Litespeed Ultimate Titanium


New Member
May 5, 2003
Hi Guys

Is it worth to spend around $2000 on a 1999 Litespeed Ultimate (Campy Chorus 9 speed, Spinergy's etc) when I can get a brand new 2003 Giant TCR One with Ultegra for about $150 less?

I'm taking the Litespeed for a test ride Sunday to see if it's really that nice, but when spending quite a bit of money on a bike a person tends to want it to look new and flashy, and the Litespeed is a dull bike :)

Mind you, I've heard nothing but good about the frames, so I'd like some input from the forum.

Litespeed seems to be fond of making changes to their frames every year or so, in a way like Campagnolo do to their component groups.

I own a 1998 version Litespeed Ultimate frame with a Kestrel fork at a price of $2500 for frame and fork only. This version is an all titanium frame with bladed 6/4 downtube and curved seat stay, and instantly the ride feels very different from my Merlin Extralight. It is much stiffer (without the FD chain rub when standing to climb or sprint), go in a straight line easier, yet absorbs vibrations better. It is also very agile so that I had managed to escape several crashes. Someone even accredited to the stability of the frame when I was able to take back control of the bike when it slipped on a wet road (these things are however difficult to prove because they donot happen too often).

Overall I am very satisfied with it. Later when I also own a Colnago C40 I didnot notice too much difference in the ride so their quality should be about on par. There is however one aspect where the C40 do excel is over the washboard raods when the carbon fibres in the C40 absorbs the vibrations better whereas the springy Ultimate just bounces me up and down. For a single big hit the Ultimate is better due to its ability to flexes more in its rear end. The later models like the one that wins the 2002 green jersey should perform better on washboard roads due to the use of curved carbon seatstays.

Afterall the Ultimate is still my favourite if I could only own one bike because a titanium bike should be more durable than bikes made with other materials. Carbon fibre bikes while also performs very well and are usually lighter are more prone to troubles here and there, like the cable stops detached from the frame (this already happens to a number of C40s in our club), explode on collison, could not be repaired if the derailleur hanger got bent (it is usually aluminium on a carbon bike which at the most could only be bent back once), not good for scratches etc. etc.

BTW I do believe that the best bike in future would be half titanium and half carbon like the new Lemond or the new Seven.

Originally posted by labicci
.......whereas the springy Ultimate just bounces me up and down.

Carbon fibre bikes .... explode on collison, ..

The ultimate bounces you because it is too stiff,unless you are a 250-300 pounder.It's made for big strong riders. a Merlin extra light suits my size and weight better. Exploding CF always did give me the willies....Bottom line give the ultimate a long test ride to see if it suits you. Don't buy based on someone elses subjective opinion, especially since there may be no comparison is size, weight,strength,riding style or expectations.
Fooz...where can you get a TCR 1 for $1850? is this the composite frame? fully built with ultegra?

I'm considering the TCR and Kestrel Talon.

That is the TCR, but without wheels. It's 2003 stock the bike shop is now selling at a discounted rate (obviously now the 2004 has hit the shelves)

I'm a 100kg's, so looking for a strong bike that won't flex under heavy sprinting rather than something very light.

Thanx for the info so far :)
Fooz...the picture you've posted aluminum bike, I LBS has it on sale from 1800 marked down to 1500...

I was referring to the carbon fiber composite...sry for the miscommunication. There's a new carbon fiber ultegra TCR that sells for $2000.
Just a quick update guys.

I took the Litespeed for a test ride this weekend, about 90km's in 3hrs20min with a group cruising along. The bike was absolutely beyond anything I have ridden before. Very stiff, perfect size for me, and just rolls along. Most of the group commented that I look very comfortable on it and that it looks in very good nick for a 4yr old bike.

I did notice that it has a 1" steerer and not 1-1/8th like the newer this something to be concerned about? I'm still shopping around, and another LBS told me to look at this bike:

I can get the Scott new for the same price as the Litespeed. Anyone have any more comments to add? Should I just shut up and go buy the Litespeed? *grin*