Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The 2013 CX frame Debuts at Dirt Demo!

Litespeed Returns to Cyclocross with the 2013 Litespeed CX Ti Bike – Interbike 2012

A look at the new Litespeed  CX ti. © Cyclocross Magazine
A look at the new Litespeed CX ti. © Cyclocross Magazine
We checked out the new 2013 model of the Litespeed  CX ti bike, which is now available for purchase. It will be available in five sizes, small, medium, medium-large, large and extra large. The shape-specific tubing is 325 Titanium, cold-worked. This frame only comes as disc-compatible with either 140- or 160- rotars. It has a press-fit BB and an over-size head tube. It also has a replaceable hanger.The price tag? A hefty $2500 for the frame only.
Check out the gallery below. Check out our growing list of Interbike 2012 posts and check back for all the latest cyclocross product news.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Litespeed Fan Risks LIfe and Limb for His Bike

Here is the story of a Litespeed fan with his 2 biggest loves...

So on June 14 2002, my wife and I go to the hospital to have labor induced at 9 am. About noon, Aaron, the shop manager from my local bike shop, calls me to let me know my beloved Litespeed frame is in, and they would have it ready for me later that day. 

My wife knew that I had really wanted to build it, and since labor was progressing slow; as well as it was a short drive across town to get it, she in her awesomeness, let me go with a friend to pick it up. We get the bike and all the parts, then we get a call about 3 pm from my wife's friend wondering where the hell we were. We hustle back to the hospital, by 3:30ish, and my son is born at  4:30 pm. Later that evening I'm so excited my son is born, I'm driving my poor wife nuts with my enthusiasm, while all she wants to do is sleep. So she politely kicks me out of the hospital room, and tells me to go home and build the bike.

10 years later, she still holds this over me "I was in labor with your, kid, and I let you go and get your bike..." How awesome is she!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Litespeed BMW Criterium - Atlanta

Wanted to send out some information regarding a really wonderful event happening in Atlanta, Georgia on August 18th 2012 at 2pm.

Photo by Ron Daniel

The Litespeed BMW team is hosting a twilight criterium in "Hotlanta" in August. It is shaping up to be one of the premier events in the Southeast. If you are in the area and want to participate or spectate, please feel free to come on down and catch some really great cycling.

The crit location is in the East Atlanta Village.481 Flat Shoals Ave, SE Atlanta, GA 30316

The race schedule is:
Women 3/4 -- 2pm -- 30 min -- $250 to 5 places -- field limit 75
Cat 5 -- 2:30pm -- 25 min -- Prizes to 5 places -- field limit 75
Juniors 10-14/15+ -- 3pm -- 25 min -- Prizes to 3 places -- field limit 75
Masters 35+/45+ -- 4:15pm -- 45 min -- $500 to 6 places -- field limit 75
Kid's Races -- 5:15pm
Women's Cat 1/2/3 -- 5:45pm -- 45 min -- $500 to 5 places -- field limit 75
Cat 3 -- 6:45pm -- 45 min -- $500 to 8 places -- field limit 75
PRO 1/2 -- 8pm -- 60 min -- $1000 to 10 places -- field limit 75


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Outside Magazine Reviews the Litespeed L3

