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Which bike - Trek 5200 or Litespeed Classic?(26 posts)

Which bike - Trek 5200 or Litespeed Classic?mtncranker
Apr 10, 2003 8:18 AM
It's time to finally replace my '94 C-dale. I'm a 51 yr old rider, trains for 1 hr daily, and enjoys centuries and any other excuses for long rides in the mountains. The new bike must climb and descend well, and be way more comfortable than the old C-dale. It will have a triple crank (Ultegra), cuz I blew my knees running years ago, but I still like climbs!

The two finalists at the LBS are the Litespeed Classic and the Trek 5200. Both are comfortable (fit-wise), and short test rides are favorable for both.

I'd appreciate input from anyone with experience on either or preferably both.

...just curious,Steve_0
Apr 10, 2003 8:25 AM
what's wrong with the c'dale?
...just curious,mtncranker
Apr 10, 2003 8:57 AM
Two things:
1. While it's a very efficient frame, it also really beats up my rear on long rides.

2. The rear drop-outs are spaced for a 7 speed hub, which are getting harder (not impossible) to find, and I'm not sanguine about the results of spreading an aluminum frame.

Other than that, nothing!
re: Which bike - Trek 5200 or Litespeed Classic?Fez
Apr 10, 2003 8:33 AM
Are these brand new bikes or leftovers that the shop is trying to clear out? Maybe stating the size, year, equipment spec and price might help. And what you really want from a bike. The geometries are close, but not exact between the 2 you are considering.

And if you are serious about just these 2, you should take rides longer than "short" to get a true feel for them.

If you really can't decide, pick the one that fits better.

The shop could try to sell you whichever one it is trying to get rid of.
re: Which bike - Trek 5200 or Litespeed Classic?mtncranker
Apr 10, 2003 9:03 AM
Both are new, and would be spec'd the same.

The LBS is a good one, good folks, been around a long time, very oriented to meeting the customer's needs, and I know several of them outside the shop. Even so, I don't think I would want to ask them to let me demo a bike for a century - that just seems a bit much to me.

I'm really looking for input from riders who have had these bikes longer term. HOw wel do they hold up? What have you found that you liked/hated? etc.
re: Which bike - Trek 5200 or Litespeed Classic?Fez
Apr 10, 2003 9:20 AM
Well, I've owned 2 Classics, so I could tell you plenty.

Both Classics were extremely comfortable rides. I can't emphasize this enough.

How well does Ti hold up? Pretty damn good. Both structurally AND cosmetically.

Although it could be argued the Trek will also last for a long time, there are some who have complained paint and clearcoat do not hold up very well. And paint issues are outside of the lifetime warranty. That said, I like the Trek. I've ridden it for extended test rides. Probably a better climber due to its lower weight (approx half pound lighter). Probably a slightly stiffer frame as well, but I doubt it makes a huge difference unless you're racing.

Can't go wrong with either one.

And did your dealer have a brand new 2003 Litespeed Classic in stock? How much were they asking?
re: Which bike - Trek 5200 or Litespeed Classic?mtncranker
Apr 10, 2003 9:31 AM
They had the Trek, the Classic was an '02 at another dealer - I basically just did a "fit ride" on it, to make sure there wasn't anything bizarre about the fit/ride geometery. My LBS is waiting for their next set of Litespeeds.

Thanks the input - it looks like you're saying the difference might be primarily of efficiency vs. durability?
re: Which bike - Trek 5200 or Litespeed Classic?Fez
Apr 10, 2003 9:53 AM
Efficiency and Durability


When folks say the Trek is stiffer, it is mainly a subjective feeling. Even if you could give a quantitative measure of how much stiffer/less susceptible to power loss it is than another frame, how much would this translate in terms of distance over time? Probably not much... and it would be insignificant if you are not racing.

Objectively, you can say the Trek frame is lighter weight. You can make up some of that weight by installing any fork you want on the Litespeed. With the Trek, you probably want to stick with a Trek Icon fork because that's what matches the paint and the lines of the bike.


