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LS Ghisallo gets a poor rating in latest Cycling Plus!(26 posts)

LS Ghisallo gets a poor rating in latest Cycling Plus!ET
Dec 23, 2001 8:58 AM
(Sorry TJeanloz. :-))

It got only a 7 out of 10, a low score for such an expensive bike. (By contrast, the British-made aluminum bike it was matched up against, the Hewitt Starship, 1/3 the price, got a 9.) The main beef against the Ghisallo was an unnerving "floating" sensation in descents apparently produced by flex. Not sure how scores of 9,7,9,8 (resp. for frame, handling, wheels, equipment) averages to an overall 7. (British bias?) Did have some pluses to it such as superb directional steering ability in the flats, but overall, the review deters one form even considering the Ghisallo.
My opinion...TJeanloz
Dec 23, 2001 9:14 AM
My personal opinion is that Cycling Plus is the British equivilent of Bicycling. If people want to believe them, that's cool. I believe this is the same rag that named Airborn thier bike of the year...

I also understand (but this is hearsay, as I don't read the mag) that they reviewed the Ghisallo with parts that could only be described as 'stupid light' and as such it was not a valid review of the frame.

But I don't know, I haven't put enough miles on a Ghisallo to defend it- I do love my Vortex though...
And mine...Rich Clark
Dec 23, 2001 5:21 PM
We can only wish we had a magazine here in the U.S. that was as attuned to the needs of real-world everyday cyclists as Cycling+ is. But as long as so many US roadies don't feel right unless they're tricked out in racing gear and riding in a paceline with a bunch of other high end road bikes, we never will.

Cycling+ spends more column-inches talking about practical cycling -- commuting and touring in particular -- in any given single issue than Bicycling does in a year.

And their perspective (the one that isn't embarassed to put a smiling geek with pale, unshaved legs riding a $3000 road bike on the cover) is one that can judge a bike based on a Chinese ti frame superior to something else just because that's how it tested.

What impressed me was when they not only tested the Airborne Carpe Diem with racks and fenders on it, but also published a picture of it that way. Real-world stuff.

I don't know anything much about racing frames, but I've ridden a lot of touring and 'cross bikes, and C+ certainly seems to know their stuff in that area. Bicycling, on the other hand, is living in a fantasy world where commuting is for the mentally challenged, everybody is an athlete, shaves their legs and races, and appearance matters more than performance (or cost). I don't understand how anyone could equate the two magazines.

It's an interesting read,TJeanloz
Dec 24, 2001 9:59 AM
There's no doubt to me that Cycling+ has a good target market- but then the comments they make don't make sense and get taken out of context. If they reviewed cars, they'd give a Ferrari low marks because it gets poor gas mileage- which is true, and in some cases is a valid measure of an automobile, but it is not a valid measure of a Ferrari.

Likewise, why does a magazine for 'everyday' cyclists test ride the Ghisallo? The bike has been taken out of context- if you ask Litespeed, I don't think they'd recommend it except for specific racing applications. If you want a Litespeed touring bike, you do not want a Ghisallo. The Blue Ridge is the bike you'd want for steady handling. I haven't read the article, but it wouldn't shock me if they pan the bike for not having rack braze-ons. Which are perfectly reasonable things to have on a lot of bikes- but not a top end racing bike.

So, my beef with the magazine is that they rate their bikes from the Robert Millar retired-pro, old fart, point of view. Which is great for their readers who are similarly minded. But it doesn't give an accurate, all-around review (not that I've ever seen a magazine that did). They turn a blind eye to the appropriate uses of the racing bikes that they review. In this case, I agree with them: I don't think anybody who likes Cycling+ would be happy with the Litespeed Ghisallo. This isn't to say it's a bad bike.
It's an interesting read,Rich Clark
Dec 24, 2001 12:44 PM
Why does Consumer Reports test Mercedes Benz? I guess because you need to establish benchmarks; you need to know the best, and know what it feels like and performs like, in order to give context to your opinions about more ordinary stuff.

I agree with you that C+ has a point of view, and while I'd characterize it differently than you do, I think they could be more upfront about exactly what it is. I also think they sometimes go over the edge comparing apples to oranges, although the results are often entertaining (like taking a bunch of different bikes, a hybrid, a road bike, a mountain bike, a 'cross bike, and then reviewing them all as touring bikes).

My objection was to equating C+ with Bicycling, a magazine that has completely lost its way.

