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New Bike(25 posts)

New Bikefirstrax
Nov 13, 2001 1:37 PM
Its time to retire my old Litespeed. I have been looking at the Airborne Zepplin. Anyone have any experience with these?
Why Retire Your Litespeed?jtolleson
Nov 13, 2001 2:27 PM
Are you just looking for a new ride for kicks? A new component gruppo? I can't imagine the Zepplin (which some folks criticize as soft, but I have NO experience with it and won't claim anything) can be any better a frame than your aging Litespeed. That's the joy of Ti; ride quality doesn't change for years, and years and years.

The only reason I'd dump my Litespeed (1997) would be to move up the food chain, not down.
Why Retire Your Litespeed?Jon
Nov 13, 2001 3:30 PM
I quite agree. There was an engineer who posted his opinion on Airborne tubing, some weeks
ago. From what he said you're way better off keeping your present frameset. In all likelihood
it's a better quality alloy, shaped and butted properly, etc, etc. Litespeed has far more experience
and credibility when it comes to working with ti than virtually anybody else.
Why Retire Your Litespeed?firstrax
Nov 13, 2001 4:38 PM
Nothing lasts forever. You can only crash, drop, or bang into things so many times before you no longer feel safe on the bike. (can ti bikes be straightened like car frames? I would consider this if it were an option). I am also an engineer and have worked in the private aviation industry. What I know about Airborne's tubing and technique is fine by my standards as well as the aviation industries. The thing that attracted me to Airborne was the fact that nimble Asian hands assemble the frames. I have sent many of my own products overseas for manufacturing and the Asians beat us round eyes every time in terms of quality, consistency and price (in that order).
Bent?Kerry Irons
Nov 13, 2001 5:15 PM
Unless you have bent, cracked, or dented the LS, there is virtually no likelihood that the frame has changed at all since you bought it. Did you really bend it? It must have been one heck of a crash. Straightening Ti is best left to the factory, as the typical frame builder doesn't have either the tools or the hydraulic force to move this stuff.
Why Retire Your Litespeed?jtolleson
Nov 13, 2001 6:43 PM
I'm a bit surprised at your skepticism regarding the hardiness of your LS. I don't know about crashing, but I think that Litespeed ti can be "banged" and "dropped" ad nauseum to no effect. Ti really doesn't weaken over time like aluminum or even steel.

As for assuming that construction in China beats quality in Nashville, I'm skeptical. There's no question that certain Asian countries have us beat by light years in technology, and that others have us beat in terms of cost, but to assume that an Airborne is a better built ti frame than a Litespeed is simply not anything I've ever seen any support for.

Is your frame really bent? That's VERY odd. You should talk to LS about a warranty replacement if that is the case.

It just sounds to me that much of your analysis is based on assumptions ... 1) it is old it must be unsafe; 2) Asians build better bikes .... that I'm not sure bear out with reality.

I'd love to hear what others think.
Why Retire Your Litespeed?slow-ron
Nov 13, 2001 8:02 PM
if you're going to retire a perfectly good litespeed I'd be willing to buy it from you. as for your rationale, I think you've got to talk to the professors at your engineering school for not teaching you a thing or two about fatigue life and modulus of materials and in particular titanium. that's why it's such a good material for bikes. you can flex this stuff a million cycles and it's going to maintain it's properties without distortion, unlike alum. As for airborne frame being the equivalent of L.S. that's not even close. Litespeed uses double butted 3/2.5 alloy titanium throughout the bike. Airborne uses commercially pure (counter-intuitive term) strait gage titanium and throws in one tube made of 3/2.5. I'm bored with my bike too but I'm riding an old beat up Colnago SLX not a L.S. Put some stickers on it or a bell or something.
Why Retire Your Litespeed?firstrax
Nov 13, 2001 9:37 PM
I dont think you understand. Its old (used when I got it). It has dents (rear triangle). And if I use a mass spectrometer I will probobly find fractures. I am not guessing something is wrong with it, I can see the problems. I am not saying it was a bad bike. I was hoping to hear from people who own zepplins to see how they like them. I have an Airborne mountain bike, and am quite pleased with it. But my interest has shifted to the road.

By the way, Airborne does use 3/2.5 ti (straight not butted). Only the head tube, bottom bracket and drop outs are CP.
I have a 1999 Zepnova
Nov 14, 2001 2:00 PM
With at least 5000 miles on it, probably more.

I ride a 60cm, and I don't have any complaints about the ride quality or the appearance of the bike. In fact, both of those factors have improved since I bought my bike, with new bi-axially ovalized tubes and better decals. The thing the poster above said about the Zep having only one 3/2.5 tube is false. Believe SteveS in that regard, he knows what he is talking about.

Complaints? I'm 6'2" tall, and I had trouble at first dialing in reach. But Airborne will swap stems with you until you are satisfied. The Zep has a long top tube by anyone's measure to begin with. Pay close attention to that when selecting your size.

Other than that, I love the geometry and how it fits my body. I can understand how others would find the bike unappealing in terms of its geometry, especially if they are traditionalists. But do what works for you.
Better check your factsSteveS
Nov 13, 2001 9:41 PM
Sorry, slowRon, you ain't got it right. Zeppelins are 3/2.5 titanium with CP dropouts (like Moots VaMoots) and a CP headtube and bottom bracket.

The simplest way to get an honest answer for the original poster is for him to read the reviews. That includes the ones from various magazines that have independently tested the Zeppelin. (reprinted at the Airborne website)

On the other hand, he should sell his old Litespeed to you at a nice, high price.

