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Las Vegas, USA, October 5 - 8, 2002
By Tim Maloney in Las Vegas
With Interbike 2002 breaking a first-day attendance record of over 20,000 registrants, next year's bicycle season looks promising, at least at this point in the game. Optimism abounded in Las Vegas, especially at American Bicycle Group.
Marketing chief Herbert Krabel told Cyclingnews.com that "we are having a great response this year at Interbike to all of our products; Litespeed and Merlin, Tomac mountain bikes and Quintana Roo tri bikes."
Litespeed has 13 road and four mountain bike models for 2003. At the top of the road range for Litespeed is the featherweight Ghisallo, with a new GET (Geometrically Enhanced Tubeset) sloping frame, with a medium/large frame weighing in at 0.904kg (1.99 lbs) without fork. This is the same bike that the Litespeed-sponsored Lotto-Adecco squad won plenty of top pro races on this season.
Previewed on Cyclingnews last June and race tested by Lotto-Adecco, Vortex is considered as a standard in titanium road bikes, and the cold-worked 6Al-4V frame with a new diamond-shaped downtube, and the bladed and curved seat stays have certainly updated the Vortex in a dramatic way. Aussie sprinter Robbie McEwen powered his Ultimate to win the sprinter's jersey at this year's Tour de France, and with carbon fiber seat stays, stiffer frame and shorter wheelbase, the Ultimate still lives up to its name.
Lightspeed now has complete titanium bikes at the US$2,500 level with their new Veneto, a 3Al-2.5V frame featuring a taller head tube that provides a more upright position that delivers more comfort to the rider. But titanium isn't the only material that the Chatanooga, Tenn. firm uses to build bikes. Aluminium entered the Litespeed range last year and has expanded for 2003. Sirius is the star of the aluminium range, with a lightweight sloping geometry triple-butted ALite AN-6 aluminium frame that features the unique LiteTEC titanium enhanced rear seat stays And an integrated 1 1/8" head set with LiteTEC carbon fiber fork. The two new aluminium models for Litespeed in 2003 are the Vela and Cappella, with Litespeed's ALite tubing, compact geometry and great-looking paint and graphics. Both these two new models are priced under US$2,000.
Dirt-wise, Litespeed has some remarkable mountain bikes, led by the Tanasi; official frame of the Polo-RLX mountain bike team. Jimena Florit rode her 2002 model Tanasi to a NORBA championship this season. The cold worked 6Al-4V Tanasi frame is known for its light weight and precise steering. Also lookout for the Lookout Mountain, a less expensive model based on the Tanasi, but with 3Al-2.5V tubes and disc brake-only mountings. The Pisgah and fully suspended Unicoi, with one inch travel rear RockShox SID, complete Litespeed's off-road offerings for 2003.
For the ultimate speed seekers, Litespeed has the "world's most desired time trial bike", the Blade, and its little brother, Saber. Last but certainly not least is the new for 2003 Blue Ridge, a sophisticated titanium touring bike with full rack and fender mounts and stiffer oversized tubing to support increased touring loads.
For American consumers, Litespeed is offering an exciting new program in November and December 2002 that can enable them to purchase a new bike for zero down and twelve months to pay.
American Bicycle Group, owners of Litespeed, also have Tomac Bikes, Merlin and Quintana Roo under their roof.
More information can be found at www.americanbicyclegroup.com
Images by Rob Karman/www.roadbikephotos.com