Litespeed Bicycles – A Titanium Dream

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At the end of last year two riders from the DFL Professional cycling team, David Harrigan and Alex Coutts, were in Spain for early training and we got a chance to have a good look at one of their team bikes, the Litespeed Siena Titanium.



Litespeed Bicycles

The day we had a look at the Litespeed it had been raining and the bike looked like a real work machine covered in six hours of road grime, as you can see from the photos!

The equipment is Shimano Dura-Ace, there is not much to say, it’s the top offering from the big Japanese company, 10 speeds of lightweight componentry.

The Hollowtech II crank-set you either love or hate the look of it, but you must admire its chunky design, the gears are faultless and he braking is solid, these are all the reasons why the Pro’s ride Dura-Ace, the top from Shimano.

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Top Tube

What Kit?

The other parts are workman like, strong and light, handlebar and stem from FSA, the stem being the RD120, alloy seat pin from Ritchey toped with the Selle Italia SLR with titanium tubes and carbon body, pedals are Time, their best the RXS Ulteam Ti carbon, weighing in at 180 grams they must be about the lightest pedal on the market. The wheels were the riders own training wheels and nothing special, just strong shod with Schwalbe clincher tires for hard wearing over hours and hours of training.

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Rear View

The Titanium Dream Machine

Now the frame, Litespeed have been making titanium frames since the 1980’s and have made titanium frames for other famous bike manufacturers like; DeRosa, Merckx, Tommassini, Basso, Univega, Alpinestars, Marin and Rocky Mountain.

So they know what they are doing. First the tubes on the Siena are not round as you would expect, they are shaped for different uses, three different Diamond shapes, Bladed, Orbital, Teardrop, Flattened Oval and Capsule, these different shapes give more strength for lateral stiffness or for aerodynamic reasons, you look at the tubes and they are quite beautiful in their construction and obviously workman like.

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Head Tubes

Siena, Not Made in Italy

The Siena takes many of its attributes from the higher end frames, the Vortex and the Ghisallo, the oversize tubes are shaped for the best handling and stiffness, the top tube is taken from the ultra light Ghisallo, butted and strong, he oversize down tube is shaped like an oversized expanded diamond for super stiffness, matted with the big seat tube this holds the everything in place when you are giving the bike full throttle.

The seat stays are obviously different, not straight with a slight curve to them, this is Teardrop shape technology and gives a smoother ride and the chain stays are Capsule shape which equals lateral forces when pedaling. P.F.T. Proprietary Forming Technology and G.E.T. Geometrically Enhanced Tubing are both are to be thanked for the strength/rigidity to lightness, as Litespeed say they can do more with less.

The Tuscan town of Siena in Italy has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and just like the town this frame has an impressive history.

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Fork

The Front end

The carbon forks are from Easton, the EC90 superlite, an all carbon fork with a taper wall design giving stiffness and greater strength and weighing in at only just over 300 grams. The headset is Cane Creek, what can we say about one of the best headsets around, there isn’t much better.

All in all the frame is Titanium perfection with probably the best equipment available, this being a Pro’s bike the rider cant choose the equipment this is dependent on the sponsors, in saying that there isn’t much I would change, a carbon seat pin and perhaps carbon handle bars and stem, then that saddle I would definitely swap for something with more padding, a little gel would be nice, but this is a personal choice of mine.

So, How Does it Ride?

Well, first off it wasn’t my size, but with a little adjustment I could give it a good go! This is a very stiff, responsive bike, on twisty descents you have to hold it back and lean into bends and then it beautifully swings out of the corner and into

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Ti Tube

the next on a switch back road. When climbing its light and that stiffness comes in handy, it feels like every ounce effort you put in to the pedals comes out through the back wheel and out onto the road, it jumps up the steep bits like a mountain goat.

In this part of Spain the coast roads are nice and smooth and the Litespeed rolled along without a care, sprinting was like climbing as the bike would jump into action when out the saddle, my only criticism would be on rough surfaced roads, the back end of the bike would bounce around a little when out the saddle sprinting, but then I have known many bikes do the same, apart that it was one nice ride!

The Verdict

We would give this bike 10 out of 10, except for the harsh ride on rough roads, it has it all, but then a Pro’s bike should have. If you are thinking of getting Titanium then I would look at Litespeed as being the first place to visit.

 


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