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Italian or US?(22 posts)

Italian or US?Big John
Apr 19, 2001 1:40 PM
Thinking of what new bike to replace my Giant CFR carbon. Interested in Litespeed and Merlin in Ti, and Kestrel and Trek in cf. However, so many of you sing the praises of the Colnago C40 (yet are unable to afford one) that I am starting to look carefully at Italian. I live in the UK and the C40 is just about affordable here - especially when compared with the 4 US makes listed above; in the UK a Palmares frame only is over $4300!! A C40 frame, fork and pin is about $2500. So here are my thoughts - Ti is only great because it is light, strong, corrosion resistant etc but a Ti frame is not made any differently to a steel frame, ie. tubes and lugs. Carbon, on the other hand, allows the designer to build in strength where he needs it; that makes me think about the Kestrel as both the Trek OCLV and the C40 are cf tubes and lugs. What do you think?
re: Italian or US?michael
Apr 19, 2001 1:53 PM
I've got a friend in Surrey who is a big golfer. He regularly makes the trip over to the states to visit and purchase all his new golf equipment. Why not consider doing that and picking up the Merlin/Litespeed? If you head down to Chattanooga, you could also do a tour of the factory and see a beautiful part of the country?

The price difference will probably pay for the whole trip - though of course I don't know what your total budget is.

Also, while I ride a steel road bike, my mountain bike is a litespeed, and after visiting their shop (they also make Merlins, Eddy Mercx, and Quintana Roos there) I learned, that indeed they design Ti differently - know if only I could drop a few more $k without the wife finding out.
Why not a Moots?Biking Viking
Apr 19, 2001 3:15 PM
The VaMoots is 1,995. For that you get:

1. One of the sweetest Ti road frames available. It combines and ultra-smooth ride with super-crisp cornering and accelleration. The craftmanship is absolutely top notch and superior to any Litespeed frame
2. A rare bike. Even here in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are very few VaMoots to bee seen, whereas any Saturday morning is an infestation of yellow Litespeed stickers. My guess is there can't be more than a handful of theese the UK, if that many. Hey, you might end up owning the only one.

You can't go wrong with Moots.

Good luck.
I don't think you understand,TJeanloz
Apr 19, 2001 4:17 PM
Even if he were to buy a Moots, it would be prohibitively expensive inside the U.K. because of the import and VAT taxes.

I take exception to the claim that the VaMoots is 'superior to any Litespeed' without giving any reason whatsoever; but if that's what you believe, that's cool.
I don't think you understand,swilliams
Apr 20, 2001 2:17 PM
Have you ever seen a Moots? Quality is much superior to any Litespeed:bar none. Litespeeds are inconsistant at best, and down right awful at worst. It's not what I believe's just the plain and simple fact.
I don't think you understand,Zinhead
Apr 20, 2001 4:12 PM
I think what he is talking about is the fact that a Moots has prettier welds than Litespeed, and he is using weld cosmetics as a proxy for overall bike quality. Kinda like buying a car based on the quality of the paint job.
Careful there - I didn't talk about overall quality...Biking Viking
Apr 21, 2001 9:51 AM
... I specifically stated "craftmanship". I've never ridden a Litespeed, so I couldn't possibly have an opinion on bike handling - that's also a far more subjective comparison than weld quality. If there's a Litespeed out there that combines an ultra-smooth ride with the crisp cornering and acceleration the way it comes together in a VaMoots frame, great. If you want to go with the flow and ride a Litespeed, fine. You might consider me a poser, but the comments I get when I stop next to another rider at a stop light, are worth something to me.
I don't think you understand,swilliams
Apr 21, 2001 1:56 PM
People spending the kind of money needed for a Moots or a Litespeed genrally look at 'the paint on the car' as the last thing that's important. People that buy Litespeed's tend to jump on the advertising bandwagon (a credit for Litespeed I suppose). People in the know, know full well who makes, without question, a better bike. I personally, and have stated before, deal with their untrue advertising, ie. 'the ONLY company that extensively cold works and stress relieves their tubing'. It is nothing more than a lie (and a comical one at that. I could go on and on about Litespeed, but won't mention their name agian. They are McBikes....nothing more.
Stay TunedXeke
Apr 19, 2001 4:50 PM
In the near future, A VaMoots will be sharing the garage with the Vortex and 5900 (among other rides). After a few hundred miles in the saddle, I'll share My Humble Opinion. Which will be the beater?
re: Italian or US?tr
Apr 19, 2001 4:48 PM
Big John, as a fellow rider and aerospace/mechanical engineer, i totally agree with your assessment of a ti versus a carbon. It is true, that with a carbon frame you can lay the carbon at varying angles to acquire the stiffness value you want,no one can argue with that. Whereas with the ti frame you have to use a different ti (of different properties, treatments, etc.) or play geometry games with the tubes (like aluminum). I would not totally rule out the OCLV or C40. The question there is how did they lay the carbon that was used to make the tubes. Two carbon tubes the same size and shape can be quite different in stiffness. But, with a one piece body design you can have better control of the stiffness in a particular area and the overall stiffness without having to replace this tube for that tube, or this lug with that. In my humble opinion, a 2500 dollar carbon frame is alot better deal than a 4300 dollar ti frame. Ti is a nice material too, but the difference is just too big. Use the difference for some nice wheels or buy a european ti that is less than 4300. I am american and i wouldn't expect you to pay that just to ride a ti from here, that price is ridiculous.
re: Italian or US?JohnG
Apr 19, 2001 7:45 PM
If you can afford the Italian rides then you go for it. The big American companies make great vanilla frames but if you want some real bike-art go Continental.

