Ghisallo has gotten some better reviews recently. Check out:
I purchased an '04 frame/fork from Competitive Cyclist. These folks are excellent to work with, and very responsive. My drive train is mostly Shimano Dura-Ace, with a FSA Team Carbon crankset. The wheels are Zipp carbon 303's wearing Continental Attack/Force skins. Most other bits are carbon fiber, mainly from Easton. The seat is Selle Italia's SLR carbon, and the peddles are Eggbeater's Tripple Ti. My mission for this bike was climbing, so I build it with tried and proven light weight parts. This bike weighs in at an honest 14 pounds with peddles.
This is my second Litespeed frameset, and those folks continue to amaze me. Every tube is perfect, every weld is perfect. This frame set is a piece of art. Litespeed enlarged the seat tube, and made other suttle tube changes for '04 to stiffing things up. This bike is an awesome climber, exceeding comfortable/compliant on the road. I weigh 185 pounds, and there is no frame flex out of the saddle or otherwise.
In all honesty-- not a one....
What no Litespeed owners out there? My guess is they haven't discovered "their" forum yet!
Anyway I'm a big fan of Litespeed bikes and the other day I was able to eyeball a brand new 2004 Ghisallo built with 2004 Campy Record. Really nice would be an understatement. The thing that struck me were the TIG welds. Really clean would be another understatement. In fact I'd say the welding was fabulous. Easily comparable to the best custom frames I've seen with the possible exception of Spectrum. This might make sense considering that ABG (the parent company) plays a key role with each brand.
Anyway I was impressed with how this bike looked from a quality and finish point of view. My friend who's been riding it for the past 3 days has done about 120 miles with some 6,000 feet of climbing and has nothing but good things to say about it. Unfortunately it's not his bike! It belongs to his brother's friend who's on tour-of-duty with the Navy.
I agree with Kahuna. When I first saw the 2004 Ghisallo, I had to pick my eyeballs up off the floor. http://www.bikefanclub.com/forum/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/346/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1
I owned a 2002 Vortex, which I sold because it was too noodly (I weigh 210 lbs). I recently replaced the Vortex with a 2004 custom Vortex with the "Limited Edition" tubeset, which is EXTREMELY stiff, as stiff as my 2001 Ultimate. The Ghisallo, until now, was way too soft for a guy my size to ride, but the 2004 Ghisallo is a striking design update. Way cool to look at, and the beer-can-sized down tube looks like it's surely stiff enough for a guy like me. The down tube of the 2004 Ghisallo is, literally, about 3 x the diameter of the 2003, and it flares horizontally at the BB for additional stiffness.
Unfortunately, the 2004 Ghisallo I saw was too small for me to test-ride.
Litespeed is doing things with titanium tubes far beyond what any other bike company is doing. You pay for their R & D, however. Bikes like the Vortex and the Ghisallo are the most expensive ti bikes out there; an off-the-peg stock frame costs more than a Seven or a Serotta, which are built custom to order.
I owned a custom LS Vortex. The bike was drafted by Kirk Pascenti of ABG and was one of the best handling rides I've ever owned although it rode a little on the harsh side. Had known about Topolino wheels at the time, I might still be riding this bike but instead sold it to a guy in CA to make room for another bike. http://www.bikefanclub.com/forum/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/346/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/2/vc/1
In general, I have nothing but good things to say about Litespeeds. A friend of mine here on Maui - Donnie is a dealer in fact, wound up selling 40% of the Ghisallo's sold in the US last year which is amazing. He's a Cat 1 who can ride circles around all of us. He rides a `02 Tuscany and never felt the need to get anything else. Litespeed to their credit has re-invented their company and customer support and service are right up there with the best. They're known to honor their lifetime warrantees - I've seen it happen with friends. I think the key to a good experience with them is using a reputable dealer who knows their way around the company. Hope this helps.
I think Donny is getting a Ghisallo himself soon. The reason he did not get it sooner is the cost. I agree with you, Donny can ride circles around most people. I rode with him last in December 8 weeks ago.
Looks like the '04 frame with 31.6 seat tube may have improved stiffness.