Cycling Plus and Bicycling MinusET
Dec 24, 2001 1:25 PM
While you do have some valid points about Cycling Plus's comments being out of context, comparing it to Bicycling magazine is just totally out of line: Bicycling has essentially nothing of value in it, and Cycling Plus has a lot of value in it. And it has got only better ever since Dog cancelled his subscription. :-)

Bicyling's bike review, if you can call it that, typically is a one-pager, most of it a photo, consisting in total of a few sentences such as "(Don't) buy this bike if you..." That's a joke, not a review. Cycling Plus has a rather detailed review for your money, over several pages of small print and complete with specs and fit tips. It's way too long for me to type it all out. Yes, you can quibble with out-of-context remarks, as well as accuracy of the specs (I regularly detect mistakes). I concede that. But still well worth the money (not to mention the useful product reviews, but some view the British bent and inclusion of commuter topics to be drawbacks--fair enough).

Getting back to the bike review, they compared the Ghisallo to a bike (high-level aluminum) of similar purpose, and felt the Ghisallo just isn't worth the money (more than 3 times as much) given its drawbacks. Sure, C+ takes a more pedestrian view, but how many of Ghisallo's purchasers are going to use it exclusively as a climber? And is it being marketed as such? The review mentioned that both bikes climb very well, and that in their test the Ghisallo is sufficiently stiff up hills and on the flats. But in descents, the flex in the Ghisallo was "marked" and unnerving, especially so for those 68 kgs and over, and especially over poorer road surfaces, where it was considered hyper-responsive", thus requiring extra braking negating the uphill savings.

Your words might leave the impression to some as if there was some incompetence in conducting the test with regards to how the Ghisallo was built up for it. Actually, it sounds from the review like it came pre-built from the distributor with sprint rims (perhaps in part for LS to boast about the weight and to let it be king of the uphill), but after test-riding and experiencing the floating, CPlus got a new set of custom-built wheels from the distributor and re-tested (like Bicycling would do such a thing?), which helped a bit but did not entirely solve the problem. The weight difference between the two bikes reviewed now ended up being a scant 56g, and C+ speculated that the LS has perhaps taken Ti too far on this frame and it may be too light for its own good. Disagree? Fine.
Cycling Plus sucksTrent S
Dec 26, 2001 7:46 AM
It's too expensive and not many articles. Pretty boring read also. You learn way more on these boards. I'd rather save the $ and read Bicycling on the crapper.
It's an interesting read,mackgoo
Dec 25, 2001 3:09 PM
No, they panned it because for the extra 3000 bucks you get a bike that's about a 1 1/2 pounds lighter and no other performance advantage.
Granted the "twitchy quick steering" is more of a personal observation than anything quantifyable. I remember when I was 16 and runnin around on my 500-4 I had a chance to take a ride on my friends RD 350 now that was twitchy. But it shure did pop excellent wheelies and I'm sure if it was my bike to ride all the time I would adapt and then see the Honda as slow.
GhisalloTrent S
Dec 26, 2001 7:44 AM
My guess is this most Ghisallo riders are old men with way too much $ and not much talent or bike shop employees that can get them at cost.
re: LS Ghisallo gets a poor rating in latest Cycling Plus!sprockets
Dec 23, 2001 11:35 AM
I would be curious to read what kind of descending they were doing and what the wheelbase measurements are for the competing bikes. I would not imagine that a bike like the Ghisallo would be the choice of a rider/racer who was going to be doing truely high speed descents-its a compact little thing, and that isn't its forte.
Gee, it doesn't even come with a headbadge andDog Breath
Dec 23, 2001 4:53 PM
for the amount of money they are asking for one of those little guys, it had better do everything well.

In any case, there are alot of other Ti rides around. Don't know why people always get stuck on Litespeed. Hell, Colnagos are overpriced, but even their Ti frames (nicely painted) can be had for much less. Tommasini, Macalu ($995 Litespeed), Airborne, Habanero, etc. Lots of fish in the sea. Is Litespeed supposed to be the best?
re: Cycling Plus!SteveS
Dec 23, 2001 12:18 PM
Cycling Plus is an excellent magazine but I haven't read the article, so I guess now I had better go to Borders and pick it up. I don't know of any British cycling magazine as low a quality as the current version of "Bicycling", which I hope is put out of it's misery soon.

I remember how much I liked my first OCLV until my first 56mph descent and the bike had the floating feeling you mentioned. After that, I never trusted it again for descending and that is a valid criticism for panning any bike, regardless of cost. If the frame is an expensive one, that just makes it that much worse.

Interesting how salesmen of Litespeeds can't handle it when they get a bad review. I guess it represents too much lost potential profit.
valid........ oh yes!CT1
Dec 23, 2001 1:04 PM
My TCR got a little sketchy above 45MPH on a windy road. Not real confidence inspiring.

I very rarely ride this fast but if/when I do I don't want a bike to feel "loose".