The Six-Month Test: Litespeed L3 Ultegra

The titanium masters prove they can do carbon just as well as they do metal.
The Litespeed L3 Ultegra
American bike manufacturer Litespeed built its reputation on high-end titanium. The company still sells plenty of metal—over half its bikes are titanium—but in recent years it has bowed to market pressures and launched into carbon too.
We were at first troubled by that development, fearing that the foray into carbon fiber would dilute the company's message and efforts. The release of the budget-minded M1 in 2011, which we found lackluster, seemed to underscore the point. Based on that experience we nearly didn't even try the 2012 Litespeed L3, and what a mistake that would have been as this new all-arounder turned out to be a fast, no-nonsense road bike that packs a lot of value.
Unlike most manufacturers who have had standard-shaped road bikes for years and then moved into aero, Litespeed, who just jumped into carbon, began the venture with the aero C Series before backing into the traditional shapes of the L Series this year. While I can't deny the benefits of aero road bikes, I still prefer the look and feel of a more traditional bike. It's a personal choice, but that set the L3 and me off on the right pedal from the start. Another sell: The L3 comes from the same molds as the pricier L1—the difference is a slightly lower grade of carbon. That means you get high-end shapes with just a little extra weight.
And there's plenty of shaping to tune this ride. Starting with an oversize tapered headtube up front, both the top and down tubes begin with a boxy shape that fades to flat in the top tube and bulky and rounder on the down tube. The former adds vertical compliance, with testers commenting just how supple the L3 rode, and the latter, when combined with the massive bottom bracket area, made for zero flex even when sprinting. The bottom bracket was indeed unflinchingly stiff, though it did inspire some grumbling. (More on that in a minute.) The chain stays and seat stays are highly assymetric, with shaping and a fair bit of carbon trimmed from the drive side to avoid contact should you drop a chain, and extra carbon in the chain stays to counteract the differing stress loads generated from side to side. The very fine seat stays recall Cervélo's designs, and in fact the overall frame shaping of the L3, as well as its smooth and direct ride, compares favorably against the Candian company's popular R3.
About that bottom bracket: Working with BH, Wilier, and FSA, Litespeed has helped to develop the new bottom bracket standard employed here, dubbed BB386. They claim the wider size and bigger bearings make it even stiffer than standard BB30. Don't get me wrong, this bottom bracket was hyper stiff and power transmission was great. Having said that, several testers (myself included) really wish that bike manufacturers would standardize rather than constantly bring out new designs with small changes that simply complicate consumers' lives. That's less a complaint with Litespeed and BB386 than it is with the state of the industry in general.
The rear end of the Litespeed L3The rear triangle has extremely thin seat stays and shaped, assymetric chain stays.
That little diatribe aside, this frame is incredibly well designed and testers felt it on the road. Everyone commented how balanced and stable the L3 felt, especially on fast descents. We could push hard into the corners or take our hands off the bars at high speed, and we never felt the slightest shimmy or nervousness. We did note no small amount of cable slap, especially the rear brake cable on the top tube, which didn't affect performance but was annoyingly noisy on the rough roads around Santa Fe. We suspect it's something that could be remedied with some careful re-cabling and cable stops. And it didn't change just how snappy the frame felt, with several testers noting the L3 struck a fine balance between stiffness and light weight.
The L3 Ultegra is Litespeed's most affordable model of the L3, and it's befitting that such a nice frame gets no lower end components than Shimano's second-tier. There's not a lot to say about these parts: The lever ergonomics feel great in the hand, the shifting is dead accurate, and braking is, if not immensely powerful, very consistent and predictable. One thing that didn't sit well with everyone was the FSA Energy crank, employed presumably because of the proprietary bottom bracket. Several testers felt it was not super stiff and lamented the exclusion of the Hollow-Tech Ultegra crank to complete the groupo.
The other overriding complaint with the bike was the Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels. Clearly these were spec'd to meet the L3's lower pricepoint. And though they rolled well enough and were relatively stiff, the wheels definitely felt portly, especially on steep climbs. Of course, lighter wheels mean extra money, so perhaps these Racing 5s make most sense: they allow more people to ride a high quality bike like the L3, and the riders who want nicer hoops can simply upgrade after the fact.
One other small complaint were the aluminum bars. It's a personal preference and many racers prefer the metal, but we generally like the damping comfort of carbon fiber in the cockpit, especially on an already cushy bike like this one. That's an easy fix, and it was outweighed by the Fi'zik Arione saddle, a high quality and neutral seat that nearly everyone likes.
We greeted the L3 with huge skepticism based on our experience last year, and we walked away very pleasantly surprised. This is a bike that can make a wide variety of riders happy, from recreational roadies looking to upgrade to enthusiasts who put on the miles and want something both fast and comfy for grand fondos and the like. It even impressed the racers in our midst, though both said they'd likely switch to lighter wheels if they were to buy it. And weight was one thing that really surprised us about the L3: Though our medium tipped the scales at a fine-but-hardly-feathery 17.3 pounds, the bike felt more sprightly than that weight suggests.
At $3,500, the L3 is hardly an inexpensive bike. But it's comparable to similarly spec'd bikes of other brands, and it outperforms many of them. Which is to say, should you opt for this understated ride, you're unlikely to be disappointed.
—Aaron Gulley

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TIMEX Athlete Erin Kummer Reviews the Cohutta

2012 Litespeed Cohutta Review 7/6/2012

From the first day I laid eyes on Litespeed's new 29er mountain bike at the Interbike show in 2011, I couldn't wait to get on it and see what a titanium bike is all about. Below is a quick recap of how I've set up my 2012 race machine and my impressions of how it performs.

Thanks to a great relationship with Shimano and PRO, I was able to set it up with some of the best components on the market. After spending quite a bit of time on my dirt bike, I've grown accustom to running a wide handlebar on my bicycles. On this bike I've chosen to run a 700mm flat bar with 10 degrees of backsweep. There are definitely times that I wish I had hand guards to protect my hands and fingers from getting smashed in the tight trees but the added leverage and control far outweigh the reduced clearance. Shimano's new ISpec kit make for a clean and lightweight handlebar setup by integrating the shifter and amazing brakes onto one clamp. With a 90mm/-10 degree stem and a set of ESI Chunky Grips, I couldn't be happier with how comfortable the cockpit is.

The Cohutta is designed for a 31.6 diameter seatpost but I wanted to run a 27.2 post for the added shock and vibration damping. In order to do this, I had to insert a small aluminum sleeve in the seat tube. The 27.2 post helps soften the impact of the hardtail frame and is just the right amount of flex for a rider of my size.

I've been experimenting with many saddles this season and ended up right where I began. I have always run the Specialized Phenom on all of mountain bikes because of its light weight, stiff feel and narrow shape which makes getting behind the saddle during the descents much easier. Since I have always ridden mountain bikes with rear suspension the hard seat never bothered me. However, losing the squish in the rear makes a huge difference when trying to sit and pedal through rough terrain. I gave the Fizik Vesta a try as it was much wider and softer but it ended up being way too wide for technical descents that I need to scoot back for. I'm still looking for that perfect narrow but soft seat with female geometry. Until then, I'm back on the Phenom and toughing it out :)

In my opinion, wheel and tire selection is the most important part of a bike set up. Now that I am on the 29 inch bike, having a lightweight wheel setup can be a very large advantage. This year, I've decided to run the Stans ZTR Race Gold wheels with Maxxis 29er Ikon tires - this may be lightest and fastest rolling setup on the market. Many heavier riders will not enjoy the 1350g wheels because they can be a bit flexy, but luckily my smaller stature allows me to get away with them.

For the second year in a row, I am running the Fox 32 100mm fork. It is a great feeling fork for racing that is stiff and sturdy and also incorporates the innovative tapered steerer design. I am definitely looking forward to dropping a 1/2lb and getting a remote lockout for the updated model in 2013!

Unlike most of my previous race bikes, I'm running a 2x10 drivetrain. I have always run a triple because of how steep the trails are here in Colorado but I'm actually loving the taller gearing on the Litespeed. I was apprehensive about using it this year because of my bad experience when I wasn't as fit but now that I'm stronger, I really love it. I would love a 24 tooth inner chainring but I'll live with the 26 and 12x36 cassette. 

My friends at The Service Course - a Boulder bicycle service shop - helped me finish up the build on the Cohutta and set it up with some professional touches. The used fully sealed Nokon shift cables for added wear protection, crisp shifting and reduction in weight.

