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Litespeed Bicycles
Founded1986; 35 years ago (1986)
FounderLynskey family
HeadquartersOoltewah, Tennessee, United States
Key people
Peter Hurley, CEO
ParentAmerican Bicycle Group
1994 Litespeed Ultimate with 8-speed Shimano Dura-Ace groupo, early Trek carbon fork, Bontrager carbon seatpost, Cinelli Criterium handlebars and Grammo stem, and Speedplay pedals

Litespeed is a U.S. bicycle manufacturer founded in 1986 in Ooltewah, Tennessee.[1][2] Litespeed makes titanium and carbon fiber frame road racing bicycles and mountain bikes. Titanium bicycle frames are famed for their ride quality.[3][4] Litespeed, along with triathlon specific bicycle manufacturer Quintana Roo,[5] is a subsidiary of the American Bicycle Group.[6]


The company has its roots in a custom machine shop known as Southeast Machine that specialized in exotic metals. Its interest in bicycles began when one of the workers took up cycling while recovering from a running injury. He used leftover titanium frames from a chemical job to build the first frame in 1986. Frame after frame was made until one was deemed show worthy and taken to the Long Beach bike show in 1987. Thus began the journey that would make Litespeed the go to authority on titanium bicycles.[7]

Litespeed bicycles have been tested and ridden by many in the competitive cycling and triathlon world: Tour de France cyclists Greg Lemond, Robbie McEwen, and Lance Armstrong;[8] wheel innovator Steve Hed; IRONMAN competitors Tim DeBoom and Cameron Brown; Olympians Simon Whitefield, Jeff Kabush, the ITU Triathlon World Cup champion Vanessa Fernandes (Portugal), and 59-time French champion and 13-time world champion Jeannie Longo.[9]

In the 1999 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong rode a titanium Litespeed Blade painted and labeled as a Trek during time trials. Several professionals have ridden Litespeeds painted as other brands. European brands such as Eddy Merckx and Bianchi have contracted Litespeed to construct titanium frames in their own lines.

Litespeed purchased Merlin (bicycles) and Quintana Roo in 2000 from Saucony, and trademark of Tomac in 2001.[10] In March 2011, American Bicycle Group announced that bicycle retailer Competitive Cyclist of Little Rock, AR had acquired the rights to the Merlin Metalworks brand.[11]

Litespeed has also sponsored the professional cycling teams Lotto-Adecco, DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed, Calyon/Litespeed Pro Cycling, and Team Maxxis. In 2014, Litespeed announced that they would sponsor the Astellas Pro Cycling Team for three seasons.[12]

Litespeed has been a contractor and consultant to NASA for projects that require titanium-intensive sub-assemblies including the landing gear on the Mars Curiosity Rover.[13][14]



T-Series: The titanium T-Series includes award-winning T1 (formerly the Archon), the T3, T5, and the T7 which was introduced in 2013. The T1sl replaces the T1 in 2016. It is 15% lighter than the 2015 T1.

L-Series: The carbon L-Series was introduced in 2012. Litespeed has four L-Series bikes: L1R, L1 (SRAM Red), Li2, and L3 (Ultegra). The L-Series is an all-around road racing bike, with an asymmetrical frame, and UCI-approved.

C-Series: The carbon C-Series was introduced in 2008. Litespeed has four C-Series bikes: C1R, C1 (Dura-Ace), Ci2, and C3 (Ultegra). The C-Series is an aerodynamic road bike series.

M-Series: Litespeed has two M-Series bikes: M1 and M3. The M-Series are built to exceed the demands of training and racing, day in and day out, with design features that are unheard-of at this price point.

Non-Current Titanium Models: Classic, Ultimate, Catalyst, Vortex, Nachez, Tuscany, Liege, Palmares, Arenberg, Siena, Ghisallo, Veneto, Solano, Firenze, Teramo, Bella, Ardennes, Archon, Niota, Icon, Xicon, Tachyon, Blade, Appalachian

Aluminum Models: Sirius, Avior, Mira, Vela, Palio. Aluminum frames first introduced in 2002, remained in production until approximately 2010. These models included titanium wrapped, carbon forks and seat stays.


Pinhoti SL: Named after the rugged trail system in Georgia, The Pinhoti SL is the perfect titanium hardtail. Whether geared or singlespeed, it has amazing vertical compliance with perfect torsional rigidity. Compact rear-center and shorter wheelbase create an agile platform for quick and responsive handling. Elevated seat stays yield more support and stability for a balanced center.[15]

Citico: Named after the Citico Creek Wilderness in Southeastern Tennessee, the pro-grade, Archon-inspired Citico is the first MTB frame to use a T1 engineered 6Al/4V, 6-sided and flared top tube and an oversized bi-axially ovalized down tube to maximize steering feedback, accuracy, and front end stiffness. Compatible with both 26" and 650b wheels.[15]

Pisgah: Geometry identical to the Citico, the Pisgah puts Litespeed performance into service for any cross-country, single-speed, or urban MTB build. Compatible with both 26" and 650b wheels.[15]

Sewanee: A full-suspension cross country race bike, the latest Sewanee features 90 mm of rear travel in a cold-worked 3Al/2.5V titanium frame. Compatible with both 26" and 650b wheels.[15]

Cohutta: Features the industry's first 29er-specific titanium tubeset.[15]

Time Trial[edit]

