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Litespeed Ultimate or Vortex (maybe the Ghisallo)?!(9 posts)

Litespeed Ultimate or Vortex (maybe the Ghisallo)?!RCole
Oct 22, 2002 7:48 PM
As you can see I'm confused. I've got an opportunity to purchase one of these 02 frames for less than 2000. I've ridden a Vortex in the past and know that the frames fit me well. The question is which one? I am a 34 yr old recreational rider that gets out about 2-3 a week. When feeling up for it, I can be a pretty good rider (I have 2 sons so sleep is at a premium).

I've heard the standard info - Ultimate is quick handling, Vortex is an all-arounder, Ghisallo's a climber. I'm 5'1" and 170lbs and in good shape. I need a bike that does everything well - and if it especially helps on the hills that would be freakin' great. Any input from those of you who have ridden these bikes?

Thanks a lot! - oh, yeah - I've currently got a Merlin that I'm going to replace because it's a bit big.
Correction - I'm 5'11"RCole
Oct 22, 2002 7:55 PM
My vote would be for the VortexJuanmoretime
Oct 23, 2002 12:48 AM
Proper fit is the key to being able to do everything correct on the bike. I haven't ridden two of the bikes, I do own a Vortex. I've heard the Ghisallo is noodle because it's stupid light. Get the Vortex and as long as you don't wreck badly, you have a bike for life. With the Ulitimate, the carbon rear stays have not been out long enough to say really how long they will last. I know they have done computer simulations but computer simulated parts still occasionally fail.
re: Litespeed Ultimate or Vortex (maybe the Ghisallo)?!Fez
Oct 22, 2002 8:01 PM
I think you answered your own question. Do you want quick handling, a good all arounder, or a climber?

This is my 2 cents worth on Litespeed. I'm not too crazy about the Ultimate. Prior Ultimates were nice, stiff, turn on a dime crit bikes. The new Ultimate as a carbon rear that I'm not crazy about. I love the Vortex. The Ghisallo looks a little stupid light. Have heard the lightweight comes at a cost of durability.

5'1" and 170lbs and your in good shape and don't make typos? You probably have the leg strength to break the bottom bracket of the Ghisallo.
Never mind the last point. I saw your correction. nmFez
Oct 22, 2002 8:04 PM
re: Litespeed Ultimate or Vortex (maybe the Ghisallo)?!idk
Oct 23, 2002 4:04 AM
I faced the same decision about two months ago. All the Litespeed frames you have listed have about the same geometry.
The frame you left out of the equation is the Tuscany. While it doesn't have quite the sex appeal as some of their other
frames, the Tuscany is the real true " all arounder" of the Litespeed lineup. It does everything well, and while being .2 lbs.
heavyer than the Vortex, it will probably outlast any frame in their line.
About the "sex appeal" comment. I really had a problem with the perception that if I bought the Tuscany, I was somehow buying a lesser frame, that because of the disparity in price, it was a cheaper frame. Well I got over it and bought the Tuscany, saved myself some money, and haven't regretted at all.
Check out They have recent reviews of both the Vortex and Tuscany, that in your present buying situation, will find interesting.
re: Litespeed Ultimate or Vortex (maybe the Ghisallo)?!pmf1
Oct 23, 2002 4:06 AM
I have a 1999 model Ultimate and like it a lot. It doesn't have the carbon stays or the cut-out seat tube. I think its a good bike if you're a larger rider. Smaller guys complain its too stiff. I've ridden plenty of centuries and week long bike tours on it without any problems. I too got a deal on it in early 2000 on close-out ($1600 for frame and a Look HSC fork).

Personally, I'd go for the Vortex if I were you. I'm not a fan of carbon stays which I believe the 2002 Ultimate has. I think its a fad. The Vortex changes for 2003 with a bladed down tube like the Ultimate. If it bothers you not to have the latest and greatest then get the Ultimate. As with all LS bikes, they will change within 2 years to the newest greatest innovation.

Like you say, the Vortex is a good all arounder. The Ultimate is a great crit bike and good all arounder as well.

The Ghisallo strikes me as a stupid light frame. I've heard that its really flexy. What good is 300 grams less if the thing flexs when you climb? Maybe its a great bike if you weigh 120 lbs and are 5'2".
Agree with most of the aboveTig
Oct 23, 2002 7:21 AM
I've already seen one broken Ghisallo owned by a guy who is a little shorter than you, but the same weight. He was given an Ultimate as a replacement and has commented how it is less flexy in the bottom bracket and handles crisper.

I don't think a well designed Ti frame needs a CF seat stay, but don't discount them because just a few people who haven't even ridden a CF seat stayed bike said they are a fad or haven't been proven over time. Saying that is like saying an all CF bike is a fad or hasn't been proven to be durable over time yet. Silly! Besides, the Ultimate is a relatively stiff and rough riding (unless you are a heavy, larger rider) bike for a Ti, and the vibration dampening properties of a CF seat stay might make the ride much nicer like it does for stiff aluminum frames.

The Tuscany is worth a look. Personally I'd consider it if I were looking at Litespeeds. It all depends on what YOU need, not what others need or think about what you ride.
Hi-Tech Bikes is selling '02 Merlin Extralights for $1699Lon Norder
Oct 23, 2002 8:56 AM

Not sure what sizes they have.