After being stuck on the trail with a broken chain earlier in the year, they also added a quick link chain link on my brake cable for speedy race ready fixes.

I put the 'excuse me' bell on :)

I'm extremely happy with how the bike came together and especially with how it performs.  The titanium frame has an unbelievably wonderful feel and Litespeed's innovative design and geometry brought in all the hot new features. From adding a PressFit 30 bottom bracket to designing the headtube opening for a tapered steerer tube fork, it's perfect marriage of modern technology and classic craftmanship.  In an era of primarily carbon bikes, it's fun and refreshing to ride a top performing, American made, beautiful titanium bike!

Thanks Erin!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Litespeed Athlete and Employee Chris Brown

Brown Does It Again!

This past Sunday the LITESPEED-BMW team won the PRO/1 category Tennessee State Criterium Championship!  This year’s race was in Cookeville,TN, on one of the team’s favorite courses, a very fast and technical 1k course.
Chris Brown and recent team addition Anders Swanson were our men for the state crit championship race.  Want to give a big welcome to the team to Anders.  For those of you that do not know Anders he lives in Chattanooga TN and recently finished 10th in the country in the Elite Time Trial National Championships and is the defending category 2 Tennessee state road race champion!  So he knows how to go VERY fast and suffer.  We are excited to have him on the LITESPEED-BMW team, you will be hearing more about him in upcoming reports.

Chris and Anders ready to rock!

Chris & Anders knew the race would be aggressive and fast as this was the state championships, plus it was hot, very hot (100+ degrees) so they knew this would dramatically increase the attrition rate in the race.  The Friends of Great Smokies (FGS Cycling), Sonic, Texas Roadhouse, Swiftwick, Krsytal, Marx and Bendsdorf and other teams each fielded several riders in the race.  From the gun attacks came but each time riders from the different team’s would work to bring back the attack as the moves didn’t have the right composition of riders from the teams to stay away.  Chris attacked several times in the race only to be chased down by riders on the different teams.  With about fifteen minutes to go in the hour long race, Jeff Mcgrane from FGS Cycling made a great attack and got away solo.  Chris & Anders tried not to worry too much as teams were setting tempo to keep Jeff at a reasonable gap and Anders got on the front and helped set tempo with the other teams with the plan of spring boarding Chris near the end.  Well, with about ten minutes to go, after Anders had put in a solid effort on the front, Chris jumped in a move with four other riders and they were gone!  Now the question was, would the break be able to catch Jeff who was still out solo in front.  The answer was yes and no.  On the last lap Jeff was just in front of the break and heading down the back stretch and into the last half of the course Chris launched a fierce attack into a corner and up a hill on the backside of the course.  Chris lit up the last couple of corners, passed Jeff and came across the line with the win and room to spare!  We later found out that Chris was pushing the last couple of corners so hard and fast that he was skipping the rear tire on his Zipp 404 wheel!  That is pushing it!

Heck of an exciting finish to the state championship race, way to leave it to the last minute Chris!  Jeff did hold on for 2nd as the rest of the break did not catch him.  Anders punched it out of what was left of the broken down group and finished 8th.  So a great day for the LITESPEED-BMW team and a big thank you to Cytomax and Muscle Milk for keeping us hydrated/recovered all weekend in the extreme temperatures.  Next up, the Georgia State Championship road race!

Chris Brown - 2012 TN State Crit Champ!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

TriSports University Showcases the L-series

2012 Litespeed L3 Ultegra.

By Tom Demerly for

Litespeed's "L" Series combines ride quality and stiffness in a proven appraoch to carbon fiber road bike construction.
Litespeed’s newest version to their “L” series bikes includes the 2012 Litespeed L3, an all carbon fiber, Shimano Ultegra 10-speed mechanical equipped bike. The L3 is the anticipated trickle-down beneficiary of technology developed on the Litespeed L1R, a higher end carbon fiber road frame. Both the L1R and the L3 share the same frame shape but differ in carbon lay-up. The L1R uses a higher end “60T” carbon fiber while the L3 Ultegra, Li2 with Ultegra Di2 and mechanical Dura-Ace equipped L1 all use a 30T carbon fiber lay-up.

The differences between 60T carbon and 30T carbon aren’t a simple “good, better, best” progression. And while price seems to reinforce that, some customers report better ride characteristics from the less expensive 30T lay-up bikes than the pricier 60T bikes. Variables that will influence this decision are rider weight, road surface, rider preference for ride characteristics, etc.

What Litespeed has done, without a doubt, is successfully developed carbon fiber frame designs with forward thinking frame shapes that work well with different lay-ups. That the L3 rides much better than its $3499.95 price tag is testimony to that.

Litespeed has divided their road bikes into two categories; the all-around "L" Series road bikes such as L3 Ultegra and the aerodynamic "C" Series like the C1R on the right. 

Litespeed’s carbon fiber road designs track with the themes of another leader in road bikes, Cervelo. Litespeed offers road bikes with a deep section, aerodynamically styled tube shape in the same way Cervelo uses aero road bike shapes developed in the wind tunnel. This theme of offering aerodynamic and ride quality focused frames provides the customer with clear cut alternatives easy to choose between based on their individual riding styles and terrain.

The L3: Front to Back.
Litespeed started the component spec on the L3 with Zipp’s workman-like Service Course cockpit. The Service Course bar, named from a spin off of the term “Servizio Corse’” which translates from Italian to English as “Racing Service”. The anatomic bend bar is a 31.8 mm diameter “short-shallow” bend of heat-treated 7050 aluminum tipping the scales at a claimed 295 grams for a 44 cm width. In hand the bar feels fantastic; stiff, reassuring and still OK on bad roads. A wide center section means you can clamp aerobars on these with ease, but the flat finish means they will take a cosmetic beating from the aerobars being clamped on. The bars angle out slightly to the lower section wrist clearance in the drops.

