Litespeed Xicon - For real world riding
Oct 27, 2010
Review by toolguy1963
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Cost/quality excellent, build, ride, lifetime frame, made in USA
The Bottom Line:
Litespeed has delivered a high end product at a mid level price. Best suited for riders who need an all-round bike - training, exercise, commuting
Exercise bike for riders suffering “high end” anxiety issues
Recommend this product?
Those that have followed my reviews know that my primary workouts center round a good three to five mile run and then some muscle group exercises. Well it hadn’t always been that way. There was a time that I was caught up in the whole bicycle race scene, to the extent that I rode with one of the local teams. Of course then we rode either Columbus tube bikes like Bianchi’s or Colnago’s or custom Reynolds aluminum BH’s. Then the whole world went crazy. Cannondale, Trek, and Specialized laid down a whole new set of rules for bike building and they were spelled Big Tube Aluminum.
I was quick to jump on that bandwagon and I’ve had a few of these. As my kids, in particular my daughter became competitive riders we moved on to Carbon Fiber and enjoyed a whole new level of refinement. But you find as you get older that something always gets lost in refinement. I got to a point where I realized that I needed a more comfortable ride. Something akin to my old Columbus steel framed Bianchi. But I wanted the freight train - straight line stability of my Cannondale’s; but then again I live in an extremely hilly region and nothing climbs like Carbon Fiber. Then I discovered Ti. Titanium!
A case for exotic metals
Yes, Titanium is an incredible frame material that gives you the best of all three frame materials and a few other niceties thrown in. It doesn’t rust like steel, but allows you a wonderful sprung ride and without the deflection that steel frames are famous for. Think standing on the pedals riding up hill and gnashing into your derailleur. That’s frame deflection or twisting. Ti is very tight in that effect, more like aluminum. But aluminum rides hard. It’s wonderful on long flat roads, but if the going get bouncy… Ohhh. Aluminum also has a tendency to dent and scratch easily and I’ve had more than one BB warble out. Maybe that’s why the BB30 is so big with competition riders now.
Carbon Fiber almost seems like the ideal bike frame. It gives a pretty nice ride (when tuned) is ultra light and can also be tuned to overcome deflection. But now we start getting into lower cost, not so good carbon fiber frames, versus high dollar frames. My daughter swears by carbon fiber and that’s all she’ll ride. But then again she weighs about half what her brother and I do. We’ve seen our problems with this material and my son now calls them throw away frames. He found his last one with a bad crack at the head before a ride that just couldn’t be repaired.
Made with pride in the U.S.A.
Titanium seemed like the ideal. But it is SOOO expensive. I began shopping around and found some frames made in Thailand that I almost hopped on, but being a licensed welding inspector I just wasn’t impressed with the fitting or welds. So the search went on. Finally I found a company out in California that was putting together bikes with the Litespeed Xicon frame. Litespeed has an outstanding reputation but is a high dollar bike. My days of riding the peloton are over so is it necessary? I only need a good exercise and training bike. Well, they are putting these bikes together with your choice of component group, and even had a whole bike assembled with decent components for under 2000 bucks. Now that’s more like it! Over 2k just wasn’t going to roll. But a Ti frame that I could put on the road right now is an incredible deal.
So what’s the Xicon like? Well it’s everything they advertise plus. I love the ride. It really does remind me of my old steel bikes, but only in the ride quality. Road imperfections that would drive an aluminum bike up your sit bones are much reduced on this bike I have always ridden traditional geometry framed bikes prior to this and am not a fan of semi compact frames. I can truly say that I do enjoy throwing a leg over this frame though. I put about 2000 miles on it to date and everything has stayed tight. After the initial break-in adjustments I have not had to readjust a thing. I like that it is a dead solid ride at speed like my aluminum Cannondale’s were. I was riding behind a guy on a Cube the other morning. Downhill about 40 MPH and he went into a terrible head shaker. I swished on by as if riding rails.
Besides its cushy ride and dead stable straight line performance, this bike also handles those rough curves where road imperfections can quickly upset a lesser frame. But what I really enjoy most is hills. With so little frame deflection and ultra light weight, this bike will climb like no other. This has become my all time favorite climber. I used to plan my rides to go around the worst hills, but now I can’t wait to take them on.
Attention to the smallest details
The attention to detail in the Xicon frame is on par with other Litespeed Ti Frames. Although this is at the bottom of the cost chart, the quality is still right there. You get 3/2.5 v Titanium tubes. With slightly curved chainstays, contoured tubes and oversized tubes where needed. This frame has been tuned to provide an incredible ride that serves well as an all-rounder bike. The TIG welds are to perfection with obvious 100% penetration. Something you won’t see every day, especially with frames that have been bucked up overseas. These welds are immaculate with no perceivable imperfections and they are oh so tight and precise.
What you pay for on a bike like this is the frame. The groupo or components can easily double the price of this kind of ride though. Luckily there are a few insightful bike builders out there that know there are guys like me that want to ride a quality bike, but don’t need to drop six grand on a competition bike. The shop that built this bike deserves its own write up for their service, build, and timeliness. In any case, this bike came spec’d out with a combination of components that made for a well designed and lightweight ride.
Carbon forks and carbon quasar 20 spoke rims. Shimano Ultegra Derailleur’s and cassette, STS shifters, tru-vativ crank, carbon seat post, etc… are all balanced out to provide for a lightweight, durable, and performance oriented ride. The cost was kept in check and of course with a frame like the Xicon, you won’t mind upgrading into a Dura ace, SRAM or Campy groupo later on.
Recommend: For Sure!
As I said, I have put about 2000 miles on this bike since last spring. It has performed flawlessly. The riding I do is a combination of rough narrow secondary roads, cobblestone & brick streets and some smooth bike trails. Even with the hard vibrations, stones that get tossed up and occasional road muck that I get covered in. The bike remains chip free. The Ti is very dent resistant. It’s also very easy to clean. The bike is done in bare titanium, so I simply spray some motorcycle spray cleaner on it and wipe it down after a ride. It continues to look like new.
This frame is without a doubt a keeper. I don’t believe I could ever wear it out and it’s just as well. I really do enjoy riding it. One of my cycling friends also noted that if I really get too crippled to ride in the drop bars, that I could always rebuild it as a super nice café bike. He made a really good point there. Being a semi compact frame really lends itself well to reconfiguration. In any case, I’m enjoying the heck out of this bike and would recommend it hands down to anyone who’s interested in a long term bike relationship and doesn’t really need a full on comp mount.
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