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Buyer’s Guide 2017: Litespeed L1

#24 in All Around

  • SCORE 86.3/100
  • SIZE M/L
  • WEIGHT 16.93
  • MSRP $4,750.00
SCORE 86.3/100
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LAB 17.6/20
BUILD 13.1/15
COMFORT 13.3/15
VALUE 13/15
HANDLING 14/15
PEDALING RESPONSE 13.5/15
AESTHETICS 1.8/5

Litespeed built the L1 for racing: this is the go-to ride of the Astellas pro cycling team. The frame utilizes multiple asymmetric tube shapes, particularly where the down tube and seat tube meet at the bottom bracket shell, to create a snappy platform. The 1.125- by 1.5-inch tapered head tube brings responsiveness to the front end. In total, it makes for nimble, refined handling in a race-worthy package.

The geometry is fairly aggressive, with a short head tube (160 millimeters), and 73-degree head tube and seat tube angles. It makes for a short wheelbase of 982 millimeters and 405-millimeter chain stays. Perfect for carving.

While the bike isn’t much of a looker–gaudy logos are plastered about the bike–the parts package is solid. The Ultegra groupset is as robust and practical, and saves you gobs of money over a Dura-Ace spec. The 3T stem, handlebar, and seatpost are comfortable, light, and easy to adjust. Though the Reynolds carbon wheels that came with our test bike might bring you a bit of bling, braking was poorer than average. The optional Ultegra wheelset would be our preferred choice.

Finally, when was the last time you saw a new bike with external cable routing? For do-it-yourselfers, it may make working on the bike considerably easier. For the clean lines of modern bikes, look elsewhere.

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