Zipp's alloy Service Course bar and stem are stiff, have a comfortable anatomical bend and use stainless Torx fasteners. They also work with clamp-on aerobars.

These bars steer a matching Zipp Service Corse stem from heat treated 7075 aluminum with a front-plate stem attached with four stainless steel Torx fasteners clamping with 4 Newton meters of torque. Good luck finding a more robust, dependable handlebar stem. The stem is available in 7 sizes in 1 cm increments from 70 mm to 130 mm and two rises, one a +/- 6 degree and the other a pretty typical +/-
 17 degree. This all aluminum bar and stem combination is dependable, comfortable and economical.

The fork on the L3 gives a nod to aero forks seen on sister company Quintana Roo's bikes with the generous space between front wheel and fork blade. The crown is massive and melds into the big 1.5" lower headset race. This fork goes a long way to giving the bike its nice ride.

The L3 uses a unique head tube with moderate height per frame size. This is worth knowing since some manufacturers, Cervelo as an example, have shifted to higher head tubes on road bikes. No road bike head tube height is optimal for all riders so Litespeed’s trend toward moderate to lower head tube heights contrasts with other brands’ trend to higher head tubes. A 54cm Cervelo R3 has a 148 mm high head tube while the Litespeed L3 has a 130 mm head tube in the 54cm frame size. That’s a difference of about 2 headset spacers. If you have a long torso and short legs this lower head tube geometry on the L3 may appeal to you. Litespeed uses a big 1.5″ diameter bearing on the bottom headset race that melds into the fork crown. The top race tapers down to 1.125″ diameter.

A slightly lower head tube per frame size and the big 1.5" lower headset race make for a racy front end on L3.
Litespeed named this head tube configuration “Zero-Stack” which presumably describes the placement of the top headset bearing low on the head tube. While this is not entirely unique to Litespeed other manufacturers do build an extension above the top tube to house the bearing. It’s probably more difficult to make a mold work with Litespeed’s design, so they deserve credit for going to the extra trouble to be certain the stem can be mounted very low if a long torso/short leg customer wants that set up. This is also a good design for the road bike/aerobar user since bolting aerobars onto drop bars on a higher head tube bike frequently leaves you with a very high front end and no options to get lower. In a word, the “L” series front end is more fit-able.

The single big story on L3 and all “L” series bikes is continuously variable tube shape. The shape of the frame sections changes as their requirement for lateral and vertical compliance changes. While this is a common theme in carbon fiber bike design Litespeed’s execution on the “L” series is unique and somewhat radical. You see this frame design most conspicuously in three areas; The change in shape of the down tube over its length, the asymmetrical orientation of the bottom bracket and the asymmetrical chain stays. Each of these designs were dictated by detailed FEA analysis to determine the optimal shape for the individual frame section.

The complex, assymetrical multi-shape structure of the "L" series frames is trickled down onto the L3 from the highest end "L" series frame. The green line on the right photo provides a visual reference for the offset orientation of the bottom bracket shell relative to the head tube. 

The bottom bracket on the L3 is the new-ish BB386 configuration. This bottom bracket uses press-fit cups and a flush, aero looking integration of the bearings into the frame. Since the frame surrounds the entire bottom bracket the entire area is more robust further adding to frame performance. While there is no such thing as a bottom bracket “standard” anymore this one is becoming common enough that crank and compatibility with drivetrains is not a challenge. That said it likely explains the use of the FSA Energy crankset on the L3. In previous model years we had to make excuses for FSA crank specs but the new machined chainrings deliver great shifting especially from small ring to big when used with a beefy BB386 bottom bracket rig.

The BB386 bottom bracket configuration allows a wider, stiffer frame that surrounds the bottom bracket. It also looks clean and integrated, a nice touch. 

Litespeed used very conventional slotted, external cable guides on the L3. It’s a good, basic design that makes fast cable changes easy. There is a small rubber plug on our test bike in the downtube next to the letter “L” in the Litespeed decal. This is the entry port for a Shimano Di2 control wire. It’s a nice idea since it future proofs the bike if you decide to go to Di2. The seatpost matches the cockpit furniture with a Zipp low setback, micro adjust alloy seatpost clamping my favorite Fizik Arione saddle, an excellent flat profile, 30 cm long road saddle. The seatpost clamp on the bike is alloy and uses a single bolt adjustment, very conventional.

There is conventional external cable routing for rear brake and front derailleur. The Zipp seatpost matches the bar and stem and holds a proven Fizik Arione saddle. 

The drivetrain on our bike was a 130 mm bolt pattern, 53/39 chainring FSA Energy alloy crank with machined chainrings and an Ultegra 6700 front and short cage (RD-6700-SS) rear derailleur. It turned a Shimano CS-6700 12-25 10-Speed cogset with an FSA CN 910 S10 10-speed chain with a quick link feature controlled by a pair of Shimano Ultegra ST-6700 10-Speed STi levers.

A conventional, dependable drivetrain with Ultegra and FSA components. It's not cutting edge, but it will be serviceable for years to come. 

The back of the bike features a modular, replaceable derailleur hanger. If you’re not clear on why this is a nice feature imagine a bad crash where the rear derailleur hits the ground hard bending the derailleur hanger. With the commonly used replaceable design you simply unbolt the bent hanger after removing the rear derailleur and then bolt on a new rear derailleur hanger. There is even an online specialty store that sells replacement rear derailleur hangers for nearly every frame available, including the Litespeed.

Since we’ve made it to the back of the bike its worth mentioning the Fulcrum 2:1 rear hub configuration. This design doubles the spoke count on the portion of the hub that receives the most torsional stress making the wheel stiffer under heavy load. An added benefit is claimed to be the dispersal of drive forces more evenly over all spokes. We’ve had good luck with this wheelset and these hubs so the claims appear to have merit.

