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1988/89 Litespeed Titanium

Old 04-18-21, 02:09 PM
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1988/89 Litespeed Titanium

Here it is, my unnecessary pandemic purchase. A 1988 (or possibly '89) Litespeed "Titanium". As far as I'm aware, this is the first Litespeed branded bicycle, which was superseded in 1990 by the "Road" model.




Non-drive side internal cable routing and shifter pod

Everything on these very early bikes is pretty rough. There are hand-filing marks everywhere, and it was likely also hand-polished.

The only documentation I've been able to find on this model is in the May 1988 Bicycle Guide. They built their test model with six-speed 600 SIS, with the most fancy feature being the wheels laced with Litespeed ti spokes. The review of the bike was overall positive (rough aesthetic details notwithstanding), and suggested that the sloping top tube wasn't aggressive enough to prevent leisurely, all-day rides (ah the 80s). There are a few differences between the BG test bike and my frame: the BG bike's dropouts are not drilled with lightening holes and it lacks a pump peg.
I can upload more pictures if anyone is interested in details. Dave Levy at Ti Cycles had plenty to say about the frame, mostly about how close to a working prototype it appeared to be. The left and right dropouts were cut from different pieces of Ti plate and are different widths, for example. I had Dave check out the frame to make sure it didn't have any hair-line cracks and had the alignment straightened for good measure as well.

I'd like to outfit the frame with the correct Vitus 979 fork so tomorrow I'm going to go take a look at a cheap Vitus posted nearby. Looks like the steer tube will be too long since the Vitus is a 56cm with standard geometry while mine has a short head tube on top of being a 53/54, so I will likely have to have it threaded down and cut, unless that's considered too sacrilegious, in which case I can try to trade it for a properly sized fork.

As for the rest of the build, I'd like to go with something fancy and (mostly) period-correct, so either 6 or 7 speed 126mm stuff. Either Dura Ace or Superbe Pro would be fun. I'm not exactly sure what to do about the shifter pod though, since most everything I've been able to find has standard concave shifter washers meant for down tube placement. I've heard that Shimano made flat shifter mount plates for this purpose, but I can't find any. If I was rich I'd go with a Mavic SSC build and use the composite 821 shifters with flat mount surfaces... What do folks think?
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Old 04-18-21, 03:08 PM
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That's a real beauty! I look forward to seeing it built!
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Old 04-18-21, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 3dvvitch View Post
Here it is, my unnecessary pandemic purchase. A 1988 (or possibly '89) Litespeed "Titanium". As far as I'm aware, this is the first Litespeed branded bicycle, which was superseded in 1990 by the "Road" model.



The only documentation I've been able to find on this model is in the May 1988 Bicycle Guide.
You made me look for it. I'll probably post this separately in the months ahead, but it deserves a spot here too.





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Old 04-18-21, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedofLite View Post
You made me look for it. I'll probably post this separately in the months ahead, but it deserves a spot here too.
Thank you for the scans!
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Old 04-18-21, 09:18 PM
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That is an awesome frame! I have seen only one Litespeed in our area, they just don’t seem to exist up here in cold country. Would love to have one some day. Enjoy that beast!
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Old 04-18-21, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 3dvvitch View Post

As for the rest of the build, I'd like to go with something fancy and (mostly) period-correct, so either 6 or 7 speed 126mm stuff. Either Dura Ace or Superbe Pro would be fun. I'm not exactly sure what to do about the shifter pod though, since most everything I've been able to find has standard concave shifter washers meant for down tube placement. I've heard that Shimano made flat shifter mount plates for this purpose, but I can't find any. If I was rich I'd go with a Mavic SSC build and use the composite 821 shifters with flat mount surfaces... What do folks think?
They are identical to the plates used on Vitus and Cannondale frames and the bar-end shifters. I hope that helps.

