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Interbike 2012: Litespeed unveils 26in/650b combo

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MWC stands for Multi Wheel Compatible. It means 26in and 650b wheels are possible - but not 29in ones

MWC stands for Multi Wheel Compatible. It means 26in and 650b wheels are possible - but not 29in ones
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The BB386 allows some serious girth for stiffness in the pedaling area

The BB386 allows some serious girth for stiffness in the pedaling area
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Litespeed head designer Brad DeVaney designed an aluminum insert on the drivetrain side of the frame (it’s black) to protect against dropped chains wedging into the frame

Litespeed head designer Brad DeVaney designed an aluminum insert on the drivetrain side of the frame (it’s black) to protect against dropped chains wedging into the frame
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The L series of bikes top out at Shimano Di2 Ultegra. There are no SRAM Red or Shimano Dura-Ace specced bikes

The L series of bikes top out at Shimano Di2 Ultegra. There are no SRAM Red or Shimano Dura-Ace specced bikes
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The new T1 looks like the company’s previous Archon bike, but Litespeed says it’s an entirely new machine

The new T1 looks like the company’s previous Archon bike, but Litespeed says it’s an entirely new machine
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The new T1 uses a highly expensive titanium alloy with a highly expensive shaping process on the top tube

The new T1 uses a highly expensive titanium alloy with a highly expensive shaping process on the top tube
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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A massive 44mm head tube accommodates a tapered 1.25in to 1.5in steerer

A massive 44mm head tube accommodates a tapered 1.25in to 1.5in steerer
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The press-fit 30 bottom bracket allows for a girthy down tube connection

The press-fit 30 bottom bracket allows for a girthy down tube connection
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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…an increasingly rare claim these days

…an increasingly rare claim these days
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The tall down tube and broad head tube were designed not for aero looks but to brace against the forces of aggressive cornering and descending

The tall down tube and broad head tube were designed not for aero looks but to brace against the forces of aggressive cornering and descending
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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This is the personal Li2 bike of Litespeed’s Ryan Barrett

This is the personal Li2 bike of Litespeed’s Ryan Barrett
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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A Sewanee MWC

A Sewanee MWC
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The concentric bottom bracket is at the heart of the MWC system. Here, with 650b wheels, the spindle is set in a relatively low position within the bottom bracket. For 26in wheels, it sits higher

The concentric bottom bracket is at the heart of the MWC system. Here, with 650b wheels, the spindle is set in a relatively low position within the bottom bracket. For 26in wheels, it sits higher
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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While Litespeed do their carbon bikes in Asia, the top-end titanium rigs are still welded in Tennessee, US

While Litespeed do their carbon bikes in Asia, the top-end titanium rigs are still welded in Tennessee, US
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The Pisgah MWC is the 3.25 ti little brother to the 6.4 Citico Ti MWC. Read: same bike, different levels of titanium alloy

The Pisgah MWC is the 3.25 ti little brother to the 6.4 Citico Ti MWC. Read: same bike, different levels of titanium alloy
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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MWC = 27.5in. Or 26

MWC = 27.5in. Or 26
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Litespeed launched titanium cyclo-cross bikes last year. Now they're launching titanium disc-brake cyclo-cross bikes

Litespeed launched titanium cyclo-cross bikes last year. Now they're launching titanium disc-brake cyclo-cross bikes
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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3T provides the appropriate fork up front

3T provides the appropriate fork up front
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Post mounts provide the setup in the rear for the mechanical system on the disc cyclo-cross bike

Post mounts provide the setup in the rear for the mechanical system on the disc cyclo-cross bike
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Litespeed it still holding most of its ground with titanium as the frame material of choice…

Litespeed it still holding most of its ground with titanium as the frame material of choice…
(Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)

Article originally published on BikeRadar

Although a few individuals have been playing with 650b wheels on 26in bikes, Litespeed is marketing a line of bikes with what they're calling a built-in geometry conversion solution. Dubbed MWC (Multi Wheel Compatible), the system consists of a creatively used, concentric bottom bracket in a press-fit 30 frame.

Elsewhere for 2013, the Tennessee brand that made its name with titanium will offer cyclocross bikes with disc brakes and a new line of road bikes.

Also, while Litespeed is continuing its push into high-end carbon framesets, it's pulling back on high-end group spec – for 2013 there are no SRAM Red or Shimano Dura-Ace carbon bikes in the L series line-up.

26in and 650b, courtesy of the BB

Litespeed has three frames it sells with the MWC system: the Sewanee full-suspension bike, the 6.4 Citico Ti hardtail and the 3.25 Pisgah Ti hardtail. All three use Fox forks and are built with enough clearance in the rear for the 27.5in wheel many companies are calling 650b.

The bikes will be sold as framesets or complete machines with 650b wheels. Switching over to 26in wheels only requires a twist of the concentric bottom bracket, to effectively raise the BB height. Obviously this solution does not change the geometry of the frame itself - such as the head tube or seat tube angles - only the BB spindle in relation to the rest of the bike.

These MWC frames are made in the US. All the mountain bikes now have post mounts, as do the company's new cyclocross frames with disc brakes. At the risk of stating the obvious, the MWC frames are not 29in compatible.

T series bikes

Brad DeVaney, head designer at Litespeed, admits there are similarities to past Litespeed road models in the 2013 line-up, but says the T series is brand new.

The new T1 uses a 6.4 ti top tube that starts as a flat sheet before Litespeed shapes and seam-molds it. "That top tube costs more than the entire rest of the frame [which is 3.25 ti] put together," DeVaney said.

The new T1, which Litespeed say is entirely different to the Archon

"Yes, the T1 looks a bit like the Archon, but the whole bike is new," he continued. "We use new wall thicknesses, new profiles, new butting, everything. We have a 44mm head tube that's much stiffer, a big press-fit bottom bracket and a new, wider down tube connecting the two."

The T1 frameset will retail at US$4,000. Litespeed will also offer T3 and T5 frames, made of 3.25 ti, for US$3,000 and US$2,000 respectively.

L1 carbon bikes

The L series of bikes was shown at Interbike last year, but the company has just begun shipping them.

Although DeVaney can point to some differentiating features on the framesets, what's striking is the company's choice of groupsets. There are no groups above the SRAM Force or Shimano Ultegra level.

"Our dealers are looking to put value on their floors," DeVaney said. "We are not doing canned frames; we are doing top-level frames and forks, but with Ultegra and even 105 parts."

The L frames have a massive bottom bracket area that uses the full width of the BB386 shell. Where the frame curves out to contact the back of the drivetrain-side crank, DeVaney shaped a smooth transition out of aluminum to protect against dropped chains getting wedged into the frame.

DeVaney said he greatly prefers the BB386 design, with a centered BB and an asymmetric frame, to the BBRight design, which has the opposite. Whatever the preference, the new frame's bottom bracket stiffness is a claimed 250N/m.

Up front, a 62mm head tube allows for a 1.5in lower headset bearing, and not just a press-fit style. "I can use Chris King or another style with the extra diameter," DeVaney said.