Litespeed T7

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iamraymond
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:59 am

by iamraymond

I recently picked up this second hand 2016 Litespeed T7 after being really curious about titanium for some time. I wanted something simple with mechanical shifting and rim brakes; something a bit different than my carbon bikes with Di2 and hydraulic disc brakes. I'm a rider who prioritizes comfort over speed, so the Litespeed T7's 'endurance' geometry works well for my needs.

I did a back to back comparison between my steel bike and the new Litespeed using the same wheel/tire combo on both bikes. My first impression is that the two ride very similar, however the titanium lessens the road buzz better than the steel bike. I know this is what everyone says about titanium and I was skeptical about it at first, but after feeling it first hand I can tell the difference. I will say though that the Litespeed is not as stiff as my carbon bikes, particularly in the bottom bracket area. When riding up hills with low cadence, I sometimes noticed that the frame would flex and the chain could slightly rub on the front derailleur. I’m a lighter rider who doesn’t push out huge watts, but I was still able to get some flex in the frame; something I’ve not experienced with my carbon bikes.

The bike is begging to be upgraded as it came with pretty low end components: full 105 5800 groupset, Shimano RS wheelset, alloy seat post, alloy bars, and a heavy carbon fork. It was not used much at all since the previous owner purchased it as his first bike and never really got into the sport. He only rode the bike on a trainer so the tires had never touched pavement before. All the components looked brand new, but the frame sadly had some marks from being in storage for a number of years.

Some pictures before the bike goes under the knife:

Image

Image

iamraymond
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:59 am

by iamraymond

I have around 1700kms on the bike now so this is a bit of a #latepost

After a few weeks of riding the bike in it’s original form, I stripped it down to a bare frame.
IMG_6099.jpg
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I was pleasantly surprised to see the weight of 1403g. This includes the RD hanger (7g), Wheels MFG BB (111g), Seatpost clamp (9g), and headset cups (15g approx). That would put the bare frame at 1265g which isn’t too shabby.

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iamraymond
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:59 am

by iamraymond

IMG_6147.jpg
The first shake down ride on a local climb (4km at 11%)


The 11-speed 105 shifters, derailleurs and brakes were replaced with a Dura Ace 9100 items which saved around 164g. It wasn’t really the weight savings I was after with the 9100 upgrade, but I really wanted to experience Shimano mechanical at it’s peak. I feel that the shifting is a bit lighter than the 105, and the braking is very much improved. That might been due to the wheel change though.

My first choice for the cassette was the 11-32t SRAM Red XG1190 which I’ve had good experience with when paired with a Di2 rear derailleur. However, with the 9100 mechanical shifting, I could not get smooth shifting especially when upshifting from the smaller cogs. No matter what I tried, there was always some hesitation and I would need to slightly over shift to get the chain to move up a cog. I finally gave up and went to my spare 11-34t SROAD cassette even if it comes with a 50g penalty. I know SROAD is an off brand, but I’ve had a lot of good experience with it on all my bikes and I love the 34t cog for those long steep climbs. A small adjustment to the B-screw was all it took and the shifting was spot on. In my opinion the SROAD cassette shifts just as good with the 9100 rear mech as the Shimano 105 RD + cassette which came with the bike.

iamraymond
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:59 am

by iamraymond

Crankset adventures

The bike came with a Wheels Manufacturing thread together PF30 bottom bracket and delrin 24mm reducers to fit Shimano cranks. With an Ultegra crank and 4iiii left sided PM, this setup weighed around 720mm with the reducers but without the bottom bracket).

I figured I could drop a fair bit of weight by switching to a SRAM Red BB30 crank with Praxis Buzz chainrings. This setup was 500g, but no power meter.
IMG_6230.jpg
I swapped cranks for a couple of weeks, but it was plagued with a constant tick under load. The noise would stop if I switched back to Shimano cranks (with reducers) I cleaned, greased and torqued all the bolts, but couldn’t get the SRAM Red crank to shut up. I thought that the noise shouldn’t be the bottom bracket since it’s a thread together style and those don’t creak, right? Well, I reinstalled the Shimano crank with the delrin reducers and the noise persisted... the BB had to go.

I could have kept the BB30 crank and just swapped the BB with a standard press fit BB from SRAM or FSA, but I really wanted to get riding with power. Also, my shoes were getting beat up by the bad toe over lap on this bike, so I figured I should try on some shorter cranks. At this time, a NIB XCadey PM popped up on the classifieds and a local online retailer finally had 165mm SRAM Red DUB cranks in-stock; this size is difficult to come by in Europe.

When removing the Wheels MFG BB, I unthreaded the drive side first, and found that the NDS didn’t even really press into the frame! The tolerances were so loose that after unthreading the DS, the NDS cup just pulled out by hand. I have no solid proof that this was the root cause of the ticking, but with such poor tolerances it’s bound to be it.
IMG_6333.jpg
I pressed in the SRAM DUB BB and fitted the crankset with XCadey PM. I wrapped the arms with some black vinyl to keep things stealthy and hide the mismatched SRAM Red crank. This did come with a weight penalty though. The 165mm SRAM DUB Crank (340g), chainring bolts (8g), 50/34 Praxis Works Buzz Chainrings (129g), XCadey PM (101g) and spider bolts (20g) come up to 598g.


Finally, I enjoyed a ride with no creaks and with power numbers. Also, the extra 5mm clearance with the shorter cranks doesn't really do much for the toe over lap so I guess I'll just need to live with it.
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Last edited by iamraymond on Fri Nov 18, 2022 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

iamraymond
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:59 am

by iamraymond

IMG_6235.jpg
The bike came with a Aperbic carbon fork with an alloy steerer and a very little clearance for my preferred 28mm tires. The T7 has a 34mm head tube so I needed a straight, non-tapered fork. There aren’t many available now the market has gone with tapered forks, but luckily I found a used Enve Road 2.0 fork on eBay. I didn’t do many rides using the old fork so I cannot comment on the steering or handling differences between the two. However, on my first ride with the new fork I immediately noticed much less road buzz through the handlebar. This could be due to the full carbon construction or that the Enve fork weighed 300g less than the old one.

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Juanmoretime
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Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 11:08 am

by Juanmoretime

Well done. I love the look of a titanium frame. I understand your appreciation of the ride since my main road bike is a Litespeed T3 disc,

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FIJIGabe
Posts: 2175
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:07 pm
Location: The Lone Star State

by FIJIGabe

Beautiful bike. I'm a recent convert to Ti frames (for gravel) and can attest to the dampening qualities of the material, at least compared to my old aluminum CX bike, which would beat me up on longer rides.

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