Yes, Litespeed still works in titanium and the Xicon, which is hand-made in their Tennessee factory, shows that titanium construction has evolved and improved over the years as well, and the result is a lighter, better-riding bike than Litespeed's titanium of old, and at a price that's still pretty competitive.
The traditional rap on titanium is that it is "responsive." This used to mean flexy. With over twenty years experience in titanium, Litespeed has figured out how to take away the flex, but still make the ride feel exciting. They've done it with better shaping techniques and some oversized tubes and have foregone the expensive, complicated seamed tubing of days past.
The folks at Litespeed, for all their love of how carbon-fiber can be manipulated, still love a traditional road bike, one that you can ride and almost forget that it's under you, so easily it handles. They were looking for both stability and agility, without being twitchy, what some used to refer to as a "stage race bike." Compare Litespeed titanium to their carbon-fiber brothers and you'll see slightly more relaxed angles and a slightly lower bottom bracket shell. Call this a result of working with some of the most traditional European builders, folks like Eddy Merckx, DeRosa, Bianchi, and the like. It's a ride that grows and grows on you, not one that screams at you the first moment you stand on the pedals.
The Xicon looks at first blush, very similar to their Archon Titanium. It is. Many of the features are shared. They share a geometry, with one critical difference. The Xicon has a slightly taller head tube that allows a more relaxed, upright position should you want it. The Xicon uses only 3Al-2.5V titanium tubes as opposed to having some 6/4 in the mix. The tubes are tapered, shaped, and oversized, with more subtle shapes contrasting especially with the extreme shaping that goes on with the Archon top tube.
The most critical feature of the Xicon is the bi-axially ovalized, oversized down tube. It might not look so oversized to you, but compared to earlier titanium frames, it is. The down tube is most oval in the vertical plane where it joins the head tube, rounds a bit for most of its length, and then transitions to being oval in the horizontal plane as it joins the bottom bracket shell. Besides adding stiffness as a result of the shape, the ovalizing also maximizes contact for the welds at the tube junctions on either end, at the head tube and bottom bracket. The seat tube is 34.9mm in diameter and round at the top, where a standard 31.6mm seat post inserts, and it ovalizes at the bottom bracket shell to minimize torsional flex and again maximize the surface area for welding. The top tube is oversized as well, though generally round. And there's nothing wrong with a straight, round tube -- it resists torsional deflection better than any other shape. The seat stays are round and straight, with the chain stays being ovalized where the tire passes through for better clearance. They're also curved in a bit where your heels pass for a little more clearance.
The Litespeed Xicon comes with micro-sized titanium dropouts, with replaceable stainless steel derailleur hanger. The bottom bracket shell is threaded to accept 68mm English bottom brackets, and the head tube takes a traditional 1-1/8" headset. The seat tube accepts 31.6mm seat posts and a clamp-on style 34.9mm front derailleur. Litespeed recommends installing a fork with 43mm of rake. The Xicon is Brushed Titanium with screen-printed decals.
Litespeed offers a limited lifetime warranty on their frames that will cover manufacturing defects. They also have a crash replacement policy.
|Bottom Bracket Shell Material:||titanium|
|Bottom Bracket Shell Width:||68 mm|
|Bottom Bracket Type:||English|
|Chain Stay:||3AL/2.5V Titanium|
|Frame-Only Weight:||2 lb 11 oz|
|Front Triangle:||3AL/2.5V Titanium|
|Head Tube Diameter:||1.125 in|
|Headset:||Cane Creek S-3|
|Rear Spacing:||130 mm|
|Recommended Use:||road riding|
|Replaceable Rear Derailleur Hanger:||no|
|Seat Stay:||3AL/2.5V Titanium|
|Seat Tube:||3AL/2.5V Titanium|
|Seatpost Diameter:||31.6 mm|
|Steer Tube Type:||aluminum|