BTW: Total has GREAT pricing on Colnagos!

happy shopping
re: Italian or US?Dougal
Apr 20, 2001 12:48 AM
Although they don't stock any models you listed, check out Dave Lloyd Bikesport (

They have some very nice carbon bikes, as well as making custom steel frames, and are very highly thought of by everybody I've spoken to (including a rival bike shop!).

Hope this is of some help.
Dave Lloydkeith m.
Apr 21, 2001 7:31 AM
Those are some of the nicest looking carbon frames I've seen. Definetly lust material.
Options (long)zelig1
Apr 20, 2001 1:36 AM
You have a bit of a quandary and I'm not going to go into the Ti vs. carbon discussion but just take an orderly review of your options.

1) To buy a US made frame in the UK, as you know, is going to include the import duty (15% on bikes brought in personally from US to the UK), compounded VAT and whatever arbitrary £ & $ exchange they seem to extract from the big exchange in the sky. Not exactly getting good value. If you buy a frame from another member of the EU, at least you're not charged import duty.

2) Others have posted about having someone, including yourself, bring a frame from the States into the UK. I go back and forth to the States quite a bit out of Heathrow and have rarely seen anyone, especially if you look like Joe Blog's, make a declaration, never mind someone from HM Custom & Excise stopping them and searching their belongings.

Now let's look at the downside in the event that they do stop and charge you the maximum. We'll use the Palmares as an example. List price in the States is about $3,075 which converted at today's exchange rate ($1=£.6925) is £2,130. The import duty is 15% (£320) and then they add 17.5% of that total for VAT which takes you up to a total of £2,878 which converts back into $4,155. Hmmm, back to where we started. Conclusion on bringing a frame from the US into the UK is to have someone else who is going to the States do it for you. If they end up paying the duty and VAT, at least you're not out the cost of a plane ticket and you're no worse off if you had bought the frame in the UK, that is unless you also wanted to visit the States on holiday or business.

3) Consider making that leap to buying a C-40 and/or looking at other offerings from EU manufacturer's. Pinarello, Merckx (after Paris Roubaix I think they're going to get increasingly popular), Colnago, Pegoretti, Carrera (made by Podium), Cyfac, Derosa (currently getting slagged at another site but so what), Scapin, Principia, Basso, Bianchi, etc., etc. The bad news is there aren't many of them making Ti as only Merckx (used to be via Litespeed), Colnago, Omega and Derosa come to mind. However, almost all of them are making Al frames with carbon rear triangle's, seat and chain stays. As for all carbon, its pretty much limited to Corima, David Lloyd's Joker line, Colnago and Look.

I'd take a look at option 3 unless you can do option 2 with a frame that's on sale and someone else doing the traveling unless you're on a business trip. If you can wait until the end of the year when Litespeed's go on sale for the model year changeover (usually about 35% of MSRP), the savings can be dramatic so even if you pay the duty and VAT, you still come out ahead.

FWIW, I have a Vortex but it came into the UK in a sea container when I moved from the States. I look at the UK prices and while outrageous, they just reflect duty and VAT. Good luck and think about the C-40. I've never ridden one but have seen a few around London and they look great.
Options (long)bestT
Apr 20, 2001 7:21 PM
where are they slagging derosas? i just got a new derosa planet (love it) and i'd like to read those opinions.
Apr 21, 2001 1:20 AM
re: Italian or US?muncher
Apr 20, 2001 3:13 AM
J - if you are here in the Uk you have got to check out Donohue - have you?
re: Italian or US?mmaggi
Apr 20, 2001 7:34 AM
If you're willing to spend $2500 on a frame and one of you're choices is a C-40, then IMO, get the C-40.

If you're not willing to spend that much, consider the TREK OCLV 5000 series. I don't know how much they are in the UK, but if they're the same price as the C-40, then get the C-40. Otherwise you'll have a tough decision to make.

Ti was a great alternative to steel a few years ago. Now, considering how expensive some high end Ti frames are, I'm not so convinced.

Steel frames have come a long way in the last 3-4 years. They're steel frames just as light as Ti, if not lighter. Granted that Ti doesn't corrode but I wouldn't use that as a measuring stick against steel. If you purchase a Ti frame, do it because you like the ride of Ti.
so I guess what you're saying is...ET
Apr 20, 2001 8:20 AM
it no longer pays to buy a Litespeed from TJeanloz's shop. :-)

TJeanloz, it's a joke...just a joke...
No Brainergrz mnkyk
Apr 20, 2001 3:34 PM
I think your best bet is to get a "local" EU bike and skip the whole tax risk bit. Since you can get the C-40 for such a sweet price you should do it. A C40 w/fork in the US is up around $4,000 and people still buy it - must be a *sweet* ride. I just wonder about the zany team graphics.

This way you ride a coveted bike for a bargain - which means you can equip it with the finest Euro componenets (Mavic and Campy). Since you're talking C40, ti, and an OCLV I'd toss the OCLV out of the picture. It's not a bad bike, I just think that the others are a bit better, plus you'll have to pay tax (etc.) on the OCLV. Surfers have a saying: Local boards for local breaks. And we all know what you're supposed to do when in Rome......

I disagree that steel and ti are built the same: yes steel is brazed and lugged, however, ti is welded. FWIW. I also take exception to the idea that you can get an equaivalent steel frame with the same weight as ti.

Ultimately it comes down to the fit first, the ride second and the price should be third. Ti and carbon ride differently - I traded my OCLV for a Serotta and have never looked back.
If you want Ti, why not Colanago Ovalmaster? (nm)DG
Apr 21, 2001 11:49 AM
Try Look.Ian
Apr 21, 2001 1:57 PM
If you are looking at the OCLV and the C-40, check out the Look KG261 and KG281. I have the 281 and it is a wonderful ride. The 261 is $1,495 and the 281 is $1,975. Since they are based in Europe (France) they may even be a little cheaper over there.

Happy shopping.