The two-bolt rear derailleur hanger is durable and modular in case of a catastrophic crash. The Fulcrum hub o the rear wheel uses Fulcrum's special spoking pattern to distribute drive force over the entire hub flange on each side.
Litespeed trickled down the advanced frame design of their high end L1R frameset to a price point complete bike with the L3 and equipped it with a solid component mix. This is more than a component shopper’s bike, although its component spec is top notch. The result is a nice bike with advanced frame design for $3499.95. Also in this category is Cervelo’s Ultegra equipped R3 at $3800, another strong performer but about 10% more expensive and with different frame geometry, notably the higher head tube.

If you’re a road bike customer in the mid-$3000 price range the “L” series bikes are worthy of research. If your fitter tells you that a mid to low head tube frame is best for your torso to leg length ratio (probably the majority of riders) then the L3 becomes an even more attractive candidate.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Have Your Bicycle and Ride it Too

Elite athlete and Litespeed employee, Chris Brown, punches the work clock and the full-time training clock 

The laws of cyclist’s nature dictate we’ve all gotta eat, sleep and ride. That’s just the way it is. But sometimes there’s a little thing called a job that likes to get in the way. Chris Brown, account manager for Litespeed, has found a formula for working it all in—training, racing, more training—all while earning a paycheck, too.

“Peter Hurley, our CEO, really supports everyone being in the sport,” Chris says. “I’ll go out at lunch with Brad DeVaney, the head designer, and draft off his scooter, going 35-plus mph. Extreme race-pace simulation has really helped my training. Then after work, with daylight increasing now, I can get in a couple more hours.”

Chris, a Category 1 racer and a member of the Litespeed-BMW Cycling team, has been racking up wins on the Litespeed C1R this season. “The aerodynamics is probably the biggest thing,” he says, regarding the flagship model of the C-Series.

  “I am a very aggressive rider and like to be off the front. I get hit by the wind and can really feel the difference with the aerodynamics of the C1R, especially when combined with a carbon aero wheelset.”

Recently, Chris soloed away from the pack at the 3rd annual Aaron Schaffer Memorial RR in Sparta, Tennessee. A week later, he took on the Sunny King in the PRO/1 Criterium held in Anniston, Alabama. Ninety racers lined the start, but less than half of the cyclists finished. Riders who toughed out the 42-mile crit, held an average of 28 mph. Chris crossed the line in 13th place. “I was proud of that,” he says, “because I was racing against guys who only race for a living.”

Chris went on to crush the competition at the 21st Annual Highland Rim Omnium in McMinnville, Tennessee, winning both the criterium and the 112-mile road race. With a mad sprint, Chris nailed second place in the Berry Peddler, a 76-miler with some mean climbs and a separate time trial later in the day—both held just north of Chattanooga in Dayton, Tennessee. “I for sure should have won one of them,” he says, “as I just made a tactical mistake, but that is all part of racing.” 

 Litespeed-BMW Cycling Team

The Litespeed-BMW team comprises 17 Category 1 and 2 racers, who live in the Southeastern United States. They train and race on the Litespeed C1R and the L1R. A 9-member developmental squad, made up of primarily Category 3 racers, works hard to ensure the team continues to spin a victorious future. These elite team members all work full-time jobs while maintaining an impressive race schedule. And some of the athletes work for Litespeed. (For a play by play of Chris’s recent races and to find more info about the Litespeed BMW team, visit

Nine to Five

Chris, who has been working for Litespeed for10 years, hooked up with the company while racing and touring the country with Cane Creek cycling components. At the time, Litespeed Bicycles was also sponsoring the Cane Creek team Chris had been racing on. Eventually, with a marriage on the horizon, Chris was beginning to feel the desire to settle down. “I needed a change,” he says, “but I’d never done the full-time job kind of thing. They were growing,” he adds of Litespeed, “and I was ready to get a ‘real’ job.”

In addition to having a career that fosters time in the saddle, Chris also lives in an ideal location to log time on countless routes. “Chattanooga is great for that,” Chris says. “We have a variety of roads and climbs. It’s a hidden gem.”

Riding Resumé

Chris first gained cycling credo in the Asheville, North Carolina, area where he attended UNCA College and hit the trails on a mountain bike.  He nabbed 2nd place in the Collegiate Mountain Bike Championship and held a pro license for several years. Before that, he was into motocross. “I used to enjoy racing motocross, but it was pretty dangerous,” he says. “I got out of that and got into mountain biking and just really enjoyed it.” Yet, while training for trail races, Chris would log plenty of hours cranking through road workouts. “It doesn’t beat the body up as much,” he explains.

Out on the road, Chris found he had an affinity for speed. “I think it’s just the fact that you can really push yourself,” he says. “I like the competitiveness of it, but having fun is the most important part at the end of the day.”

While Chris has an obvious talent for cycling, he says he wouldn’t be able to reach his full potential if it weren’t for the people supporting his training and racing efforts, like his wife Cary, brother-in-law Bill, and his in-laws, the Litespeed-BMW team with manager Chris Chotas and the folks at Litespeed like Peter Hurley and Brad DeVaney, among others. “Most importantly,” he adds, “I thank God for blessing me with these abilities and giving me the joy I have racing.”

Vitals and Victuals

Top post-race meal? CB: Anything my wife will cook me! She takes great care of me on the food front to keep me fueled up.

Most annoying ache? CB: A lot of times in races my left hand will randomly go numb a bit. Otherwise I stretch nightly and don’t really have any nagging pains or aches, fortunately!”

Pre-race ritual? CB: Man, I can’t let out all of my secrets and I am not superstitious, but lately I have found my Litespeed socks to give me superpowers. 

Clif Bar fav? CB: Chocolate Chip, yum!

