Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Litespeed Firenze '06

The new model of my two season old Litespeed Firenze is enjoying some super nice upgrades. Since you asked, here's my opinion:

The Good

  • FSA Gossamer Compact crankset: I dig the compact gear-ratio trend. I'm running a triple in Seattle and besides the uncool factor, it's heavy. If I were made of money I'd switch it out.

  • Thomson seat post and fi'zi:k saddle upgrade from the generic butt-gear that came with mine. I'd probably still switch the saddle, but at least I'd be able to craigslist the fi'zi:k for some cashola. I gave away the Litespeed saddle.

  • FSA wheelset: I'm interested in this set instead of the Mavic Cosmos, but it doesn't list on the site which model the FSA is. I could probably go either way on this. Looks like the same spoke count.

  • And...while it's not a change, that's precisely why I list this in the Good category: Litespeed kept a traditional headset instead of changing to integrated. This is one thing that originaly drew me to the Firenze. Integrated is fine for some lawyer-racer-weanie (I'm just jealous) who's going to buy a new bike every season anyway, but for people who actually want their bike to last and be user-servicable, then well, integrated is bad. But don't just take my word on this, talk to the King. Someone recently tried to tell me that Chris King was now making an integrated headset. I think they were thinking of the Perdido which is an internal headset, i.e. the bearings don't touch the frame, which is the whole problem with integrated! Anyway...


The Not As Good:

  • Compact Frame: Sure, it's a little lighter and probably stiffer, but sloping top tubes weird me out. Point blank period.

  • Brake caliper downgrade to 105: Guess thay had to offset the upgrades somehow, but the Ultegra calipers are superb, IMO. At least until you crash them, like I did.

  • Crappy orange decals: My 2004 has crappy blue decals. Strange on a high end bike, but at least I'm not paying for some crazy Colnago paint job, but rather for some decent componentry. Oooh, but the brushed titanium is great.

  • Cane Creek S-3: Well, the headset itself is fine, but I had to replace the top cap on mine (with an FSA) just to get a decent adjustment. Boo.



In closing, I still think Litespeed is on the right track with the Firenze. A titanium frame with race worthy components for a fair price. I love mine.

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