Blade: The legendary Litespeed Blade[16] has been reintroduced as a Limited Edition carbon frameset in Litespeed's 2016 model lineup.[17] The Blade is a super-minimalist TT frameset, designed to excel on the hillier, windier, more challenging courses and no penalty on the flat, fast days.[17] Astellas Pro Cycling competed with carbon Litespeed Blades in the 2015 UCI Road World Championship TTT (Team Time Trial). The original Blade models were crafted with titanium material and ridden by many great cyclists, such as Lance Armstrong.[16]


Gravel: A bike designed for the recent craze of riding on gravel roads. It has a road bike style frame and handlebars, disc brakes, and room for wide tires.[18]



Litespeed uses 6/4 titanium,[19] which is an alloy of titanium with 6 percent aluminum and 4 percent vanadium, instead of the more-common 3/2.5 titanium.[20] It is more difficult to work with, but has a better strength to weight ratio than other available alloys.[19] It was initially not available as tubes, so Litespeed bought thin plates and cold-rolled and welded their own tubes.[19]


A key feature of Litespeed's C-Series of aero road bikes, AeroLogic is the incorporation of aerodynamic elements into frame design without the penalty of excess weight. AeroLogic features on the C-Series include a shrouded water bottle mount on the down tube, aero-tuned tube cross sections, a "morphed" shaping of the seat stays, and a proprietary bladed and bowed aero fork. [21][22]

Reactive Pressure Molding[edit]

Litespeed's Reactive Pressure Molding (RPM) is an advanced molding method utilized during manufacture of Litespeed's newest composite frames. The three primary benefits of RPM are weight reduction, increased stiffness, and improved durability. This advanced process allows designs elements far beyond what can be accomplished with conventional bladder molding. Unique features such as an all-carbon head tube, compatible with the most precise ZS style press fit headsets, as well the multitude of AeroLogic aerodynamic elements are incorporated without the need of solid, permanent components and unwanted filler materials. The result is higher performance with no weight penalty plus additional benefits of improved strength, impact resistance, and stiffness. [23][24]


  1. ^ "Lynskey Helix OS". Bicycling. Mar 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2013-09-12. The Lynskey family formed Litespeed in 1986 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Titanium's First Family". Bicycle Guide. Nov–Dec 1992. Retrieved 2013-09-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Gordon Black, Alan Coté, and Bob Howells (March 1996). "The Showroom: The Worthiest Steeds, Circa 1996: Litespeed Hiwassee". Outside. Retrieved 2017-09-14. The Tennessee-built bike offers Ti's legendary ride: The frame feels marvelously supple without being noodley soft, and it's second to none in both weight and durability. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Andrew J Bernstein (October 23, 2012). "Nothing Like It: Titanium Dream Bikes". Biycling. Retrieved 2017-09-14. Titanium bikes aren’t popular or cutting-edge—but their ride is unique and absolutely astounding CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Mike Pare (August 28, 2016). "American Bicycle Group rides into future, Litespeed, Quintana Roo maker shifts to Chattanooga location". Times Free Press. Retrieved 2017-09-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Mitra Malek (February 23, 2015). "See how Litespeed bikes are built in Ooltewah, Tenn". Times Free Press. Retrieved 2017-09-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Adam Newman (December 22, 2014). "Made: Lynskey Performance Designs in Tennessee". Bicycle Times Magazine. Retrieved 2017-09-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Leander Kahney (September 25, 2008). "Litespeed's Titanium Bike Looks Like a Stealth Bomber, Is Priced Accordingly". Wired. Retrieved 2017-09-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Litespeed's 30th Anniversary". Litespeed Bicycles. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  10. ^ Bob Gary Jr (March 13, 2001). "Bike-Frame Maker Litespeed Buys Trademark of Colorado Manufacturer". Times Free Press. Archived from the original on September 16, 2017. Retrieved 2017-09-15. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Competitive Cyclist Buys Merlin".
  12. ^ "Litespeed Returns To The Pro Peloton". February 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Matt Cole (Oct 4, 2007). "Litespeed Titanium is going to Mars". BikeRadar. Retrieved 2012-07-17. NASA has built the landing gear using titanium fabricated by Litespeed. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Litespeed on Mars, new models on Earth". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. August 7, 2012. Retrieved 2017-09-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ a b c d e "Mountainbikes". Litespeed. Retrieved 6 April 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ a b Robbie Stout (March 13, 2009). "After a two-year hiatus, Litespeed's TT bike is back and looks sharper than ever". Velonews. Retrieved 2017-09-14. the Litespeed Blade is a bike with a storied history CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ a b "Blade | Time Trial | Carbon | Litespeed Bicycles | Litespeed Bicycles". Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  18. ^ Joe Lindsey (May 8, 2017). "Litespeed's Newest Gravel Bike Does It All". Bicycling. Retrieved 2017-09-14. This redesigned ride offers versatility with a road-bike feel CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ a b c Richard Moore; Daniel Benson (2012). Bike!: A Tribute to the World's Greatest Racing Bicycles. The Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing. p. 180. ISBN 9780522861839. Retrieved 2017-09-15. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Patrick Brady (2011). The No-Drop Zone: Everything You Need to Know about the Peloton, Your Gear and Riding Strong. Menasha Ridge Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-89732-660-5. Retrieved 2017-09-16. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ "AeroLogic Windproof". Litespeed. Retrieved 8 April 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ Thien Dinh (August 31, 2010). "Litespeed Announces Flagship Aero Carbon C1R". RoadBikeReview. Retrieved 2017-09-14. Aerologic features including cross-section aero-tuning and proprietary water bottle shroud. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ "Reactive Pressure Molding". Litespeed. Retrieved 8 April 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ Roger Parmelee (August 2012). "2012 Litespeed L1R Review". To Be Determined. Retrieved 2017-09-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]