I like litespeeds but.......JS
Dec 23, 2001 9:10 PM
I've seen the Ghisallo frame close up and I think that this frame is pushing beyond what that material is capable of. Like aluminum and steel, titanium has design limits and I believe this frame goes beyond what should be reasonably expected from this material, hence the low rating for performance.
I like litespeeds but.......Velocipedio
Dec 24, 2001 6:53 AM
Then I guess the guys riding for Lotto are going to be unpleasantly surprised, since I believe they're going to be riding Ghisallos...
Dec 24, 2001 8:13 AM
I think most of the Lotto team is riding the Vortex frame. Some of the climber types might get Ghisallos.
I like litespeeds but.......mackgoo
Dec 25, 2001 3:16 PM
And they'll be descending like Ulrich.
"floating" is a function of the low weight.ohio
Dec 24, 2001 8:36 AM
It has nothing to do with being a poorly designed bike. It's purely a function of the weight. You'll notice the two other posts that say they've felt a "floating" sensation were also on ultr-lights: OCLV and TCR. Light weight bikes move much more quickly than heavier bikes, eother from rider input or from bumps and roughness in the road. This is why lighter bikes feel so comfy over bumps (or light hardtails are comfy for extended MTBiking), but it works against the on descents where stability is the opposite of flickability. You want something that holds itself in line, but that takes MASS, regardless of geometry or stiffness.

Anyone who skis has observed this same thing. Light weight skis get "skittish" at high speeds, and the edges start to "float" at high speeds. If you want high-speed stability you need a heavy and well-damped ski.

So I guess the lesson is: buy a bike for the correct use and don't expect it to do the impossible, no matter how much it cost.
Beg to differKerry Irons
Dec 24, 2001 3:59 PM
When I switched from a 22.5 lb. steel bike to an 18.5 lb. Ti bike, I experienced no change in stability or "floating feeling" so why would another 2 lb. weight loss all of a sudden induce this feeling or behavior? Any such instability is a function of geometry, flex, wheels, etc. Not just weight.

Likewise, skis getting unstable at speed is a function of side cut, internal damping, flex and flex pattern, base prep, and not only weight. Some of the most stable skis I've ever used were very light (some K2 demo extreme skis) while I've skied some heavy weights that didn't track well at all. Weight is a small factor.
apples and oranges?ET
Dec 24, 2001 4:46 PM
Not denying there are other factors, but I don't think it's proper to compare a drop in weight from steel to Ti. No one's denying that high-level lighter Ti might do as least as well or better than average steel. Better would be to compare Ti to Ti. If, after much tinkering, the experts managed to get Ti down to 18.5, to say they should be able to whittle it down to 16.5 (another 11%) just doesn't follow. One could argue that maybe that's past the limit.
16.5 vs. 18.5Kerry Irons
Dec 25, 2001 6:29 PM
The main reason my bike is 18.5 is that it is 4 years old and the gruppos were significantly heavier then. My 59 cm frame weighs a shade under 3 lbs, so a 16.5 lb bike based on my frame is very feasible by just swapping components. It is the frame and the wheels that make a bike descend well (plus the rider, of course) and my bike (with a 1700 gm wheel set) does just fine. It is not the weight, but the geometry, tube shaping/buttting/swaging/thickness, etc.
Beg to differfatman
Dec 25, 2001 1:48 AM
I would also beg to differ. Why is it that the pros can use a lite bike and fly down hill. If stability was that much improved with a heavyer bike would they not have a team car waiting with a huffy on top of the hill? There are much more important parts of the puzzle then weight.

The most important is not the bike at all but the skill of the rider and the size of his or hers, well never mind. :)
Pro example,TJeanloz
Dec 26, 2001 11:13 AM
Actually, I believe (but am welcome to be proved wrong) that Jan Ullrich stopped using ADA wheels because he thought they were too light for descents.
or braking?Dog
Dec 26, 2001 12:19 PM
I thought I heard that it was because of the uneven braking you get from the carbon brake surface. Makes it very hard to modulate (may have contributed to his endo last summer?).

My Lew rims are horrible as well. Nearly caused two accidents for me. The Zipp surface seems a little bit better, but still nowhere as good as alum.

LS should have sent them some water bottles ;-) (nm)js5280
Dec 26, 2001 5:02 PM
re: LS Ghisallo gets a poor rating in latest Cycling Plus!mackgoo
Dec 27, 2001 10:43 AM
I'm going to add a new twist. One of the most revealing points I thought in the article was when it came to drive trains they were comparing Daytona to Dura Ace and when it came right down to function and "smoothness" NO REAL DIFFERENCE. Hmmmmmm.;)