(Another guy pontificating with no first hand experience to back it up)
Better check your factsslow-ron
Nov 14, 2001 5:33 AM
I stand corrected. I made the mistake of relaying information told to me by the LBC probably looking for a sale. I won't post again without checking my info. Also, I had thought from the initial posting that the frame was fine and the owner was worried about bending the frame. Trash the frame, buy the Zepplin and don't read my postings in the future.
re: New BikeSamcat
Nov 13, 2001 7:55 PM
You might want to consider stripping the frame and returning it to Lightspeed for rework/refurbishment. If you call them they'll give you details and approximate costs.

re: New Bikefirstrax
Nov 13, 2001 9:39 PM
Thanks for saying something helpfull. Some of these guys are brutal.
litespeed refurbs ...tarwheel
Nov 14, 2001 6:07 AM
I saw an older Litespeed the other day that the owner had refurbished at the factory. They painted it bright red, with brushed ti stays, and it was absolutely beautiful. It was the first Litespeed I've ever seen that I thought looked really sharp, as I'm not too fond of the brushed ti look.
If you are intent on getting an Airborne wait...spookyload
Nov 13, 2001 10:43 PM
till the new manhattan comes out. It looks pretty promising with the carbon rear end. That seems to be the way of the future. I personally am not a big Airborne fan, but it sure looks like a decent bike. Litespeed is also doing the carbon rear bandwagon this year on their ultimate. My Kestrel is starting to sound more state of the art as time goes by!
The Zepps a Great Bike!!!MalandMo
Nov 14, 2001 6:33 AM
I'm a Zepp rider and they are fantastic. I'm a rather large guy, 6'3", 205, and have not experienced any 'softness' in the frame. It is awesome! I highly recommend you get one. Anyone else her who wants to pay a whole lot more for a comparable bike, more power to them, that is why this country works. I think Barnum said it best, something about a sucker. Go Airborne!
The Zepps a Great Bike!!!firstrax
Nov 14, 2001 6:58 AM
Aaahh. Someone who actually has one chimes in. Thanks. What are your components and would you change anything?
The Zepps a Great Bike!!!MalandMo
Nov 14, 2001 8:01 AM
I have a complete Ultegra setup. Ti seatpost King headset and profile brc carbon fork, flightdeck computer. Everything has been great. Of course, Dura Ace would be better, but i certainly hve no complaints with ultegra.
Hope you choose to get one. The more Zeppelin pilots out there, the better we'll be.
Another owner4bykn
Nov 14, 2001 8:19 AM
I've had mine for nearly a year. Built with mostly Ultegra. I think the only change I'd make, were I to do it over, would be to upgrade to DA shifters. Not that the Ultegra doesnt work, but I've heard that the DA are a bit better. I've done some climbing, and even out of the saddle I've not detected any "softness" in my 56cm frame. And descending on my Zep is a blast, it tracks exactly where I want it to go.
Another ownerfirstrax
Nov 14, 2001 8:33 AM
Thanks for chiming in. Your not the first to recommend DA shifters with an Ultegra group. There must be something to it. That was one of the things that I liked about Airborne. I can mix and match components.
Nov 14, 2001 10:26 AM
I am in the process of buying my 4th Airborne bike, this time a Carpe Diem. Obviously, I like them. Sometime in the past I did a count on the number of quality roadbikes that I have owned and it is somewhere upwards from 20. (don't remember the exact number now)

Some poster above said that a review of the Z had said that it was "soft." I suggest you read the reprints of the complete reviews at the Airborne website. The intent of the writers is pretty clear in context. The opposite word of what ride quality they were describing is "harsh" not "stiff." In other words, the bike rides very smoothly. Since comfort is a key part in my thinking, it ranks number one. If I was riding a short critierium around Wal-Mart or someplace, my views might be different and a harsh riding bike might have some value. Since I don't, it doesn't.

Over time, I have tested my bike against several others, including much more expensive titanium frames. The latter were a great disappointment, not because they rode badly, they didn't- they rode just fine. The problem was, the hype surrounding them didn't match their price, nor was it better than my Z. Some were prettier, some were lighter than the Zeppelin, but none rode any better, in my opinion.

The key is getting a good fit. In my case, I think I have fine tuned the fit on the Zeppelin better than any bike that I have had before. That is what I am going to try to copy on the Carpe Diem, for trail or touring rides.

Good luck in your shopping.
Nov 14, 2001 1:21 PM
Why would anyone- not affiliated with the co or getting them for free- get 4 Airbornes? An insatiable need for water bottles? My favorite flavors of ice cream are vanilla, vanilla, vanilla, and vanilla.

Of course there is a guy with 12 Cannondales around here.
Nov 14, 2001 2:48 PM
They make several different styles. Road, cross, mountain, touring. do you take your road bike to ride the mountain trails? or vice versa. Different bikes for different uses. I know the above poster and he has nothing at stake in the company and if he's getting them for free then I want in on that deal. And why do you care? If you find a company you like, why buy from other companies? Just to please flamers like you? Go ride your bike and let everyone else ride what they want.
more questionsfast skirt
Nov 14, 2001 10:47 AM
how long have you been riding, what is your yearly mileage? what did you ride before the zep?
Just out of curiosity ...pmf1
Nov 14, 2001 1:04 PM
And I'm not trying to be mean, a snob, a flamer, a troll, etc .... but what other bikes have you owned? How does it compare to them?