“It’s light, it’s plenty stiff, and I feel like you really benefit from the radical aerodynamic design. I’m a believer. I feel like I am able to save energy as far as the wind-cheating benefits over the course of a race.”

Goals for the season:
  • Win TN State Crit and Road Race Championship
  • Win the TBRA (Tennessee Bike Race Association) BAR (Best Area Rider) series championship
  • Win a Master’s National Championship jersey in Bend, OR in September
  • Have Fun!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Litespeed Titanium Fan Is Now LOVING His Carbon Litespeed

We will always cultivate and support the passion Litespeed customers have for titanium, but after reading the letter below, we are confident we are satisfying our customer base and exceeding their expectations with our carbon design and build. We LOVE our Litespeed supporters and hope everyone has a safe and fun biking season.
Dear Litespeed,
Damn! That C1 just keeps getting faster and faster! I think I've already talked to you guys about my first 3 rides on the C1. I raved about the incredible performance, but I can't stop raving about it even after my fourth ride.
I'm still on a relatively flat course, but all things considered-wow. At age 62, I thought I had started losing it last year as my solo average speeds were off a bit.  My solo training average speed has been incredibly bad for a number of reasons this spring. One being I lost my Litespeed Siena due to that cracked frame.  Now with everything fixed and the C1 shows up to try out!
Two years ago, if I did anything over 20 mph I considered it an excellent effort that I was thrilled with. I probably did 5 or 6 solo TT rides at 20.3 +o/- .2 mph. I caught one ride that hit 21 mph. I had dreamed of a 21 mph ride, but I didn't think I had much of a chance at it. That was probably a perfect storm ride, everything went right (catching the lights, wind, and having good legs). I never did more than 5 or 6 attempts in a season at training TTs, as they hurt too much mentally and physically.
Well, I'm up to four rides on the C1 now. All have been hard TT efforts, which surprises me that mentally and physically I can handle that much in such a short time span. I never could in the past. I've only had the bike 2 weeks or so and would have expected no more than maybe 1 TT in that time. I can't believe my body is taking this abuse so well. The bike must be the bike making a difference.
My average ride average speeds for my 30 mile course so far on the C1: 19.3/21/20.5/21.3.  The 21 mph had me off the charts with excitement as I never expected to see a 21 mph average again in this life time. Then yesterday... An amazing new personal best at age 62! Now two rides at 21 mph this year in the span of just a few days. What the heck are you doing to these bikes?  I really can't believe the performance on this bike. Can the aero design really make that big of a difference between the Siena and a C1? If I understand correctly it's only 20 watts at 30 mph as measured in the wind tunnel. Yet, look at that performance. The 21.3 mph was 21.5 mph with 2 miles to go then I hit some bad luck at a couple of intersections which cost my the .2 mph.
Now you have me dreaming of another perfect storm of 22 mph average.  I hear Lance has retired, maybe there is an opening on the team for me this year.  ;-)
Great job guys. Past it on to your designers. John

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

LITESPEED-BMW comes close in Murfreesboro

Over Memorial Day weekend LITESPEED-BMW rider Chris Brown decided to go race the TBRA series MOAB criterium outside of Nashville, TN.  We know, big surprise, Chris Brown racing again.  We guess he just can’t get enough!  In his first crit of the day, the Masters crit, he was active as usual and got away in a four rider break that eventually lapped the field.  Riders from Marx & Bendorf, Peachtree Bikes and Swiftwick Racing made the move with Chris.  We were later told that Chris didn’t quite feel like his usual self and thus didn’t attack the break, instead patiently waiting for the sprint (Chris, what is up with that?).  Anyway, he had a good position heading into the last turn when, unexpectedly, Andrew Reardon of Swiftwick decided to go way early and caught everyone off guard.  This lead to Chris not being quite in the position he wanted heading into the sprint, but he was still able to snag 2nd as Bryant Funston of Marx and Bendsdorf won as both riders were able to pass Andrew heading by the finish line.

Chris Brown leading the break!

The second crit of the day was the PRO/1/2 race and in this one, from what we heard, Chris was back to his usual self.  There were the usual early attacks and even a crash that took down several riders but after the dust settled Chris instigated a six rider break with riders from FSG Cycling, Nashville Cyclist, Swiftwick, Marx & Bensdorf, and Austinbikes represented.  The pace was not super high and Chris wanted to whittle down the number of riders in the break so he attacked several times, but with a tough headwind and the course not being very technical he was just not able to break clear.  Eventually the field was lapped and the FSG Cycling team set temp on the front to keep any further attacks from taking place.  Going into the last five laps everyone was looking at each other and the pace really eased up, in fact Tim Hall of Nashville Cyclist snuck away with two laps to go and no one felt like chasing him!  Chris hoped that even with letting Tim go a bit that they would swoop him up in the sprint finish for the line.  It was not to be as Tim held on for the win with Andrew Reardon of Swiftwick nipping Chris at the line for 2nd and Chris ending up 3rd.  Overall it was a pretty good day, but bike racing is frustrating sometimes as you have the win in sight and come up a bit short due to a tactical error, but boy racing is fun!

