Litespeed C1R Review: Following up on our review of the impressive 2012 Litespeed L1R (available here), Team Sixcycle-RK&O pleased to present our thoughts Litespeed’s high-end aero machine, the Litespeed C1R. The majority of Team Sixcycle-RK&O spent the 2012 season training and racing the C1R and the performance has exceeded all expectations. Our full review is below.
UPDATE: We just published another review of the Litespeed C1R here – click through to see thoughts on Di2 installation on this aero race machine.
2012 Litespeed C1R Review from Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s Dan Cleiman
In the Fall of 2011, a handful of us set out to form Team Sixcycle-RK&O. We were all quite aware that finding sponsorship for a new and unproven team would be challenging. Needless to say, when we had the opportunity to partner with Litespeed, we were ecstatic to work with a Company with a strong legacy of technical innovation.
Like most people, I knew Litespeed as one of the top brands in titanium bikes. So when they suggested that we test out their new carbon line-up, I was all-in!
Given that we are located in the NYC area, a lot of our racing is done on fast, flat courses. While the L1R is a beautiful bike with minimal weight, given our race calendar after careful consideration I ordered a 2012 Litespeed C1R frame – size medium (I’m 5’10 and it fits me perfectly). I obviously kept checking the delivery status constantly, excited to build my new bike.
When the frame arrived, my first thought was: “damn, this is one sexy frame!” In particular, the sloping aero tubes, sleek flowing lines, and bold white graphics contrasting with the matte black carbon looks amazing, particularly when paired with aero wheels.
Details on the build can be found here: Building a Litespeed. I chose the following components for this machine:
- Litespeed C1R frame
- SRAM Red Black
- SRAM Quarq Cinqo BB30 power meter
- 3T stealth black edition alloy cockpit
- Look Keo Blade pedals
- Zipp Speed Weaponry 404 clincher wheels
- White Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow saddle
- White Lizard Skins DSP 2.5mm bar tape
I’ve been riding this frame for a full season now and it has been a terrific experience. On flat terrain, once the C1R has accelerated to a cruising speed, it feels and acts like a TT bike. It cuts through the wind perfectly and the geometry assists in effortlessly maintaining speed. I’m a detail-oriented person and clearly so are the folks at Litespeed. The small details on this bike really do make a difference: from the super aero fork, to the widening of the down tube around the bottle cage to minimize drag, this machine is made for speed.
When I first rode the bike, I was honestly expecting the C1R to be an overly aggressive ride, perhaps optimal for criteriums and short circuit races. But I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and comfortable this bike is. The C1R became my go-to bike for all sorts of racing and training, including rides of 100+ miles.
The handling on this bike is quite exceptional: it cuts corners like no other bike that I’ve ridden and its stiffness allows for rapid accelerations which are important in crit-like races. Plus, for a bike that is designed more for fast and flat courses, it climbs quite well! And what goes up, must come down…the C1R definitely outperforms other bikes when it comes to bombing down a hill!
For the purposes of giving a balanced review, I must mention a few downsides to the C1R that come to mind, however minor. To some, one drawback may be the integrated seatmast, which can be a bit of a pain to cut and to micro-adjust the saddle height, though the Litespeed integrated seat post is very well designed and in my mind is more adjustable than other ISP’s on the market today. And of course the ISP makes the bike lighter and more rigid… a tough compromise, I guess!
Also, from an aesthetic perspective, this bike is so aggressive that I didn’t find training wheels that would go well with the over-sized down tube… or perhaps it’s just an excuse for me to ride deep-dish wheels more often!
All in, this bike is absolutely fantastic. While Litespeed may be known more for their legacy in titanium bikes, if you’re looking for a fast and aggressive machine, the C1R is definitely worth your consideration.
Litespeed C1R Links
Litespeed C1R Pictures