bracket, look at the Team model, since that's what that one's all about. My bike, complete with the Campy Centaur build kit, was just under $2800, shipped.
 
I have a Habanero with mostly Ultegra bits except for an FSA crank, etc. I ride it. I race it. I ocassionally crash it. I've put thousands and thousands of kilometers on it in all kinds of weather. It's a hell of a bike and it won't let you down. It is well made, and was received in a fully prepped and aligned state. Based on my experiences, I'd recommend it.

Do you notice nobody has recommended the Arenberg yet? :)

John Swanson
www.bikephysics.com


Purple Reign said:
Hi. I have finally decided to go Titanium after a lifetime of riding steel. Now that I am (well) over 40, and can afford it I have decided to buy a bike that I will be able to ride well into my 50's. I think I have narrowed my choice down to the Litespeed Arenberg. I found an Arenberg in my size (61/62 cm) on sale for about $2,000 (apparently the '02/'03 models were the last manufactured before the model was discontinued. ) Another friend told me that if I was going Titanium I should definitely look at and then buy Habanero, particularly since I am thinking Ultegra. He felt that the ultra or pro Hab with Ultegra would be superior to the Arenberg. He also raved about the Hab warranty, money back guarantee and 1/2 price crash protection... I had never heard of Hab before, but I am curious as to the quality of the bike and experiences others have had with the company. I welcome any suggestions or comments about experiences with the two bikes. Is there a significant difference, or is this, as a third friend suggested, like choosing between Halle Berry and Beyonce Knowles?