*Thanks Litespeed BMW for posting!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cohutta and the Big Ring Classic in Wisconsin

Congrats to Tristan Brown from Team TIMEX on snagging first place in your age group! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bryce to Ride Divide on Cohutta

Ultra cyclist Bryce Walsh will ride the Cohutta in the 2012 Tour Divide, an unsupported race that challenges riders to traverse the backbone of the U.S. and part of Canada, starting in Banff, Alberta, and ending in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The Tour Divide is the world’s longest off-pavement cycling route. At completion, a rider will have climbed nearly 200,000 feet (the equivalent of summiting Mount Everest from sea-level seven times!).
Racers must not only navigate old forest service roads and jeep trails but also complete the ride wholly unsupported (barring a few exceptions). Bryce, who
 is also a cycling coach at Vision Quest in Chicago, will ride through Grizzly country, bivy sack along the route for rest and endure16-plus-hour days in the saddle. He’ll be riding through desolate country, but will occasionally pass through towns, where he can resupply and rest up.
“Just ride until you have to sleep,” Bryce says of his strategy, which is something he’s used to doing in endurance races around the world. Bryce’s 2011 race roster included 
the Paris-Brest-Paris and the Hill Country 600 (Race Across Oregon).
“I’ve been joking that I was doing a 7,400-mile training ride in Africa,” says Bryce with a laugh. “And I’m hitting up all the Wizard of OZ animals, from lions and tigers to bears.”
Humor aside, Bryce has some apprehension about the race. “The Divide is the one that is a little bit out of my comfort zone, because I am 
not as experienced of a mountain biker. Riding on trails at night when I am tired... I wonder how the off-road aspect will translate. I don’t know if 
I can do it,” he says. “That’s what’s exciting about it.” The Tour Divide record is 17 days, 23 hours, 45 minutes, set by Matthew Lee.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Litespeed's Very Own Chris Brown Wins Aaron Shafer RR

LITESPEED-BMW pulls in first victory of the season!

Chris Brown of Litespeed-BMW won the 3rd annual Aaron Shafer Memorial RR on Saturday, April 14, in convincing fashion – a solo win!  Brown knew he was on good form as he had been gearing up for Sunny King Professional Criterium the following weekend.  Brown was on his own at this race as most of the team was in Macon racing the Georgia State Criterium Championships, but he was able to race wisely and come away with the win against teams such as Sonic, Friends of the Great Smokies Mountains, Swiftwick Factory Racing, Treehouse, Marx-Bendorf Cycling and Krystal.  Chris attacked out of a five man breakaway group with a little over five miles to go to come in with the solo win, a minute ahead of the breakaway group and over four minutes ahead of the pack!
Later that afternoon was a 7.3 mile time trial.  Chris had a bit of bad luck in the TT but was still able to finish 2nd!  In the TT, Chris first had a car get in his way on a fast downhill corner in the first mile, then Chris was going so hard at the turn around that he turned around at the spray paint turn around markings on the road, and not the cone where he was supposed to go to turn around!  Come on Chris, don’t go quite so hard so you can see straight!  So he got yelled at by an official, had to turn back around, go down to the cone, then get going again.  Needless to say without Chris’s bonehead move he would have won the time trial but that is all part of racing!
 A bit about this race, Aaron Shafer was an avid cyclist who desired to put on a premier cycling race in his area.  Aaron had everything set up to put on the 1st annual race three years ago but was tragically killed in a car wreck months before the first race.  Instead of the race folding, the people in the community of Sparta Tennessee rallied together to continue Aaron’s passion and have successfully promoted this race now for the 3rd year in a row.  Thanks to all the volunteers and people of Sparta for making this race so much fun and continuing Aaron’s passion for cycling.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Team Litespeed BMW Fouche Gap Road Race

By LITESPEED-BMW, on April 17th, 2012

Fouche Gap Road Race – Rome GA

On April 7, three members of LITESPEED-BMW headed to Rome, GA for the Fouche Gap Road Race. Chris Brown, Matt McCarthy, and Hank Beaver would be taking on a dozen Team Type 1 Devo riders, 8 Irondata riders, 3 Hincapie/BMC development riders, 3 Kenda/5 Hour Energy pros, 1 Exergy Pro, 4 United Healthcare of GA riders, 2 Global bike riders, and Competitive Cyclist pro Cesar Grejales – as you can see, a very stacked field! The course was a rolling 78 mile course that finished on a 1.2 mile, 7.8% grade climb near Rome GA called Fouche Gap.

The guys were attentive from the gun but didn’t go with a very early move knowing Cesar, Sergei, TT1, Irondata and United Healthcare of GA were not represented and would need to chase. This move got 2 minutes on the group and an organized chase began to take place with LITESPEED-BMW rider Hank Beaver contributing to the chase (basically sacrificing himself) so Chris Brown could save his energy for the later part of the race when the break was brought back.

With 14 miles to go the break was brought back and other attacks started heavily at which point Chris went with several and instigated other moves and Hank still had some snap in his legs from chasing and went with some other moves. Since a lot of the peloton was able to sit in most of the day while 10-12 guys chased the break a lot of riders had fresher legs than normal and wouldn’t let any moves get more than a couple of seconds up the road. So coming into the finishing turn before the finishing climb Chris made sure to put himself in the top five and in fact hit the bottom of the climb first but was then passed by several pros. Chris dug deep and finished 8th, dukeing it out till the end and within sight of the 5th place finisher. Hank was smoked from his chase effort all day for Chris (nice work Hank) but still finished up in the top ½ of the pack.

So a great sign for the team as Hank and the most of the team head to the GA State Criterium Championships in Macon, GA and Chris Brown hits up a TBRA series race in Sparta TN en route to his quest to win the TBRA series this year (his first attempt to win the series). Reports coming soon!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tom Demerly Reviews the Ci2

March 21st, 2012

By Tom Demerly for

2012 Litespeed Ci2 with Shimano Ultegra Di2.

Litespeed's Ci2 continues to establish the Tennesee based brand's place among well spec-ed, high end carbon fiber bikes.

Litespeed continues their direction with carbon fiber road frames and well conceived component specifications with the new 2012 Litespeed Ci2. The bike showcases Shimano’s newest Ultegra Di2, a battery powered, electro-mechanical component group with updates in some areas compared to original Dura-Ace Di2.