There are plenty of people that have posted their horror stories about their Litespeed or Trek failing for whatever reason, but if you had to take a bet solely on durability of the frame (assuming 1. nobody at the factory was high on crack the day of manufacture and 2. you ride without crashing) I think you would be smart to bet on Titanium. And if you do crash, you would be even better off betting on the Titanium one.

And if you are trying to decide based soley on the ride, only YOU can answer that. Some folks prefer the ride of OCLV carbon, some prefer Litespeed titanium.
I would get the Trek!the bull
Apr 10, 2003 8:56 AM
Hey seriously if you want to be doing mountain stuff and long rides. They are very comfortable on long rides.I have had both and I think for what you want to do the trek is perfect!Its less expensive as well.

"the nice bull"
I would get the Trek!mtncranker
Apr 10, 2003 9:06 AM
Thanks, bull!

Since you've had both, can you give me a bit of direct comparison on the two? Such as, how do they compare for climbing? for coming down twisty mountain roads? for durability?

The lower $$$ is attractive, yes!
I will do my best!the bull
Apr 10, 2003 9:27 AM
For one thing I like my litespeed alot!
I like the way the road feels.
The trek tends to dampen the road out it feels
like wood.I started giving Treck owners on this site a hard time because one guy did not like the way I compared a trek
to "Rides like wood".But it is true.Not in a bad way but they feel like wood.I have never had climbing problems on any bike!The trek is a very "quick" feeling bike.It also felt lower then my classic.The classic is very nice too and I still have it.The good thing about ti is that lasts forever.I Think That(and I have been flaned as you will see)
the trek is a disposable frame.Ride it race it ride it some more.But after a while the I dont trust them.I dont want to piss people off anymore but some people get way to personal with what kind of bike they have.So to all those people out there I am sorry.I do think it is a exellent bike!Really you should take both of them out for long rides 1 or more hours.I hope your shop will let you set it up and go.The other thing I dont like about the trek is the Icon componts.
But thats where you saving money too!
For the most comfort I would get the trek!And the value is better!
For a durable "steel" like ride go for the classic!
Well done!deHonc
Apr 10, 2003 2:41 PM

Lets bury the hatchet and start again - Its good to see a voice of moderation in your emails since the "Tour" debacle. Just a few points -

1) You were giving Treks a hard time way before my email (in humour) about different varieties of wood for OCLV frames.
2) This wood feeling - what you mean is smooth - I (and plenty others) like smooth.
3) You have no reason to not trust OCLV frames "after a while" - I race with clubmates who have original OCLV bikes - at least 5 years old - raced weekly, trained on intensively, riden 1000's of km. These frames last longer than any other - steel, Titanium or aluminium - not trying to upset anyone - its just a fact. Carbon doesn't fatigue - if it breaks its brittle failure from a massive impact. Newer OCLV frames are bullet proof. I have every confidence that I will ride this frame for a lifetime and if it did happen to fail - I'll get another under warrabty. Simple as that.
4) Others including your post mention Icon componenets - not used any more. Bontrager components work fine - I'm sure some of you will find problems with these too but I have not.

Lets make more effort not to get too personal about things - such issues such as certain bikes being POS; and people just out riding wearing team gear etc being rubbished - its petty crap and silly. I enjoy riding any bike - I just happen to own a OCLV and have found it way superior to anything else.


cool!the bull
Apr 10, 2003 5:40 PM
I dont mind treks I really do think they are good bikes.
I was concerned with the life of carbon Even in forks!I replaced my fork after three years.Its funny ya know I now have carbon cranks!They feel awesome!They feel Like energy wands!Strange huh?Have not ridden a new trek the one I had was a 98 that was quite some time ago.I like to get new stuff.
As far as the "Tour thing" I was feeling pissed about some stuff that has been going on.I wanted to make a statement and I wanted to see how people would react.I wanted to see why people really Like the tour.
It is a shame I dont feel as passionate about it as I used too! I guess it kind of irratates me to see Lance win it over and over and make it look so easy!I know he works hard to win that race.But I feel people dont give his team any credit.Also the fact that he is walking away from his wife who seemed to support him so much.Too bad!I heard the rumor of his mistress from a pretty stong source and I was pretty pissed and posted what most people see as an outragous statement and I am sorry!I plan on not being so negitive in the future.

tommy the bull
No worries!deHonc
Apr 10, 2003 5:46 PM

Yeah, no problems - You know, this medium (internet/email) is funny as a person's intentions are not always clear - Hey - I was really impressed with your fish and your groovy bike! Stick with it and ride safe.