OTOH, all Mavic SSC would be totally cool.
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Old 04-18-21, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
They are identical to the plates used on Vitus and Cannondale frames and the bar-end shifters. I hope that helps.
Oh that's great- sounds like I was just looking in the wrong places!
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Old 04-26-21, 08:57 PM
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Weekend update: I found this listed in the region for a basically reasonable price and grabbed it as a potential donor bike. The problem (aside from the lack of usable shifters) is that the starfish era ssc stuff is much more representative of the early 90s than the late 80s. So, now I have to decide whether to dispense with period correctness and transfer the parts, or just keep them on standby for a different project and continue my search...
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Old 04-26-21, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 3dvvitch View Post
Weekend update: I found this listed in the region for a basically reasonable price and grabbed it as a potential donor bike. The problem (aside from the lack of usable shifters) is that the starfish era ssc stuff is much more representative of the early 90s than the late 80s. So, now I have to decide whether to dispense with period correctness and transfer the parts, or just keep them on standby for a different project and continue my search...
Screw "period correctness"! Make up a story if you like:
"The frame hung around in the back room of a bike shop before someone decided to build it. At that point the Mavic SSC parts were cool and exotic and the new owner like the way the gray anodization played off the titanium frame."
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Old 04-26-21, 10:00 PM
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Cool! I rode a Merlin MTB for a quick ride a year or two after that was built. I knew instantly that a road version was, for me, it! Also that it would have to be custom, cost ~$4000 and I simply didn't have the cash. Most of two decades later I landed "the job". Living in Portland it was a no-brainer to go to Dave Levy. (He'd already built me several stems, I'd been to his shop a few times, seen his raw work and knew the shop owner that sold his frames. You got your frame checked by the guy I'd go to.)

He's now built me two ti bikes, both with steel forks. I love the rides.
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Old 04-27-21, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 3dvvitch View Post

Weekend update: I found this listed in the region for a basically reasonable price and grabbed it as a potential donor bike. The problem (aside from the lack of usable shifters) is that the starfish era ssc stuff is much more representative of the early 90s than the late 80s. So, now I have to decide whether to dispense with period correctness and transfer the parts, or just keep them on standby for a different project and continue my search...


I had no qualms about mixing and matching Mavic of different periods:




Love the starfish!

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Old 05-01-21, 10:31 AM
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Ok here's an issue: I don't think I can chamfer the bottom bracket housing on my frame in order to make the Mavic unit fit (nor would I really want to), and there are scattered reports of Mavic cranks requiring ISO spindles rather than JIS. What BB should I use then?

EDIT: I looked again and found this post: https://www.bikeforums.net/20557141-post34.html

Sounds like I need a Campy Victory bb for the starfish
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Old 05-06-21, 09:10 PM
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Couldn't help but do a bit of partial mocking up today 😎

Now I can't decide whether to use the correct but scratched vitus fork I was able to scrounge, or use the grey anodized fork (Kinesis?) that's on the donor cdale... I feel like the darker fork might help mediate between the polished ti and the black bits?
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Old 05-07-21, 06:32 AM
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Old 05-07-21, 09:03 AM
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Using the C'dale fork as a mediator between the polished Ti at black parts sounds promising to these ears.
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Old 07-10-21, 03:59 PM
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Update




The Mavic stuff is lovely but I decided to leave that for a different build and take the Litespeed in a different direction. Call me vain, but I love a mockup. Now I need the right wheels to go with the Sugino75 road groupset...
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Old 07-10-21, 05:40 PM
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Hoping to be out on my Litespeed tomorrow!
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Old 07-10-21, 06:08 PM
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That Sugino 75 groupset is dead sexy.
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Old 07-10-21, 06:27 PM
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Was Sugino 75 made by Suntour? Looks a lot like some of their later stuff.
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Old 07-11-21, 08:55 AM
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Anyone have info on the Litespeed Tuscany? Thanks
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Old 07-11-21, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by WaveyGravey View Post
Anyone have info on the Litespeed Tuscany? Thanks
You will get better info than I can give as I only had one for a few weeks as I decided it was a little small. I liked the shaped tubes even though I am clearly a C&V guy. Not polished like the lovely OP's bike, much more modern in appearance but did have nicer welds. It tracked well and I always take a bike to a serious decline near me to see how stable and controlled we are at more speed than I am comfortable with and I can say w/o a doubt it was a stable ride.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:41 AM
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wavygravy start a new thread if you're looking for Tuscany info
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Old 07-11-21, 02:54 PM
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I love the Mavic starfish crank -- one of my favorites. (Although I've heard it's not great for ankle-strike.) The only reason I never got that crank is that I didn't want to chamfer my BB. Can you blame me?
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Old 07-12-21, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Was Sugino 75 made by Suntour? Looks a lot like some of their later stuff.
Yup.
https://www.disraeligears.co.uk/site...railleurs.html
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