The Litespeed Ci2 stays with Litespeed’s successful, but unsung Aerologic molded carbon fiber frameset. While this frame is unlikely to win any lightweight awards it provides good ride quality, stiffness and durability. The reliability of the frame is becoming apparent since we haven’t seen a single frame failure on this frame design since its introduction three years ago. The basic frame configuration remains largely unchanged except for a few details and on-going improvements in lay-up. Some of the new models use a process called “Reactive Pressure Molding” to control compression of materials from the inside of the mold, improving impregnation of resin into the carbon lay-up and improving strength even with narrow aerodynamic frame shapes.

Nice external rear brake cable routing works well on the Ci2 buts seems slightly out of place on an aero frameset. Excellent bottle integration is a legacy feature on the Ci2 we're seeing emulated by other brands.

Frame shapes on the Ci2 include a rear wheel cut-out in the seat tube and leaf-spring style seat stays. These themes merge ideas from previous designs on other brands into one bike model. It’s a nice feature set if you can’t decide between a “ride quality” bike like Cervelo’s R3 and an aerodynamic road bike like their “S” series bikes.

The big news on this new bike is Shimano Ultegra Di2. Ultegra Di2 includes a number of updates over previous Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 including cable connectors about half the size of previous Dura-Ace Di2 and a two cable wiring harness instead of the previous four cable system. Shimano claims the new two-wire harness on Ultegra Di2 is “waterproof” with no need for weather-proofing sleeves seen on Dura-Ace Di2.

In researching this article journalists from Velo-News, Triathlete and a reader’s poll on Cyclingnews all characterized new Shimano Ultegra Di2 shift performance as “better” than previous Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. Wait- Ultegra better than Dura-Ace? A student of Shimano’s product introductions may recognize a pattern here. Ultegra Di2 is a more recent introduction than current Dura-Ace Di2. Anyone familiar with Shimano’s product evolutions knows that silence is often Shimano’s most conspicuous indicator of impending change. Several media outlets have reported a “leaked” document from Shimano on that describes an “11-speed” version of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2.

The new Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifters are heavier than previous Dura-Ace Di2 but share identical shape and feel.

Starting with the shifters the new Ultegra Di2 controls are configured identically to Dura-Ace Di2. Hood shape and body size are very similar- nearly impossible to tell apart- with the new Ultegra Di2 appearing a trifle wider as viewed from the top when parked alongside Dura-Ace Di2. There is additional trim molding on the top of the Dura-Ace Di2 dual control lever that is missing on new Ultegra Di2. The lever or “button” travel to make the shift is identical and the pressure feels the same.

The new, more compact wiring harness on Ultegra Di2 is combined with very good internal routing of the wiring harness on the frameset.

Battery size defaults to the new 7.4-volt battery size and shape, same for both groups. Battery life is the same, extremely long. Battery mounting is still external though, with the battery mounting under the left chainstay well-protected by the chainrings and left crank arm.

You can see the difference in size between Dura-Ace Di2 (left) and new Ultegra Di2 (right).

The front and rear derailleurs on Ultegra Di2 are larger than Dura-Ace Di2 with the size difference coming from the polymer servo housings that move the derailleurs.

An interesting feature of the component spec on the Litespeed Ci2 is the FSA SLK hollow carbon fiber crank. I attributed a significant amount of front shift quality with Di2 to the excellent hollow-forged Shimano Ultegra and Dura-Ace cranks. This component spec proves me partially wrong since front shifting on the Ci2 is laser-guided accurate. Nearly everyone who has ridden Di2 says the front shifting is better than any previous front shift mechanism. That continues on this bike even without the Shimano cranks. This crankset is more durable than the hollow forged Shimano cranks that can dent when knocked over.

The FSA SLK hollow-carbon fiber crank uses new machined chainrings and turns on a BB30 bottom bracket.

At the back of the bike Litespeed continues their asymmetrical chainstay design with a much larger right, drive side, chain stay. This likely contributes to the solid feel of the bottom bracket.

This asymmetric chainstay design likely contributes to the Ci2's great rear end feel and stiffness. You can also see the Di2 battery mounting in this photo.

Seatpost and seat clamp are secure and fully adjustable. The dual redundant seatpost binder bolts clamp a nice aero-styled seatpost with sizing increments on the back for bike fitting and quick reassembly out of your flight case. The bike is speced with my favorite Fizik Arione K:ium rail saddle, a 30 cm long saddle with a lot of fit latitude.

Furniture on the Litespeed Ci2 features a wide range of adjustment and a proven saddle.

Litespeed made good choices for wheel and tire spec on the Ci2 with Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels that feature their Two-to-One construction. There are 8 spokes on the non-drive side of the rear wheel and 16 spokes on the drive side. Spokes are bladed, aerodynamic stainless steel. Wheels use Fulcrum’s Dynamic Balance feature, similar to balancing a car wheel once a tire is mounted. These wheels turn around a nicely made oversized hub with sealed steel bearings. This is a good basic wheelset ready for thousands of miles of tough use. The Fulcrum Racing 5’s ride on a pair of Vittoria Rubino Slicks in the 23 mm width.

A reliable, everyday wheelset is part of the component spec on the Litespeed Ci2.

The Litespeed Ci2 is $5000, a round number in line with other high end frames using Ultegra Di2 and nice quality wheels. If you’ve been around bikes a long time $5K for an Ultegra road bike my sound a trifle bracing. The thing to keep in mind is the current generation of Ultegra Di2 equipped, advanced carbon fiber frames has almost nothing in common with the original generation of bonded carbon road bikes with first generation mechanical Ultegra. It’s an entirely different bike.

The Litespeed Ci2 is further confirmation of Litespeed’s continued place in high end road bikes. It is an unsung high end performance bike with strong frame features and a great new component outfit. Litespeed did a nice job here with no mistakes in component spec and a frame design in its third year of a proven track record.

The new Ultegra Di2 features upgrades from the original Dura-ACe Di2. Mounted on Litespeed's proven aero-carbon frame this is a nice combination.