Best Regards,

by the way!the bull
Apr 10, 2003 5:46 PM
I hope you take advantage of the reef you got there down under!I would probally barely ride abike if I was near that fabulous place!All the fish are awesome in the GBR.
Thats truedeHonc
Apr 10, 2003 5:49 PM
Hey Bull,

Thats very true - the GBR is a beautiful place - I actually lost my wedding ring snorkelling there on my honeymoon! My wife wanted to kill me but she didn't need to as I almost drowned when I realised!

Catch you later, mate!


Apr 10, 2003 2:41 PM
I've owned both and both are great. Even had a few Merlin's. Owned Aluminum and steel and and even a C-40. OCLV 120 is magic, comparable to the C-40, minus the $$$. Ti is bullet proof however, but, much less responsive than the Trek.
I would get the Litespeedjtolleson
Apr 10, 2003 9:14 AM
The Classic is their long-distance comfort machine, IMHO, and since you obviously like to keep the same ride for a long, long, time (9 years on your C-Dale!) you sound like a great candidate for ti.

The 5200 is a nice bike and will be a little stiffer in the BB for climbing but I (yes, I've ridden both) don't think it holds a candle to the Classic.
I would get the Litespeedmtncranker
Apr 10, 2003 9:33 AM
Thanks! Can you gie me any specifics on the candle holding? ;-)
Candle holdingjtolleson
Apr 10, 2003 2:03 PM
It is hard to say too much when comparing bikes without it sounding like (or triggering) a flame fest.

The Classic to me has a little bit of the give and spring that steel provides. The Trek, although great in the road buzz dept. has no "spring" to me. It also doesn't feel as rock solid a descender. Others may disagree.

I also think that the class and durability of a nice ti ride has an intangible appeal that would give it the edge.

Those are my main thoughts for the moment!
I'd get the Litespeedsteve1244
Apr 10, 2003 10:13 AM
I've put about 6,000 miles on my '97 Classic and can report no problems. My only qualm would be that, at 220 lbs., I wish it was a little stiffer in the bottom bracket, but that's my problem, not the bike's. Extremely comfortable on long rides. Other than a dinged sticker, the frame looks like I bought it last week.
I have a Litespeed Classic...sprockets2
Apr 10, 2003 11:17 AM
and I have been repeatedly impressed by its abilities. It transmits power well, handles very well, and rides-especially when we are talking about hours in the saddle-really well. The buzz about Ti riding well is true. It absorbs energy really well, while providing some of the "feel of steel" but with lots of suppleness.

The only knock on the Classic, from my point of view, is that the top tube is a touch longer than I would prefer. It doesn't keep me from loving it.
Thanks to all!mtncranker
Apr 10, 2003 3:52 PM
I appreciate your input - sounds like I just need to decide between two very good bikes, and lay down my money.

In which case, I may be required to buy the Litespeed, just because my good friend and riding partner has a 5200, and if I got one too I couldn't razz him about his bike (friendly flaming, really!). Again, thanks!
You should check out Independent Fabrications!the bull
Apr 10, 2003 6:39 PM
A steel 853 crown jewel built up with chours would be sweet!
Throw a pair of eurus wheels on there cool cool cool!
Not only would it be unique it would be a sweet ride!
The Litespeedpmf1
Apr 11, 2003 8:46 AM
But I think the Tuscany is a better bike than the Classic -- and its cheaper.
yes the curved seatstays are plush! hey pmf1!the bull
Apr 11, 2003 2:03 PM
Thanks for the info on maestro Just got a ct1 from him for $1800 !!!!cool!