Litespeed/Merlin

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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cadence90
Posts: 1695
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:52 am

by cadence90

This is related to the "Advice: Titanium Frame" thread, but I thought this question would get buried there.
I'm going to be looking for a used ti frame, and Litespeed/Merlin are the most available.
Endurance ride/climbing frame for a bigger rider.
Any thoughts on:
Litespeed Ghisallo, Ultimate, Vortex
Merlin Cyrene, Extralite, Magia

thanks in advance
"Gimondi è un eroe umano, che viene sconfitto ma che continua la sua corsa fino a tornare a vincere." - Enrico Ruggeri

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J-Nice
Posts: 1474
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2003 12:35 am

by J-Nice

It is the model that you should narrow down-the Ultimate has a higher bottom bracket height and shorter seatstays, more like a crit frame. The Vortex is more for climbing and putting in long miles. Merlin? They do not have the shaped tubes like Litespeed does, which in my opinion makes them the best designed Ti frames in the world. Just my opinion.

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Ye Olde Balde One
Posts: 495
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 4:26 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA

by Ye Olde Balde One

cadence90 wrote:This is related to the "Advice: Titanium Frame" thread, but I thought this question would get buried there.
I'm going to be looking for a used ti frame, and Litespeed/Merlin are the most available.
Endurance ride/climbing frame for a bigger rider.
Any thoughts on:
Litespeed Ghisallo, Ultimate, Vortex
Merlin Cyrene, Extralite, Magia

thanks in advance


I'd look at Vortex or Magia.

I used to have an Extralite, and the only way it was stiff enough was with the old Coda/Magic 900 cranks and BB. Still, in those days I'd break cranks (not the Coda's though) and rip spokes out of hub shells.
Ride lightly!

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cadence90
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:52 am

by cadence90

Ye Olde Balde One wrote:I'd look at Vortex or Magia.

I used to have an Extralite, and the only way it was stiff enough was with the old Coda/Magic 900 cranks and BB. Still, in those days I'd break cranks (not the Coda's though) and rip spokes out of hub shells.

How old was that Extralite, are they stiffer recently/now, you think?
"Gimondi è un eroe umano, che viene sconfitto ma che continua la sua corsa fino a tornare a vincere." - Enrico Ruggeri

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Ye Olde Balde One
Posts: 495
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 4:26 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA

by Ye Olde Balde One

cadence90 wrote:
Ye Olde Balde One wrote:I'd look at Vortex or Magia.

I used to have an Extralite, and the only way it was stiff enough was with the old Coda/Magic 900 cranks and BB. Still, in those days I'd break cranks (not the Coda's though) and rip spokes out of hub shells.

How old was that Extralite, are they stiffer recently/now, you think?


It was a 1995. I don't think they ever changed that frame until Litespeed got hold of Merlin.

I know your looking at S/H so I figured it was relevent.
Ride lightly!

Tim the Pineapple
Posts: 225
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2003 10:30 pm

by Tim the Pineapple

Id look in to Vortex and Agilis (i had short term parking lot test and seemed very stiff). An older vortex built up at CC and a recent Agilis at excel sports.

Havent tried Magia but looks good.

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cirroc
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 6:25 am

by cirroc

Ghisallo has gotten some better reviews recently. Check out:

http://www.roadbikereview.com/2003,Road,Bike/Litespeed,Ghisallo,Dura-Ace/PRD_138857_4338crx.aspx

Summary:
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.

Strengths:
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.

Weaknesses:
In all honesty-- not a one....


http://www.bikefanclub.com/forum/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/345/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1

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.

-K


I agree with Kahuna. When I first saw the 2004 Ghisallo, I had to pick my eyeballs up off the floor.

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.


http://www.bikefanclub.com/forum/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/346/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1

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.

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.


http://www.bikefanclub.com/forum/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/346/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/2/vc/1

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.
\'kee-rok\ I'm just an unfrozen caveman. Your world frightens and confuses me.

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cadence90
Posts: 1695
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:52 am

by cadence90

Thanks Cirroc for putting that together :)
"Gimondi è un eroe umano, che viene sconfitto ma che continua la sua corsa fino a tornare a vincere." - Enrico Ruggeri

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