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Litespeed Ghisallo - many questions(5 posts)

Litespeed Ghisallo - many questionslitespeedchick
Sep 23, 2003 6:50 AM
I'm considering mail ordering a LS Ghisallo and am nervous about parting with the cash. Can anyone talk to me about their experience w/ this bike?

Some questions I have: I'm riding a full carbon fiber Giant now. Will I like the switch to Ti? (my mountain bike is Litespeed and I love it) My current bike is a 49 c-t with a 52 top tube. Smallest Ghisallo is a 51, 52.5 top tube. Is that close enough? (noting that Ghisallo has sloping top tube so standover shouldn't be a problem). Any chance of a flex problem with an '02 since I weigh 110? The bike I'm looking at is built up w/ Campy Chorus. Do you think it's stupid to get the world's lightest bike w/ less than topofline gruppo? I've never had anything other than Shimano, anything I need to know about Campy?

Any other advice would be appreciated.
Sep 23, 2003 8:04 AM
According to the Giant website, the size small has a 53.5cm top tube, not a 52. I would carefully measure your frame to be sure what you really have. The TT length is measured horizontally from the intersection of the top tube and head tube to the center of the seat post (not along the sloping top tube). Also carefully measure the length of the head tube from the fork crown race to the top of the headset.

If the geometry charts are correct, the Ghisallo has a 1cm shorter top tube that will require a 1cm longer stem to produce the same reach as your Giant. No big deal.

The Ghisallo has a very short 81mm head tube (without headset) that requires a high rise stem and/or many steering tube spacers to get the bars up to height. If a high rise stem is needed, it may have to be 2cm longer than the one you use now. Since you have access to both bikes that are built, be sure to compare the height of the handlebars above the floor to be sure that you do not have an excessive height difference between the saddle and the bars.

At your size and weight, I don't understand what you think the advantage of the Ghisallo is. It's probably one of the most over-priced frames on the market. You pay a lot of money to save a few ounces that will not make a measureable improvement in speed.

As for the Campy groupo, be sure that it's 10 speed. If it's not 10 speed forget it. 9 speed is about to die with Shimano now producing a 10 speed group. One problem you may encounter with Campy ergo levers is the long reach to the brake levers. Be sure that you can get one or two fingers around the brake levers with your hands in the drops. My short fingers barely reach. I don't wear cycling gloves to improve my reach to the levers.

A typical Chorus build kit is about $1300. Subtract this amount from the total price of the bike to get an idea of the price being charged for the frame.
thanks...and some additional infolitespeedchick
Sep 23, 2003 8:23 AM
Thanks so much for the detailed analysis.

I think my Giant may be older than what shows on the website. My bike is not sized as a "small" but says "49" on the seat tube. It does not have a sloping top tube, and my OCD husband did the measuring.

It is 10 speed.

I supppose I want the Ghisallo because of the chi-chi factor (C-40 was my other desire) and because there are only two Litespeeds w/ compact geometry, Ghisallo and Sienna. I have a short torso compared to my legs.

I am a little worried now about the seat/handlebar drop. How do I measure that? Since I am assuming the bike is .5 c longer in the top tube than I have now, I don't want to add 2 more c to the stem. Also, I'm a little worried about that reach to the levers. I have bar that's shaped for short hands that I may switch out...will that solve the prob?

As to price...if I subtract $1,300, I get $1,700 for the unholy deal, don't you think?

Thanks again...I really appreciate the help.
more info...C-40
Sep 23, 2003 9:23 AM
Since you apparently have an older frame, I have to assume that both frames have the same 74 degree seat tube angle. If not, then there may be a bit more or less than .5cm difference in the TT lengths of the two frames. A .5cm difference would put you in between the normal 1cm differnce in stems lengths. You would either use the same length that you now use for a bit more reach or 1cm shorter for a bit less reach. Not many stems come in .5cm increments these days.

Unless there is a significant difference in the bottom bracket height (that would affect saddle height from the floor)the handlebar height can simply be measured vertically from the floor to the top of the bars. You can also measure the saddle height from the floor to the top of the saddle (near the nose) and subtract to get the saddle to bar height difference.

You should definitely try out the ergo levers on a real ride if possible. There are some models of bars that reduce the reach, but for the most part the improvement is a very small fraction of an inch. I've used ITM anatomic bars, Deda 215 anatomics and Easton EC-90 carbon bars with ergo levers. The Deda bars have the shortest reach of the three. If the reach is a real problem, I would not plan on a lot of improvement from a different bar. Another thing that I do to improve the situation is to set the brakes cables fairly loose, just tight enough to prevent the levers from bottoming out against the bars under hard braking. This allows you to squeeze the levers about half way before any braking action occurs. On a long descent, you can maintain a good grasp without any braking action. This setup takes a bit of time to get used to.

Adjusting the angle of the ergo lever brake hood is also fairly critical, IMO. I always insure that the area of the hood where the palm rests is horizontal, or tilted up a few degrees and makes a smooth transition onto the top of the bar. Some bars (ITM, TTT) must be rotated up 5-10 degrees to get the brake hoods at the correct angle, while others (Deda and Easton) do not. If the builder of the bike is not a Campy user, he may not understand this important part of creating a comfortable setup.
re: Litespeed Ghisallo - many questionsIronbutt
Sep 23, 2003 10:11 AM
Assuming that you will be satisfied with the fit of the Litespeed, it should be a great bike for you, especially at the price you mentioned. The ti bike may have a "livelier" feel than the carbon fiber frame that you are now riding, since composite structures are essentially self-damping. At your weight there should be no flex problems whatever. As was mentioned, before you spec out the bike, be sure that you are ergonomically suited to whatever you speicfy. Are your hands large enough to rech the brake levers, and can you operated the shifting mechanism from every position on the bars that you will want to? The only difference that I can find between Record and Chorus is a little, tiny weight difference, and no operational difference at all. Both Campy and Shimano make good stuff, it's a matter of what works best for you. The main thing is to be absolutely sure that everything about the bike fits you, both physically and emotionally. Despite what others may say, purchasing a bike of this nature is partially an emotional decision, and you should be sure that you are completely comfortable with the bike in every respect. Good riding!